43 Songs Not to Play at Your Wedding (You’ll Thank Us Later)

Could playing the wrong song at your wedding or reception spell bride and doom? Not if you avoid these wedding crashers.

Published June 26, 2023
bride and groom dancing and celebrating

Trusting a DJ to cultivate your perfect wedding playlist is a leap of faith not everyone has the confidence to take. To give yourself a little comfort in the choices being made, you can send over this list of songs not to play at a wedding, just so you're not surprised by the absolute vibe killers on the day of.

Golden Oldies That Probably Shouldn't Make the Wedding Playlist

These oldies are goodies, but not the best picks for a wedding playlist. From scorned lovers to empowered exes, these golden oldies should stay in your car's rotation but not make an appearance at your wedding reception.

  • "Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles: Weddings should be all about unity, and Ray Charles' "Hit the Road Jack" is a song totally focused on a breakup.
  • "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley: You need to trust your spouse implicitly and not send a vibe out to your guests that you might by cutting a rug to Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds."
  • "Run for Your Life" by The Beatles: The Beatles' 1965 song "Run for Your Life" doesn't have an ounce of the pure "All We Need Is Love" sentiment. Instead, it's lyrics are steeped in possessiveness and jealousy that you don't want anywhere near your wedding.
  • "One" by Three Dog Night: Surrounded by friends, family, and the love of your life, you're going to be anything but lonely. So, there's no reason to sway to a song like "One" by Three Dog Night, which is all about loneliness.
  • "It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To)" by Lesley Gore: Unlike Lesley Gore in her song "It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To)," your partner (now spouse) isn't going to leave you on your birthday or your wedding.
  • "You Don't Own Me" by Lesley Gore: While Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me" is an anthem of independence, your guests might interpret it as not wanting to be tied down, which isn't the right message at a wedding that's all about tying the knot.
  • "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" by Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan isn't known for his outstanding love songs, and the breakup song "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" - while a beautiful acoustic number - won't put love in the air at your wedding.
  • "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King: B.B. King's "The Thrill is Gone" is all about falling out of love, which isn't something you want to put in the air at your wedding.
  • "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" by Tammy Wynette: You know, irony is one thing, but blasting a song like Tammy Wynette's "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" that spells out the opposite of what you're committing to might not be the best idea.
  • "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion: Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" might be a beautiful song, but unless you're trying to replicate the star-crossed lovers' tragic ending from Titanic, it might not exactly give the vibes you want at a wedding.
  • "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye: At a wedding, you don't want to hear about murmurings of infidelity. Hence while Marvin Gaye's "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" maybe shouldn't make it to the reception playlist.
  • "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra: Nancy Sinatra's feet in "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" aren't heading in her spouses direction, so you might not want to boogie to it.
  • "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: A classic jazz tune by the greats, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" doesn't put a lot of confidence in everyone that the wedding is the greatest idea.

Classic Hits You Shouldn't Play at Your Wedding

It's always a great idea to add a few rock classics to every playlist, so people of all ages can jump onto the dance floor. So when you're cultivating the perfect wedding playlist, stray away from these bops of a breakup anthem.

  • "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell: You wouldn't call the shared feelings between you and your partner tainted, so Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" probably won't fit as a wedding dance tune.
  • "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi: Since you and your spouse don't give love a bad name, maybe keep Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" off of the airwaves.
  • "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston: Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" isn't the romantic overture you might think it is - instead, it's a breakup song of the ages.
  • "I Know It's Over" by The Smiths: The Smiths might be singing about unrequited love in "I Know It's Over," but you shouldn't want to hum along on your wedding day.
  • "Un-Break My Heart" by Toni Braxton: On your wedding day, neither of your hearts needs to be unbroken, so keep Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart" out of your wedding playlist.
  • "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt: Bonnie Raitt's haunting song of unrequited love "I Can't Make You Love Me," doesn't set the right emotional tone for a happy wedding reception.
  • "I Hate Myself for Loving You" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts thumping anthem "I Hate Myself for Loving You" might be a crowd pleaser in a bar, but probably not at a wedding.
  • "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon: Carly Simon calls out her ex-lover in "You're So Vain." But weddings aren't the places for dramatic accountability meetings.
  • "Better Man" by Pearl Jam: Don't start your new adventure together on an unsatisfactory note like Pearl Jam does in "Better Man."
  • "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac: The number one breakup song of the 20th century, Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way," shouldn't come anywhere near your wedding ceremony or reception.
  • "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor: Gloria Gaynor's iconic anthem, "I Will Survive" is about surviving a breakup, not succeeding at a marriage.
  • "What's Love Got to Do With It" by Tina Turner: Hopefully, you don't have to question the love in your marriage like Tina Turner questions the importance of love in a relationship in "What's Love Got to Do With It."
  • "Cold as Ice" by Foreigner: Typically a hit on the dance floor, Foreigner's "Cold as Ice" doesn't set the stage for a loving relationship.
  • "Used to Love Her" by Guns N' Roses: Your relationship isn't going to end as poorly as Guns N' Roses did in "Used to Love Her," so why bring that dour vibe to your wedding?
  • "Ironic" by Alanis Morisette: Everyone loves a good scream-singing sesh, and no one does it better than Alanis Morisette in "Ironic." But, when you really listen to the lyrics, you can see how diametrically opposed they are to wedded bliss.

Keep the DJ Away From These Modern Singles

The bulk of your wedding party and guests will know these modern singles by heart. But, for their popularity, they're angry and powerful lamentations about the folly of love isn't the tone you want to set with a killer wedding playlist.

  • "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood: This song is the drunk girls karaoke song, so unless you're wedding night goes far differently than planned, you probably shouldn't headline the reception with Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats."
  • "Regret Me" by Daisy Jones and the Six: The fictional band Daisy Jones and the Six's album Aurora is filled with heartache and miscommunication. "Regret Me" is the ultimate f-you track on the album, and probably not the sentiment you're going for with your wedding vows.
  • "Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored" by Ariana Grande: Ariana Grande really laid it all bare in "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored," but the call for infidelity maybe shouldn't hit the dancefloor.
  • "Happier Than Ever" by Billie Eilish: The smash single off of Billie Eilish's sophomore album, "Happier Than Ever" kicks your teeth in with middle finger energy. Better to keep things sweeter at the reception with other songs.
  • "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse: Amy Winehouse's tragic death only makes the heartache in "Back to Black" more palpable. But, it will be a Debby Downer at your wedding that you probably don't want.
  • "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" by Taylor Swift: Taylor Swift's directorial debut was her short film for the newly released 10-minute version of an earlier song, "All Too Well." It's a powerful look at the dissolution of a complicated relationship, and not the best choice for a reception party.
  • "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye: Gotye, the ultimate one-hit-wonder, released "Somebody That I Used to Know" to critical acclaim. But, it's another breakup song with lyrics that'll have guests questioning the song choice.
  • "traitor" by Olivia Rodrigo: Olivia Rodrigo's debut album was a huge success, being the album of the summer in 2022. "Traitor" is one of the best singles off the album, but with a title like that, you can imagine the heartbreak that's recorded in those lyrics.
  • "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce: Although empowering, Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" is about a woman moving on from her man, which you're hopefully not doing at your wedding.
  • "Smile" by Lily Allen: This song is about taking pleasure in an ex's sorrow.
  • "I Don't Think That I Like Her" by Charlie Puth: Charlie Puth's lamentations about relationship woes in "I Don't Think I Like Her" is catchy, but maybe too catchy for an event all about being lucky in love.
  • "Cry Me a River" by Justin Timberlake: Justin Timberlake's bitter breakup anthem, "Cry Me a River" won't be the loving proclamation you hope for when you head for the first dance.
  • "Jaded" by Miley Cyrus: Miley Cyrus's realistic portrayal of post-relationship angst in "Jaded" is one of the catchiest pop tunes of 2023, but it's not the right vibe to celebrate a wedding.
  • "Love is a Game" by Adele: Adele is known for her introspective ballads, and "Love is a Game" is the closer to her divorce album. So, putting it for a spin at a event pre-divorce probably won't mesh well.
  • "ABCDEFU" by Gayle: Gayle is a teen rocker whose angry jilted song "abcedfu" came out of a TikTok. Probably not a great idea to bring that level of rage to a beatific affair.

Pump Up the Right Jams

Don't ruin your wedded bliss with tipsy guests getting inspired by breakup anthems to call out their cheating spouses or shady ex-lovers in the middle of your reception unless you want funny wedding songs. Keep the drama to a minimum by picking out much safer songs for your wedding playlist, like these classic rock hits that always keep the party going.

43 Songs Not to Play at Your Wedding (You’ll Thank Us Later)