Scottish wedding bagpiper for hire

Rest assured that your wedding is in good hands. As a Highland bagpipe player of 20 years, Scottish weddings are a speciality. I’ve played at countless weddings and have a very large repertoire of all kinds of tunes for weddings, and have taken requests for all kinds of weird and wonderful things. I’m happy to travel across Scotland to play in Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen, Fife, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Central Scotland, The Highlands and everywhere in between.

Out of Scotland?

I will also come to England, Wales and Northern/Republic of Ireland too if you need me!

If you’re really keen, I’m happy to come abroad, but we need to discuss this. Any travel involving getting on a plane or a boat will require the fares to be covered and most likely overnight accommodation too.

My pricing includes travel within a 100 mile radius of Dundee which is generally sufficient to reach Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Beyond this I do need to charge more for travel, which we can discuss at the time of booking.

The piper

Rich playing at Atholl Palace
If it’s a Scottish wedding bagpiper you need for your big day, look no further. You’re getting a passionate bagpipe player and all-round highly qualified musician, who absolutely loves his job. I’m also a recommended piper with Balbirnie House Hotel in Markinch, and destination wedding specialist Timeless White Weddings in Aberdeen.

Of course, I always dress to impress: my standard outfit is the full No1 Highland Dress, and I only ever wear the Gordon tartan (it’s a family thing). However, if requested, I can pare this back to a lesser outfit.

Weddings with Rich Gordon – Piper

Hopefully this will explain everything.

Equal marriage

Rich playing for two brides at The Vu in BathgateI completely, 100% support equal marriage and have played for many gay couples.

I don’t look on it any differently than heterosexual weddings – love is love and marriage is between two loving individuals.

I feel sad that I have to make a point of saying this, but couples have felt like they needed to check I was ok with it at first, which is a terrible pity.

The wedding day

Guests arriving

As standard I will play as your guests arrive for the ceremony. I start playing around 1 hour to 45 minutes before the ceremony (depending on the location) and will play a medley of tunes at this point.

Rich Gordon - Piper plays as guests arrive at the Vu Bathgate.

The arrival of the guests. Image courtesy of Lana Eve photography: https://www.lanaevephotography.co.uk/

From here on in, everything is optional depending on the format of your day.

Arrival of the fiancé(e)

Sometimes it’s nice to play for the early-arriving fiancé(e) as they reach the venue, which I am happy to do if you like, and will welcome input in tune selection for this moment.

Suggested tunes:

  • Black Bear
  • A Man’s A Man (For A’ That)

The fiancé(e) arriving by car immediately before the ceremony is a moment to celebrate, and should be announced to the world with the sound of the pipes.

Suggested tunes:

  • Loch Lomond
  • Skye Boat Song
  • Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon

Obviously if you’re already staying at the venue you’re not having an “arrival” per se, but I can still play you from your room to the ceremony if it’s desired.

Again, for this moment, I will welcome input into tune selections.

The ceremony

Not everyone wants to have the bagpipes for the ceremony, but I’m happy to keep playing!

Processional (down the aisle)

I will generally lead the fiancé(e) and the bridal party into the room. Depending on the size of the room I will either go all the way to the altar or stay at the back near the entry door so as not to destroy everyone’s ears.

I’ve played all kinds of tunes at this point, including:

  • Highland Cathedral
  • Amazing Grace
  • Loch Lomond
  • The Dark Isle
  • The Rose (Bette Midler)
  • 1000 Years (Christina Perri)

Of course, if the ceremony is outside, none of this is a major issue.

And of course, if both partners are venturing down the aisle at the same time or slightly apart from one another, that’s no problem at all – we can do one tune or two!

Signing the register

As the register is signed, it can be nice to have pipes in the background. unless the space is big enough, smallpipes are usually better here.

Again, all kinds of tunes work, but slow airs and ballads work best:

  • Caledonia
  • Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon
  • Skye Boat Song
  • Braveheart (For the Love of a Princess)

Recessional (back up the aisle)

This part is naturally the most fun and needs the full Highland bagpipes. If however you’ve already got music set aside, I can stand outside the ceremony venue (especially in a church) and wait for you both to emerge at the door and start playing.

Usually something amazingly upbeat with lots of pomp and ceremony works here:

  • Mari’s Wedding
  • Glendaruel Highlanders
  • Scotland the Brave
  • Cock O’ The North

Smallpipes?

Because the Highland Bagpipes are very loud (especially in small rooms and churches), you can choose to have smallpipes played at this point for all three or just the register.

The instrument sounds mellower than their Highland siblings, but nonetheless work just as well. Importantly, no one will suffer hearing loss in a small room…

After the ceremony – drinks reception

Rich Gordon - Piper at Fingask Castle, Perthshire

Drinks reception at Fingask Castle. Photo courtesy of Chris Scott Photography: https://www.chrisscottphotography.co.uk/

Usually the recessional will lead straight to the photographs and assuming the weather is nice we can head straight outside for photos. During which time I will play in the background as the photos are taken.

Of course if the ceremony is in a different venue from the reception I will play for a short while and then head over to the reception venue to play for the guests arriving.

If the weather is not so agreeable I can stay inside and play my smallpipes somewhere – as they’re 1/3 of the volume of the Highland pipes it won’t get in the way.

The meal

When it’s time to eat, the newlyweds need announcing into the room in style.

Photo courtesy of Barry Robb photography

The toast to the couple. Image courtesy of Barry Robb photography.

The call to dinner

Most people just have the coordinator at the venue invite guests to their seats, but it can be nice to be piped into the dining room.

The top table

Depending on your needs, you and your new spouse can be piped to the table, or I can play in the rest of the top table first and then yourselves. You may also wish to stop via the cake en route to your table, but that’s up to you.

Typically I will play “Highland Laddie” as I lead the newlyweds to their table.

The toast to the couple

In any case, when we arrive at the table, I will toast you. Of course every toast to every couple is unique, but will always feature the Gaidhlig blessing:

Slainte agus buaidh gu brath” (Health and good fortune to all)

After this point I will play myself out of the dining room, usually to “Scotland the Brave”

The evening reception

Announcing the couple into the reception. Image courtesy of Lana Eve photography: https://www.lanaevephotography.co.uk/

After the meal it’s time to turn around the reception room for the evening guests arriving.

I will wait at the door of the venue ready to play for the evening guests arriving as I did earlier in the day for the ceremony guests.

If you have chosen to wait for the cake cutting until the evening, I will play you into the room again for the cake cutting, or at the very least for the first dance. This is another opportunity for you to be announced into the room for your evening guests.

Beyond this, there’s seldom any room left for the piper, although that’s not to say it’s not feasible.

If you need me to do anything after this point in the evening I am more than happy to discuss this with you!

Tune requests

Rich Gordon - Piper

Rich Gordon – Piper’s bagpipes. Photo courtesy of Barry Robb Photography: www.barryrobbphotography.co.uk

I have made some recommendations for tunes but I know that not everyone likes the same material.

I do accept tune requests on the condition that:

  1. They come to me in plenty of time, especially if it’s a non-traditional tune
  2. They’re actually playable on the pipes.

The second one is a big deal because compared with most other instruments, bagpipes are missing 5 notes. This means that not everything works on the instrument, so any requests that do come in are subject to feasibility!

Charges for these options are set fees and are inclusive of travel within a 100 mile radius of Dundee. Travel beyond this radius is subject to an additional mileage charge which we can discuss at the time of booking.

Need just 1 hour?

Please contact me.

Wedding options Wedding ceremony only£120 Standard wedding afternoon£170 Entire wedding day£220
Piping for guests arriving Standard Standard Standard
Piping for arrival of bride/bridal party Standard Standard Standard
Piping down the aisle Yes Yes Yes
Piping during register signing Yes Yes Yes
Piping couple back up aisle Yes Yes Yes
Piping during photos/drinks reception 15-20 minutes Unlimited Unlimited
Piping call to dinner No Yes Yes
Piping to top table and toast to couple No Yes Yes
Piping for evening guests No No Yes
Piping to dancefloor or cake No No Yes
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Of course, everything I have written here is a guide, it is not compulsory and is quite flexible.

 

 

 

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