Ask a wedding musician: what songs should we play during our wedding ceremony?

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to your wedding music – and even more to ask about. 

We put your most-asked wedding music woes to the experts…

IMAGE | Aboyne Photographics

Q. We’re having live musicians play at our wedding ceremony, but we don’t know what we want them to play – help!

There’s something wonderful about live music at a wedding ceremony, but there can be a temptation to play it safe when it comes to song choice.

Which is fine if that’s what you want – but it’s by no means your only option.

“You should pick the songs that are right for you, whether it’s a traditional wedding march, or Iron Maiden’s Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter,” says Annemarie from Cairn String Quartet.

“For us, no request is out of bounds as it’s your day, not ours. And anyway, we love the challenge!”

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to live music, Annemarie says recordings are a potential workaround.

“Cairn String Quartet have 13 albums on iTunes and all the online retail stores. It’s not the same as live musicians, but it’s a great alternative for those with smaller budgets!”


Q. Should we get a piper for our wedding?

Pipers are a staple of Scottish weddings, yet some couples ask themselves if they should just go ahead without – the key reason often being to save money.

According to piper Rich Gordon, though, bagpipe music creates an instant sense of occasion that delivers instant ambience to your wedding day.

“The bagpipes really outstrip other instruments in terms of the emotions they can rouse up!” says Rich. “And when played live, they have a very visceral effect on the listener.”

When choosing what songs to have played on the pipes, Rich says that traditional pipe and folk music is where the instrument really comes into its own.

“Highland Cathedral, The Dark Isle and Flower of Scotland are all tunes that easily stir up emotions, especially at weddings,” he says,

“and a lot of non-Scots I’ve played for wanted to hear the Braveheart theme song For the Love of a Princess, which was actually written and recorded on Uilleann (Irish) pipes!”