Catholic Weddings
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Bagpipes at a Catholic Wedding???

I have heard and read so many conflicting things. I am hoping to get some clarity. The wedding coordinator at my church told me we could have any type of music we wanted as long as it was religious and not secular. She said it didn't matter the instrument or if we used the church organist. Well, I decided to hire a bagpipe player for our wedding music. My fiance and I love the sound of bagpipes. I have looked on several Catholic wedding websites that say no to pretty everything except what is traditionally used for Catholic services. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with Catholic wedding music. I would be heart broken if I couldn't use my bagpipe player.
*********May 14, 2011 I marry best friend, biggest fan, and love of my life!!!********** ~Liz

Re: Bagpipes at a Catholic Wedding???

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    ootmother2ootmother2 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    We had a bagpiper outside the church while the guests were arriving and departing. There was no discussion about having him inside the church though as we already had musicians for that.

    Ask the priest if it's allowed.  I've never seen one inside at a wedding.
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    mica178mica178 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    My music director said people have had bagpipers play outside the church, but I didn't ask about having them as the musicians during the ceremony.
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    edited December 2011
    Ask your priest or wedding coordinator.  The wedding coordinator at our parish said we could have a mariachi band, so I'm sure bagpipes would have been permitted.  But the cathedral where we are actually getting married requires that you use an organist.  (We aren't interested in other instruments, so I haven't asked, but I'm pretty sureif we were, it would have to be in-addition-to, not instead-of, the organist.)
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    tldhtldh member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    A friend of mine had a bagpiper leading the bridal procession down the aisle.
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    PorphyraPorphyra member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I think it would be considered very odd to have bagpipe music during the ceremony and Mass, but I've seen bagpipes used outside the church and after a Mass. Bagpipe music doesn't normally count as religious - the instrument isn't usually used for sacred music and the tunes are secular - so it sounds like you'd meet with some opposition if you wanted it at the ceremony. 

    Probably the best thing to do would be to have more traditional music for the ceremony itself, but have the bagpipes play beforehand and afterwards as everyone processes out. These are the times that hymns, which are technically not part of the musical setting for a Mass, are generally used, so I think bagpipes might be more acceptable then. If that doesn't work, perhaps you could have a bagpiper playing outside as you come out of the church.
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    Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Answer Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    my friend had a military wedding (catholic) and he had a bag piper playing as guests entered teh church, and then the bag piper played as the bride and groom walked out fo teh church, under the arc of swords.  he never played in teh church.
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    Megglez2008Megglez2008 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    We actually just had one of our friends play bagpipes for our wedding two weeks ago. He played in the balcony for the procession, a song called Highland Cathedral. And then he came down the side of the church, around the front, and led us out for the recessional, playing two different songs called Lochanside and Moonstar(which was written for a wedding.) I made sure to ask our music director early on if he would be allowed to play in the church, and he was completely okay with that. We have a fairly laid back church in some aspects. I would definitely make sure you talk to your music director or priest as soon as possible. If you can't have them inside, have them play outside for the recessional.
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    lizdawizlizdawiz member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for information. I have chosen mainly religious songs for the bagpipes. Most of them are hymns that I grew singing in the church, and one or two are from classical composers. The guy I hired has played in Catholic weddings before and didn't seem to think there would be a problem. If all else he can just play the beginning and the end. The wedding coordinator told me if we choose to use the organ only the church organist can play, but we can use any another type of instrument we want. She even said we could use recordings of music, which a lot of churches frown upon. I guess we'll see how it goes. Thanks again!
    *********May 14, 2011 I marry best friend, biggest fan, and love of my life!!!********** ~Liz
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    ring_popring_pop member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    What's allowed really differs by church, so don't go by what other churches or websites say. Just go by your priest and music director.

    That being said, I don't think I've ever seen pipes inside a church. I can't imagine what it would sound like to have that kind of sound bouncing around in the church.
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    Theresa626Theresa626 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I really don't think this would be bad but YOu'd still have to pick sacred music.  For example, don't play My Heart Will Go On during communion ( that would also be really weird on bagpipes anyway!)  Most importantly, you need to talk to your church about this because every church is different.  You'll still need a cantor and most likely an organist from the church for all the mass parts but the bagpipes could be played during the prelude, communion and perhaps the processional and recessional.  
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    LAK011LAK011 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011

    We're actually going to have pipes at our wedding next year. It does differ from church to church it seems like. The one we are getting married in said there was no problem. We are only using the pipes for the processional and the recessional, however. Meggles, we're going to have Highland Cathedral too! (I am VERY into my Scottish heritage and my fiance isn't Scottish, but he's fallen in LOVE with this song!) We're doing the sacremonial (is that even a word?) music for the actual service. Good luck!

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    Megglez2008Megglez2008 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    LAK011 - It's a very beautiful song! DH isn't scottish either, (although I keep insisting he is somewhere based on his last name) but he loved the pipes, and it was one of his friends from college that played for us. People thought it was a recording at first, and then realized he was in the balcony. It wasn't overwhelmingly loud, and sounded beautiful in the church.

    We also had the Ave Maria for the seating of mothers and grandmothers, and then all religious for the rest of the ceremony. Our music director played the organ and my cousin was our cantor. My mom was actually a little sad that we weren't using more contemporary music since they had for their wedding 26 years ago, but that never even crossed my mind. The music we chose really complimented our readings and made the ceremony even more beautiful.
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    edited December 2011
    I am having a bagpiper at mine on Saturday, and he will play outside and inside the church. He will play as guests are coming and going, the organist will play Trumpet Voluntary for the bridesmaids' procession, then he will play The Wearing of the Green for my processional (and lead me down the aisle).  The organist will play all other music during the mass, then he will lead FI/H & I out with "Scotland the Brave", and play outside as people exit.

    Definitely talk specifically to your priest. It can absolutely differ by diocese and even by churches within each diocese.  My priest was more than ok with our friend playing in the church, as long as it was appropriate music.  Talk to your priest, and go from there! Good luck!
    Crosswalk
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    edited December 2011
    My MOH plays the bagpipes- and had her full band play for the recessional for her wedding 9 years ago.  There are plenty of songs that can be played- and plenty of traditional Irish and or Scottish tunes that have "Catholic" lyrics too. 

    We used a fiddle player and guitarist for our wedding (along with some piano/organ- even though I had asked him repeatedly only to play the piano). 

    I can send you a list of songs that we used and that were approved if you would like!   I know the tunes were slane,  Marie's Wedding (Onward to the Kingdom), Star of County Down (Canticle of Turning-  ended up using the slane one isntead b/c words were nicer),  Go Lassie Go (Holy is Your Name).   Our processional music choices were all traditional tunes, and we used the slane one for a gathering song (can't remember the name of the hymn now).
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    edited December 2011
    The Deacon that is performing our ceremony has  no problem with bagpipes at the wedding.

    I've hired a bagpiper to lead us out for the recessional, he will play "Marie's Wedding", FI does not know about it as its a surprise to him. We will be using the pipe organ for the rest of the music. Bagpiper will enter church the minute we are annouced married and will walk to get us and then turn around and lead us out of the church.

    He will then lead the congregation to the cocktail hour (everything is in walking distance) and he will play during the cocktail hour.
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    sallyanne7sallyanne7 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I would ask your wedding coordinator/church lady. My aunt had bagpipes at her wedding. Our church is pretty modern though.
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