Steven G. Brownlee





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Suggestions for bagpipe tunes during your wedding:

Listed below are places where music is generally played during the average wedding. I have played weddings where I play during all of these times, and weddings where I play only one tune. It's obviously entirely up to you to decide where you want pipe music. So, read on for my tips and suggestions!

Before the ceremony:
-- While the guests are arriving at the ceremony, usually 15 to 25 minutes before the ceremony, I play a mixed selection of marches, strathspeys, reels, and jigs.

During the ceremony:
-- for Grandparents and parents to be seated, I like to play slow tunes, lullabies, things that are loosely described as "soft". Well, as soft as you can get with pipes playing at 120 decibels. But it works.

-- for the bridesmaids I suggest Skye Gathering. It is a slow aire, but it has the feel of a much faster tune. The result is that the bridesmaids are less prone to running down the aisle because the beat is slow, but it builds a bit of excitement and anticipation for the bride.

-- for the bride, well, many tunes are appropriate. I prefer Prince of Denmarks' March (the bagpipe version of Trumpets Voluntary) because it is Stately, and adds pomp and circumstance to the walk down the aisle. Others that work well are Wagners' Bridal March (Here Comes the Bride), and Highland Cathedral. I can also play a pipe version of Pachelbels' Cannon in D, but for that I would have to bring in another piper for an additional fee.

-- candle lighting, or flowers for the mothers, slow aires including Mingulay Boat Song, Welsh Aire, Beulah Brownlee.

After the ceremony:
-- recessionals are varied. Some people want Irish music, others want Scottish, some don't care, some like other tunes I play. I play until all guests have exited the building.

Suggestions for placing your bagpiper:

Great Highland Bagpipes are loud, and have no volume control. When I start to play inside (especially in the smaller venues), it's rather like an organist cranking up the volume of the organ all the way, then starting to play. Not a big deal, if the guests are expecting it or if the purpose of the wedding party is to surprise the guests. Add to it the fact that I'm wearing full dress kilt and clothing, which you don't see in the south very much, it often causes quite a stir. So, if you are looking to prevent your guests from getting whiplash when I start to play (or not), you can peruse the tips below on placing your piper.

-- One way to reduce the shock effect of a piper appearing at a wedding is to have the piper play as he marches down the aisle before the bridesmaids come out. Once he turns, the procession starts.

-- Another is to pipe the bridesmaids down the aisle from the rear of the church, then march down the aisle in front of the bride playing her processional.

-- Some brides want to be led down the aisle, others want the piper at the front before it all starts, others want the piper at the rear of the church or in the balcony or choir loft. All of these work well. It depends entirely on how you want YOUR show to look. I've also been asked to hide until time to play the bridal march to increase the shock effect.

-- I'm very happy to discuss the placement of your piper with you. We'll cover all of the options and you can decide how you want to handle the music.