Songs most frequently banned at weddings!


A lot of my friends seem to be getting married these days. Which got me thinking about wedding parties. Which then got me wondering what songs DJs do/don't play at weddings these days. And what was the outcome of my meandering thoughts ... a fun & interesting graph, of course!

It turns out that picking the right songs to play at wedding parties can be quite tricky. You must consider the preferences of the bride & groom of course, and also the guests and family which can span quite a range of ages and musical preferences. You want to play popular songs, but possibly not songs that have recently been too popular (because they have become cliché and/or everyone might be tired of hearing them).

With a bit of web searching, I came across an interesting article about wedding music on the website. They surveyed the DJs from 182 weddings, and came up with a list of the songs the DJs were specifically asked not to play. Apparently people dislike certain songs that have been around a while (such as Chicken Dance and Cha-Cha Slide), and some recently popular songs even made the list (such as Happy, Blurred Lines, and Uptown Funk). But their list was just that ... a text list:

The list was just begging to be plotted graphically, and I was happy to oblige! Below is a snapshot of the graph I came up with. Visually, I added two special touches.

  1. I annotated axis values along the top of the graph, and
  2. I annotated a 'no music' symbol (using a combination of characters from the Webdings font) to let people quickly know the topic of the graph.

You can click the snapshot to see the interactive version with mouse-over text and drill downs. If you click on the bars, it will launch a search for related videos of that title. If you're viewing this from your work computer, be sure to consider your employer's web policies before clicking, because some of the videos could be Not Safe For Work (NSFW).

So, which representation of this data do you prefer - table or interactive graph? I always say that looking at data in multiple ways is a valuable thing, therefore perhaps a combination of the two is the best solution?

What's your favorite song for a wedding party? And perhaps the more interesting question - is there a song you would want to ban from your wedding party? Feel free to leave your reply in a comment!



About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over a quarter century, and his specialty is customizing graphs and maps - adding those little extra touches that help them answer your questions at a glance. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University.


  1. This post needs an "Earworm Warning" emblazoned at the top, in big red letters.

    Seriously, I like the graph much better than the table -- even though it's missing the "artist" information. For these songs, it's a good bet that readers already know the artist or that they don't care. Besides, it's not like the actual Isley Brothers are going to perform "Shout" at your wedding. So you made a good decision to excise "Artist" and present the data in this more appealing and more space-efficient format.

    The worst song choice I ever heard at a wedding party was the Eagles' "Lyin' Eyes." I mean, c'mon.

  2. Don Williams on

    At my daughter's wedding in April the only banned song was "Free Bird", because my brother insists on it being played at every gathering regardless of the setting.

  3. It might be interesting to see the selection of banned songs over a period of years, so you can track the rise and fall of certain songs. For example, I don't see the Barney song in here, but maybe that's because it's generally banned.

  4. There are a few notable omissions from that list including "Gold Digger" by Kanye West, "Love will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division and Paul Simon's "50 ways To Leave Your Lover" - nobody wants to hear them at their wedding............

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