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10 Songs Best Avoided at a Wedding Reception

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Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.

No wedding is complete without a lot of well-chosen songs that celebrate two people promising to share the rest of their lives with each other in good times and bad, in sickness and in health. Songs that reflect the joy of the occasion are easy to find, and no doubt the happy couple will have made a few of their own choices. However, unless you're a jilted and jealous ex partner of one of the wedding couple, or have an extremely wicked sense of humour, the following songs are probably best avoided.


1. "Your Cheatin' Heart" by Hank Williams Sr.

Hank gets straight to the point with this song that was inspired by his telling his new fiancé about his ex wife's behaviour. Basically he's telling his ex in the song that one day she'll have floods of tears and sleepless night and will deeply regret how she treated him. Whether that scenario ever came to pass is another story.

Your Cheatin' Heart

2. "D.I.V.O.R.C.E" by Tammy Wynette

On their wedding day both, partners are filled with excitement, hopes and dreams of a "happy ever after" lifetime together. The dreaded "D" word is one that would simply never enter their heads. Unless, of course, this song comes blaring out of the speakers at the wedding reception. As if being then forced to confront the idea wasn't upsetting and embarrassing enough, having it spelled out letter by letter as D.I.V.O.R.C.E. will probably feel like adding insult to injury.


3. "Hit the Road, Jack" by Ray Charles

In this classic song performed by Ray Charles, poor Jack is told in no uncertain terms that he's outstayed his welcome. Every appeal to his good lady's sympathetic nature is met with an unwavering response: "Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more", repeated several times just to drive the point home. Ever hopeful, Jack asks "What you say?" just in case there's the glimmer of a chance, that he misheard, but no, the same response comes again and again with undiminished insistence.

Hit the Road, Jack

4. "You're the Devil in Disguise" by Elvis Presley

The message to take from this 1963 Elvis Presley song is one of caution when entering into a romantic relationship, especially one that leads to marriage. Anyone discovering soon after getting married that the person they thought was an angel or knight in shining armour is actually the "Devil in disguise" is certainly going to feel they've made a huge mistake to put it mildly. If neither partner of the newly married couple has already considered this possibility, the wedding reception probably isn't the best place to bring it to their attention.

Devil in Disguise

5. "It's all over now" by the Rolling Stones

This 1964 song by the Rolling Stones, written by Bobby and Shirley Womack tells of a once great relationship that seems to have run its course and descended into an unfolding disaster. It's probably the last thing a newly married couple want to hear, especially on their wedding day.

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It's all Over Now

6. "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" by Kenny Rogers

This 1967 song by Kenny Rogers should be avoided, especially if one of the marriage partners is called Ruby. To suggest (intentionally or unintentionally) to Ruby's partner and all the assembled guests that poor Ruby might take her love to town instead of staying home is a sure way of making their wedding day a memorable one for all the wrong reasons.

Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town

7. "You're no Good" by the Swinging Blue Jeans

This song was written by Clint Ballard Jr. and became a hit for the Swinging Blue Jeans in 1964. The no-holds-barred lyrics and title are definitely not conducive to building a meaningful relationship, especially a lifelong relationship.

You're no Good

8. "You're so Vain" by Carly Simon

The target of Carly Simon's 1973 hit with its less-than-complimentary lyrics (which you can see in the video below) are still open to speculation, at least officially, even if its common knowledge worldwide. The thing to be aware of with this song, though, is that the lyrics can be applied to countless people. So it can be risky having it played at a wedding if either star of the event is one for whom vanity is an undisguised character flaw.

You're so Vain

9. "The Witches Promise" by Jethro Tull

Released by Jethro Tull as a single in 1970, this song's lyrics has produced many interpretations as to its meaning. All are pretty negative and agree that the song is about betrayal, bad choices, jealousy, selfishness and deep regret. It might just give the newly married couple a fresh and disturbing insight into their relationship if they hear it. So it's probably best to not let them hear it — not yet anyway.

The Witches Promise

10. "Fistful of Love" by Antony and the Johnsons

This powerful song appears on the band's 2005 album " I am a Bird Now". It's definitely not wedding reception material as it's a very disturbing song about domestic abuse and the victim's justification of it as a sign of love.

Fistful of Love

© 2021 Chas Mac

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