Do Not Play Wedding Songs: You Didn’t Know Were Inappropriate

Updated on June 12, 2023 | Written by Matthew Campbell (Editor of My Wedding Songs and wedding DJ)

Not every song is appropriate for a wedding ceremony and reception.

Weddings are a time for a celebration of love. There are songs to avoid at your reception.

Irony aside, no one will get your inside joke. Avoiding songs is smart for a lot of reasons.

You don’t want to play “your song” from another relationship, a song that talks about cheating or a breakup, or songs that contain explicit lyrics.

Weddings are a time to celebrate the marriage of two people in love with one another.

Wedding music sets the mood for the wedding ceremony and wedding reception.

songs not to play at weddings

New Songs Not to Play at Weddings

  1. “Jaded” by Miley Cyrus
  2. “Lost” by Linkin Park
  3. “Drinkaby” by Cole Swindell
  4. “wait in the truck” by HARDY & Lainey Wilson
  5. “How Does It Feel” by Chlöe & Chris Brown

Snag music ideas you’ll actually want to play

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Songs to Add to Your DO NOT PLAY List

We provide the songs to avoid at your wedding as a guide. Even though many of the songs to avoid are popular, our experience says it’s not worth it.

So, talk to your wedding planner and DJ and, as always, use your best judgment.

Your wedding should be remembered for the right reasons, not the faux pas.

All My Ex’s Live In Texas – George Strait

Released in 1987, Genre: Country

A wedding couple will not want to think about past lovers on their wedding day – particularly any ex-lover!

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Back To You – Selena Gomez

Released in 2018, Genre: Pop

The song is about a couple breaking up and then stating that you would take them back as you will never get over them.

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Be Alright – Dean Lewis

Released in 2018, Genre: Pop

The song is about a friend and a lover telling you that your love relationship is over because they are now together but you will be OK.

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Better – Parachute

Released in 2019, Genre: Pop

This is a song about hoping your ex-lover finds someone to treat them better than you did.

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Better Man – Little Big Town

Released in 2016, Genre: Country

A song about a woman who had to leave her man because he didn’t treat her right but misses him.

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Break Up In The End – Cole Swindell

Released in 2018, Genre: Country

At first listen you think the song is about a couple who would be together even if they break up in the end but in all of the scenarios they break up.

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Break Up With Him – Old Dominion

Released in 2015, Genre: Country

A song about a guy asking a girl to break up with her boyfriend so that she can be with the guy.

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Dancing With A Stranger – Sam Smith & Normani

Released in 2019, Genre: Pop

A song about still being in love after a breakup with your lover but you don’t want to be lonely so you dance with a stranger.

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D-I-V-O-R-C-E – Tammy Wynette

Released in 1975, Genre: Country

This is a song about parents telling their children that they age getting divorced.

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Don’t Marry Her – The Beautiful South

Released in 1996, Genre: Pop

A song about being with someone that gets caught up in the doldrums of life instead of loving their lover.

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drivers license – Olivia Rodrigo

Released in 2021, Genre: Pop

A song about driving by an ex-boyfriend’s house but he is with another girl and you are missing him.

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Drunk On A Plane – Dierks Bentley

Released in 2014, Genre: Country

The song is about a groom enjoying his honeymoon alone after the wedding was called off.

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Every Breath You Take – The Police

Released in 1983, Genre: Rock

Even though the song may be intended as meaning for being infatuated with a woman it is commonly referenced as someone stalking another.

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Everything About You – Ugly Kid Joe

Released in 1992, Genre: Rock

This is a song about feeling sick around someone because you hate them.

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Fake Love – Drake

Released in 2016, Genre: Hip Hop

A song about giving someone phony love just to be close to them and get material things and live a high life.

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Gold Digger – Kanye West

Released in 2005, Genre: Hip Hop

A song about a girl who wants to marry a man only for his money and not for love.

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Gone 2 Long – PRETTYMUCH

Released in 2019, Genre: Pop

A song about breaking up a love relationship and hoping that it will not last long.

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Grenade – Bruno Mars

Released in 2010, Genre: Pop

A song about a man in love and willing to do anything for her but she just tosses him to the side.

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Guys My Age – Hey Violet

Released in 2016, Genre: Pop

A song about a lady describing guys close to her age not being able to treat her right.

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He Went to Jared – HIXTAPE, HARDY & Morgan Wallen

Released in 2019, Genre: Country

A song about a girl calling off the wedding to a blue-collar boy and instead is marrying a successful white-collar boy.

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Hello – Adele

Released in 2015, Genre: Pop

A song of a girl thinking about a past lover and wondering if you were still meant to be together.

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Highway To Hell – AC/DC

Released in 1979, Genre: Rock

The song was written as a metaphor for being on the road. However, couples don’t want to think that their new marriage is doomed as the song could insinuate.

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I Hate Everything About You – Three Days Grace

Released in 2003, Genre: Rock

A song about loving someone that you are no longer with but hating them at the same time.

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i love you – Billie Eilish

Released in 2019, Genre: Alternative Rock

A song about a guy who tells his lover that he loves her but she cannot say it in return.

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I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2

Released in 1987, Genre: Rock

A song about doing everything to be with the one you love but realizing that they are not who you need.

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I Touch Myself – Divinyls

Released in 1990, Genre: Pop

A song about needing anyone as you get pleasure from yourself.

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If I Didn’t Love You – Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood

Released in 2021, Genre: Country

A song about how your heart breaks after breaking up with your lover and going crazy because you still love her.

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If You Met Me First – Eric Ethridge

Released in 2018, Genre: Country

A song about a boy and girl meeting and liking each other but she is already in a committed relationship.

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In The End – Linkin Park

Released in 2001, Genre: Rock

A song about trying really hard and losing everything you have and then realizing that life doesn’t really matter.

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It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy

Released in 2000, Genre: Reggae

A song about a girlfriend finding her boyfriend cheating on her with the girl next door.

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Just A Gigolo – David Lee Roth

Released in 1985, Genre: Rock

A song describing a man being a gigolo – a man paid or financially supported by an older woman to be her escort or lover.

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Let It Go – James Bay

Released in 2014, Genre: Alternative Rock

A song about a couple losing love for each other and that it is time to go their own ways.

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Love Hurts – Nazareth

Released in 1960, Genre: Rock

A song about how love causes pain instead of making your life better.

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Love Stinks – J. Geils Band

Released in 1980, Genre: Rock

A song about how everyone loves someone but they are always in love with someone else instead of you.

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Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division

Released in 1980, Genre: Punk

A song bout a couple growing apart through time and in the end they will part ways.

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Love Yourself – Justin Bieber

Released in 2015, Genre: Pop

A song about moving on after breaking up and that his ex is too much into herself and not caring for others.

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Lyin’ Eyes – Eagles

Released in 1975, Genre: Rock

The song is about a man who no longer loves his lover and the lover cheating on her man as she is getting none at home.

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Marry Me – Thomas Rhett

Released in 2017, Genre: Country

A song about a guy who is going to the wedding of his ex-lover wishing it was him she was marrying.

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Meant To Be – Ber & Charlie Oriain

Released in 2021, Genre: Indie

A song about a couple just going through the motions of life and thinking that each other would be better off with someone else.

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Mother-In-Law – Ernie K-Doe

Released in 1961, Genre: R&B

A song about a mother-in-law who is always interfering in a couple’s relationship and compares the MIL to Satan.

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My Best Friend’s Girl – The Cars

Released in 1978, Genre: Rock

A song about loving your ex-girlfriend but now she is with your best friend.

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My Humps – Black Eyed Peas

Released in 2005, Genre: Dance

A song about a woman who uses her body to get bling and the finer things.

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Naked – James Arthur

Released in 2017, Genre: Pop

A song about a man who is in a place of vulnerability and is giving his all to a lover but she is not doing the same in return.

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Never Really Over – Katy Perry

Released in 2019, Genre: Pop

A song about how love relationships that have ended will always be part of who you are.

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Nights Like This – Kehlani feat. Ty Dolla $ign

Released in 2019, Genre: R&B

A song about being in a relationship with one of the lovers playing games with the other’s love.

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Out Of Love – Alessia Cara

Released in 2018, Genre: Pop

A song about being in a hopeless relationship and asking the other when they fell out of love with you.

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Reason to Drink – Cole Swindell

Released in 2018, Genre: Country

A song that references that there are many happy people in the world but there are also many that have heartbreak or working too hard that need to have a drink to make them feel better.

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She Hates Me – Puddle Of Mudd

Released in 2001, Genre: Rock

A song about a couple that fell in love and then soon realized that it wasn’t meant to be.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash

Released in 1982, Genre: Punk

A song about a love story with good and bad and wondering if your lover wants you or not.

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Shout Out To My Ex – Little Mix

Released in 2016, Genre: Pop

A song of sorts giving thanks to an ex-lover for making you a better person after the heartbreak.

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Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson

Released in 2004, Genre: Pop

A song about being happier after a breakup.

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Singles You Up – Jordan Davis

Released in 2018, Genre: Country

A song from a guy to a girl that lets her know if she were ever to break up with her guy that he would be more than happy to take her out.

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Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell

Released in 1984, Genre: Funk

A song that is interpreted to mean that you have a feeling that you have a stalker.

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Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley

Released in 1968, Genre: Pop

This is a song about a couple that does not have trust and wonders if the other is cheating.

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Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Released in 1981, Genre: New Wave

A song about someone who ran to his lover but now he runs away because she no longer wants him.

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The End – Doors

Released in 1967, Genre: Rock

The song is about the end of a relationship with someone you care about.

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Til It Wasn’t – Chris Ruediger

Released in 2021, Genre: Country

A song about a couple who fell out of love with each other and that it was good until it wasn’t.

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To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before – Julio Iglesias with Willie Nelson

Released in 1984, Genre: Country Pop

This song is a dedication to all of a guy’s ex-lovers and thanking them for coming into his life.

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Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes

Released in 2016, Genre: Pop

The song is about a girl who has a boyfriend but you know that you can treat her better than he is and like she is his queen.

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What’s a Man to Do – Usher

Released in 2008, Genre: R&B

A song about the dilemma of a man being in love with two women.

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When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars

Released in 2002, Genre: Pop

A song about loving an ex-lover who is with another man and wishing you would have treated her better.

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Who’s Making Love – Blues Brothers

Released in 1980, Genre: Rock

This is a song about men who are not only loving on their lover but also have a mistress.

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Why Don’t We Get Drunk – Jimmy Buffett

Released in 1973, Genre: Country

Depending on your guests, they may find singing about screwing to be inappropriate.

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Why Won’t You Love Me – 5 Seconds Of Summer

Released in 2018, Genre: Pop

A song about being in a relationship where you love your partner but they are not loving you back.

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones

Released in 1969, Genre: Rock

A song about a man who wants a woman but she is with another man.

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You Give Love A Bad Name – Bon Jovi

Released in 1986, Genre: Rock

A song about loving someone but they only play games with your heart in return.

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You’re So Vain – Carly Simon

Released in 1972, Genre: Rock

A song about a mother who only thinks of herself and only does what makes her happy.

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What songs should I avoid at my wedding?

Be sure the music selected fits the theme and style of the wedding and reception. Classical background music would not be appropriate for a country-themed reception. If at all possible, we recommend having the widest range of music types possible. This will keep the majority of the guests happy. Music entertainers must be given as much leeway on music selections for the dancing portion of the wedding reception. This is their specialty – to get guests dancing!

  • Do not play music with explicit lyrics. We do not list any songs below in this category as this is self-explanatory. Be sure your music entertainer has the radio version of all songs played at your wedding.
  • Do not play songs that pertain to death or reference suicide. Songs in this category include “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Kix and “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind.
  • Do not play music that is suggestive or offensive. David Lee Roth’s cover of “Just A Gigolo” is great music to take off the bride’s garter or garter placement. However, is this song really appropriate for a wedding? We’re saying no. Other song considerations with inappropriate meanings include “Love Stinks” by J Geils Band, “Mother-In-Law” by Ernie K-Doe, and “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
  • Songs that refer to the stressful wedding planning process. A Song example is “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)” by Alabama.
  • Please add stalking songs to your do-not playlist. Song examples include the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell.
  • Songs played that have extended playing time. The average song length is about 3 1/2 minutes. Extended-length songs include “American Pie” by Don McLean and “Paradise By The Dashboard Light “by Meat Loaf.

Create a do not play list for your reception

Creating a “Do Not Play List” for your wedding reception is key — especially if you’re DIYing your wedding. Professional DJs and wedding planners may know these song pitfalls already. However, if there are songs that bring up bad memories, be sure to compile that list as well.

What songs should you avoid personally? Songs to include would be “our song” from a previous marriage or relationship. The last thing you want to do is think about that person or remind your new spouse of an old love. Don’t forget your favorite songs from close relatives who have passed. Unless you intentionally want to honor that person, this will definitely hit home on an already emotional day. If your family is especially religious, you may want to avoid songs that are sexually explicit.

Any songs that you — like a wedding couple — come up with will help your entertainer decide on their playlist. If you do not want hokey choreographed line dance songs, then put them on the list. Explicit instructions are needed for your favorite type of music. With that said, your DJ’s job is to keep the dance floor full of your wedding guests.


Should we include group dance songs at our wedding?

Group dance songs are good for single people at your wedding or mismatched couples. (If your aunt can’t dance with her husband, she’ll bug all of the cute guys at the wedding.) We know some people do not like such dances as they consider them goofy and/or well-overplayed at wedding receptions. We get it. Some of the group songs are so lame. Your DJ won’t know this. It’s up to you, as the wedding couple, to let him know.

Popular group dance songs played at many wedding receptions include the “Macarena” by Los Del Rio, the “Chicken Dance,” and the “Hokey Pokey.” If you’d rather not do the electric slide one more time, then add group songs to your do-not playlist. If you’d rather pass, then add them to the songs to avoid the list.

Do we need a dollar dance at our wedding?

Like most traditions surrounding a wedding, it’s up to the wedding couple. Those not used to the culture behind it, feel the money dance wedding tunes are inappropriate. Asking for money in the dollar dance can appear distasteful or greedy — especially since guests are expected to bring presents.

You can switch it up, though. Try using flower petals, fake money, or — better yet — well wishes. You can do this with same-sex weddings as well. Like any detail at your wedding reception, talk to your wedding coordinator and professional DJ. Depending upon the theme the song choice could be really fun.

About Matthew Campbell

DJ, Editor, Music Lover


Matthew (Matt) Campbell is the founder/editor of My Wedding Songs from his experience as a wedding DJ. He is the author of two wedding planners: ‘Wedding Songs Planner’ and ‘The Wedding Music Toolkit’. Matt is the host of the ‘Wedding Songs Podcast’. He shares music inspiration in his weekly newsletter the ‘Wedding MusicLetter’. His articles have been published on Rolling Stone, DJ Life Magazine, and DJ Times. Matt resides in the wedding capital of the world – Las Vegas.


  1. i would do anything for love, but i wont do that by meatloaf,
    “if you really loved me then you would do X thing, if you dont then you obviously dont love me” sounds kinda toxic
    wherever you will go by the calling, it sounds nice but it seems a bit morbid with the lyrics

  2. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People should NOT be played. It’s about a school shooting.

  3. Additional ones to exclude at a wedding are Sam Smith’s ‘Too Good at Goodbyes’ (breakup song), Adele’s ‘Someone like you’ (also a breakup song), ‘Rolling in the Deep’ (inappropriate meaning) and, despite its catchy melody, Krewella’s ‘Live for the Nights’ (explicit lyrics; not sure if a radio version exists).

  4. I’d also inlude Adele’s ‘Hello’ (breakup song) and ‘Send my love (to your new lover’ (inappropriate meaning).

  5. Despite its catchy tune, ‘Run to You’ by Bryan Adams should be a definite do-not-play. It’s about an affair which would seem to fit the bill for exclusion.

  6. ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ and ‘Dance (While the music still goes on)’ by ABBA are 2 definite exclusions. They are serious breakup songs.

  7. I’d add Ed Sheeran’s ‘The Shape of you’ to this list. It’s overplayed and the chorus is distinctly creepy, almost to the extent of stalking-like.

    1. Thanks for the comment Anonin. However, you are mentioning a very popular song that has a few very good dance remixes too. Maybe others can offer their opinion.

  8. “They Call Her Easy” by Harry Chapin. A woman has relations with a man and doesn’t even charge him for it.

    1. Thank you Keath for the suggestion. Yes, the Chapin song should definitely not be on any wedding playlist.

  9. ‘White Wedding’ – Billy Idol
    Any song about addiction or recovery
    Any song about the worlds oldest profession
    Any song about the worlds second oldest profession
    Any song about crime
    Any song about incarceration
    Any song about con artistry or swindling

    1. Hi Nix. Thanks for the suggestion. Jessie’s Girl does fall into the category of a song that does not have a good song meaning but everyone loves to sing and dance to the song.

  10. If you leave me now by Chicago, Without You-Nilsson (Covered by Mariah Carey), All By Myself -Eric Carmen (Covered by Celine Dion), Torn Between Two Lovers (can’t remember who sings it). All inappropriate for weddings

  11. Here is a song you don’t want played at a wedding:
    Breaking up is hard to do by Neil Sedaka

  12. Here are some do not play songs for weddings:

    You Don’t Love Me Anymore-Weird “Al” Yankovic 1992
    Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares-Travis Tritt 1991
    Tell Laura I Love Her-Ray Peterson 1960
    Running Bear-Johnny Preston 1960

  13. you forgot whats a man to do by usher
    its about a guy who can’t bring himself to admit that he has been cheating and is in love with two women

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