Disclaimer: this is just something I made for my own amusement. Exactly none of these songs are going to get played at my sister’s wedding (at least, not because of me in any form). There’s enough potential for trainwreckage there without my meddling, and I intend to be an absolute ANGEL for the occasion. Making this playlist and posting it NOW is… part of how I intend to do that.
My family has a somewhat interesting history with questionable music choices at formal events. Which is to say that when my paternal grandfather died the summer I graduated high school, my dad was put in charge of the slideshow and finding appropriate music to synch with it and I decided to “help”. While we did in fact manage to pick out a few nice classical pieces and people complimented us on how well-done it was, we also ended up with a playlist to the tune of “it’d be funny / ironically appropriate BUT ON THE OTHER HAND grandma would kill us”. I haven’t opened spotify in years, but I suspect the highlights are still saved there, and I still can’t hear Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” without cackling. (Considering what the sermon ended up being about, that one actually would’ve been appropriate, but… still wouldn’t have flown.)
Fast-forward to my sister getting engaged six months ago. The moment I saw the ring on her finger, my brain went into a destructive sort of planning mode. See, my sister’s preferred playlist of love songs is mostly Michael Bublé and Ed Sheeran, and I suspect the actual wedding / reception playlist will be in that vein. We’ll find out in a week. As the quirky asshole of an older sister that I am, however, and running off the entertainment that was my eclectic Christmas playlist // why-do-they-play-this-so-much-at-my-work Christmas playlist funfest, I decided that two “alternative” playlists were in order. This one, posted first, is the official Littlest Lioness list of songs that probably shouldn’t be played at your wedding reception. (The other one, which will probably not get posted until after we’ve recovered from the destination wedding, will be actually cute love songs that most people wouldn’t think of.) Anywho…
But before we begin, a little more origin story – as soon as my sister got a promise ring (May-ish of last year), I started reading askreddit wedding disaster threads. (Frankly, I have done some things by accident that are worse than the average content of those threads, but that’s another post.) One of the recurring sub-themes in that genre is the “worst possible wedding song” thread. Unfortunately, a lot of the material people come up with for that is… obvious. So when the above opportunity to be ridiculously petty came up, I decided that MY bad-idea playlist was gonna be a little more subtle. Stuff that someone somewhere out there probably IS dumb enough to play on the most expensive day of their life. And I enlisted my friend Kelsey to help, and this playlist wouldn’t have happened without her.
So, without further adieu…
“Benny And The Jets”, Elton John
This one gets a spot here because of its use in the iconic romcom 27 Dresses. If you haven’t seen that movie… I’m seriously questioning your life choices, and you should change that, but… there is a scene, and I am not going to spoil it for anybody (yes I’m worried about spoilers for a movie that came out ten-ish years ago), and it is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. But sufficient to say, if you HAVE seen it… yeah.
“Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time”, Panic at the Disco // “One Of The Drunks”, Panic at the Disco
A two-for-one special. Brendon Urie seems to have devoted a significant portion of his career to songs like this, and while there’s obviously another choice that’s common on wtf-wedding-song threads, I decided to go a little less obvious. “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” is a good anthem for a bachelor party (and may well have been written as such, idk), but not so much once things have been done that require a lawyer to undo. And I was going to leave it at that, but then the new album came out yesterday and… “One Of The Drunks” is equally bad, for just slightly different reasons that the title alone expresses.
“What Does The Fox Say”, Ylvis
Not outright inappropriate so much as just… no. Nobody actually hates themself THAT MUCH. And now it’s going to be stuck in my head until my sister’s wedding. Oh the sacrifices I make for my writing…
“Don’t Stop Me Now”, Queen
Another situation where there were options but I’m going with the less obvious one. (I mean, I may have offered the groomsmen money to learn some kind of dance to “Another One Bites The Dust”, but apparently I didn’t offer enough.) “Don’t Stop Me Now” belongs to a category of Queen songs that I’ve heard described as “I’m Freddie Mercury and you’re NOT”, and is all the more beautiful for it, but… still probably not a song one wants associated with commitment. Just sayin’.
“Marry You”, Bruno Mars
This one, unfortunately, IS something a lot of people play at their weddings. Sure, it sounds cute, but it’s a song about impulsively // drunkenly getting married. Probably in Vegas. And yet it’s dancey enough that if you’re not listening hard to the lyrics – and you won’t be – you don’t even notice. (Out of all the songs on this list, this is the one I could actually see my sister doing…)
“Miles and Miles”, Matthew Mayfield
I wanted to keep this playlist to popular artists and songs most people are at least aware of, because if I were to get into more obscure stuff then this would go on forever, but… this song. Yes, it’s one of the most heartbreakingly pretty things I’ve ever heard, but the second verse in particular confirms that it’s also a very bitchy “I feel sorry for the next guy” rant. But it’s PRETTY, and also makes me want to cry. So, the perfect song, just… not for a white-dress occasion. Above link is the acoustic version because that makes all the details better / worse depending on your preference.
“Goodnight and Go”, Imogen Heap
Cute? Yeah. Creepy if you pay attention? Absolutely. No more words are needed.
“Jar of Hearts”, Christina Perri
Another entry in the “someone’s actually that dumb” category, and inappropriate for a WILD list of reasons. Christina Perri is equally well-known for her song “A Thousand Years” aka that song half the people you know walked down the aisle to (seriously, I have a friend who’s a cellist and plays weddings and once complained about having had to learn six different arrangements of that one the same summer), but this one… not so cute. At all. You know better.
“Goodbye Earl”, Dixie Chicks
I should not need to explain this, but… for those unfamiliar, this is a song about a pair of friends murdering an abusive husband. It is also one of the handful of country songs I actually LIKE, but that is beside the point. Potentially hilarious if done intentionally, but you need to know your audience.
“Ultraviolence”, Lana Del Rey
When I told her I was working on this project, my friend Kelsey’s comment was “there are so many Lana songs you could do”. And there are, and really anything by that lady would be fitting here, but “Ultraviolence” seems like a good composite (plus the music video is wedding-related because Lana does not seem to know the word “subtle”). And, again, it’s pretty enough that someone’s probably done it anyways.
“Marvin Gaye”, Charlie Puth
This one gets a spot not because it’s outright inappropriate so much as… your mileage will depend STRONGLY on the people getting married and their views on sexuality. Sufficient to say, this is not the right song choice if you have your first kiss at the altar. Or probably even if you’re inclined to lie about having done anything further than make out. Whereas if you are, shall we say NOT in that bracket, it might be a cute slow-dance song. Idk.
“Hurt”, Johnny Cash
Should be so obvious, for so many reasons…
Another should-be-obvious one, but made funnier in my specific context due to an incident involving my mother and some longtime family friends that occurred the summer this song was popular. I still can’t listen to it with a straight face, and the fact that it’s also on the top of everyone’s do-not-play list is just icing on the cake.
“Never Ever Getting Rid Of Me”, Sara Bareilles
Disclaimer – one of my friends actually did this song at her wedding for the cake-cutting and it was SUPER CUTE. But it worked because it was very self-aware and in-character for both my friend and her new husband. So, this one CAN be appropriate, you just need to be a very specific type of person and if you have to question it then you’re definitely not.
“Wildest Dreams”, Taylor Swift
And I’m ending this on a high note with another artist who’s contributed so much to the inappropriate-wedding-song canon. Maybe not the most OBVIOUS TSwift song, but the one most likely to cause a double-take. “I can see the end as it begins”…