The Wedding Songs Couples Most Frequently Ban From Their Receptions

Do they also make your "do not play" list?

Updated 07/25/18

Photo by Chi-Chi Ari

Sure, you may know that you definitely want to walk down the aisle to "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele and share your first dance to "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran, but what about the songs you don't want to hear played during your wedding day? Everyone knows of some song that makes them cringe, reminds them of an ex, or that they just plain hate. The very last place you want to hear one of these songs is on the dance floor at your wedding. What are some of the most commonly banned tunes? FiveThirtyEight surveyed over two dozen professional DJs from about 200 weddings to determine the songs that most frequently make couples' "do not play" lists. Here are the results.

What tops the charts of most-hated wedding songs? Couples often ban songs that involve any kind of accompanying choreography. The "Chicken Dance" is the most commonly banned song at wedding receptions with 23.1 percent of couples barring it from their dance floors. The "Cha-Cha Slide" is next on the list with 22.5 percent of couples sliding that tune into their "do not play" category. Similarly, the "Macarena," the "Cupid Shuffle," and the "YMCA" are also often banned from weddings. I said, young man, no line dances!

Surprisingly, some of the songs that you probably rock out to in the car or in the shower are also widely barred from wedding receptions. Pharrell Williams's "Happy," ABBA's "Dancing Queen," Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" aren't found so sweet by brides and grooms-to-be. Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" even found itself onto this banned list. (Sorry, single bridesmaids!)

"[Some songs] are perceived as overplayed, cliché, and perhaps cheesy,” Gregg Hollmann, a New Jersey–based wedding DJ, explained to FiveThirtyEight, also pointing out that these tunes aren't necessarily hated by all. “Many of these popular wedding songs also populate the ‘must play’ list—because they are fun and work on dance floors!”

So if these songs make you move, cue 'em up! (Just make sure to tell your DJ to cross the "Chicken Dance" off his playlist.)

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