Brides are Telling Wedding DJs Not to Play These Songs

At weddings, some people absolutely despise hearing the Village People.  But that’s just one of a long list of songs getting nixed.

Ah, it’s that time of the year again.  Love fills the air.  Flowers bloom in fields.  Birds chirp happily as they fly in the cloudless skies.  And couples decide to join their lives together in holy matrimony.

With the wedding season well underway, FiveThirtyEights’ Walt Hickey decided to put together an interesting list.  No, it’s not about where couples prefer to go on their honeymoon.  Nor is this the list of the most requested wedding songs.  Instead, Hickey posted the list of the top songs most couples prohibit on the happiest day of their lives.

For this list, Hickey surveyed 182 wedding playlists submitted between May 31st and June 10th.  He collected the testimonies of over two dozen professional wedding DJs on nearly 200 weddings.

At a wedding, please don’t play any disco or dance tracks.

Analyzing the most-banned songs playlist, you’ll find that married couples oftentimes hate upbeat dance tracks.  They also tend to put the kibosh on dances and disco songs.  But what songs are getting nixed?

The ‘Chicken Dance’ took the top spot this year, with couples banning the song at 23.1% of weddings.  DJ Casper’s ‘Cha-Cha Slide’ took second place with a 22.5% share.  Los Del Rio’s Latin hit ‘Macarena’ landed at third.  The overly repetitive ‘Cupid Shuffle’ took the fourth spot.  Couples also banned the classic 70s disco song ‘YMCA’ from their weddings.

When getting married, please don’t play post-breakup tracks and those about one night stands.

Another interesting thing to note is that most couples despise hearing post-breakup songs at their weddings.  Among the top 48 most-banned songs, you’ll find Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ and Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling.’  You’ll also find Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ at number 43 on the banned list and Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ at number 45.

Surprisingly enough, couples also told DJs to ban Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy.’

Professional wedding DJs also reported that couples banned songs that discussed one-night stands.  Justin Timberlake’s ‘SexyBack’ ranked at number 44, and AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ took last place at number 48.

You can find the complete list below, organized by rank, song title, most common artist, and percentage of weddings.

  1. Chicken Dance – [No Artist Listed] – 23.1%
  2. Cha-Cha Slide – DJ Casper – 22.5%
  3. Macarena – Los Del Rio – 17.6%
  4. Cupid Shuffle – Cupid – 16.5%
  5. YMCA – Village People – 15.4%
  6. Electric Boogie (Electric Slide) – Marcia Griffiths – 12.6%
  7. Hokey Pokey – [No Artist Listed] – 10.4%
  8. Wobble – V.I.C. – 7.1%
  9. Happy – Pharrell Williams – 5.5%
  10. Shout – Isley Brothers – 5.5%
  11. Love Shack – The B-52’s – 49.5%
  12. We Are Family – Sister Sledge – 4.4%
  13. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke – 3.8%
  14. Celebration – Kool & The Gang – 3.8%
  15. Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex – 3.8%
  16. Dancing Queen – ABBA – 3.8%
  17. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey – 3.8%
  18. Single Ladies – Beyonce – 3.8%
  19. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond – 3.8%
  20. Turn Down for What – DJ Snake and Lil Jon – 3.8%
  21. Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) – Silento – 3.8%
  22. Hot In Here – Nelly – 2.7%
  23. Mony Mony – Billy Idol – 2.7%
  24. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor – 2.2%
  25. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot – 2.2%
  26. Booti Call – Blackstreet – 2.2%
  27. Gangnam Style – Psy – 2.2%
  28. Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) – Big & Rich – 2.2%
  29. Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees – 2.2%
  30. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd – 2.2%
  31. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – 2.2%
  32. Wagon Wheel – Nathan Carter – 2.2%
  33. What Do You Mean? – Justin Bieber – 2.2%
  34. All of Me – John Legend – 1.6%
  35. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen – 1.6%
  36. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison – 1.6%
  37. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen – 1.6%
  38. Footloose – Kenny Loggins – 1.6%
  39. Get Low – Lil Jon – 1.6%
  40. Hey Ya! – Outkast – 1.6%
  41. Hotline Bling – Drake – 1.6%
  42. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor – 1.6%
  43. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion – 1.6%
  44. SexyBack – Justin Timberlake – 1.6%
  45. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift – 1.6%
  46. Sugar – Maroon 5 – 1.6%
  47. Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler – 1.6%
  48. You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC – 1.6%


Image by Impact Sounds (CC by 2.0)

12 Responses

  1. Peter

    Ha! Four of the top 20 were on my wedding Do Not Play list in 1996.

    • Jeff

      As a DJ, a lot of those on the list are still being requested by the bride and her guest. Some of those songs and I do not play unless requested because they are so overused.

  2. 18 years in the DJ game

    With the exception of the first 7 or 8 I’d have to say this is the biggest load of rubbish I’ve ever read, first of all 182 wedding lists is hardly a broad demographic to be drawing from. If you think people don’t want to hear “Brown Eyed Girl” at a wedding then I think you should be interviewing DJs that actually know what they are talking about, and this Walt Hickey character should consider a career change because he is obviously completely out of touch.

    • Pendrew

      I was hoping some Professional DJ’s would respond. Most people want to get people up on their feet and many of these songs are a confidence boost to reluctant dancers. Thank you!

  3. Sean

    The Macarena is on this list? Who has even heard that song since the year 1996? Or is that when this article was written?

  4. Mick

    Fight the good fight is always a good one and my DJ mate always used to play Bat out of Hell when the Mother in Law came out of the Ladies …

  5. Ric

    I’ve been a DJ for 20 years professionally. I do not usually do weddings, as most of my career has been in the studio, on tour, and in clubs. However, I get asked by family and friends to DJ weddings quite often. At least half of these songs have been expressly REQUESTED at every wedding I’ve DJ’d. This list was obviously compiled from brides who want their guests to have zero fun at their reception. Yes, most of them are overplayed, but that is because people have fun and actually dance when they are played, so they get played more often. This article is laughable.

  6. Steve Hanson

    Clickbait and complete crap. 35 years in this business, and if I keep doing the opposite of what this author recommends, I’ll be juuuuuust fine, thankyouverymuch.

  7. DJ albert

    As a DJ for 38 years, I have to disagree with the author of this article, Mr. Sanchez.. true, that a lot if these songs are overplayed…but people are funny when it comes to dancing.. unless they’re so drunk , they don’t care what music they’re dancing to, most people get off the floor, with unfamiliar music… They feel like they can dance to the ” familiar” songs that pack the dance floor. My experience has been that most of these songs on his list actually do get people to dance. The author can express his opinion, but he does not have to “perform” and get the crowd in the mood to dance and pack the dance floor. This is the DJ’s job… most of these songs ” pack” the dance floor.. who cares if they’re overdone, as long as people are having fun, is the bottom line.

  8. Tony

    Good Afternoon!

    I have recently attended a wedding and after 4 painful weeks of wedding gift shopping, I have decided to put together a guide to buying wedding gifts to save others the agony!

    I would like to contribute my article to your blog as I am sure that most of your readers would not only enjoy it reading but find it quite useful as everyone is bound to attend a wedding at some point!

    I have saved the article inside my google drive:

    I am very sorry but I did not have the time to find many images so I would be grateful if you could add some of your own. I did get permission from a UK lingerie company to use some of their banners. Those are included in my Google drive as well.

    It would be fab if you could ping me the url of the published post as I would like to show off a little in front of my Facebook friends!