When does the piper play at a wedding?
This is entirely up to you, but here are a few suggestions:
• As Guests arrive at Church/Register Office/Hotel:
• Piping the Bride on arrival at the service: The piper can play at the entrance to the church before, or during the arrival of the bride.
• Piping the Bride up the aisle
• Signing of the register: Have the piper in the background playing a few Northumbrian Airs as you sign the Wedding Register.
• At the church door
• Welcoming guests to the reception: The piper can stand at the entrance to the hotel playing a few welcoming tunes.
• Playing during the Photographs: a few tunes to keep your guests entertained as they wait for all the family photographs.
• Pipe the newly weds to the top table
How much does it cost to book a Northumbrian Piper?
Our prices start at £240 inclusive for two hours. For a wedding this should comfortably cover the time required for guests arriving, arrival of the bride, and piping after the ceremony. If you require your piper beyond that time, to pipe you into the wedding breakfast for instance, there is usually a small additional charge of £40/£50. These are indicative prices and can sometimes be a little higher depending on location/time of year/day of the week/time required/choice of piper etc. After you make your enquiry, the price we quote you for your piper or pipers will include all travel costs. There are no additional or hidden costs.
Will my piper wear traditional costume?
Some of our pipers wear the black and white Northumbrian plaid and hat. Please look at the individual profiles to check whether your preferred piper performs in traditional dress. If you want a piper to wear traditional costume, please be sure to specify this at the time of booking.
How do I know I’m getting a good piper?
Simple – all our pipers are good! As musicians ourselves, we would not allow our reputation to be tarnished by supplying anything less than the best. Also, Magnetic North East is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which was set up with the express intention of promoting the music and culture of the North East of England/Northumbria and we pride ourselves on showcasing our unique traditional instrument to its best advantage. Different pipers have different styles of playing and of dress, so please be clear to specify what you want when booking, so that we can make sure that you have an excellent experience on the day. We have some of the best pipers in the world on our books!
Can you arrange for other instruments to be played?
Yes, we can also provide other options such as harp, string quartet, folk string trio or ceilidh band. We can also arrange singers, clog dancers, rapper sword dancers, poets etc… all in the North East traditions. Just give us a call, or enter your choices on to our enquiry form.
How does the booking/payment procedure work?
Once you have received your quote and told us that you would like to go ahead, we will send you details of your booking, which also includes payment details. We ask for a small deposit in advance, to be paid to Magnetic North East and once this is received your booking is fully confirmed. You will normally pay the balance of the booking fee directly to your piper on the day (or before if you would prefer). For established clients and recognised corporate bodies, payment can be made after the event subject to prior agreement.
The finer details of the day can be agreed in the weeks/months/days leading up to it. The important thing, particularly for weekend weddings, is to get that early booking in, as some of our pipers get booked up over a year in advance.
Can I be sure who I have booked?
Yes. Take a look at our list of pipers and add the names of your top choices to your enquiry form. If your preferred piper is available on your preferred date we will reserve their services. We will always keep you informed should there be any change of plan. You will have a direct contract with the piper for them to deliver the services agreed. If, for any reason, they are unable to attend, they will be responsible for providing a replacement piper of at least as good a standard. Magnetic North East will do all it can to help in this very unlikely circumstance.
Can I request a particular tune/tunes?
Of course you can. We are always happy to discuss repertoire with you. If a specific tune is essential, please make sure that this is mentioned at the time of booking, so we can select an artist for you who is happy to play it.
Please be aware that the Northumbrian pipes have a limited range of notes, so if you want your piper to play something from outside the Northumbrian piping repertoire it will need to be musically possible! (We can advise on this, and one of our pipers may be able to arrange your chosen tune in a way that would work on the instrument.)
How about a specially commissioned tune to mark the occasion?
Ideal as a unique and bespoke wedding gift or that special something to mark your day forever. Have one of our pipers or ceilidh bands play a tune written specifically for you. Have it played as you take your seat for dinner, as the first dance, or at any other appropriate time of the day. Our composers will tailor the tune to your needs (so if you want a tune for walking up the aisle they will make sure that it is just the right speed!).
Can my piper play outside?
The Northumbrian pipes are a delicate instrument, designed to be played indoors. If played outside, especially in damp conditions, irreparable damage can be caused to the reeds inside the instrument. In fine weather conditions, most pipers are happy to play outside but the arrangements would need to be changed if the piper – in his/her absolute discretion – were to decide that conditions on the day are unsuitable. It is always best to have a wet weather plan, as if you have no alternative venue the playing may have to be cancelled but the fee will remain payable in full.
Which areas do you cover?
Magnetic North East generally covers the North East of England and surrounding areas but if your event is somewhere more distant, please contact us and we will do everything we can to accommodate your needs.
We have excellent contacts with musicians and bands throughout the UK. There may be a price implication if your artist(s) has to travel an unusually large distance however.
What are the Northumbrian pipes?
The Northumbrian Smallpipes (otherwise known as the Northumbrian pipes) are the traditional instrument of the North East of England. They are a melodious, bellows-blown bagpipe, with a pure, sweet sound. They are rather quiet by comparison with other bagpipes and are normally played indoors. The chanter has a closed end and is played with closed fingering, giving a unique staccato character. Three drones are normally used as accompaniment – a bass and tenor tuned an octave apart, and a baritone tuned a fifth above the bass. The sound of the chanter has been likened to the singing of a lark over the drones sounding like the buzzing of bees!
Will my piper wear traditional costume?
Some of our pipers wear the black and white Northumbrian plaid and hat, please look at the individual profiles to check whether your preferred piper performs in traditional dress. If you want a piper to wear traditional costume, please be sure to specify this at the time of booking.
Do I get a discount if I book more than one artist for my event?
If you are looking for more than one artist it may be easier for you to take advantage of our event management service, where we sort everything out for you. Just ask!
Alternatively, you may find that your ceilidh band might be able to provide everything you need: many bands offer flexible options such as an acoustic duo, or solo Northumbrian piper to play during the wedding ceremony, your drinks reception or as background music during the meal. They are then joined by the rest of the band later in the day to entertain during your party. This would obviously save you money – just let us know what you’d like and we’ll find the best possible option for you. We want you to be absolutely delighted with the service we provide.
What happens if I want to cancel?
If you need to cancel after you have confirmed your booking and paid your deposit, you will forfeit your deposit. If cancellation is within 30 days of the event, the balance of the fee will remain payable in full. We recommend that you take out appropriate insurance cover for events that might lead to cancellation.