Which Songs Should You Ban At Your Wedding?


Buzzfeed recently shared a 2017 FiveThirtyEight article about the most banned songs at weddings.  While it’s entirely up to the couple, some songs were much more worthy of banning than others.  Some even seemed unfairly maligned.  We broke down what needs to be banned, and what you can keep.

“Chicken Dance”

There’s little inherently wrong with the Chicken Dance, but I think on a the day when you marry the person you love most in the world, this may be the novelty song that everyone should skip.

“Cha-Cha Slide”-Casper

Maybe since I haven’t been to a middle school dance in a long time, I’m partial to Casper’s hit.  That being said, songs with choreographed dance moves can be unbearable, but I’ll give this a pass.  It’s understandable why people wouldn’t want it, but it’s not as bad as the chicken dance.

“Macarena”-Los Del Rio

Again, not a fan of group dances, but I do the Macarena whenever my girlfriend forces me to dance. So, by default I need to give this a pass, but I’m not happy about it.

“Cupid Shuffle”-Cupid

Of the songs with built in dance moves, this one is the best.  This one gets a pass, because it doesn’t make me really angry to listen to.  It can also stand on it’s own merits.

“YMCA”-Village People

No one wants to be reminded of a subpar gym at their wedding.  This also arguably has the worst set of choreographed moves.  I don’t want to be decked by my grandma going from “M” to “C.”

“Electric Slide”

I don’t understand why people like this song, but it’s not for me to say it should be banned from existence.  This is corny.  I guess it has set in dance moves, but like “Cupid Shuffle” it can stand on its own.

“Hokey Pokey”

I-I don’t understand why someone would play this at their wedding.  If you’re having this played at your wedding, you’re probably not old enough to get married.  If this is your wedding song, you’re probably getting divorced by the time your parent comes to pick you up from your play-date.


Another one, I don’t like, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t play this.  If you’re banning this from your wedding, you probably just don’t like hip hop, which is fine I guess.

“Happy”-Pharrell Williams

This is a good song.  Not my favorite, but a good one.  Why would you ban a song about being happy from the happiest day of your life?  Get ready for an unhappy marriage if you ban this.

“Shout”-The Isley Brothers

If you don’t like this song, you have bad taste in music and movies, because Animal House is a classic.  I’m debating if this has set dance moves or not, because the dance moves come from a movie.  That being said, they don’t need to be followed.  It’s also a good chance to change partners.  Just walk up and say “Do you mind if we dance with your dates?”

“Love Shack”-The B-52’s

I hate this type of feel good shit.  It’s like the worst of the 80’s.  That being said, this song shouldn’t be banned.  You can’t hate people for having bad taste in music.

“We Are Family”-Sister Sledge

This song is boring and stupid.  It’s the type of song designed for weddings and should be banned.  It doesn’t really function in any context.  People that stand in circles and clap are usually bad people.  Ban it from the weddings.  Ban it from existence.

“Blurred Lines”-Robin Thicke

I really like this song, despite Mr. Thicke’s questionable ethics.  I think the cocky nature is fun, but the rape implications aren’t.  There isn’t a place for a rapey song at a wedding.  Ban it.

“Celebration”-Kool and the Gang

This suffers in the same way that “We Are Family” does.  It’s boring and vapid.  It’s only mildly fun.  Plus, Kool and the Gang have better songs.  This doesn’t need to be banned but replaced.

“Cotton Eyed Joe”-Rednex

This isn’t even a real band.  I didn’t like hearing this song at middle school dances.  I don’t like hearing it at Yankee games, and I won’t like it at your wedding.

“Dancing Queen”-ABBA

This song is amazing.  If you ban this song at your wedding, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure you get a divorce.  If you don’t like it that much, substitute it with a cover like Frank Turner’s great acoustic version.

“Don’t Stop Believing”-Journey

This is another song that needs to be banned from existence.  Journey has good songs, but I think I could go the rest of my life without hearing “Don’t Stop Believing” and die happy.  That being said, the first guitar lick is great, and that’s the only part that you’re allowed to play.

“Single Ladies”-Beyonce

This is fun, and it’s a great way to learn who’s down to hook up.  This also marks the turn from Beyonce being a B-level talent to the capital Q Queen she is now.  It also plays the best in the context of a wedding.  That being said, if most of your friends are married, then you can skip it.

“Sweet Caroline”-Neil Diamond

This is my mom’s favorite song, and it’s a good one.  I wouldn’t ban it.  I would play it when everyone has properly indulged at an open bar, but it’s fun.

“Turn Down for What”-DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon

I’d skip this one.  It was a fun meme for a little bit, but it’s played out.  If you’re friends with a bunch of ironic people though, throw it on.

“Watch Me”-Silento

This was just the most recent version of Soulja Boy to come around.  It’s not terrible, but I don’t think you need it.  Skip if possible.

“Hot in Herre”-Nelly

This song doesn’t hurt anyone, but it’s kind of unoriginal.  You’ll get nostalgia racing, but this still gets regular play in some places.

“Mony Mony”-Billy Idol

Is this a song people play at weddings?  There are better Billy Idol songs, but this is fine.  It’s arguably his second most dance-driven hit.  This is also much better than playing “White Wedding.”

“All About that Bass”-Meghan Trainor

Unpopular opinion: I love Meghan Trainor’s first album.  This isn’t the best song on the album, but I see no reason to ban it.  There’s the whole argument against Trainor’s sexism and body shaming, but I do think this is just a feel good jam that can transition from modern pop to oldies.

“Baby Got Back”-Sir Mix-a-lot

This is a great slice of 90’s corny hip-hop.  I’ll make a case against novelty songs, but I think if you’d play “Anaconda,” you may as well play this too, especially if your spouse has a booty.

“Booti Call”-Blackstreet

I had never heard this song until just now.  I guess it was a hit, but not an inescapable one.  I don’t see much to blacklist this song, except for the fact that you may not want to think about booty calls when you’re with your betrothed.

“Gangnam Style”-Psy

This song wasn’t fun when it was new.  It’s still not fun.  The dance is stupid, and it shouldn’t be played at your wedding.  This is very subpar.

“Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”-Big & Rich

I wouldn’t want this played at my wedding, but if Budweiser was going to sponsor your wedding, and you think those cowboy boots compliment your tuxedo, then this is fine.

“Stayin’ Alive”-The Bee Gees

If we’re going to ban “YMCA,” we can’t ban the greatest disco song of all time.  That being said, if you like disco, I can see this being on par with “Don’t Stop Believing.”

“Sweet Home Alabama”-Lynyrd Skynyrd

Unless you live in Alabama, are going to Alabama, came from Alabama, or have a weird fascination with Alabama, this isn’t an acceptable song to play anywhere.  Your wedding is no exception.

“Uptown Funk”-Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars

This song should be played at least three times in every wedding.  This is probably the best song of the 2010’s.  This isn’t a song to ban.  This should be your first dance, the song you enter to, and the song as you walk down the aisle.

“Wagon Wheel”-Old Crow Medicine Show

There’s little wrong with this song, but your wedding isn’t a bonfire on your yearly camping trip.  Unless your wedding is in the woods and all you have is an acoustic guitar and someone with subpar guitar skills, ban it.

“What Do You Mean?”-Justin Bieber

Late period Bieber is the most solid work of his career.  This is a great song by the Biebs.  I recommend it entirely.  This and “Sorry” could play on repeat on your wedding playlist for at least 47 minutes.

“All Of Me”-John Legend

This should only be played at your wedding if it’s your wedding song, and even then it’s questionable.

“Bohemian Rhapsody”-Queen

This is a great song.  It may be a touch overplayed, but it’s not bad.  That being said, this song is absolutely insane.  The rock part would be fine at a wedding.  The piano ballad parts would be fine.  Even the isolated guitar solo would be good, but the operatic part is so weird for the type of setting you’re in.  Ban it.

“Brown Eyed Girl”-Van Morrison

This song is fine, if your spouse is indeed a Brown Eyed Girl.  This isn’t a great song.  It’s not terrible.  It could be worse.  It’s not bad enough to ban, but it’s not good enough to leave it unquestionably.

“Call Me Maybe”-Carly Rae Jepsen

Since this song’s popularity has waned, it’s completely fine to have as a semi-throwback hit.  That being said, if you ban it, because you want songs from Jepsen’s E-Mo-Tion.  That’s fine by me.

“Footloose”-Kenny Loggins

This suffers the opposite problem that “Shout” does.  It’s associated with a movie, but not one nearly as culturally significant.  I only say this, because I haven’t seen it.  My word is law.  Don’t put showtunes on at your wedding, unless you’re a couple of stage actors specializing in musicals.  Actually, I take that back.  Even then you shouldn’t.

“Get Low”-Lil Jon

I wouldn’t ban this, because I love filthy, vulgar rap music.  That being said, it’s probably not tasteful to have people screaming about balls during the most important day of your life.  Fair game.

“Hey Ya”-Outkast

Maybe I just haven’t been to enough weddings, but there’s no need to ban amazing pop songs, even if they were massive hits.  This is a great song.  Don’t ban it.

“Hotline Bling”-Drake

Don’t ban it, but if everyone starts trying to do Drake’s dance moves from the video, you have the right to turn off the music and throw people out of your wedding.

“I Will Survive”-Gloria Gaynor

This is a song that’s overstayed its welcome by being played to no end, but that’s not why it should be banned.  You want to thrive in a marriage, not just survive.  Come on, DJ’s.

“My Heart Will Go On”-Celine Dion

This isn’t too bad, but maybe you don’t want to associate your marriage with a couple that was separated because one drowned after a very famous boating accident, but that’s just me.

“Sexyback”-Justin Timberlake

If you go to a wedding, they better play “Sexyback.”  If it’s banned, here’s what you do:  you make sure at the next wedding you’re at with that couple, you get the DJ to play “Sexyback” and make sure the couple knows that sexy has finally been brought back, after it was absent from their god-awful wedding.

“Shake It Off”-Taylor Swift

I sometimes wonder if my ignorance toward popular music is what makes me think that really great pop songs like this aren’t insufferable.  I really enjoy this song, and I don’t think it was ever over played, mainly because I mostly listen to punk from my phone and streaming services.  But hey, maybe that’s just me!  Don’t ban this song.

“Sugar”-Maroon 5

Every Maroon 5 song should probably be on the “Do Not Play” list, if I’m quite honest.  There’s no way to ruin your special day faster than Adam Levine’s nails-on-chalk voice.

“Total Eclipse of the Heart”-Bonnie Tyler

What I’ve learned most going through all these songs is just that people loathe one hit wonders.  Tyler isn’t one, but she falls eerily close.  This song is too sad for a wedding, so it should be banned.  That’s no fault of Tyler though.

“You Shook Me All Night Long”-AC/DC

This song is awesome and the most appropriate AC/DC song.  Honestly, AC/DC could be all wedding music.  This is all appropriate as that’s exactly what’s going to happen immediately after the wedding.  Why wouldn’t you play this?

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