Every wedding has a "do not play" list: the song lineup the couple gives the DJ or band to guarantee that they will not, under any circumstances, play Pharrell's "Happy" (my own personal nightmare) or "Mambo No. 5." (The latter is surprisingly controversial. I have actually heard about a bride getting into a fight about it with her dad. He wanted to play it; he won.)
If you've ever wondered what songs couples detest the most for their wedding receptions, FiveThirtyEight has the answers. The site has already used its resources and staff's number-crunching skills to analyze topics such as how much one should spend on wedding gifts and who actually pays for weddings. Recently, it's surveyed over two dozen professional DJs about almost 200 weddings to find out the most unrequested songs. The average couple made 5.5 do-not-play requests — although one pair made 66.
You can check out the complete list on FiveThirtyEight, but the gist is: Nobody wants to hear the "Chicken Dance," with couples in 23.1% weddings putting it on their "do not play" lists. The "Cha-Cha Slide" follows closely behind at 22.5%. It also looks like our '90s nostalgia might stop at the "Macarena"; Los Del Rio's hit comes in at 17.6%. Maybe they learned from the DNC in 1996. Others include the "YMCA," "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)," "Sweet Home Alabama," and "Stayin' Alive." An overall trend emerges: No one really likes line dances or disco.
Strangely, a lot of songs from last year's Ultimate Wedding Playlist — for which FiveThirtyEight collected readers' reception playlists to glean the most popular songs — made it onto this list, too. They include "Shout," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Sweet Caroline." I'm guessing that people just like hearing these nostalgic songs when they're drunk — but when asked about them in the soberness of the day, they're less enthusiastic.
"Many of these popular wedding songs also populate the 'must play' list — because they are fun and work on dance floors!" New Jersey wedding DJ Gregg Hollmann told FiveThirtyEight. He has a point: I don't know a soul who won't dance to "Don't Stop Believin'," do-not-play list be damned.