When it comes to picking songs for your wedding-- whether it's aisle music or first dance music or the last song of the night-- there are no hard and fast rules. It's your day after all, and music is one important way to make it your own.
But if you really want to get into it (and I know you do), there are people out there who have already done a lot of the work for you. For example, djintelligence.com, which actually is the third-party site we use on our own website for wedding planning/management tools, keeps a running list of most requested songs and breaks them down by every category imaginable. They recently compiled their results for 2014, and you can download them all for free as pdfs here:
... But every year there are a few surprising entries (at least, to us). Here are some of the ones that had us scratching our heads:
#1 All of Me (John Legend). Yeah, we know it's a huge hit and it's definitely a beautiful song. But has anyone listened to the lyrics? I guess "dysfunctional" has a certain sweetness to it, too.
#25 I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas). I mean, really? Really???
#1 Sugar Sugar (The Archies). How is this song still so popular? In terms of obnoxiousness, it's only outdone by The Four Tops' "I Can't Hep Myself" (#11) and the Foundations' "Build Me Up Buttercup" (#33). Is some mention of sugar or cake in the title enough to keep including these awful old songs? Enough already!
#4 Closing Time (Semisonic). Most people with taste hated this song when it was new, and it hasn't gotten better with age. Do you really want to end your wedding night with some GreenDay impersonator whining about "whiskey and beer"? This song might be appropriate for clearing out a bar in 1998, but surely you can come up with something more meaningful to end your wedding reception.
Yeah, I Get That.
Of course, there are also plenty of choices on those lists that make total sense to us and which you should at least be considering for your own request lists in 2015:
#6 At Last (Etta James). Yes, it's been done to death, but there's a reason for that: it's a sweet, classic song that says all the right things. Plus, it's short.
#48 Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran). I'm guessing this one is only so far down the list because it came out late in the year. Look for it to be the "All of Me" of 2015.
#1 I Loved Her First (Heartland). As a father of girls myself, this song always gets me. I usually end up pretending to be fiddling with my mixer when this one is requested because it's a little weird if people catch the DJ getting teary-eyed.
#8 Over the Rainbow (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole). This is such a tough category, as there are so few songs out there that would even be appropriate. But Iz's version of "Over the Rainbow" is a nice choice because, if for no other reason, everyone loves it. The same goes for "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong (#2).
#7 L-O-V-E (Nat Cole). What a great song! And yeah, we know Michael Buble did a great cover of it, and he's more hip and all, but Nat Cole's version is so groovy yet so perfectly laid-back so as not to take attention off your cake-cutting moment. #44 The Way I Am (Ingrid Michaelson). Again, you're looking for something that sits nicely in the background here-- something that doesn't get in the way. Also, the cake is often right between two higher energy moments, so bringing it down for a few minutes paces the evening nicely. This one does that perfectly. Plus, it's a pretty song that hasn't been overplayed, which doesn't happen often at weddings.
#6 Wannabe (Spice Girls). I just like the Spice Girls. There, I said it. Nothing to be ashamed of. Let's move on.
And now for something completely different...
How about songs that are a little quirky and different but that still somehow work? If that's more your style, here are a few we found intriguing:
#5 You Are the Best Thing (Ray Lamontagne).
Coming from that neo-Americana style of singer-songwriters like Mumford & Songs and The Lumineers, Ray Lamontagne's music is both gritty and stirring with a genuine sensitivity. This song, his most well-known, alternates between bluesy, emotionally vulnerable verses on the one hand and a bouncy, almost pop-like chorus on the other. It's fun enough to keep people interested but still romantic enough to be a first dance.
#50 Business Time (Flight of the Conchords). Hell yeah! Who doesn't remember watching this on youtube for the first time in 2008? The Garter Toss is probably the silliest moment of the entire day. Why not go totally weird and fun with it? I guarantee half the place will sing along-- and know every word!
So what do you think? Did they get it wrong? Did we? We'd love to know what additions or subtractions you would have made to these lists!
Have fun and rock on...