A Helpful Nuptial List: Songs NOT to Play at Your Wedding

The weather is warming up. The flowers are blooming and winter is finally over. Love is in the air and that means it’s wedding season. If you’re getting married this summer, then you’re probably already trying to juggle fittings, cake tastings, menus, and a whole bunch of other things. And don’t forget about the music!

Picking music for your wedding can be difficult. We’re here to help you and have compiled a list of music NOT appropriate for your wedding playlist.

“One” U2

It might sound like a nice song about “one love”, but if you pay attention to the lyrics it’s actually about a distressed relationship. Here are the lyrics to verse two:

Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without

Not exactly the message you want to send on your wedding day, is it?

“Every Breath You Take” The Police

The lyrics to this song are pretty straightforward in their creepiness. Take the first section of the first verse:

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you

This song is about a stalker.

“You’re Beautiful” James Blunt

This song was a huge hit in 2005 when it came out. It seemed like everyone was singing it. Although the title sounds like it would be a great song for a wedding, complimentary to the bride, it’s probably best that you leave this one off your set list. The song is about a guy on the subway singing to a woman that he’s never met.

Here’s the second half of the first verse:

She smiled at me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won’t lose no sleep on that,
‘Cause I’ve got a plan.

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” Stevie Wonder

The music is fun and upbeat, but it’s important to know the meaning behind a song when picking it for something as important as your wedding day. Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” is actually a breakup song. Not something you really want to play on your wedding day.

“I Will Always Love You” Whitney Houston

Whether it’s the Whitney Houston version or the Dolly Parton version you prefer, this song should be avoided at a wedding. Sure Whitney/Dolly is singing about how she will always love the person she’s singing to. Except it’s a breakup song. She will always love them even though they’re breaking up. Take these lyrics:

Bittersweet memories –
That is all I’m taking with me.
So good-bye.
Please don’t cry:
We both know I’m not what you, you need

“I Will Follow You into the Dark” Death Cab for Cutie

This is one of those songs where the lyrics are less straightforward and much more poetic. However, it’s about two souls lost in limbo. Perhaps not the best idea for a wedding song.

“Just the Two of Us” Will Smith

So, there’s a couple of reasons why this song should be avoided. First off, I’m sure most people are familiar with the Dr. Evil and Mini-Me duet of this song from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and I doubt you want to be compared to that. Secondly, the song is about a father and son, not about a couple.

“Lips of an Angel” Hinder

The lyrics don’t really hide what this song is about. The man is contemplating cheating on his girlfriend.

Well, my girl’s in the next room
Sometimes I wish she was you
I guess we never really moved on
It’s really good to hear your voice saying my name
It sounds so sweet
Coming from the lips of an angel
Hearing those words it makes me weak

“My Heart Will Go On” Celine Dion

Not only is this song about a dead lover, it’s also the theme song to 1997’s Titanic. Neither are topics you really want at your wedding.

“Tears in heaven” Eric Clapton

This song is also about death. Death is never a good topic for a wedding song.

“I Will Survive” Gloria Gaynor

Songs about breakups are also probably best to be avoided for your wedding playlist.  Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive is most definitely about a breakup. Take these lyrics:

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
Oh no, not I
I will survive

“Jessie’s Girl” Rick Springfield

I don’t think you really want rumours about the bride cheating. Or that the groom wishes he had another man’s woman. Neither of those things would be particularly good on your wedding day.

“White Wedding” Billy Idol

There’s a bunch of different theories as to what this song is about, and none of them are positive. One interpretation says that Billy Idol wrote “White Wedding” because he didn’t like his sister’s fiancé. Another suggests it’s about an incestuous relationship. A third argues that Idol wrote it in response to his sister having a shotgun wedding because she was pregnant and he didn’t think that was a good reason to get married. Finally, one theory says this song is, of course, about drugs; specifically, crack cocaine. I’m sure there are plenty more theories. Either way, perhaps avoid this tune at your wedding.

“Someone Like You” Adele

As talented of a singer as she is, quite a few of Adele’s songs are not appropriate to play at your wedding. “Someone Like You” is no exception. It’s about a former lover. Never a good choice of topic for your big day.

“Better Man” Pearl Jam

Out of all the Pearl Jam songs to choose, “Better Man” isn’t the absolute worst. That would have to go to “Last Kiss”, because everyone would be crying and that’s not good. But “Better Man” isn’t much of an improvement. It’s about a woman settling for a man that she’s not really into when other men failed to work out for her. Here’s the lyrics from the very first verse:

Waitin’, watchin’ the clock, it’s four o’clock, it’s got to stop
Tell him, take no more, she practices her speech
As he opens the door, she rolls over…
Pretends to sleep as he looks her over

“If You Wanna Be Happy” Jimmy Soul

If you wanna be happy, don’t pick this song to play at your wedding. It’s highly insulting to the bride (or brides, in the case of a same-sex marriage). The lyrics are pretty blunt:

A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall.
As soon as he marries her
Then she starts to do
The things that will break his heart.
But if you make an ugly woman your wife,
You’ll be happy for the rest of your life,
An ugly woman cooks her meals on time,
She’ll always give you peace of mind.

“Without You” Mariah Carey

Yet another breakup song that is often played at weddings. Do not play breakup songs at weddings!

“How Do I Live?” Leann Rimes

Breakup song. See above.

“Sometimes When We Touch” Dan Hill

The lyrical themes in this song are just a whole whack of bad ideas to play at a wedding. They include rejection, spousal abuse, incest…yeah, not such a good idea.

“Always” Bon Jovi

Yes, this song is about always loving someone. That’s pretty sweet. Except when you add in the caveat that it’s about always loving someone after they break up with you. Not so sweet. Very sad. Doesn’t belong on your wedding playlist.

“Careless Whisper” George Michael

Just like with songs about death, songs about cheating also do not belong at weddings.

“Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” Journey

Once again, a song about cheating. Not a good theme for a monogamous wedding.

“La donna e mobile” Verdi, from the opera Rigoletto

Ok, so I don’t know how many people choose to have arias from Romantic-era Italian operas at their weddings, but if you choose to do so, avoid this song. It’s really catchy and fun sounding, so I’ll give it that. However, it’s sung by a character called the Duke of Mantua, who is a bit of a womanizer singing about how “the woman is fickle”.

4 thoughts on “A Helpful Nuptial List: Songs NOT to Play at Your Wedding

  • June 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm
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    I always thought U2’s “One” was about people in homosexual relationships, with people telling them their love is wrong or whatever. That’s the way I have always viewed that song. “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt, I have always thought was about seeing an old girlfriend with a new man, by accident, on the subway. The Death Cab For Cutie song is quite morbid. I thought that the first time I heard it, and I still do. I have no idea what was going through Ben’s mind when he wrote it, but it’s a weird song.

    Reply
  • June 2, 2016 at 6:57 pm
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    Erm… Signed, Sealed, Delivered is actually “I walked out on you but I’ve realised my mistake & come back in a bit of a sorry state” song. But of course you’d know this, having READ THE FUCKING LYRICS.

    Reply
  • April 11, 2021 at 2:48 am
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    Yeah…. my cousin played staying a alive at her wedding because it’s, to say it in the decade it’s from, “groovy” but the lyrics say I’M A LADIES MAN, so I don’t think the idea of the groom having been with a bunch of other women a good concept for a wedding.

    Reply

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