Create a "Do Not Play" List for Your Wedding Reception

Bridesmaid and girl dancing during wedding reception in domestic garden
Caiaimage/Tom Merton/Getty Images

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! Is there anything more awkward than hearing some sad breakup song during a slow dance with your new spouse? I'm pretty sure that is not the kind of vibe you want to share on your happy day. 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. So here is some friendly advice on the types of songs (and some songs, in particular) that you should be sure to avoid playing at your 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:

Awkward Breakup Songs and Other 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 – Whitney Houston (It's about a breakup. Please, no talk of "bittersweet memories" at your wedding.)
  • Lips of an Angel – Hinder (The angel's great lips are enough to make him think about cheating on his girlfriend).
  • Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton (Yet another death song heard at too many weddings. I know there's the life insurance policy, but it's a little too early to be talking about death, don't you think?)
  • I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor. (Not only has this song been heard at a million weddings, but it's also seen on lists of "popular wedding songs." People, it's a song about surviving a horrible breakup. Don't play this at your wedding.)
  • Jesse's Girl – Rick Springfield (Go ahead. Fuel rumors that the bride is sleeping/has slept/will sleep with the Best Man.)
  • White Wedding – Billy Idol (Idol himself says that the song is about hating his sister's fiancé.)
  • Love Stinks, You Give Love A Bad Name, Tainted Love (all self-explanatory).

Just Plain Bad

We all have songs that we just flat out dislike and to each their own. If there are songs that really get under your skin, feel free to pass those along to your DJ or band as a request to not be played. Hopefully, this list will spark some ideas for you about your most hated songs, so you can make sure they don't catch you off guard at your reception.

These songs are so bad they should be removed from music history: