In my over twenty years of experience as a DJ, and having been the DJ for countless wedding receptions in that time, I’ve encountered some very poor choices for a wedding first dance song. Keep in mind, these are songs I’ve actually encountered, meaning that a bride and groom planning a wedding who meet with myself or another DJ in the company have actually requested these as their wedding song. Now I’ve seen lists like this before, particularly on wedding websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire, but some of the tunes they list in their articles are somewhat laughable, and pretty obvious, like “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meatloaf or “Shot Through The Heart” by Bon Jovi (duh, it isn’t even a slow song). First, brides aren’t idiots. It’s pretty clear that those, and songs like “Love Stinks’ and “Tainted Love” are bad choices, and not realistic. No offense to the folks writing these articles, it’s just that they’re a bit fluffy and it’s obvious they’re writing about weddings without actually doing real ones.
As a real DJ, whose spent a quarter century in the trenches actually helping brides and grooms to plan weddings, I’ve come across some tunes that could have easily slipped by a DJ with less experience or a bride and groom who may not have actually taken the time to really listen to (or look up) the lyrics. Songs that ‘seem’ romantic or appropriate because they may simply be slow and sentimental, but pack a negative message within the words. The job of a DJ is not just to ‘play’ music, but to ‘know’ music, and, if one of these songs were suggested (and they were), we recommend the client listen more closely to the lyrics. Unsurprisingly, most make an alternate choice (In one instance, they chose to keep the song simply because it was playing on the radio the first time they kissed, making it personally significant to them).
So here are a few songs you might want to avoid, but, then again, it’s your wedding, and as your DJ, ultimately we leave the choice to you, so read the list, listen to the songs (on the player below), and you decide.
“Every Breath You Take” by The Police
One of many on this list that the title is deceiving simply because it all comes down to the following verses, “Every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you”. Now keep listening… Yep, it’s the stalker theme song. She broke up with him (making it a break up song as well), and therefore he is swearing to stalk her. Love the song, love The Police, but this has to be the creepiest song on the list, and hence maybe not the best choice for first dance.
“Always” by Bon Jovi
Always what? Always remember you because you left me and now I’m bleeding and I’m feeling sorry for myself so I’ll ALWAYS just sit and stew over you. Yes, it’s a nice sentiment that he will love her always and she’ll be on his mind on his death bed, but the fact remains they are broken up, over, kaput, and another poor choice for the start of a wedding.
“I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton or Whitney Houston
Fooled again! There’s that word ‘always’ again, packed into a title that’s totally deceiving. Unlike Bon Jovi’s “Always” where she left and he’s saying always, here she is leaving so that she doesn’t stand in his way, the memories are bittersweet (not good) and even though “I’m not what you need, I will always love you”. Nope, breakup songs and parting sentiments are not the best material for a future of marital bliss.
“One” by U2
Not even sure what this song is about, but looking at and listening to the lyrics I’m left scratching my head at lines like “You gave me nothing now it’s all I got” make me wonder. The lyrics of “One” kind of go in and out of love and some pretty mean stuff, and unless you are a U2 fan and you know something I don’t, I’d say that this may be another very bad choice. If you are a U2 fan, there is a rare U2 version of “Unchained Melody” that really does the trick, but ‘one’ seems to be just about one, not two.
“Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin” by Journey
Starts out with a sexy slow grinding beat, like something fun and sultry to grind to, the title seems safe enough until he’s home alone at :47 and BANG, “You’re out with someone else” and then spirals into a drama filled song about everyone cheating on everyone else. Stop. Cheating songs are a big red flag, and although the big drums of Journey and the sultry sound of this tune are great for a stripper to dance to, it would likely not be the best choice for a first dance.
“Careless Whisper” by Wham/George Michael
Soft, saxophone, romantic feeling, walking to the dance floor and then Wham-O (no pun intended), he admits he knows she knows and she’s not a fool and that he should have known better than to cheat and waste a chance and how he is never going to dance again the way he danced (past tense) with her again. Second cheating song on our list. Cheating song as a first dance – not a good idea.
“All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” by Heart
Seems fitting if the title were it, because that’s what newlyweds should be feeling right? Sadly, the ladies from Heart are singing about casual sex with a stranger. Add ‘casual sex’ to our list and then illegitimate pregnancy and her telling him in the end that she simply used him as a sperm donor and this one is just wrong in so many ways. Unless your bride used other men to have babies before your wedding, this song may not be right for you.
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
Remember the movie Titanic? The one where an amazing love affair ends in Jack freezing to death in the icy cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean? We’ve covered stalker songs, breakup songs, cheating songs and casual sex songs, so we finish with the ballad sung to the departed love one. This was a popular request for a while, but has thankfully faded away very much like Jack as he sinks into the water… dead. No dead people wedding first dance songs, just a suggestion.
So, there you have it from the DJ. There are hundreds and hundreds of slow and romantic love songs for a wedding first dance, and these eight are not amongst the best possible choices. Click on the player above and have a listen for yourself, and be sure to check out the lyrics to whatever song you do end up choosing for your wedding day.