Everyone loves a nice summer wedding. If you’re in your twenties, you may feel like you have one to attend every other weekend for the entirety of summer–or even if your friends aren’t quite ready to get married yet, you may be attending ceremonies for older siblings and cousins in the coming months.
If you’ve ever been to any wedding, you know how much planning can go into a new couple’s special day and usually, the bride has every detail nailed down well in advance. One of the most important parts of planning the reception afterward is deciding what to do for music. Will there be a DJ or a live band? What kind of vibe are you going for? Will there be a space for dancing or just a meal in a smaller space?
While there is no right answer to any of these questions, there are definitely a couple of songs that most people wouldn’t want to hear at a wedding, especially their own. A website called FiveThirtyEight–which focuses on polls and statistical data related to general opinions, politics, economics, and sports–decided to survey more than two dozen professional DJs and find out which songs are the worst ones to play post-wedding. These DJs have provided the music for nearly 200 weddings between them and here are the songs most commonly banned from wedding receptions.
Some of these tunes have been rejected for obvious reasons. The first eight songs on the list are tacky at best, embarrassing at worst, and let’s be honest: do you really want to see Great Aunt Edna do the chicken dance? Probably not. Ditto to Cotton Eye Joe. All of those songs evoke images of my elementary school’s family dance night and in my opinion, it’d be fine if they stayed there, deep in my past.
Other songs on the list are objectively fine but not appropriate for the occasion. Beyoncé is absolutely fabulous but if you’re playing “Single Ladies” at your wedding, then something has gone very wrong. Songs that prioritize objectification and sexual desire over love aren’t a great pick, either, so let’s not blast “Baby Got Back.” We can listen to Sir Mix-A-Lot on some other day. There’s a time and a place for songs about big butts, people.
There are a few songs on this list that aren’t terrible, though. Why is ABBA on this list? Is it because the “Dancing Queen” is only seventeen? That is a little young to get married, but that aside, I don’t see any major red flags. What’s wrong with “Sweet Caroline”? How about “Don’t Stop Believin’?” Am I missing something large here? I guess that they’re a bit cliché and I wouldn’t play them at my own (very imaginary) wedding, but if these picks hold some kind of importance to the couple, I don’t see a problem with them. Aren’t many wedding traditions kind of cliché anyway? Does it matter if we play something a little outdated or overplayed?
If you’re planning your wedding and you want to play one of these songs, take a long look at the lyrics and think about why it might be on the list–but ultimately the reception is yours to plan and if you really want to jam out to “We Are Family,” nobody can stand in your way.