Whether it’s during the first dance, or while everyone is getting their groove on at the reception, bad music can happen to any well-intentioned wedding. Surprising as it may seem, many people don’t pay attention to what the lyrics of their wedding songs are really saying.
As a result, the subject matter of some common wedding songs ranges from breakups to unrequited love, stalkers or cheating—and even death! Take a look at what we consider to be some of the worst wedding songs and see if you agree.
“You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt
A slow song with a sweet title should be perfect for wedding, right? Wrong! If you listen closely, you’ll find out that, while Blunt seems to have found his beautiful dream girl, the two of them will never be together because she’s with someone else. In the music video, Blunt is so upset that he’ll never be with this dream girl that he takes off his shoes, empties his pockets, and jumps off a cliff into the ocean. Not exactly the happy ending you’d want for a wedding!
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful,
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don’t know what to do,
‘Cause I’ll never be with you.
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
This song might be fun to sing with your girlfriends, and it might even get your guests up and dancing. But this song is also about surviving a breakup, plain and simple—which clearly does not go along with the theme of the day. No matter how catchy it is, repeat after me: I will not play break-up songs at my wedding, I will not play breakup songs at my wedding, I will not…
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 break 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
“If You Want to be Happy” by Jimmy Soul
Another song with a catchy beat, but not the best choice for The Big Day if you don’t have a good sense of humor. The song goes into great detail explaining why you should marry an ugly woman, and not a pretty woman. However, if you do have appreciation for irony, this song might get your guests moving and laughing!
If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
What better way to set the wedding mood than to turn on this slow song about two lovers separated—by death! That’s right, this song sounds sweet, but remember the scene in Titanic when Leonardo DiCaprio sinks into the ocean? That’s the moment this song is paying tribute to. Sure, it’s nice to know your lover will remember you even after your death—but weddings celebrate your new life together, not death.
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you’re here in my heart and my heart will go on and on
“Every Breath You Take” by The Police
Whatever you do, please don’t play this song at your wedding! There’s nothing sweet or comforting about a stalker who won’t leave you alone—the kind who knows where you are and what you’re doing, day or night. Maybe this is how you and your fiancé met, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that it’s not. This is not a love song, so please don’t use it!
Oh can’t you see
You belong to me
My poor heart aches
With every step you take
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you
“Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls
Debuting in the movie City of Angels, this song is from the point of view of a recluse angel who gives up his immortality to live with the mortal he fell in love with. As hopeful as it sounds, and as happy as the two are together, he ends up losing the woman he loves. Yes, loses the woman he loves—he does not spend forever with her. The movie doesn’t have a happy ending, and if you want your wedding to have a happy ending, you won’t play this song.
And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything seems like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know your alive
“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
The title of this song might lure you in with sentiments of eternal love, but don’t be deceived! This song is about a breakup. It’s not romantic or sweet or loving, and it’s not in any way appropriate for two people who are about to join together forever. Try again!
that is all I’m taking with me.
So, goodbye. Please, don’t cry.
We both know I’m not what you, you need.
“Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden
While the message in this song is more en pointe with the theme of a wedding, this song is downright cheesy and even a little dramatic. Sure, you want to spend the rest of your life with your spouse—that’s why you’re marrying them, right? But you can’t lay on a mountain forever with them. I mean, if you were still laying on that mountain, you wouldn’t be able to celebrate with your friends and family!
I want to stand with you on a mountain
I want to bathe with you in the sea
I want to lay like this forever
Until the sky falls down on me
“Crash into Me” by Dave Matthews Band
At first, this song seems sweet and romantic—it’s actually nice all the way through the second verse. But upon careful inspection of the ending, it takes a creepy and almost dark turn. Turns out, the lead singer is watching the girl through a window. It might be a classic, but do you really want to play a song about a Peeping Tom at your wedding?
Oh I watch you there
through the window
And I stare at you
You wear nothing but you
wear it so well
tied up and twisted
the way I’d like to be
“Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle
The song mentions a daughter on her wedding day, so I suppose it’s appropriate for a wedding—but only for a father-daughter dance. Read that last sentence twice if you have to. Because it’s a sappy song, it might squeeze some tears out from your guests, so please don’t play it when you want your guests to be happy and cheering and dancing. If you must play it, keep it to the father-daughter dance.
Butterfly kisses, with her mama there
Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair
“Walk me down the aisle daddy, it’s just
“Does my wedding gown look pretty Daddy?”
“Daddy don’t cry”
“Lips of an Angel” by Hinder
Please reconsider your wedding if this song in any way reminds you of your current relationship. This song is clearly about cheating! A song about a complicated love triangle is not wedding-appropriate material. No one attending your wedding will want to slow dance to this song, so just leave it off the playlist.
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
“Gold Digger” by Kanye West
I really feel like this shouldn’t need to be mentioned. This popular hit may be catchy, but it’s not what you want to kick off married life with, thematically speaking at least—unless you’re okay with only being married for your money. If that’s the case, play away!
She take my money when I’m in need
Yea she’s a trifling friend indeed
Oh she’s a gold digger way over town
That digs on me
“Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler
While you may be tempted to play this slow dance hit for your wedding—after all, the lyrics in the chorus are very supportive, and supportive is good on your wedding day—reconsider after I tell you that this hit song has continuously been a top-played song at funerals. There are plenty of other supportive, slow dance songs to pick for your wedding playlist that aren’t associated with death.
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way.
You always walked a step behind.
So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.
“I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men
Chances are, this song is an accurate description of your wedding night—but that doesn’t mean you need to subject your guests to the musical visual. Let’s keep your guests comfortable, and leave this song for the bedroom and not the ballroom.
I’ll make love to you
Like you want me to
And I’ll hold you tight
Baby all through the night
I’ll make love to you
When you want me to
And I will not let go
‘Till you tell me to
“This I Promise You” by *NSYNC
This is another song where the chorus is nice, but the verses don’t offer the same kind of warm fuzzies that you want on your special day. With mentions of secrets and lies, neither you nor your guests should be slow dancing to this song. Once again, there are so many better, more uplifting options you can choose from.
When the visions around you
Bring tears to your eyes
And all that surrounds you
Are secrets and lies
I’ll be your strength
I’ll give you hope
Keeping your faith when it’s gone
The one you should call
Was standing there all along
“The One I Love” by R.E.M.
Right from the second line of this song, it’s clear this isn’t a wedding winner. The entire song is dedicated to the one who got left behind—definitely not something you’re planning to be on your wedding day! Skip this song when you’re putting together your playlist.
This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love
This isn’t an exhaustive list, of course—it could keep going and going. We chose the first few to get it started, but we want to know what ones are on your “Do Not Play” wedding list. What awful songs have you heard at a wedding? Maybe they were about breakups or lost love, or just downright cheesy. Comment below and let’s keep this list going!