Music helps represent your relationship in a special way other details may not, and leaves a lasting impression on guests.
If you are serious about your wedding music choices and want to know which songs to avoid on your wedding day, you’re in the right place.
Whether it’s during your drinks reception, wedding reception or during the evening, there are several inappropriate first dance songs and wedding songs to avoid. Sometimes songs that sound perfect for your first dance may not have the right lyrics that suit the romantic feel you are trying to convey at such a big moment.
It’s interesting to see that many popular songs contain negative messages regarding love. This can make it tricky when deciding on which songs you want to hear at your wedding party!
Having said that, a lot of this is totally tongue in cheek.
Sometimes, the most inappropriate wedding songs are the ones that go down the best and actually fill the dance floor!
Don’t be afraid to play a song with a slightly ‘negative’ message.
Again, this is just for fun but it could help you weed out some of those inappropriate wedding songs, especially for your first dance!
Check out our YouTube playlist to see which wedding songs to avoid!
Every Breath You Take - The Police
It sounds sweet but in actual fact, the verses to ‘Every Breath You Take’ are pretty creepy.
“Every move you make
And every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you”.
It’s still to this day perceived as a love song but the intent is really sinister and has major stalker vibes! Not what you want in a wedding song.
If You Want To Be Happy - Jimmy Soul
Let’s just take a look at the lyrics in the first verse as to why you should add this to your list of inappropriate wedding songs to avoid.
“If you want to be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So for my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you”
Do we need to say anymore?
Highway to Hell - AC/DC
“Highway To Hell” is about the Canning Highway in Australia in the 70s.
Having these rock legends on your wedding playlist may seem like a cool idea, but it could infer a lot of negative meanings.
However, we think that the energy in the song is one that could still work at a wedding if performed by a live party band with a fun attitude!
Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
We would just press the skip button on this tragic post-punk single by lead singer Ian Curtis’ turbulent marriage and ultimately suicide.
It’s a harrowing track that really digs deep into marriage problems and more. This is one song that you really should avoid on your wedding day!
Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley
Originally by Mark James in 1968, ‘Suspicious Minds’ is actually a cover by Elvis Presley released in 1969.
Elvis Presley was one hell of an entertainer. However, this track is one of the most popular songs that shouldn’t really appear as part of a wedding song playlist due to it’s references to an unhealthy and rocky relationship.
Mother In Law - Ernie K-Doe
We couldn’t help but laugh when looking through the lyrics of this one.
“Mother in law, mother in law
Satan should be her name
To me they’re bout the same
Mother in law
The worst person I know”
So yeah, let’s not add that one to the list of wedding songs…
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon
An absolutely iconic drum line and a wonderfully written track.
We’re sure nothing will help boost the confidence in your new relationship as a song that explores the possibility of sliding away and getting into a train, hopping on the bus, and just getting the hell away!
Love Stinks - J. Geils Band
The trash rock song by John Geils Band called “Love Stinks” features love triangles and unrequited sentiments, romantic romance wrenched to an end in marriage.
To avoid raising eyebrows during your wedding party, please ask the band, DJ, or wedding musicians to skip this one!
A Man Needs A Maid - Neil Young
At first, Neil Young’s lyrics here could be taken to be sexist and chauvinistic. However, a deeper look shows that this is merely a metaphor for Neil’s own insecurities regarding relationships.
Either way, this haunting and somewhat lonely song is not one that you should be choosing as a potential first dance.
It Won't Be Long (And I'll Be Hating You) - Johnny Paycheck
This country track had a resurgence in popularity due to its inclusion in the GTA V soundtrack.
Cruising through Blaine County in a pickup truck with this blasting out of the speakers is a real vibe.
“Lately life with you has been unbearable
All my faith in you has gone and I know it won’t return”
Whatever you think of the song and country music in general, those are some really scathing opening lines to any track. Definitely, one to exclude from your wedding reception playlist or list of alternative first dance songs.
All My Ex's Live In Texas - George Strait
George Strait’s song lists a few crazy ex-girlfriends and explains his decision to reside in Tennessee, as a result, to stay away.
It is never a good idea to mention ex’s of any kind, especially on your wedding day!
We’d avoid this song and move on.
People Ain't No Good - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
You might recognise this song from Shrek, weirdly enough.
Nick Cave’s departure from his post-punk catalogue took out a dark turn by the release of the album The Boatman’s Call. It’s both a sad but touching album.
On some surfaces the short tempo minimalist piano-based communication of Cave’s revelatory new age creates a great ballroom sway. But hearing him sing about people just being ‘no good’ and ruminating about the fail of human nature might be taking things a little too far.
Tainted Love - Soft Cell
Although its lyrics might not be in any place near a wedding, ‘Tainted Love’ is a classic hit and has sold over 1.8 million copies since it came out in 1981.
“Don’t touch me, please
I cannot stand the way you tease
I love you, though you hurt me so
Now, I’m gonna pack my things and go”
Again, one to avoid but if it was to appear in the wedding song playlist, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world!
You're So Vain - Carly Simon
A huge slice of irony is being served up hear as Carly Simon rips into people who want to be the center of attention at all times.
“You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you”
This one might raise an eyebrow or two if you were to include it as one of your wedding songs!
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - The Smiths
“In my life, why do I give valuable time
To people who don’t care if I live or die?”
What a ray of sunshine Morrissey is, hey?
This Smiths classic really does encapsulate banality, despair, and disappointment. An incredible listen at the right moments, but a wedding is not one of those moments!
You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi
“You Give Love a Bad Name” was Bon Jovi’s debut #1 hit. As far as bad wedding songs are concerned, it’s one of the ones we actually see regularly populating cover band set lists.
And we can see why.
Full of awesome air guitar moments and classic rock vibes, we wouldn’t mind seeing this one at more weddings, even though it could be deemed as slightly inappropriate!
Gold Digger - Kanye West
Kanye West has always been a controversial figure in pop.
It’s probably best to avoid his more on-the-nose songs, especially those entitled “Gold Digger” which convey a pretty negative view of relationships and marriage.
I Hate Everything About You - Three Days Grace
A song that perfectly describes a toxic relationship is probably one to avoid on your wedding day.
“I hate everything about you
Why do I love you?”
The song might be an absolute banger especially for alternative rock fans, but it might not land so well during a wedding reception due to its inappropriate lyrics and heavy style.
D-I-V-O-R-C-E - Tammy Wynette
This song is literally about divorce.
We don’t really feel like it needs any further explanation as to why you should avoid this song on the day that you marry your soulmate!
Bootylicious - Destiny's Child
This one might be more suited to your getting ready playlist with your bridesmaids but still, it’s another one we wouldn’t mind seeing more at a wedding party!
It could be considered slightly inappropriate during the early parts of the day or more serious parts such as your ceremony so choose wisely if you are to include it in your list of wedding songs.
If you really want to be different, you could have it your first dance song as a super brave choice!
Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke
Though the beat lends itself to dancing the lyrics are a little creepy.
In fact, the track was widely attacked for its depiction of someone desperately trying to get with a girl, even after being rejected.
If you don’t pay attention to the lyrical content, it’s a great tune for dancing and filling a dance floor, yet unfortunately inappropriate for a wedding day.
It Wasn't Me - Shaggy
Infidelity, cheating… not subjects that you really want to be exploring at a wedding reception.
“Honey came in and she caught me red-handed
Creepin’ with the girl next door
Picture this, we were both butt naked
Bangin’ on the bathroom floor”
The problem here is that the song is an absolute banger and a super nostalgic hit for the early 2000s.
If you’re feeling brave and open to some fun, you could include it as one of your wedding songs!
My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
The main theme to Titanic, this one is really difficult to listen to without picturing poor Leonardo DiCaprio sadly sinking below the sea.
Pretty depressing times but if you choose to ignore the Titanic imagery, the actual lyrics themselves are a wonderful admission of love and could be used as a unique romantic choice for a wedding song.
Achy Breaky Heart - Billy Ray Cyrus
Not only is this line-dancing song a bit cringe, but it’s also about desperate love where a man begs his partner to spare him heartbreak.
“But don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
I just don’t think he’d understand
And if you tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
He might blow up and kill this man”
However, if you’re planning a country-style wedding and really want to have your guests perform a line dance, it could be a silly and fun addition to the wedding songs playlist!
Sweetest Thing - U2
This was a message from Bono to apologize to his wife for forgetting her birthday. Bono, how could you?
We did get this fantastic song from the incident though.
It might not be the most brilliant way to kick off your marriage however so we wouldn’t recommend considering this as your first dance song or otherwise!
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
This song does regularly feature in wedding playlists, despite its lyrics being about a relationship going sour.
“Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now, ’cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
Did you think I’d crumble?
Did you think I’d lay down and die?”
Even though this features in wedding party playlists, it’s not among the popular first dance songs we’ve seen from couples, and for good reason!