Love & marriage: wedding song wrongs

I don’t. From abstinence ballads to butterfly kisses to badonkadonks, 20 songs to never play at your wedding.

I don’t. From abstinence ballads to butterfly kisses to badonkadonks, 20 songs to never play at your wedding.

20 songs to not play at your wedding. (Hulton Archives/Getty Images)

Almost everybody has been to a wedding where the music has, frankly, sucked. Especially if you don't have the budget for a live band (who does?), it is hard to strike the right balance of songs that speak to both the intimacy and grandeur of love, that will also get your guests on their feet for the dance party of your dreams.

There's the added worry about whether your DJ will create and capture your vibe correctly. Or, if you're acting as your own DIY DJ making the most important — and longest — mixtape of your life, how will you avoid the classic playlist pitfalls that have plagued countless weddings since the invention of the sound system? 

We can help. From abstinence ballads to butterfly kisses to the Black Eyed Peas, CBC Music has assembled this selection of 20 songs that should be banned from every wedding from this day on.

Scroll down to see what made our list, and let us know in the comments or on social media @CBCMusic what song you never want to hear again at another wedding. 


Song: "Tonight's the Night"
Artist: Rod Stewart

It's just too on the nose. Sorry. And no prizes for waiting until the wedding night, "virgin child." 

Song: "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You"
Artist: Bryan Adams

This song is actually too epic for most weddings. Save it for later, like later on your wedding night. In bed. This is a song people make love to, especially people who can say "make love" without laughing.

It also promises things that went the way of Knights of the Roundtable — "I'd die for you" is among the most oft-repeated guarantees — so unless you're getting hitched at Medieval Times, take a pass. (If you are getting married at Medieval Times though, please invite me?!)

Song: "Butterfly Kisses"
Artist: Bob Carlisle

No. Just no. 

Song: "Mrs. Robinson"
Artist: Simon & Garfunkel

Only acceptable if you also screen the final scene of The Graduate while the whole song plays. Then it's cool. 

Song: "To All the Girls I've Loved Before"
Artist: Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias

There's a time and a place for this kind of tribute. Your wedding is not it. 

Song: "Gold Digger"
Artist: Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx

There are many different "gold digger" references in this song, and honestly, "go ahead, girl, get down, get down" is direct encouragement to show up and get your money. However, both halves of the couple need to be clear about what's what. Maybe a wedding isn't the perfect place to figure out what your arrangement will look like. 

Song: "It Must Have Been Love"
Artist: Roxette

This is not a love song! It's a love lost song. Pretty Woman is 30 years old! We've had enough time to figure this out by now.

Song: "On Bended Knee"
Artist: Boyz II Men

Again, this is not a love song, but a love lost song. The bended knee in the song's title refers not to a proposal knee but a prayer knee and a beg-your-forgiveness knee and a please-take-me-back knee — not the perfect mood music for your big day. Usually.

Song: "If You Wanna Be Happy"
Artist: Jimmy Soul

This song repeatedly warns about the dangers of a "pretty wife" and that if you wanna be happy (yep) for the rest of your life, get an "ugly girl" to marry you. This marriage is a literal nightmare.  

Song: "Like I Love You"
Artist: Justin Timberlake

If Timberlake's thirsty Michael Jackson impression isn't enough of a reason to press pause forever on this track, let the lyrics be their own justification: "Don't fear me baby, it's just destiny." "Just be limber." "You're a good girl." "I used to dream about this when I was a little boy." 

Song: "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon"
Artist: Neil Diamond

No, no, no. No.

Song: "Cruisin'"
Artist: Huey Lewis & Gwyneth Paltrow

They're singing this in the film as father and daughter. Enjoy!

Song: "Fix You"
Artist: Coldplay

People get caught up in the majesty of this song, but the last thing a wedding needs is an epic weeper about emotional and physical labour between two people. Unless this wedding is the aftermath of some wildly difficult hardship and unimaginable struggle, give your guests a break and let them bask in the real emotion of love between you and yours, not manipulation via key change and brittle falsetto. 

Song: "I Gotta Feeling"
Artist: Black Eyed Peas

I gotta feeling we're all dead inside if we have to listen to this false prophet party starter one more time. 

Song: "She Will Be Loved"
Artist: Maroon 5

This tired trope — sensitive man rescuing a damaged woman who doesn't know she deserves more — needs to be retired from the world, not just wedding playlists, but one step at a time, right?

Song: "I'm Yours"
Artist: Jason Mraz

This is basically a happy shrug in song form, and its ubiquity at weddings the world over since it was released in 2008 is kind of baffling. If it absolutely needs to be played at beach weddings, fine, but only after you've exhausted all the Jack Johnson.

Song: "Marry You"
Artist: Bruno Mars

It's a fun song, but it has lived billions of lives since its release in 2010. From an epic choreographed "live lip dub" proposal (sponsored by Honda?) to a flash mob at the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, this song has been done, and it's been done well, and if you really need to play it, keep it for the proposal. Don't let it get near your wedding day.

Song: "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights"
Artist: Meatloaf

The two people in this song hate each other. And not in some misguided hate-disguised-as-passion way, but in a  "praying for the end of time" way. 

Song: "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk"
Artist: Trace Adkins

Honestly, if you're going to do a novelty song objectifying women (and you can definitely just not), stick with the far superior "Baby Got Back." 

Stream CBC Music's Canadian love songs playlist.

Hang out with me on Twitter: @_AndreaWarner.