Photo by Tom Pumford


Revealed: These are the songs Irish couples want banned from their wedding playlist

Hey mama DON'T rock me, so it seems...

While couples can spend weeks and even months trawling through inspirational wedding websites, seeking out niche ideas and pretty decor to make their big day Pinterest-perfect, arguably it can all go out the window if the entertainment on the night isn't on point.

Ask guests what they remember most from a wedding and the majority will mention either the incredible food or the raucous dance floor antics that lasted long into the evening - or indeed the early morning.

Which is why couples are now becoming a little more 'hands on' with their wedding playlists, and leaving little to chance in the hopes of getting everyone up on their feet and dancing the night away.


But while most will tend to concentrate on what makes a playlist great - a variety of genres, some seamless transitions, a well-thought out build-up of hits and of course, those all-important cheesy floor-fillers - many are also acutely aware of the tunes their mates DON'T want to hear on the day.

And according to some of Ireland's professional DJs, there are quite a few that have made the 'banned list'.

Music Snobbery

"For me, it's the typical cheesy wedding songs which will make it on to the do not play list," says Darragh Jones of Digital DJs. "Rock the Boat, YMCA, The Birdie Song, the Macarena..."

"One person's 'must play' list could equally be another person's 'do not play' list," said Darragh. "Often this is down to music snobbery."

One song that came up again and again for DJs was Nathan Carter's version of the Bob Dylan-born tune Wagon Wheel, which DJ Tommy Elliot says is one most often banned by couples and the most requested by guests.

"Murphy's Law!" the DJ says.

DJ Aidan Kavanagh agrees that it's a song many couples would 'prefer' not to be on the list, but notes the same couples will allow it if it's specially requested by a guest on the night.

Ian Barrett, aka The Alternative Wedding DJ, says it's one of the main ones on his couple's lists, along with Rock the Boat.

And Rock the Boat - the beloved-by-many Hues Corporation bums-on-the-floor-filler - is another one that pops up again and again.

"It's one I definitely agree should not be played at a wedding," Tommy Elliot says.


"Quite often I am told - not asked! - not to play certain songs," says Bob Conway, DJ and regular on Today FM. "Last year played a wedding where the couple asked me not to play ANY dance or party music! They wanted only rock and metal all night! It was one of the best weddings ever!"

"One song that I don't need to be told not to play is the appalling Birdie Song! I sometimes suggest it just to wind the couple up!" said Bob.

Some of the other no-nos, Bob notes, are any Chris DeBurgh, The Conga, and the "horrible" Hokey Pokey.

"Awful!" the DJ says. "But the likes of Mambo No.5, ChaCha slide and Macarena usually go down a storm!"

DJs Ian Barrett notes that it's the 'action' songs that crop up on the banned list over and over. 

"I think any song that has it's own dance is to always be strictly avoided... The Cha Cha Slide, The Macarena and the YMCA definitely fall into this category!" agrees Dave Acton, aka DJ Steely Dave.

Soppy Ballads

Some surprising mentions for fans of the power ballad included Celine Dion's My Heart will Go On, and Whitney's I Will Always Love You, which DJ Steely Dave says he often gets instructions against.

"There will always be a "cheesy pop song of the moment" that will be a big no-no for a lot of couples. This has ranged from The Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling", Calvin Harris, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber... and at the minute it's that Despacito one!"

But it's not just 'music snobbery' or anti-power ballads that accounts for a person's banned list, there are of course a variety of reasons a couple mightn't want a song played at their wedding.

"The Bride's father had passed away only a few weeks before the wedding," said Bob Conway of one of his couples.

"While they were okay with everything we discussed beforehand, there was one song she definitely didn't want on the night."

"The Grease Megamix," Steely Dave says. "People definitely want to leave this one back on the Copper's dancefloor!"

Most banned song, according to Irish wedding DJs

  • Wagon Wheel
  • The Birdie Song
  • Rock the Boat
  • The Cha Cha Slide
  • YMCA
  • The Macarena
  • My Heart will go on
  • I Will Always Love You
  • I Gotta Feeling
  • Despacito
  • The Grease Megamix
  • Galway Girl
  • Hokey Pokey
  • The Conga