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The ‘Do-Not-Play’ List Wedding Guide

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How to keep your guests dancing all night long

I cringed when the DJ played “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge as the last song at my wedding. It felt so cheesy and impersonal! Unfortunately, no one told me a ‘Do-Not-Play’ list was just as important as a ‘Must-Have” playlist. 

To help you avoid your own wedding music mishap, we created the perfect guide for creating your own ‘Do-Not-Play’ list to ensure you and your DJ are on the same page.

Most Common on the ‘Do-Not-Play’ List

We’ve taken our decades of wedding DJ experience and compiled a list of the top contenders for everyone’s wedding song blacklist. While we certainly agree with most, we also want to give you a peek behind the curtain to see why DJs use them in the first place. 

Line Dances

The days of the Chicken Dance and Cotton Eye Joe are over, my friends. It’s time to move on. Cheesy group dances just aren’t what they once were. Think about songs you jam out to on a road trip or in the gym–those are the songs people want to hear! I’ve never seen anyone bust out a 200-lb squat listening to “Macarena”. 

While we agree line dances are a ghost of weddings past, they can be used as a tool. It’s a great icebreaker at the beginning of a reception or for guests who may have two left feet. You and your DJ may even decide on a “play only if requested” protocol! This is a great alternative to axing them altogether.

Classic Wedding Songs

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’ve been a staple for many years–and for many DJs they still are! While “YMCA” and “Love Shack” aren’t total bangers, “Sweet Caroline” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” are nearly guaranteed to bring out everyone’s worst singing voice. But if it’s just not your style, let your DJ know!

Explicit Lyrics

The topic of explicit songs is an extremely important conversation to have with your DJ. Do you only want to play the radio-edit versions of popular, but explicit, songs? Or do you want to play the original? 

Our suggestion is typically to err on the side of minimally explicit, especially if your grandma or niece is still on the dance floor. However, some popularly requested songs just don’t hit the same when every other word is bleeped out. In these instances, we recommend a lyrical curfew. No explicit lyrics before 10pm unless the bride specifically requests it.

Country Music

No matter where you live, you can’t escape it. And whether you hate bro-country, classic, bluegrass, or all of the above, you definitely need to establish this boundary with your DJ. 

There can be a time and place for them, though. Most DJs will deploy various country songs for different reasons–cocktail hour, for a slow dance, or to get ALL the ladies dancing with Shaniah Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like A Woman”. Again, establishing this expectation before your big day will save you a headache.

Be Specific

A good DJ reads the crowd, and while cheesy line dances and slow country songs are abhorrent to some, they can be used tactfully and with good taste!

Bottom line, when giving your DJ input, avoid blanket statements like “no country music” or “no line dances”. Instead, list specific songs that are explicitly off-limits. If you need help, ask your DJ for a list of 100 popular wedding songs. Cross off the ones you absolutely hate and circle the ones you love! 

Music is subjective and any good DJ worth their salt focuses on creating a great experience for their client and their guests. While it is your wedding day, it’s just not the same if you’re the only one on the dance floor. This list will give them a solid start in gauging your taste in music to keep everyone dancing all night long.

We want you to have the party of your dreams! To help you get there, we’ve released several podcast episodes to help guide you. Check out our podcast “Throw A Bash with Shawn + Kenny” on Youtube for the latest tips and tricks for all things party entertainment!

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