As we all know, there are certain songs that tend to pop up at almost every wedding, whether the entertainment is provided by a DJ, a live band or even the dreaded iPod.
You know the ones we mean; the Chicken Dance, the Macarena, the Electric Slide, maybe even YMCA. They are known as audience participation songs and the one thing that every seasoned wedding entertainment pro knows is that these songs almost always fill the dance floor, which is, let's face it, what they are being paid to do.
There are some couples who do consider banning these types of songs on their big day. It is often because they think they are simply too cheesy for their well planned, elegant affair.
Are they really going to pay a small fortune for a sumptuously decorated reception venue and a meal that consists of all the best cuisine, including some pretty expensive champers, and then have their elegantly attired guests flood the dance floor singing "I don't want to be a chicken, I don't want to be a duck??"
Quite often, the answer is YES!
Before you do slap a ban on audience participation songs though, stop and give the issue a little bit of thought. Just how do you want people to remember your wedding? As a stuffy affair where they did have a nice meal but also spent half the time checking their watch and wondering if they can beat the traffic if they leave soon? Or as a time they had a nice meal and then had a great time on the dance floor and let their hair down a bit?
Most wedding entertainers will tell you that whatever the bride and groom want, there will always be guests sidling up to them asking when they are going to play one of those 'dreaded' audience participation songs.
To many people, having the Chicken Dance or a similar song played at a wedding reception is as much of a tradition as the toasts and speeches and the bouquet toss. And while we are on that subject just what is dignified about a bunch of women in evening wear fighting over a couple of flowers like rugby players (which happens a lot, we've all seen it) The answer is nothing, or that it’s fun of course, but it is an expected part of the day as can be getting up and having a dance to a few 'cheesy' songs.
The standard advice for almost anything to do with planning a wedding is that it is your day and you should do whatever you want; and up to a point that is certainly true. However, if you do want a quiet, subdued affair then a traditional big wedding probably isn't for you anyway (which is also OK). Fill a room with 100+ people of all ages and they will expect to be entertained and expect to have fun - and the Chicken Dance just might, be the perfect way for them to do that.
Choose a great wedding entertainer or wedding band and they will indeed do their very best to play all of the material that suits your musical tastes; but if they throw in a four minute song that kind of grates on your nerves personally but gets those wallflowers who have been sitting in the corner nursing a half glass of wine up and smiling, is that really such a bad thing?
What do you think?
Chicken Dance Facts
* On 13 November 2009, CIHT-FM played the Chicken Dance continuously until 389 Tickets for the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime were purchased at $US100 each, to support the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.This played for over 3 hours.
In a fund raiser for Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, an attempt at the world's largest chicken dance record was held at Byron Center, Michigan, USA on 23 April 2010, at Jake's restaurant, the site of a giant plastic chicken sculpture.
On 13 September 2010, two Swedes set out on a Chicken Dance Tour across Europe, the Middle East and Asia
On 7 September 2013, the Chicken Dance was played at Michigan Stadium as the Michigan Wolverines football team celebrated a 41-30 victory over historic rival Notre Dame to symbolize the decision of Notre Dame to "chicken out" of the rivalry.