If you’re of Scottish descent or a fan of Scotland and are looking to put together a ceremony using Scottish wedding music, here’s a list of possible selections for you to choose from. After researching this topic, I conclude that Scots wrote some of the best national pride songs on the planet. Flowers of Scotland? Yes please!! Also, how did Russia end up in this list? Read on to find out.
I compiled a YouTube playlist that follows along with this list, and you can listen as you read:
Highland Cathedral (Processional)
“This melody was composed by German musicians Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb in 1982 for a Highland games held in Germany. It has been proposed as the Scottish national anthem to replace unofficial anthems.” (wiki)
I personally really love this arrangement of the popular tune. While this piece is traditionally played with bagpipes (along with many other tunes in this list), I prefer the simpler, lighter sounds. Perhaps that’s the harpist bias in me.
Skye Boat Song (Processional)
“The song tells how Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped in a small boat (after the defeat of his Jacobite rising of 1745), with the aid of Flora MacDonald, disguised as a serving maid. The song is a traditional expression of Jacobitism and its story has also entered Scotland as a national legend.” (wiki)
I like the softness and genuine tone of this duo. Very Simon and Garfunkle.
Flowers of Scotland (Processional)
This is one of my all-time favorite songs. It’s rousing. It makes you want to “Rise, and be the nation again—that stood against him—Proud Edward’s army.” Seriously, the Scottish have the market cornered on stirring battle songs.
The Rowan Tree (Processional / Unity Ceremony)
“The European rowan has a long tradition in European mythology and folklore. It was thought to be a magical tree and give protection against malevolent beings.” (wiki)
Don’t get confused here as I did. The Rowan Tree is a popular Scottish tune, but it’s also a Russian tune (Ural Rowan Tree) with a completely different melody. Both are slow, stately and good for processionals.
The first tune on the playlist is the best version I could find of the Scottish version. There are lots of versions featuring bagpipes, and I find it hard to make out the melody. The particular version I chose is performed by a violinist—he’s quirky and fun I really like the “lusty” sound of violin when they use double stops (that’s when they play two notes simultaneously).
The Russian version has more of a waltz feel. The version I added is a great arrangement of the tune, sung by a women’s chorus, and backed up softly with a orchestra. I instantly fell in love with it!
The Mist Covered Mountains of Home (Procesional or Unity Ceremony)
“The song is a longing for home and with its wistful, calming melody and traditional ballad rhythms, is often used as a lullaby.” (wiki)
The second to last verse reads,
“Lofty mountains and resplendent ledges,
There dwell my own folk, kind folk of honor.
Light is my step as I leap up to meet them;
‘Tis with pleasure I’ll stay there a while.”
I like how the guy in this recording layered it himself by putting down a harp base and then coming in on the second stanza with his whistle.
The Cradle Song (Unity Ceremony)
“‘The Cradle Song’ is a slow air written by J. Scott Skinner after seeing a sick child being cared for by his mother in a hotel in Forres. He went into the wrong room by mistake and saw the mother bending over the cradle. He imagined her to be worrying about her little son, who was ‘heir to a title and large estates’.” (Education Scotland)
This version is so beautiful… it’s almost too sad-sounding to play at a wedding, but soul crushing in a good way. I can literally hear the tenderness and sweetness.
Morning has Broken (Unity Ceremony)
The tune was first published in 1931, and then made wildly popular by Cat Stevens who covered it in 1971. I really like it because it’s a fresh and simple song of praise. A song about new beginnings! Kind of like weddings.
Mairi’s Wedding (Recessional or Processional)
This is a particularly upbeat tune about going to a wedding. Could be used as a recessional, or perhaps slowed down a bit to use as a processional… unless you want your wedding party to dance down the aisle with you! One verse goes, “Cheeks as bright as rowans are, Brighter far than any star, Fairest of them all by far is my darling Mairi.”
This is a very listenable, toe-tapping tune. You can’t possibly feel anything but joy and elation when you hear “Marry Me Now” which is what makes it a great recessional tune. Also, the version you are hearing in this playlist is being performed by none other than my very talented friend Stephanie (whose website you are now on) …and that’s me turning the pages of her music. View Video >
Scotland the Brave (Recessional)
I love bagpipes, but I’ll tell you this—they sound terrible through headphones—and I had a hard time picking out a YouTube video for this one. However, bagpipes do sound awesome in person. So, if you’re keen on having Scottish wedding music, you can’t go wrong with a recessional of “Scotland the Brave” on the pipes.
Hope this list of music helps out for your Scottish-themed wedding! Do you know of other Scottish songs that you brides love? Leave me a comment below and I will add it to the list! Don’t forget to share this article with other brides that love Scotland too!
If you’re looking for live harp music for your wedding ceremony, consider hiring Stephanie!