What to expect from your Wedding Piper
It's International Bagpipe Day, and nothing add to an occasion like the sound of the bagpipes. Through our own Piper Hire service, we supply extremely professional, competent and expert pipers in full Highland dress for a whole range of occasions, so we’re pretty well-versed in what your piper can do for you on your wedding day. We love sharing our expertise, so here’s our advice on what to expect, so that you know exactly what to ask for when making your enquiries!
At The National Piping Centre, we find that many couples know that they want a piper at their wedding but often aren’t sure what to ask for, so we recommend that the first thing you consider is how long you’d like to hire the piper for: some couples will only want their piper to welcome guests, play the bride into the ceremony and pipe the newlyweds out of the venue, whereas some prefer the piper to stay for the whole day! As a starting point, we suggest the following schedule for your wedding piper:
- Welcoming all guests at ceremony
- Pipe bride and groom into wedding venue
- Pose for pictures outside venue
- Pipe top table into dinner
- Pipe happy couple into dinner
This can then be tailored to meet your particular requirements. Consider whether you’d like the bride to be played down the aisle and check with your venue whether they’ll be happy for this to happen, as some churches may not allow it. Consider too whether you’d like your piper to play guests out of the ceremony and in to the reception - if there is travel involved between your venues this might not always be possible. However, if your guests are travelling to the reception by coach, your piper may be able to travel to the next venue by car and arrive in time to greet your guests.
Other special requests that our pipers have had include piping a bride from her home to the wedding car ahead of the ceremony. One of our pipers played a lochside wedding where he was requested to play guests to their cabins at the end of the day. Including these details can really make your day extra special, so make sure you ask your piper about these as early as you can. When you’re hiring a professional piper, they’ll be keen to make your day go exactly as you wish, so informing them ahead of time will allow them to accommodate you. It will also allow them to provide you with a more accurate quote, so that there’s no awkwardness when it comes to making payment later!
The most common special requests regarding your wedding piper are usually to do with music – again, it’s worth considering if there’s anything in particular you’d like your piper to play! Be aware of the limitations of the instrument – the range of the bagpipe is only an octave so chart hits are often out of the question. Your piper will be able to inform you whether a particular tune is possible, and should be willing to learn it if so, so ask early! If you're not sure what music you'd like, our Piper Hire page here contains some sample tunes to help inspire you…
Similarly, the tuning pitch of the bagpipe can make it a challenge to play with other instruments, so it’s worth considering if you’d like your piper to play with another musician on the day. Our pipers have occasionally been asked to play with organists and other bands at the last minute, which can lead to disappointment. We’d recommend putting your musicians in touch early so that they can work out any details, and be sure to give you a performance that you and your guests will remember!