Bagpipes on your Wedding

Foreword on Weddings

Long after the cake has been enjoyed and the flowers are gone,one of the most talked about and cherished memories will be the sound of the great highland bagpipes.

The bagpipes will provide an extraordinary and enduring aspect to your wedding day. And considering the cost of the average wedding, hiring a piper is one of the least expensive, yet most memorable, touches to your special day.

Your guests will always remember the beauty, joy and tradition of hearing a piper.

Every wedding day is unique and special, but here are just a few ideas on how to best incorporate the beautiful sound of the bagpipes.

Should you decide to reserve Roy’s services, you can meet with him for a consultation, hear him play and make the final decisions for including the bagpipes on your special day.

No doubt....the bagpipes will help make your wedding a glorious and unforgettable day

Bagpipes for your Wedding...

Bagpipes can make a pleasant addition to your special day. Pipers have been entertaining and providing traditional Celtic music at weddings, banquets and parties for centuries. Your quests will be quite surprised when they hear bagpipes appear at your wedding and fill the air with a Celtic tradition that has touched so many in the past. You don’t even have to be Irish or Scottish to have the pipes played at your wedding.

Aren't Bagpipes a Bit Loud?

They certainly are, however, this is their appeal and grandeur. A properly tuned and played set of bagpipes has no musical equal. Churches usually have high ceilings with plenty of open space and people acoustically dampen much of the volume. If the church has an organ, you can be certain bagpipes won't be overpowering. The effect can be breathtaking. At out-of-the-way locations with no other practical access to live music, the grandiose sound of bagpipes bridges that gap beautifully.

When to Have the Pipes ?

It’s a personal choice, but here are a few suggestions I can offer about having a piper at the ceremony, the reception and in between.

Before the Ceremony

One suggestion that I will make will be to have the piper play for around 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony. There are two very good reasons for this. Number 1 is the arrival of the guests. Number 2 - most weddings rarely get started on time. Since the arrival of guests are usually staggered an hour before the wedding, it makes sense to play when the majority of guests have arrived during this time. Keep in mind most guests will walk right past the piper on their way to their seat, this is especially true if the weather is very agreeable. If your guests are arriving at the same time (all arriving on buses, from a boat, etc.) then a piper can be used quite effectively before the start of the ceremony.

During the Ceremony

The key is to this is to limit the amount of playing. Most weddings are indoors and the pipes are a very loud in confined spaces or where the acoustics will amplify the volume of the pipes. Also ensure that you have permission to have a piper playing inside a church. Some churches may not allow other musicians playing inside.

The Processional

Decide if you wish to have the piper march the bride down aisle or stand in the rear of the church. The piper can play for the entire wedding party as they walk down the aisle but make sure the piper has a special tune for just the bride

During the Service

If you wish to have a memorial for a loved one not present at the wedding then remember to keep it limited to one tune. Amazing Grace or something similar is nice during the ceremony.

The Recessional

Instruct the piper to either walk up the aisle to meet you at the alter or stand in the rear of the church and start playing. When you arrive at the rear of the church, the piper can then slowly exit the church and continue playing outside for your guests.

The Receiving Line

Have the piper start playing outside the church when the guests are exiting. The piper should play for approximately 10 - 20 minutes while waiting for the receiving line to complete. The piper can briefly stop playing so the photographer can photograph the bridal party. When the photos are completed and the rice is thrown, the piper can now begin to play a fast and lively tune while the couple enters the limo. A piper is also a good photo op for your guests, and can keep them occupied while the wedding party is finishing up last minute photo ops of their own.

Welcoming the guests at the reception

Some venues are ideal for having a piper present to welcome guests. Outdoor venues like gardens, lakeside or beachfront resorts, castles, open air restaurants with mountain views are definitely enhanced by the sound of the Great Highland Bagpipes.

During the Reception

The best time to have a piper play at the reception is at the entrance of the couple or bridal entourage at the reception venue. The accompanying sound of the great highland bagpipes makes for a really grand and unforgettable entrance. An upbeat march like “Scotland the Brave” is ideal for this.


Musical Selections

Though there are hundreds of bagpipe tunes available, you will be limited to what tunes the piper already knows how to play. Pipers generally have a varied selection of popular and traditional tunes that they can offer to play. It doesn't hurt to ask if a piper can play or can learn to play a tune. A simple request may be all that’s needed for a piper to include a new tune into the repertoire that he has been meaning to learn.

Traditional bagpipe marches work well for both the processional and recessionals. Some great tunes to ask for are “Scotland the Brave”, “Highland Cathedral”, and “Flower of Scotland”. Pipers can play the tune over the phone for you with a practice chanter.

About Fees

Rates are very reasonable, a piper costs a lot less than a string quartet, and a little more than a pianist , but is used in a totally different context. A piano and string quartet is background music, bagpipes are not. Factors that will affect the price will involve travel time, amount of playing, and how soon in advance you book. One way travel times under an hour may be reasonable, but anything more than that expect to pay a little bit more. Parking fees, tolls, should also be included. Be realistic on the amount of bagpiping you wish to hear. Bagpiping can be very strenuous over long time periods both for the listener and the piper. Don’t expect a piper to play for hours and hours (not that your guests would want to hear them). At a typical wedding, expect about 15 minutes of piping before the ceremony with 10-20 minutes after the ceremony at the receiving line. Play time at the reception will vary on when you have the piper play (see above) If you wish to have a piper at both the wedding and reception, treat each location as a separate event. Of course some weddings the ceremony and reception are held at the same location so you can tailor the piping to your situation.