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.