If you're curious about what kinds of bagpipe music folks use as wedding ceremony music, then welcome! You've come to the right place. Whether you're looking for traditional tunes that have generational sentiment, or popular wedding songs transposed for the bagpipes — we've got a pretty stellar list that you won't want to miss.
We've also provided tips on how to go about hiring a wedding bagpiper (including Celtic bagpipers and virtual bagpipers, too!), so you can be confident in the musician you choose for your big day. Pipers typically play at Scottish weddings, to start the ceremony or to announce the bride walking down the aisle. They might also play a slow air tune during the wedding recessional, to end the wedding ceremony, too.
So! Without further ado, please enjoy these timeless bagpipe songs. These should help you to narrow down your wedding music options, as well as guide you toward the right bagpiper to play on your wedding day.
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Here are 11 popular tunes on bagpipes you should consider for your wedding:
1. "Mairi's Wedding" by J.R. Bannerman
"Mairi's Wedding" is a Scottish folk song, originally written for Mary MacNiven to celebrate her winning a gold medal at the Royal National Mòd in 1934. Since then, it has been used for a variety of events and ceremonies — but especially for weddings, because of its joyful tonation.
2. "Flower Of Scotland" by The Corries
This popular Scottish song is used all the time at Scottish wedding ceremonies, sporting events, and special occasions. This triumphant tune was written in the 1960s, and has held its popularity since.
3. "Highland Cathedral" by Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb
Although "Highland Cathedral" was created specifically for the Great Highland Bagpipe, it was composed by German musicians to be played at the Highland Games in Germany in 1982. It has since been performed at many Scottish events, particularly at Scottish weddings for bridal entrances.
4. "Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn
Of course, Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" is a timeless wedding song, no matter what instrument it's played on.
5. "Bridal Chorus" by Richard Wagner
When you think of the melody to "Bridal Chorus" (also known as "Here Comes The Bride"), I'm sure the first thing that naturally comes to mind is a bride walking down the aisle. It was written in 1850s Germany, and is still used as a formal wedding song to this day!
6. "Whiskey In The Jar" (original composer is unknown)
"Whiskey In The Jar" dates back as early as the 17th century, and is actually a traditional Irish folk song set in the southern mountains of Ireland. This song has been recorded by many musicians with many different instruments, and has become one of the most widely performed Irish folk songs in the world.
7. "Amazing Grace" by John Newton
This popular hymn dates back to the late 1700s, and is still used for all kinds of events and services — including weddings. Although it isn't necessarily a traditional bagpipe tune, it lends itself perfectly to the instrument (especially as wedding processional music).
8. "Scotland The Brave" by (original composer is unknown)
"Scotland The Brave" is often considered the unofficial national anthem of Scotland — so if you're planning a Scottish wedding, this might be the traditional tune for you!
9. "Skye Boat Song" by Bear McCreary
You might recognize "Skye Boat Song" from the popular series theme song, Outlander. But it's actually much older than that, dating back to 19th century Scotland. It's often played as a lullaby or waltz, but is a great song to consider playing on your wedding day, too.
10. "She Moved Through The Fair" by Herbert Hughes
"She Moved Through The Fair" is another Irish tune, with tons of versions out there. There's even a variant of the tune that was renamed "Our Wedding Day" because of its romantic lyrics.
11. "Canon In D Major" by Johann Pachelbel
Pachelbel's "Canon In D Major" is, of course, one of the most popular wedding songs in Western society — no matter what instrument is used.
Tips for booking a bagpiper:
- While browsing bagpipers on The Bash, be sure to read their profiles and check out their audio clips, videos and photos.
- When preparing a request for one of our bagpipers, keep in mind that the more details you can provide, the more accurate the price quote you'll receive. If you receive a price quote that seems like it needs clarification, don't hesitate to reach out to the musicians directly to find out more.
- Make sure you have discussed what supplies the bagpipers will need for their performance. You'll want to know what they can provide, and what you'll need to have on hand on your wedding day.
- Communicate your expectations and special requests to any prospective bagpipers, and make sure to ask about their repertoire — especially if you have a particular song that you would like them to perform.
Questions to ask prospective bagpipers:
- Have they booked gigs at similar events?
- Will the performer work to individualize your event?
- Can they provide past client testimonials or referrals?
- Will they need any special equipment (like chairs, extension cords, etc.)?
- How long have they been performing?
- How much time do they need to set up?
There are tons of benefits booking through The Bash. Our guarantee ensures that our vendors are held to the highest standard of professionalism. All deposit and balance payments made online through our secure EventPay system are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee. You’ll also have hands-on support from our Account Services team who is available to help with any event needs, including a last-minute replacement.
About Brittany Barber
Brittany Barber, lover of books, dogs, and romance, graduated from Bishop’s University with a Communications and Theatre degree. After spending some time working abroad in the theatre world, she is now a freelance writer covering a range of lifestyle topics including event planning for The Bash, WeddingWire, 2life and Fluttr, and shopping for BuzzFeed.