Carrie Brownstein writes a music blog for NPR (“Monitor Mix”) where she mused on wedding songs. I've paraphrased her conclusions below.
1.) People will dance to a song they didn't know, as long as it’s instantly catchy and followed by a universally known and loved song.
2.) A single genre is too esoteric at a wedding.
3.) No one at a wedding wants to be angry or dance to tales of heartbreak and infidelity.
(I would add to this list that with very few exceptions, no wedding playlists should contain songs that are more than five minutes long.)
Anyway, Carrie concluded her entry by asking “What songs should never be played at weddings?” Reader comments did the heavy lifting on Brownstein's posting and here:
—The theme from Star Wars/played as the bride and groom left the church
—“You Are The Woman That I've Always Dreamed Of”/Firefall (but it’s so bad that it’s great, yes?)
—“Yesterday” or “Eleanor Rigby”/the Beatles
—“White Wedding”/Billy Idol (you saw that coming, right?)
—“It’s Business Time”/Flight of the Conchords
—“Send In The Clowns”/Judy Collins
—“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”/Righteous Brothers
—“These Boots Are Made for Walkin’”/Nancy Sinatra
—“Lyin’ Eyes”/The Eagles
—“The Way We Were”/Barbara Streisand
—“I’m not in Love”/10cc
—“Gold Digger”/Kanye West
—Novelty songs like “The Chicken Dance” (is that its real name?) and “Makin' Whoopee”
I've never heard Paul Simon's “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” at a reception before, but that'd be a most inauspicious choice for the couple's first dance. Oh, and for some reason, “Free Bird” (the live version, natch) is a must-play at all King wedding receptions. As the guitars ratchet up, this transforms the dance floor into a well-attired mosh pit. (I’m not kidding!)