Of the many types of songs that exist, the category of romantic wedding songs is probably the biggest and easiest to select from. Almost any wedding number you choose will work unless it’s a heartbreaking one—or it’s about infidelity or lechery.
However, did you know that some otherwise splendid songs become so regular at weddings that they turn basic over time? It’s true; people tend to overuse some of the best wedding songs.
Needless to say, if you desire a unique and memorable wedding, you want to try a creative and somewhat divergent spin on as many key elements as possible, including your choice of wedding songs.
After all, poor, generic choices can ruin the atmosphere with bored sighs and eye-rolls. But don’t worry; we are here to help you out with a list of the most cliche wedding songs to avoid. So, without any further delay, let’s save your wedding playlist.
Cliche Wedding Songs to Avoid
While basically all of the songs we will list here are great romantic songs, some of them probably even favorites of yours, they are generally over-familiar staples by now and should be retired. But don’t worry, we will not leave you without some ideas on what to try instead.
But first, let’s hand out the Cliche Awards.
Check out these perfect melodies to set the mood on your wedding day:
1. ‘I’ll Always Love You,’ by Whitney Houston
Notable Lyrics: /So I’ll go, but I know/ I’ll think of you every step of the way/
This very memorable song is probably the most amazing thing you’ll hear in the movie, ‘The Bodyguard.’ It’s a song that has significantly few lyrics but is still unforgettable, especially with the iconic, extending ‘I’ in Whitney’s declaration of lasting love.
While it’s a perfectly nice and romantic song to play, it’s gotten a bit old by now. Another extra reason to drop it is that it’s actually a break-up song, as you can tell from the lyrics—probably not the stuff to play at a wedding.
2. ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love,’ by Elvis Presley
Notable Lyrics: /Would it be, would it be a sin?/ If I can’t help falling in love with you/
This is probably the most famous wedding song by the king of rock and roll, and it should probably take the full cake as the most overplayed wedding song.
While its powerful lyrics and marvelous vocals artfully express the power of love, you can rest assured more than a handful of guests will have guessed you’ll use it. They should not be right about that.
3. ‘A Thousand Years,’ by Christina Perry
Notable Lyrics: / Darling, don’t be afraid / I have loved you for a thousand years / I’ll love you for a thousand more/
Since its release in 2011, this song has become ubiquitous in marriage ceremonies, especially being used for bridal processions. It even became something of a theme song for the final Parts of the popular Twilight motion pictures.
But of course, there is no reason you can’t try other Christina Perry songs; this one is just too traditional now.
4. ‘Thinking Out Loud,’ by Ed Sheeran
Notable Lyrics: /So honey, now, take me into your loving arms/ Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars/
This is one of the most iconic songs of Ed Sheeran since its release in 2014, and it’s already a favorite at weddings. It will almost certainly remain a favorite for a long time; still, it’s a song that won’t surprise your guests at all.
5. ‘Single Ladies,’ by Beyonce
Notable Lyrics: / Cause if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it / If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it/
This song wasn’t exactly one of Beyonce’s most lyrical-genius songs, but it’s a veritable hit with single ladies worldwide. And, of course, it’s also been used quite regularly, especially for general or bride’s maid dances.
But not many people will like to sing along anymore, and it’s arguably never been a good idea to use it at weddings anymore.
6. ‘At Last’ by Etta James
Notable Lyrics: / At last my love has come along/ My lonely days are over/ And life is like a song, Oh yeah, yeah?/
This song is the perfect wedding song by any measure, whether by tone, tempo, delivery, or lyrics. It talks about finally finding someone to love and hold and expresses the relief that follows.
However, it’s because it’s such a great wedding song that it’s overused. You want to try something a lot less cliche.
7. ‘I Loved Her First,’ by Heartland
Notable Lyrics: /I knew the love of a father runs deep/ And I prayed that she’d find you someday/ But it’s still hard to give her away, I loved her first/
This song by Heartland is the perfect song for father-daughter dances, as the lyrics tell you immediately. With its calm, soulful melody, it tells of the love of a father for his daughter and how hard it is to let her go. It echoes what virtually every father feels, and that’s why everyone uses it.
8. ‘Macarena,’ by Los Del Rio
Notable Lyrics: / Dale a tu cuerpo alegría Macarena / Que tu cuerpo es pa’ darle alegría y cosa Buena / Dale a tu cuerpo alegría, Macarena / Hey Macarena, ay/
Talk about lyrics that are absolutely incomprehensible to you but still make you want to boogie and shout, ‘Heeeeey Macarena, ay!’ This song is absolutely legendary–the perfect party song–-and it’s thus become overly cliche, especially as a wedding dance party song.
It will probably make your guests feel pressured to dance to seemingly ‘stale, ol’ Macarena.’
9. ‘Perfect,’ by Ed Sheeran
Notable Lyrics: / I found a love for me/ Oh, darling’, just dive right in and follow my lead/
This timeless love song by the ‘Shape of You’ crooner talks about how you see perfection in someone when you’re in love.
Anyone who’s ever been in love can relate to this song, and that’s why it’s such a great song for weddings. Unfortunately, it’s right up there with other cliche wedding songs and won’t help with being unique.
10. ‘Someone Like You,’ by Adele
Notable Lyrics: /Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead/
What Adele gave us in ‘Someone Like You’ is one of those heartbreak songs that a lot of people somehow still want to play at their weddings.
As such, what we have here is a song that is quite obviously too somber for weddings but is still a popularly used and recommended wedding song. Our advice? Keep it on your phone playlist and off your wedding one.
11. ‘Wonderful Tonight,’ by Eric Clapton
Notable Lyrics: / I feel wonderful because I see the love light in your eyes/ And the wonder of it all/ Is that you just don’t realize how much I love you/
This is not a bad song as far as wedding melodies go. With Eric’s captivating voice and the masterfully done guitar work, it’s just the perfect thing for a wedding first dance. It’s also almost everyone’s first dance song, and you should go for something that brings more originality to your playlist.
12. ‘All of Me,’ by John Legend
Notable Lyrics: / Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you/ You’re my end and my beginning/ Even when I lose I’m winning/
It’s not just weddings; it’s everywhere! Everywhere something romantic is going on, someone is either playing or thinking of playing John Legend, and you can bet it’s ‘All of Me.’ This wonderful song is now an anthem, and anthems don’t lend themselves to a unique playlist.
13. ‘I’m Yours,’ by Jason Mraz
Notable Lyrics: / But I won’t hesitate more, no more/ It cannot wait, I’m yours/
Jason Mraz’s ‘I’m Yours’ has a groovy vibe to it that everyone can swing to—great stuff for outdoor weddings. It’s not necessarily on everyone’s wedding list, but almost everyone recommends it all the time.
14. ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ by Celine Dion
Notable Lyrics: / Love can touch us one time / And last for a lifetime / And never let go ’til we’re gone/
This song is one of Celine’s most iconic tracks, made especially famous as a soundtrack for the movie ‘Titanic.’ It contains lots of iconic lines that have been used in love poems, and there’s probably never been a wedding it wasn’t played at.
15. ‘Summer Nights,’ by Grease Musical
Notable Lyrics: / Summer loving happened so fast / I met a girl crazy for me / Met a boy cute as can be/
Most people find ‘Summer Nights’ to be an excellent party song, and it never fails to get everyone groovy—especially when you divide the guests into male and female groups.
Unfortunately, people have heard it so many times that it’s lost much of its electrifying effect. You should try something else for dance time.
16. ‘Stand by Me,’ by Ben E. King
Notable Lyrics: / I won’t cry, I won’t cry, no-no-no I won’t shed a tear/ Just as long, as you stand, by me/
This song is about standing by your partner through the ups and downs of life, so it’s no surprise it has become one of the most cliche wedding songs.
17. ‘You’re Beautiful,’ James Blunt
Notable Lyrics: / You’re beautiful / You’re beautiful / You’re beautiful, it’s true/
Everyone remembers and loves the iconic chorus of this song, which is one of the reasons it’s so favored for weddings, especially wedding first dances. However, it’s too cliche by now; moreover, it may not be the best move to play a song about wanting a woman who’s with someone else.
18. ‘Shut Up and Dance,’ by Walk the Moon
Notable Lyrics: / I said you’re holding back/ She said shut up and dance with me/
This is an iconic dance song that still gets many people into the swinging mood. However, most people now find it so regular at weddings that it’s become a tad boring.
19. ‘Hey Ya!’ by Outkast
Notable Lyrics: / Because she loves me so/ And this I know fo sho (uh)/
This song has some humorous undertones to it, and it’s absolutely fun and hilarious, especially for people who have seen its music video. However, it’s gotten quite old, and many people now find it a corny mess.
20. ‘Marry Me,’ by Bruno Mars
Notable Lyrics: / Is it the look in your eyes, or is it this dancing juice? / Who cares, baby, I think I wanna marry you/
‘Marry Me’ became such an instant favorite at wedding ceremonies that there has probably not been a wedding where it wasn’t on the playlist. That tradition you must break if you want your wedding playlist to stand out.
There, you have our picks for the most cliche wedding songs to avoid if you want a unique and inspired event. You will find that your guests are pleased when none of the songs in their playlist feel to them like chewed meat, and you’ll be glad you didn’t go the general way.
Are there any non-cliche Celine Dion wedding songs?
Celine Dion’s discography is so full of iconic love songs that any single one you pick, no matter how obscure, is probably something that’s featured in at least half the weddings since her career began.
You are not likely to get a very unique playlist with Celine Dion tracks in it.
How can I get unique wedding songs?
More obscure artists, especially from less frequently used genres, are the most unique choices, so long as you know how to look. You might try a song or two from artists like the Malaysian singer Yuna.
You will also find that upcoming artists who are talented but not too well-known offer unique, fresh, and often very inspired musical numbers.
What is the stereotypical type of wedding song?
Stereotypical wedding songs are often Rhythm and Blues, and they’re often slow-paced, with very earnest and emotionally charged lyrics.