When is the best time for a bagpiper to play during a wedding?

There really isn’t a “best” time for the pipes to be heard, it really is entirely your decision. The most popular booking time I receive would be for the recessional. Other times include the Processional, Lighting of the Unity Candle, playing for arriving or departing guests and the limo dash!

 

Can you play all the music at the church?

It is possible for me to do that, HOWEVER, you do have to think of your guests. The pipes are an awesome instrument to hear and a very unique sound, but to those not around them on a regular basis, they are usually best listened to in moderation.

 Does it cost any extra money to have 2 bagpipers?

Yes it does, it usually isn't twice the price, but there is an additional charge and that gets worked out as needed. 

I don’t have any Scottish or Irish heritage, should I still have the bagpipes play at my wedding?

The pipes add a distinct sound to any wedding, no matter what your heritage and they really add a special touch that you and your guests will always remember. Just last year I played the pipes at a Lebanese wedding which was a blast and very, very memorable.

 
What is the best tune to play at a wedding?

This is another of those, there really isn’t a “best’ tune, it really is what you like the most. I do have some popular songs that I play, but I also play tunes that I am unfamiliar with but hold a special place for someone in the wedding. For instance, this year I played a song that I have never played at a wedding before, and the bride requested it because it was the song that her bagpipe playing father played when they brought her home from the hospital as an infant.

 
Can you play “Here comes the bride” or “Canon in D”?

Although variations of both tunes can be played on the pipes, due to the pipes only having the ability to play 9 notes, parts of the tune must be altered. I don’t think they sound as good as they do traditionally on the organ and I usually steer away from playing them for that reason.

 
Do you need a deposit to confirm my date?

For your peace of mind I started requiring deposits last year and it has worked very well. I complete and mail a booking request form and then after the deposit is received it turns into a confirmation form and the date is then confirmed.

Can you play at the receiving line?

Absolutely, and it is a very common request. I try to find a place so that I’m far enough away so that I don’t interfere with conversations and I usually play a small selection of upbeat songs, with breaks in between so that I don’t overstay my welcome, so to speak.

 
What if we pick a tune that you don’t know?

There are times when a tune is requested that I don’t know or sometimes have never even heard of. I usually can find music for the song through the bagpiping community or searching on line, but there has to be enough time for me to learn the tune, usually a couple of weeks. In the event I can’t find the music or can’t learn the song, I will be unable to play the song for you.

 
Do you need to be present at the rehearsal dinner?

Most of the time, all the details for the ceremony can be worked out over the course of a few phone calls and my presence usually isn’t needed. If the ceremony is complex or someone really wants me to be a part of the rehearsal,  I can positively be there, unfortunately I do have to charge a fee that is equal to 50% of the booking fee.

 
How long have you been performing at weddings?

I started playing the pipes back in 1977 and played with The Lochaber Pipe Band in Lorain, until 2004. I’ve played numerous weddings while playing with the band, and also started doing solo weddings about 20 years ago. My experience in playing for so many weddings also helps in overcoming issues before they become problems. I’ve experienced frequent last minute changes and been involved in some rather hastily, unplanned weddings that has really helped me in seeing some of the problems that can occur. I usually try to ask all the questions right at the initial contact in order to avoid any future issues, and my goal is to make this a truly hassle free part of your wedding planning. 

 
How far in advance can we book you?

There hasn’t been a date I have not  booked yet, and the farthest date in the future I have booked thus far has been 2 and ½ years.

 
We want you to be a surprise for our guests, is that possible?

Absolutely and this is also a common request and I usually have been able to accommodate all the special requests that go along with it. It may take a little bit more planning and my attending the rehearsal dinner as I would need to see layout, but it can be done. 

 
Why are your prices higher for weddings than other performances?

Weddings are much more time consuming than regular performances, starting right away with the number of phone calls to get all the details squared away. Also, due to the importance of the day I don’t hold myself to a time limit when I’m there. I arrive early to be safe, and sometimes I have to arrive early to hide, as I am a surprise. There are usually delays and depending on the number of guests I may have to stay until after the receiving line and play for the limo. In my past experiences, it normally means that I can spend 3 to 4 hours for the wedding, sometimes only playing 2 or 3 songs. I feel its important for the Bride to know, I will be there for whatever happens and she won’t ever have to worry about me leaving or charging more because things were changed. A wedding is a per event charge, not simply an hourly performance charge.

                            

                               

                     Email -   james@thebaldpiper.com          Voice Mail - 440-396-3075