8 Popular Wedding Songs That Really Shouldn’t Be Played At Weddings


I’ve reached the age when everyone around me is getting married, making me a seasoned wedding attendee. But even before I attend weddings as a guest, I’ve been singing and emcee-ing at several weddings.

While I wouldn’t call it a peeve, I’d often sneak a chuckle at poorly-selected songs (if I were an attendee) or advise my client to choose another song if they have picked, what I call, a boo-boo song.

Many couples pick boo-boo songs because they thought that: If it sounds romantic, it must be romantic. I know not all guests pay attention to music, but I think lyrics count a lot – if not more than melody – when it comes to the wedding song list. After all, the repertoire is supposed to form part of your wedding memories. I know they do for me.

So here’s the list of songs that couples love to choose for their weddings but are anything but wedding-appropriate:

Marry You by Bruno Mars


Why not: This is a song about an impulsive marriage and one that you don’t care whether last or not.

If you don’t believe me, here are the lyrics: Cause it’s a beautiful night/ We’re looking for something dumb to do/ Hey baby I think I wanna marry you and If we wake up and you wanna break up that’s cool/ No, I won’t blame you/ It was fun girl

The alternative I recommend: Marry Me by Jason Derulo. I used this song for my second march-in at the wedding banquet. The lyrics begin with: 105 is the number that comes to my head/ When I think of all the years I want to be with you/ Wake up every morning with you in my bed/ That’s precisely what I plan to do (I’d rather this than a song about how it’s cool if we want to break up the next day.)

Psst, you can read about my church wedding here.

Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill


Why not: This song was written for a promiscuous girl who doesn’t believe in monogamy, by a guy who’s hoping she would take him and their relationship more seriously. Oh, and to top that off, the girl keeps comparing the singer to the other richer and more worldly men she’s been going out with.

If you don’t believe me, here are the lyrics: You ask me if I love you/ And I choke on my reply/ I’d rather hurt you honestly/ Than mislead you with a lie/ And who am I to judge you/ On what you say or do?/ I’m only just beginning to see the real you and At times I understand you/ And I know how hard you’ve tried/ I’ve watched while love commands you/ And I’ve watched love pass you by 

The alternative I recommend: Now and Forever by Richard Marx. This is a song that sounds as intense as Sometimes When We Touch, but the intensity comes from the promise from a man who appreciates all that his significant half has done for him. Look at its lyrics: Whenever I’m weary from the battles that rage in my head/ You make sense of madness when my sanity hangs by a thread/ I lose my way but still you seem to understand/ Now and forever I will be your man.

Related: See all my wedding articles here.

Love Story by Taylor Swift

Why not: It’s about a relationship that was objected by the girl’s parents at first, and the couple contemplated elope.

If you don’t believe me, here are the lyrics: That you were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles/ And my daddy said stay away from Juliet/ And I was crying on the staircase/ Begging you please don’t go, and I said/ Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone/ I’ll be waiting all there’s left to do is run

While there’s a happy ending to the love story (pun!), evident from these lyrics: Marry me Juliet, you’ll never have to be alone/ I love you and that’s all I really know/ I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress/ It’s a love story baby just say… yes but it’s just really weird to choose a song that talks about parental objection, even if there was really initial objection from the family. The wedding is not a day you want to “bring it up”. Look, if I didn’t choose this song for my wedding even though my name is Juliet, you probably shouldn’t too.

Psst, most of Taylor Swift’s songs aren’t suitable for weddings, with the exception of maybe, Our Song.

The alternative I recommend: Love Story by Andy Williams. I recommend this song as an alternative because it has the same title as Taylor Swift’s. I’ve never heard it at any wedding, probably because it sounds a little too “old school”. But the lyrics are actually really wedding-appropriate, with a dramatic melody: With her first hello/ She gave a meaning to this empty world of mine/ There’d never be another love, another time/ She came into my life and made the living fine/ She fills my heart. And you know what else is interesting? Its singer, Andy Williams, also sang A Time For Us, the theme song for 1968’s Romeo and Juliet.

Note: Reader, Apple, commented that Love Story by Andy Williams was the theme song for a movie in which the lead actress died from a terminal illness. You may want to reconsider it based on this association, although I still think based simply on the lyrics, it’s okay.

First Love by Utada Hikaru

Why not: It’s about how you still miss your first love and he holds a special heart in your heart that is hard to replace.

If you don’t believe me, here are the lyrics: You are always gonna be my love/ いつか誰かとまた恋に落ちても (translation: You are always gonna be my love, even if I fall in love with somebody else next time) and 明日の今頃には/ わたしはきっと泣いてる/あなたを思ってるんだろう (This time tomorrow, I will surely be crying and probably thinking of you)

The alternative I recommend: Say Yes by Chage & Aska. It is one of the songs I really wanted to use for my wedding because if you know Japanese, the lyrics are reaaaally sweet, but too bad, we can’t find it on iTunes so I passed on it. If you are looking for a good Japanese song, this is it! Look at this poetry: 余計な物など 無いよね/ すべてが君と僕との 愛の構えさ (Translation: There’s no need for anything else, your love with me is poised for completeness) and 何度も言うよ 残さず言うよ 君があふれてる (Translation: I will say it no matter how many times, I will say it without reservations, (my heart) is filled with you.)

Every Breath You Take by Police

Why not: This song is written by Sting after his divorce, and it’s about an obsessive stalker (aka his wife).

If you don’t believe me, here are the lyrics: Every breath you take and every move you make/ Every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you/ Every single day and every word you say/ Every game you play, every night you stay, I’ll be watching you

The alternative I recommend: Stand By Me by Ben E. King. This also has great accompaniment and rhythm most people will sway to. But it’s about – what the title says – standing by your loved one even through the toughest time. The lyrics: When the night has come/ And the land is dark/ And the moon is the only light we’ll see/ No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid/ Just as long as you stand, stand by me

My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

Why not: Wouldn’t you have guessed – since it’s the theme song for Titanic – that it’s about a woman missing her dead lover?

If you don’t believe me, here are the lyrics: Near, far, wherever you are/ I believe that the heart does go on and Love was when I loved you/ One true time I hold to/ In my life we’ll always go on

The alternative I recommend: Because You Love Me by Celine Dion. Celine Dion’s voice is definitely beautiful for a wedding. This is a much, much better song – I mean, it’s about a supportive partner who’s (probably) alive: For every dream you made come true/ For all the love I found in you/ I’ll be forever thankful, baby/ You’re the one who held me up/ Never let me fall/ You’re the one who saw me through/ Through it all

Something Stupid by Michael Buble and Reese Witherspoon

Why not: I’m not going to explain this. I’d let my friend, Michael Buble do it. Watch the video below:

I see he’s a little frustrated, just like me.

If you don’t believe me him, here are the lyrics: I know I stand in line, until you think you have the time/ To spend an evening with me/ And if we go someplace to dance, I know that theres a chance/ You wont be leaving with me/ And afterwards we drop into a quiet little place/ And have a drink or two/ And then I go and spoil it all, by saying something stupid/ Like I love you

The alternative I recommend: There are many songs by Michael Buble that are soooo wedding-appropriate. My favourite is Everything and I made sure it was in our wedding song repertoire. It’s upbeat and has great lyrics: And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times/ It’s you, it’s you, you make me sing/ You’re every line, you’re every word, you’re everything and And I can’t believe, uh that I’m your man/ And I get to kiss you baby just because I can/ Whatever comes our way, ah we’ll see it through/ And you know that’s what our love can do.

My Destiny by LYn (My love from the star OST)

Why not: This song is about pining for someone who can’t be with you.

If you don’t believe me, here are the lyrics: 나 다시 허락한다면/ 그댈 다시 볼 수 있다면/ 내 지난 기억 속에서/ 그 아픔 속에서/ 그댈 불러 (Translation: If I’m allowed to see you once again, despite the painful memories, I’ll call you)

I don’t understand Korean, but could tell from this song’s melody that it’s more sad than it is romantic. I know it’s an it song at weddings especially for brides who watched and loved the popular Korean show (My love from the star) so I did a quick search on its lyrics’ meaning. Knew something was wrong.

The alternative I recommend: None. Seriously, if you don’t understand the lyrics, why choose the song?

By the way I run a beauty e-mag, Daily Vanity, where I also share wedding makeup tips.


66 thoughts on “8 Popular Wedding Songs That Really Shouldn’t Be Played At Weddings

      1. Yes! Definitely in the list! I’m going to compile a list of 100 good wedding songs you can pick – ranging from English to Chinese music. Stay tuned for that!

  1. Agreed on all of these! Can I add ‘No Me Ames’ by Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez to this list? It’s a song about a couple arguing about whether to break up or not. A lot of people think that just because it’s in Spanish, it’s got to be romantic.

    I used ‘That’s Amore’ by Dean Martin for mine 🙂

    1. Good point about No Me Ames. I’ve been receiving quite a number of add-ons to the list, I may consider doing up another list 😀

      I’m not familiar with That’s Amore but just listened to on YouTube. So old Hollywood charming! I like his La Vie en Rose too.

  2. I’ve heard “Rude by Magic!” at a few weddings :p
    not the most appropriate imho (unless it’s really what happened)

  3. Just thought I’d share…
    Where Do I Begin (Love Story) by Andy Williams was originally introduced as the theme song for the 1970 movie Love Story, where the leading lady ends up dying of a terminal illness. 😦 I’m guessing that might be why hardly anyone would request for this to be played at their wedding.

  4. Hello! Many thanks for your post! Some excellent recommendations! Although I’m not in a relationship at the moment nor am I likely to in the foreseeable future (sob! 😀 ), I’ve been ‘compiling’ a list of ideal songs for my wedding, should that day ever come! Here are a few! 😉

    ~ “Built To Last” by Melee
    An infectiously catchy, upbeat tune.

    ~ “At Last” (originally by the Glen Miller Orchestra)
    A classic, covered by many including Beyonce, Etta James’ remains the definitive version.

    ~ “The Way You Look Tonight” (originally by Fred Astaire)
    Covered by so many singers including Michael Buble and Maroon 5, the best version is probably Frank Sinatra’s.

    ~ “When I Fall In Love” (originally by Jeri Southern)
    Another classic covered by so many singers from Doris Day to Celine Dion, one of the purest versions is by Nat King Cole.

    Thanks for letting me share!

  5. Thanks for the article. Though I never had any intention to include Bruno Mars’ Marry You at my wedding, the thought that I have heard the song so many times at weddings just tickles me.
    That said, felt that you could’ve done a little research and suggest and alternative Korean song just to round your article up 🙂 Subtitles are available for most Korean songs these days, so there is no fear of using a song you don’t understand 🙂 May I suggest 1 song Korean enthusiasts can use without worry at their wedding…
    Marry You by Super Junior
    Korean version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtIqPJWN3Xo
    Mandarin version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmG7Icrs81k
    Cheesy, but hey… does the job 😀

    1. I’m totally unfamiliar with Korean songs, so I thought I wouldn’t be able to make a good recommendation. Plus, I had wanted to drive home the point about avoiding a song in a foreign language you don’t understand. Another reader suggested this song too! I shall suggest it to future clients who pick inappropriate Korean songs 🙂

  6. Kristen, you forgot to include Parachute’s Forever and Always.

    So many couples have had this song played, and even requested their videographers to use it as their song of choice in the video, and I don’t even have to go on explaining it’s a bad choice.

  7. there’s also this Korean song by lee seung chul – my love. I search the lyrics and it was actually a break up song. But the mtv is a proposal. Total contradiction

  8. Love the article! I have heard so many inappropriate songs at weddings, and it can be pretty entertaining. My favorite so far was watching a bride and her father dance to Get Low by Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz. Awkward and hilarious!

  9. Agree with your article.. Indeed, some song lyrics are just plain inappropriate for weddings… This is the list of songs we used at our wedding in chronological order:

    1) Childhood montage video: Love Through The Years (Kenny Rogers), Lucky (Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat)
    2) Morning church solemnization ceremony march-in: Romantic Amazing Grace (Miranda Wong)
    3) Church worship: Great Is Thy Faithfulness (hymn), Because Of Your Love (Paul Baloche), Amazing Grace (hymn)
    3) Signing of ROM certificate: The Marriage Prayer (John+Josie Waller)
    4) Morning church solemnization ceremony march-out: Everything (Michael Buble)
    5) Banquet dinner first march-in + Cake-cutting: Beautiful In White (Shane Filan, credited as Shayne Ward)
    6) First dish presentation: Happy (Pharrell Williams)
    7) Banquet dinner second march-in: A Quoi Ca Sert L’amour (Edith Piaf & Theo Sarapo) [Catchy French classic that first questions what good can love bring and all the possible sorrows and sufferings that come with it but the song ends on a super positive note that life is nothing if you have never experienced love and all its joys and the singer remarks that love is worth it with her partner for he is her first and he shall be her last and that she will always love him]
    8) Champagne pouring and first toasting to each other as a couple: Marry Me (Train) [Not “Marry You” by Bruno Mars – don’t agree with the lyrics for that one although it can be a catchy song]

    Just some ideas for those who are still planning their repertoire… 😉

  10. Angels Brought Me Here by Guy sebastian
    A Whole New World
    Endless Love by Lionel richie
    By My Side by David Choi
    A Thousand Years
    Trully by lionel richie
    Since i found you by christian bautista
    Greatest Love Of All by whitney houston

  11. Surprised no one has mentioned From This Moment by Shania Twain! I thought it’d be the perfect wedding song the moment I heard it! 😀

  12. Do you think A Thousand Years is appropriate? I love the tune and the story of the song but just 1 part of the lyrics make me unsure ‘ I have died everyday waiting for you….’

    1. I love the music too! Perri was commissioned to write the song for Twilight, and was inspired after watching the movie, which explains why it’s a thousand years (inhumane amount of time, but logical when you’re a vampire) and why it’s about “dying”. I don’t think it’s a clear no-no, although I’d say stay away from it if you prefer to be on the safe side.

  13. Taylor Swift’s songs are all inappropriate, even Our Song. The lyrics suggests that she was in a relationship with someone her parents disapproved of and defied them to satisfy herself. If I had to compile a wedding song list, I’d choose Back at One by Brian McKnight since it’s talking about how much he loves the girl and how he’ll treat her for the rest of their lives together, When You say nothing at all by Ronan Keating, Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton, A Whole New World, More than Words by Extreme, Amaranthine by Amaranthe, note that this is a metal band so the song is quite heavy but still halfway appropriate.

    1. Not exactly true regarding Our Song. The song was written when Taylor Swift was a freshman in high school. And like a lot of us when we were teenagers, we don’t really want to let our parents know we’re dating. It’s not disapproval like “you cannot marry him because he’s a drug addict!”. I find the sneaking around when you were teenage lovers (if you were) kinda sweet.

      1. Well, if you are marrying your highschool sweetheart then yeah, it’s a good song. But most of the time, you’re not. I have a couple more songs to add, all lovely songs that I haven’t heard in years. Nothing’s gonna change my love for you by george benson and I swear by all 4 one.

  14. Another lovely Korean song you could suggest is Chajatta by JYJ, about a guy who’s finally found his other half, and thanks her for coming into his life.

  15. I never get it when people use Thousand Years by Christina Perri either! It’s not a happy wedding song!
    I am surprise people use Utada Hikaru’s First Love as a wedding song! I’m more familiar with Japanese Songs so that’s a shocker.
    For Japanese wedding songs, a popular one would be “Can You Celebrate” by Namie Amuro. It’s a bit old fashion but she recently release a wedding mix version.

    A happier one would be “Love So Sweet” by Arashi. It’s really cute, and quite catchy to me. Especially the line “こんな好きな人に 出逢う季節二度とない (There will never be a season again where I’ll meet someone I love this much)”

    But my personal favorite (which I would like to use for my wedding) is One Love by Arashi. Cause there is this line “こんな好きな人に 出逢う季節二度とない (Even in a hundred years I vow my love You are everything to me) that just gets to me!

    I would also really like (and hope to dance to) “You and Me” by Lifehouse. I seriously think that’s a good wedding song but have not been to any wedding that uses it yet!

  16. Hi Kristen! For those who would like to have Korean songs on their wedding songs’ playlist, you can check out To My Bride by Yurisangja or Will You Marry Me by Lee Seung Gi. Just my two cents. 🙂

  17. Just wondering if “Loving you” by minnie riperton is appropriate? I love the song but somehow it sounds sad.

  18. Totally agree with your list. How about “All of me” ? I heart it a lot in wedding nowadays but I always think it is a totally sad song rather than romantic

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