A "Do Not Play" List for Your Wedding Reception

Bridesmaid and girl dancing during wedding reception in domestic garden
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One of the most fun parts of a wedding is celebrating with all your loved ones at the reception, including cutting a rug on the dance floor. You'll spend quite a bit of time thinking of the perfect songs for those traditional wedding dances like your first dance, but you should also think about the overall flow of your reception music. You'll probably have a list of your favorite songs and "must-plays" to add to your playlist or suggest to your DJ or cover band, but what about the songs that you don't want to hear?

When it comes to selecting the music for your reception, choosing songs for the "do not play" list is just as important as selecting the must-play songs. Even if a song is at the top of the music charts, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a good song for a wedding.

Cheesy Group Dance Numbers

DJs seem to love these songs, and they might even tell you that they're real "crowd-pleasers," but that doesn't mean you have to listen. It's your day, and you are in control of the playlist, so be sure to make your feelings known if you're totally against these cheesy dance songs. Sure, they are great for entertaining kids and the older crowd, but there's nothing elegant, sophisticated, or hip about them, so feel free to strike them from the realm of possibility.

These cheesy tunes might just send your friends off the dance floor permanently:

  • The Chicken Dance
  • The Macarena
  • Conga
  • YMCA ​​
  • Hokey Pokey
  • Locomotion
  • Cha Cha Slide
  • Limbo Rock

Mood Killers

The beautiful bride and her handsome groom take the floor for their first dance as man and wife. As you hear the music kick up, you ready your tissues for the romantic moment you're about to witness. But, wait, what's that they're playing? This song is all about a breakup! There's nothing even slightly romantic about dancing to a song about breaking up on your wedding day.

Avoid that awkward moment of an ill-fitting song by removing these sad tunes from your list:

  • "I Will Always Love You," by Whitney Houston (It's about a breakup. Please, no talk of "bittersweet memories" at your wedding.)
  • "Lips of an Angel," by Hinder (The angel's great lips are enough to make him think about cheating on his girlfriend.)
  • "Tears in Heaven," by Eric Clapton (The backstory: It's about his son's death.)
  • "I Will Survive," by Gloria Gaynor (Not only has this song been heard at a million weddings, but it's also seen on lists of "popular wedding songs"—but it's a song about surviving a horrible breakup.)
  • "White Wedding," by Billy Idol (Idol himself says that the song is about hating his sister's fiancé.)
  • "Every Breath You Take," by The Police (Although it sounds romantic, the song is really about a stalker.)
  • "Blurred Lines," by Robin Thicke (The tune is catchy, but the lyrics aren't appropriate for when grandma is nearby.)

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