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10 Songs for a Dry Wedding

Dry Wedding
Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Picking songs for a dry wedding isn't like selecting music for a regular wedding — you know, one where people have a few drinks, shed their inhibitions, hit the dance floor and generally have a good time. We're not saying you need alcohol to have fun — not explicitly, anyway — but booze-free nuptials are different sorts of affairs, and they require their own special soundtracks. If we were going to a dry wedding, we'd rock this latest Super Specific Weekly Playlist at the so-called festivities.


‘No Dancing’

Elvis Costello

 

 

Let's face it, a sober crowd is a stationary crowd, and even if, by some miracle, the guests at this thing are willing to dance, there's no way they'll move their leaden, non-lubricated limbs in time with the music. “There's gonna be no dancing,” Elvis sings, unintentionally describing the situation perfectly.

 

‘No Fun’

The Stooges

 

 

“No fun/ my babe/ no fun.” Not to belabor the point, but if you're hosting a wedding, and you're not going to have drinks and dancing, you'd better find some other way to entertain your guests. Perhaps the bride and groom can cut themselves with broken glass and smear peanut butter on their shirtless torsos. It's always worked for Iggy Pop.

 

‘I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock ‘n’ Roll’

Nick Lowe

 

 

Sure, the bride looks prim and proper now, walking down the aisle in her white dress, but somewhere in the audience sits a dude who knew her back in the good ol' days, when she wore tight jeans and drank PBR tallboys with the fellas. Lowe's neo-rockabilly rave-up is light on spite — the mood is more bemused nostalgia than anger or regret — and that's a good thing. Playing this before the wedding will take the edge off. Something's got to.

 

‘Goody Two Shoes’

Adam Ant

 

 

“You don't drink, you don't smoke / What do you do?” In the early '80s, Adam Ant dressed like a gay martian pirate, but behind the flamboyant persona, he was a teetotaling nonsmoker immune to the temptations of mind-altering chemicals. Despite his sobriety, Ant delivers one hell of a party tune, setting swing horns and rockabilly guitars to a pummeling tom-tom-heavy glam-rock beat. If the bride and groom are half as much fun as this guy, you're in for a killer soiree, and you won't even need a designated driver.

 

‘I Wanna Be Sedated’

The Ramones

 

 

Then again, if the happy couple aren't as fun as Adam Ant, the prospect of making smalltalk with a bunch of people you don't know might leave you anxious. In that case, you'll find yourself humming this punk classic, jonesing for some pharmaceuticals.

 

‘Restorative Beer’

The Fiery Furnaces

 

 

If you're the type who cries at weddings, a creative reading of this song might offer justification for slipping into the bathroom, fishing a bottle out of your skirt or pant leg and taking a few swigs. “I want a restorative beer/ So I can shake my mind off these tears,” Matthew Friedberger sings, the key word being “a.” Surely the bride and groom can bend the rules and allow for a single brew, especially if it stops you from sobbing.

 

‘Big Boring Wedding’

Guided by Voices

 

 

This song most likely has nothing to do with weddings or marriage — as with most GBV tracks, we're not really sure — but we couldn't resist, especially given singer Bob Pollard's famous appetite for beer and tequila.

 

‘American Wedding’

Gogol Bordello

 

 

As unenthused as you are about the prospect of sober celebration, Gogol Bordello leader Eugene Hütz is 10 times more upset. The gypsy-punk godhead comes from the Old World, where wedding bands don't wrap things up at midnight, and no one cares about getting a good night's sleep. “Have you ever been to American wedding?” he asks. “Where is the vodka, where is marinated herring? / Where is the musicians that got the taste? / Where's the supply that's gonna last three days? / Where's the band that like fanfare? Gonna keep it going 24 hour.”

 

‘Whiskey, You’re the Devil’

The Pogues

 

 

Contrary to what Gogol say, Europeans don't always get drinking right. Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan is a poster child for the dangers of alcoholism, and here, he sings from experience, telling the bottle, “You're leading me astray.” It's a peppy reminder that abstaining every now and again isn't such a bad idea.

 

‘It Must Be Love’

Madness

 

 

Ultimately, it doesn't matter if there's no booze, because weddings are about one thing and one thing only. “Nothing more, nothing less/ Love is the best,” U.K. ska-pop greats Madness sing on this sweet and jaunty tune, putting it all in perspective. Of course, this one's a great pub sing-along … anyone thirsty?

 

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