When you’re choosing music for your wedding, it’s tempting to snuggle by the fireside with your sweetheart and write a long list of all of your favorite love songs. Many couples also turn to their friends for romantic music suggestions, and the result is a playlist just bursting with passion. But, like Santa Claus, make sure to check your list twice–some songs masquerading as famous love ballads are actually pretty inappropriate.
“Beauty and the Beast” – Celine Dion / Peabo Bryson
“Tale as old as time,
True as it can be”
What could be more romantic than comparing your love to a perfect fairy tale? Many couples choose this song as an example of true love transcending all odds. Even though the bride might enjoy being called “Beauty” for the day, don’t overlook the fact that the groom is being compared to a beast.
“When You Say Nothing at All” – Alison Krauss
“It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word, you can light up the dark”
Pretty romantic, right? Your new spouse doesn’t even have to say a word in order for your hearts to understand each other. However, let’s take a look at that line in full: “You say it best when you say nothing at all.” That quote is guaranteed to surface the next time your spouse is bugging you to take out the garbage.
“You’re the One That I Want” – John Travolta / Olivia Newton-John
“You’re the one that I want, ooh ooh ooh, honey
The one I need, oh yes indeed”
Sound good? Keep listening. John Travolta goes on to say, “I better shape up, ’cause you need a man,” implying that the groom isn’t much of a man to begin with. The theme of inadequacy continues with Olivia Newton-John’s request for a man that can keep her satisfied. Whether or not the groom intends to “shape up” until he can fulfill his bride’s requirements, it’s a matter better discussed in private–not paraded in front of a room full of friends and family.
“I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” – Dan Seals
“There’s a warm wind blowing the stars around,
And I’d really love to see you tonight”
What better night to anticipate than your first night as a married couple? This song starts out as a lovely ballad about how a man misses his lover’s smile. Unfortunately, it goes on: “I’m not talking ’bout moving in, and I don’t want to change your life.” Bad news for a wedding–and it gets worse from there: “I won’t ask for promises, so you don’t have to lie. We’ve both played that game before. Say I love you, then say goodbye.” This description of a short-lived affair is sure to leave the happy couple blushing uncomfortably.
“Better Man” – Pearl Jam
“Can’t find a better man,
Can’t find a better man”
The title and chorus of this song are completely misleading. Give it a closer listen and you’ll realize the lyrics are meant to be ironic. “She lies and says she’s in love with him, can’t find a better man.” Any bride who plays this song at the reception is setting herself up to field some embarrassing questions about why she accepted the proposal.
“Amie” – Pure Prairie League
“Amie, what you gonna do
I think I could stay with you for a while
Maybe longer if I do”
This 1970s classic has withstood the test of time, and its familiarity makes it a hit at weddings. But the song is actually about a man who can’t make up his mind. “Don’t know what I’m gonna do. I keep fallin’ in and out of love with you.” If that doesn’t strike you as a terrible omen, you might also want to add Tammy Wynette’s classic, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” to your musical repertoire.
“You’re Still the One” – Shania Twain
“You’re still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You’re still the one I want for life”
Shania writes an all-out dedication to her love, with whom she has withstood the test of time. It’s the absolute paragon of romance—but one should hope you “still” want your spouse on your wedding day! “They said, ‘I bet they’ll never make it,'” she sings. “But just look at us holding on.” If there are guests in the audience betting your marriage won’t last, don’t give them the satisfaction of hearing this song just yet. Unless you and your new spouse have been together for a long, rocky stretch already, it’s best to leave this little ditty for the ten-year anniversary.
These songs are some of the worst offenders, but inadvertently insulting love songs are lurking just around the corner from every would-be romantic compilation. To make sure you don’t end up playing an embarrassing song on your big night, listen to all your songs–even the ones you swear you could sing in your sleep–with wedding lyrics in mind. If you’re hiring a band or DJ, consult them for their professional opinions. Experienced professionals have seen (and heard) it all before, and will be able to catch any sneaky embarrassments that might otherwise have slipped by.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.