There’s a near-infinite crop of songs you can queue up to celebrate the new chapter of your life with your partner. But here are some you should absolutely, under no circumstances, play when you get married. No, these aren’t the well-worn favorites like Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” or Etta James’s “At Last.” These are but a few of the songs that are wildly inappropriate for wedding receptions, yet somehow end up getting played there anyway.
We’ll start with the slow-dance, soft rock numbers. For one, do not play Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” The song is called “Skinny Love” because it’s about a love that’s so starved and emaciated that it can barely survive. That’s the opposite of what you’re celebrating at your wedding. Maybe you’ve never listened to The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” too closely, and you think, “Ah, a nice song about being with someone forever!” But listen closerit’s creepy and stalkery. Similarly, The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” may seem sweet, but it’s too much of a sneaky downer for your happy day. Do you really want a song that wonders “what good would livin’ do me” if the relationship ends? And regardless if you go with Dolly or Whitney, “I Will Always Love You” is about a bittersweet parting, which is probably not the kind of eternal love you’re hoping to honor.
Maybe you want a few recent pop hits in the mix to dance to. Good idea! But the following songs are bad ideas: Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” (another breakup song!) Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” (gag), Drake’s “Hotline Bling” (“Whiny ‘Nice Guy’: The Song”), Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband” (which, in addition to being too on-the-nose, is thoroughly not cute). Outkast’s “Hey Ya” is much less recent, but it’s another sneaky-downer breakup number that doesn’t fit in with a happy celebration.
This should go without saying, but it doesn’t: Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is not a fun song at all. The track’s “I know you want it” refrain is cretinous to an astonishing degree, and yet the song still enjoys a stronghold on pop culture. Find another boogie-friendly song that doesn’t give a green light to sexual harassment.
And of course, if you haven’t done so already, expunge R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” from all party playlists forever. The man is a sexual predator, and he has no place in any kind of society, much less at a wedding reception.
OK? OK. Good luck with wrangling those playlists, deejays, and hired-gun bands. Happy dancing, y’all!