Bagpipes at a Wedding
Bagpipes are an enjoyable addition to your special day. Pipers have been performing at weddings, banquets, and parties for centuries. As well as performing rousing music, the piper is a magnificent visual spectacle for any event. The bagpipes are played at multi-ethnic weddings to theenjoyment of all.
What is the best time to have a piper play? The answer to this question is really a personal choice, but the following are a few suggestions.
Here is a list of suggested uses of a piper before the ceremony begins:
- Play outside of the chapel or in the area of the ceremony while guests arrive.
- Play when the majority of the guests are arriving at the same time, such as exiting bus, boarding a yacht.
- Play to announce the arrival of the bride.
- The piper may also play in the chapel up on a balcony or off in the distance for a softer effect.
There are a few options to choose from for a processional into the chapel or the area where the ceremony will be performed. Anything is possible if planned beforehand. The following is a list of a few popular options:
- Lead the bridal party (or just the bride) in.
- Play from a balcony or off in the distance to give a softer effect during the entrance of the bridal party.
- Play combined with the organist (or keyboardist) while the bridal party enters, Highland Cathedral is a popular tune choice when this is done.
Playing during the ceremony is not a usual occurrence, but this can be nice during the signing ceremony or at anytime when there is not any need to hear the what is going on during the ceremony.
Again there are a few options to choose from for a processional out the chapel or the area where the ceremony will be performed. Here are a few popular options:
- The piper meets the bride and Groom at the entrance to the chapel on their way out and plays outside of the chapel.
- The piper meets the newly announced couple at the altar and pipes them out.
- The piper plays from a balcony or off in the distance to give a softer effect during the exit of the bridal party.
- The piper and an organist (or keyboardist) perform music together while the bridal party leaves, Highland Cathedral is a popular tune choice when this is done.
There are a few options to choose from for after a processional out of the ceremony. Pipe music during this time is more festive and can serve to announce the newly married couples celebrations. Here are a few popular options:
- Play as guests come out of the chapel and mill about.
- For the Receiving Line: start playing outside the church as the guests are exiting. The piper will play for approximately 15-20 minutes, waiting for the receiving line to complete.
- Play while the couple enters a limo or carriage.
Because the piper is usually a prominent and hard to miss part of your ceremony, many couples choose to have their piper in the official photographs. The piper can pose with the bride and groom playing or not.
Cocktail hours, which are usually void of live entertainment, can be a perfect place for bagpipes to be played. A single piper can easily blend in the room and provide background music for your guests. The reception line may be formed at this time as guests arrive and the piper sometimes plays during this time period.
This is the most popular time for pipers to play other then immediately after the wedding ceremony. Again there are a many options to choose from for a processional into dinner. Pipe music during this time serves to announce the newly married couples official arrival at the dinner. Here are a few popular options:
- The piper plays each couple of the wedding party in separately as they are announced
- The piper plays the entire bridal party into the reception all at once
- The piper plays only the Bride and Groom into the dinner.
The best time to have the piper(s) play is sometime after the food has been served. Don't be surprised to see your guests clapping and dancing to the pipe music.
This is something that you will have to work out with each piper. The Piper will already have several sets of music that they will know and intend to play. The piper will know a great number of tunes, but be sure to ask if you have a special request. Give the piper a few weeks notice of the request to ensure the piper has ample time to find the music and learn it if required.
There are numerous tunes written specifically for the bagpipe for any occasion. The pipes have a narrow range of nine notes. As a result, most popular tunes cannot be played on this instrument.
Examples of bagpipe tunes:
Just like the music selection, pipers have different rates. Several factors that may influence the fee. Expect to pay an extra fee for pipers that have to travel longer distances to perform at your function. The amount of playing time is another factor, for example when requesting a piper to play at the ceremony and reception, several hours of time may be needed to be set aside to perform at both. Each piper also has his own history and has been learning for many years to be able to perfect his skills enough to play at your special function. Ask what his experience is and ask for references if you feel you need them. Expect to pay higher fees for skilled pipers, while the fees are higher you should also receive a higher quality of performance, both musically and visually.