Wedding season is just around the corner, and brides and grooms all over the country are compiling their own playlists—most importantly, “no-play” lists—in hopes of throwing a party to remember.
But while everyone wants their big day to be a success, top wedding coordinators have stepped out from behind the decks to reveal what it takes to prevent your dream night from turning into a fiasco.
From Uptown Funk to Shape of You, some of the country’s most beloved tunes in recent years have been flagged as tunes to avoid — with many disc jockeys insisting that social media-era tunes can never compare to karaoke classics.
Herbert HollerDubbed “the best DJ in New York City,” he said his most popular rejected artists were Bruno Mars and Drake, with newer hits failing to connect with the crowd like famous throwbacks.
“People have an allergic reaction to these guys — it’s the songs from social media that thrive,” he told DailyMail.com. “Some of the new songs aren’t really music, they’re made for content.”
Top wedding planners from across America have revealed the must-avoid songs to ensure your party is a hit in 2023
Holler, who has been in the business for more than 25 years, said that when it came to capturing an audience, “not much has changed” in that time.
He continued, “There’s an unspoken sound from the old records that really draws people in.” “When people get drunk they still enjoy it, but when you’re at a wedding, who really wants to hear Drake?”
Philadelphia-based Gemma Cherry, owner Luv’D Up DJshe agreed that those planning their wedding should avoid relying on striped toppers.
“The new songs in particular don’t resonate at times on the dance floor,” she said. People like familiarity, and new songs don’t have a thread through culture.
While Sherri demurred that popular TikTok songs are always flat—insisting they often have a fun beat—Sheri countered that hip-hop tunes are the ones to leave out of your playlist.
“Modern songs are a mixed bag,” the DJ added. Really popular songs from big artists like Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé all have a long lifespan of inevitable popularity before they reach oversaturation and then need time to cool down before becoming part of the mix again.
“You have to know where every song is on that journey.”
Wedding coordinator Gemma Cherry told DailyMail.com that while most throwback songs are timeless, they often don’t resonate with new charts on the dance floor.
This perspective was echoed by East Coast DJ Kenneth Vargas Super Mix Entertainment‘, who said that the many no-play requests are ‘clear indications of the general public’s aversion to decadent folk music’.
“People crave passion,” he added. “Something that speaks to their unique family and upbringing.”
Every DJ who spoke to DailyMail.com unsurprisingly revealed that R. Kelly has become universally rejected, while other artists who have recently fallen out of favor with Wedding Songs include Will Smith and Ed Sheeran.
Line dances also seem to be popular with weddings, along with country music and rapper Pitbull.
Fatigue on new songs is a common complaint among wedding disc jockeys, with Texas DJ Brent Watts on top Incredibles insisting that “every song in the top 10 right now, except maybe Flowers, would clear the dance floor”.
Some of the most popular songs cited as wedding favors lately include Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling, and Pitbull’s Fireball.
Watts added, “These songs seem really overdone and don’t work as well as they used to.” I’m not sure you should only play the classics, but use a lot of them. The other problem is that most of the current music isn’t really something you can dance to.
New York DJ Herbert Holler said that throwback classics are always a crowd pleaser, because there’s an “unspoken sound from old records that really draws people in.”
Disc jockeys have ranked artists like Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars as some of the surprisingly unpopular performers at weddings this year.
When it comes to coordinating music for the big day, most DJs have horror stories of so-called “puppeteers” turning their set into a nightmare.
‘I remember a bride who insisted on being in control of every scenario,’ Holler recalls. It was just stop and start the whole way through – you can’t keep shuffling the song, you have to stay in the zone. Songs are stories, and songs have an impact on the audience.
Sherri insisted that while sticking to a bride’s playlist is crucial, one of her company’s first weddings was nearly ruined by following the golden rule.
“The Bride and Groom Wanted Gothic Death Metal!” She said.
It was one of the worst weddings because the bride’s parents looked at us like we had no idea what we were doing and didn’t know how to read the crowd.
Sometimes, we learned, you need to mentor couples because ideally you want all the guests to have a good time and not make the family or guests think “Who is this crazy DJ?”
All good wedding coordinators know how to work a room—and the so-called “bride-dressers” controlling every aspect of their playlist is the quickest way to clear the dance floor.
All good DJs know how to work a room – and couples who insist on a fixed set list find themselves at odds with those who know how to give the audience what they want.
“One of the brides he’s hooked on is a bride who gave me a playlist and wanted me to play it in the exact order she gave it to me,” Watts said.
None of the guests felt it, nobody was dancing, and many requests were made for different songs. I tried to walk away from the playlist once and was quickly reprimanded for not following orders – even though it filled the dance floor.
I really think a bride should get what she wants, but I also think a one-person party isn’t fun. To make it a party, you really need to get everyone there and get them dancing.
“The dance floor is infectious once you get on it.”