Think of every wedding you've ever been to. Between the toasts and the bouquet toss, the traditions can feel so run into the ground you forget why you are there in the first place: to celebrate a couple who found each other in this crazy world and fell in love.
Just because the celebration of the union between two people is generally full of an inordinate amount of custom doesn't mean the playlist has to be. Sadly, most couples will hire a DJ who puts little thought into what type of music is best suited for the bride and groom and merely cues up what he or she believe the attendees want to hear. It robs the couple of the best way they have to inject a little of their own personality into the celebration.
See also: Blessed Be This Heavy Metal Union in the Valley of the Sun There is nothing wrong with playing music you know will work, especially when you're spending thousands of dollars to ensure a good time is had by all. But as you plan for your nuptials, steer clear of these selections that are as overdone as that chicken you're most likely serving to your guests:
"The Way You Look Tonight" - Various Artists Ol' Blue Eyes could sure croon a love song. Tony Bennett can make audiences young and old swoon. Harry Connick Jr and Michael Buble have even taken a crack at this jazzy standard. The reason is simple: it makes you feel aglow because you've heard it played at every wedding you've ever gone to. It so easily sums up how you'll feel seeing yourselves in a tuxedo and wedding gown.
"Unchained Melody" - The Righteous Brothers
The song was originally written as the theme to a little-known prison film titled Unchained. This ditty about a man who has hungered for the touch of his true love is now best associated with the visually metaphorical vase that Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze attempted to make in the 1990 film Ghost. Not only has the song become a wedding reception cliche, it's a little creepy to have a song best associated with a sex scene played in front of the bride's parents.
"Maybe I'm Amazed" - Paul McCartney
Using the same gravely voice he used to such great effect in the Beatles' album Abbey Road, Paul McCartney wrote a song to his wife Linda, whom he credits with helping him get through the breakup of the Fab Four. It perfectly sums up in three minutes how couples can support each other through rough times, which is why clever movie music supervisors have some young and hip artist do a cover version for the big wedding scene. Now it is the go-to songs for DJs who want to see a couple do a slow dance and for contestants in televised music singing competitions.
"Butterfly Kisses" - Bob Carlisle
No one, including Christian singer Bob Carlisle, expected the surprising and monumental success of the song he wrote for his daughter to celebrate her sweet sixteen. "Butterfly Kisses" describes in adult-contemporary terms how he feels as a father after his daughter kisses him goodnight after they say their prayers. It is as inescapable for father/daughter dances now as it was on the radio in 1997. Diabetics might need to skip the wedding cake after listening to this sugary sweet confection.
"Amazed" - Lonestar
Country music is filled with clichés. Lovers leave, trucks don't work, and dogs die on a regular basis. Lonestar crossed over into the mainstream and reception halls everywhere because they turned the country music cliché around by singing about someone who wants to stay by their side forever and ever. Now that's all country artists sing about. The truck is still at the shop, though.
"In Your Eyes" - Peter Gabriel
It's one of the most iconic images in late-20th century cinema. John Cusack is standing outside a girl's house with a boom box over his head that is playing the song that was heard the night they consummated their relationship. In the context of the film, this stalker-ish situation was the perfect chance for the disapproving father to finally get rid of Cusack once and for all. That's not romantic at all. Try looking for "the light and the heat" in your partner's eyes you risk losing that staring contest, on your wedding night no less.
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" - Bryan Adams
Canadian rock star Adams became the Kenny Loggins of the '90s, as he seemed to appear on every popular movie soundtrack from that decade. It all started with this ballad from the Kevin Costner flick Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and the single went on to break records worldwide, allowing Adams to live well off the royalties and pursue a new career as a celebrity photographer. Unless your reception is in Sherwood Forest, this rocking saga of love might not hit the bullseye.
"From This Moment On" - Shania Twain and Bryan White
One of the producers of "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You," Robert "Mutt" Lange, went on to produce this country-pop duet between his then-wife Twain and White. It's a beautiful and dynamic love song that has been played at every wedding since it's release in 1998, but probably seems inappropriate, since Lange left Twain for her best friend in 2010. Might want to think twice before "you give that hand with all your heart." Make this your first dance as a couple you're practically saying "give this marriage 10 years, tops."
"Don't Stop Believin'" - Journey
Your wedding is not a sporting event. This love story about small town girl and a city boy from South Detroit seems more fitting for the fourth quarter of a Cardinals game than it does for your reception, but this doesn't stop DJs from playing it at weddings. It's completely understandable. The anthem held the record for the biggest selling digital single of all time for a number of years. That quite the feat for a song that's more than 30 years old.
"All Of Me" - John Legend
If you've been at a wedding in the last year, you understand why it's so popular and already so cliched. The piano-fueled ballad was inspired by Legend's relationship with then-fiancee Chrissy Teigen and his celebration of all her "curves and edges." With the song being played incessantly on the radio (It's two years old and just reached number one in May) and DJs looking for the next anthem, the song is already going to be a cliche by the time your wedding rolls around.
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