Inappropriate First Dance Songs

  • Publication date: 07/22/2023
  • Updated: 07/26/2023

You've got the venue, the rings, the cake, and the vows. Everything seems perfect, right? But wait, what about the first dance song? Let's talk about the elephant in the room: inappropriate song choices that can turn your special moment into a cringe-worthy memory. From bad lyrics songs to out-of-place rhythms, a poor song choice can make for a memorable (and not in a good way) wedding experience. Whether it's for a good chuckle or a guide on what NOT to choose, this article is essential for anyone involved in wedding planning. Now, sit back, relax, and prepare for a musical journey you won't forget.

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Photo by Ayenia Nour

"Tainted Love" by Soft Cell

Despite the catchy 80s synth-pop sound that makes you want to dance, this song is about a toxic love relationship. Not exactly the message you want to portray as you look lovingly into each other's eyes on the dance floor. Imagine the wide-eyed looks from your guests as the lyrics about a love that hurts and isn't enough echo around the room. Even if the tune is nostalgic, the story behind it categorizes it among inappropriate song lyrics for a wedding.

"My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion

Who can resist the emotional pull of this classic Celine Dion song? It's been a favorite for many since Titanic hit the box office. However, do you really want your love to be associated with a doomed ship? While the melody can pull at heartstrings, the connection to a tragic love story cut short by a fatal iceberg might make your guests a tad uncomfortable. Titanic was an epic romance, but it's best left off the dance floor, making it one of the bad first dance wedding songs you may want to avoid.

"My Love Is Your Love" by Whitney Houston

At a glance, Whitney Houston's track may give off the perfect love anthem vibes. But hold on, because the words "If I should die this very day... Don't cry, 'cause on Earth we weren't meant to stay," could toss a somber shroud over your nuptial joy. As harmonious as the tune is, it isn't the ideal selection for the couple's opening waltz.

"You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi

If you're a rock'n'roll fan, Bon Jovi is likely high on your list of favorite bands. But for a wedding? Think again. This song about love gone wrong isn't exactly the loving message you want to share as you step onto the dance floor. "Shot through the heart, and you're to blame, darling you give love a bad name." The lyrics are catchy, the tune is contagious, but for a first dance? It might be better to save your air guitar performance for the afterparty, putting this one on the bad songs for the first dance list.

"I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston

Don't let the title fool you. This song, often misunderstood due to its title and Whitney's powerful delivery, is about a woman bidding farewell to her lover, not promising eternal love. The lyrics "Bittersweet memories that is all I'm taking with me. So goodbye. Please, don't cry," are far from an ideal message for a matrimonial celebration. It may seem beautiful at first, but it's essentially about love that didn't last, making it one of those sneaky bad songs for the first dance.

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Photo by Jose Villa

"Love Stinks" by The J. Geils Band

This song might have your guests tapping their feet to its catchy rhythm, but the phrase "Love stinks, yeah, yeah," is hardly the sentiment you want to spread on your wedding day. The title itself is a red flag, making it one of those inappropriate song lyrics for a wedding celebration. This classic tune might be better saved for a karaoke night rather than your first dance.

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division

Musically, this song is captivating, but the lyrics carry a somewhat melancholy message about love causing separation. "Love, love will tear us apart, again," isn't exactly a wedding-friendly line. This post-punk classic, while impressive in its influence, falls into the category of bad first-dance wedding songs due to its darker exploration of love.

"Love Hurts" by Nazareth

This classic rock ballad, with its somber melody, is all about the pain that love can bring. With lines like "Love hurts, love scars, love wounds, and mars," it's far from an ideal wedding song. While it might resonate during a heartbreak, it's not a tune you'd want to associate with your wedding, making it one of those worst first dance songs.

"Love Is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar

While it's an '80s classic, this song is about the struggles and fights in a relationship, not exactly the wedding vibe you're aiming for. With lyrics like "We are strong, no one can tell us we're wrong. Searching our hearts for so long, both of us knowing. Love is a battlefield," it doesn't exactly set the tone for marital bliss.

"Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra

While it may sound melancholic and romantic, this song is about a bitter breakup. Lyrics like "But you didn't have to cut me off, Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing," make this song a less-than-ideal choice for a wedding dance. It might seem appealing at first, but upon closer listening, it falls into the list of bad first dance songs.

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Photo by Hannah Berglund

"Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem featuring Rihanna

At first listen, you might be swayed by the catchy melody and Rihanna's powerful chorus. But this song is actually about a toxic and abusive relationship. The line "Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, But that's alright because I like the way it hurts," certainly isn't suitable for a day filled with love and commitment, right?

"Used to Love Her" by Guns N' Roses

Though the upbeat tune may trick you at first, this song is actually about a man who kills his girlfriend. The line "I used to love her, but I had to kill her," is shockingly morbid and inappropriate for any occasion, let alone a wedding. It's safe to say this one is a solid example of inappropriate song lyrics.

"Love Bites" by Def Leppard

This power ballad, while musically captivating, actually discusses the more negative aspects of love. The lyrics "Love bites, love bleeds. It's bringin' me to my knees," paint a painful picture of love, making it far from suitable for a wedding celebration. It's one of those bad first-dance wedding songs that are better left for heartbreak playlists.

"Love In Vain" by The Rolling Stones

This soulful ballad by The Rolling Stones might sound dreamy but it echoes the sorrow of unrequited love. Verses like "Well, I followed her to the station, with a suitcase in my hand. And I followed her to the station... I'm just a lonely man," narrate a tale of unreturned affection, listing it among those tunes that don't make the cut for the first dance.

"As Long as He Needs Me" from Oliver!

This song might seem like a declaration of undying love, but it's actually about a woman justifying her relationship with a man who treats her poorly. The line "As long as he needs me... Oh yes, he does need me... In spite of what you see...," is more about blind love and sacrifice rather than a healthy, mutual relationship.

"Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt

A classic ballad, but it's about unrequited love. The heart-wrenching line "I can't make you love me if you don't," might have you tearing up, but it's definitely not a hopeful or joyous song fitting for a wedding. This tune, while beautiful, is a prime example of a bad wedding song for a first dance.

"When Love and Hate Collide" by Def Leppard

Despite its melodious tune, this song discusses the painful collision of love and hate. Lyrics like "Without you, One night alone Is like a year without you, baby Do you have a heart of stone?" tell of longing and pain, not exactly the happiest message for a wedding.

"Skinny Love" by Bon Iver

While this indie folk tune may seem sweet, it's actually about a relationship that is wasting away. The line "And now all your love is wasted? And then who the hell was I?" is filled with regret and sorrow. Despite its beautiful melody, it's not an ideal choice for a wedding, classifying it as one of the bad first dance songs.

"Love Is a Losing Game" by Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse's soulful voice might draw you in, but the song's message is far from uplifting. It talks about love as a game where one always ends up losing. With lyrics like "Oh what a mess we made, And now the final frame, Love is a losing game," it's not exactly the hopeful, love-filled message you'd want at a wedding.

"Make You Feel My Love" by Adele

Adele's breathtaking voice may seem perfect for a first dance, but this song is about unrequited love. The singer is trying to convince the subject of her affection to reciprocate her feelings. Lines such as "I could make you happy, make your dreams come true. Nothing that I wouldn't do. Go to the ends of the Earth for you," are more about one-sided love than mutual affection, placing it among inappropriate song lyrics.

"Love In This Club" by Usher

While it might be great for a dance party, Usher's hit isn't ideal for a wedding. The lyrics, "I wanna make love in this club," are probably a bit too risqué for a wedding setting, and the song's overall theme is more about fleeting attraction than enduring love.

"I'm Still In Love With You" by Sean Paul featuring Sasha

While this dancehall melody may have your attendees tapping to the rhythm, its narrative centers around a man still smitten by a woman who's moved forward. The phrase "I'm still in love with you boy... Well I'm a hustler and a player and you I'm not a stayer," reflects more of lingering emotions and transient affairs than lifelong commitment. This attributes it as one of the tunes that aren't the best fit for wedding festivities.

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Photo by Jaymo Jaymes

"The One I Love" by R.E.M.

Don't be fooled by the title, this song doesn't revolve around love. The lines "This one goes out to the one I love. This one goes out to the one I've left behind," are in reality about repeated exploitation. No matter how catchy the melody is, it simply doesn't fit the romantic atmosphere of a wedding.

"I Used to Love Her" by The Rolling Stones

Again, don't let the title fool you. This song isn't a declaration of a past romantic love, but rather an oddly humorous tale of a man who ends up burying a woman who was nagging him. As far as inappropriate song lyrics go, "I used to love her, but it's all over now," certainly ranks up there when sung in this context.

"Love Hurts" by Incubus

While this song has a catchy rock beat, the lyrics delve into the struggles and pains that love can bring. Lines like "Love hurts... But sometimes it's a good hurt. And it feels like I'm alive," may not send the most joyous message on a day that's meant to celebrate love and unity.

"Tainted Love" by Marilyn Manson

While this song's title does contain the word "love," its lyrics tell a dark story of a love that is unfulfilling and draining. Lines such as "Sometimes I feel I've got to run away, I've got to get away," are hardly the hopeful and joyous message most couples want to convey at their wedding.

"Love to Love You Baby" by Donna Summer

This retro disco number could potentially turn your guests into grooving enthusiasts. But wait, its erotic subtext and suggestive lines might be a tad overboard for a first dance. The tune, though popular, doesn't portray love in the typical sense, which could set tongues wagging, classifying it as a dubious choice for the initial couple dance.

"Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis

This pop ballad, despite its passionate delivery, has a more melancholic undertone. Lyrics such as "But something's pulling me back, It's the beat of my heart, It's turning me around," reveal the story of a love that's causing pain and confusion, rather than joy and harmony, hence its place among bad wedding songs.

"Love in the Dark" by Adele

Adele's powerful voice might be a magnet for emotional moments, but this song is about a failing relationship. With lyrics like "I can't love you in the dark. It feels like we're oceans apart. There is so much space between us," it's a beautiful but melancholic song.

"Crazy in Love" by Beyonce feat. Jay-Z

This upbeat song may get your guests moving, but its fast tempo and lyrics like "Got me looking so crazy right now, your love's got me looking so crazy right now," might not provide the romantic, slow-dance opportunity many couples seek for their first dance. It's more suited for the dance party later in the evening rather than a first dance, classifying it as one of those bad first dance songs.

"Love on the Brain" by Rihanna

Rihanna's soulful tune is a beautiful song about the trials of love, but it leans more toward the darker side of relationships. With lyrics like "It beats me black and blue but it fucks me so good and I can't get enough," it's more about an addictive and potentially harmful love than a healthy, nurturing one.

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Natali Grace Levine Editor-in-Chief

Manages The Wezoree's content strategy
Writes and edits articles for the Inspiration Blog