Music Not to Include at Your Wedding Reception

What kind of tunes you might not want to hear on the big day.

The music selection at the reception can make or break the good time had by your guests. Hiring well-reviewed professionals, be them DJs or bands, is a great way to help make sure everything goes smoothly, but you will still have some control over the songs that are played. Use that power wisely. Not only do you want to add tunes you know will get certain friends and family on the dance floor, but you also want to note which songs to exclude because they might create the wrong atmosphere for the evening. This is known among industry professionals as a “do not play” list. Usually the focus is on novelty tracks or simply an artist the couple does not enjoy. However, there are some other aspects you should consider as well. What qualifies in this category can depend on who is in attendance, but there are a few broad aspects to keep in mind when deciding what should not be heard on your wedding day.

songs to include on your do not play list, music that shouldn't be at your wedding
Photo by Jay Lawrence Goldman Photography; Planning & Design by Mindy Weiss Party Consultants; Rentals by Revelry Event Designers

Break-up Songs
This is a tough one because there are a lot of really great tracks that qualify. While many tunes that fit under this category are truly wonderful to sing along to on a girls’ night out, they tend to send the wrong message on a night that’s all about celebrating love. 

Examples to add to the list:
“Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette
“Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

Inappropriate Songs
While they may be fine for the after-party populated by your friends from college, songs with a high amount of profanity or suggestive language could be uncomfortable for everyone involved – especially if there are a lot of older relatives and children in attendance. 

Examples to add to the list:
“Get Low” by Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz
“My Humps” by The Black Eyed Peas
“Like a Virgin” by Madonna
“Closer” by Nine Inch Nails

Songs by Controversial Artists
This will largely depend on your personal feelings about the issues involved, but sometimes an artist with a tune you may love can wind up involved in unpleasant issues, whether it’s something like politics you disagree with, or criminal charges such as domestic violence or sexual assault. The fresher the issue, the more likely a song may cause some guests to feel uncomfortable. 

Examples to add to the list:
“Forever” by Chris Brown
“Girls Girls Girls” by Mötley Crüe
“Ignition (Remix)” by R. Kelly
“The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem

For more wedding entertainment ideas, discover 12 upbeat tunes for your first dance and instrumental covers of pop songs for your ceremony.

Authored by: Emily Lasnier