Being a Master of Ceremonies at a wedding: Ten tips on how to be a good Master of Ceremonies, by Rachel Green.
You've been invited to be the master of ceremonies at a wedding. What an honour. It is an important job. You know the master of ceremonies can make or break the wedding reception, and you need to be good. Here are ten tips, out of the many available, to help you be a brilliant Wedding Master of Ceremony.
- Keep everything flowing smoothly.
It is often your job to mastermind the entire wedding reception. You need to know exactly what is to happen when, where and with whom. However, things are always in danger of going haywire at a wedding reception. When events do not go to plan you have to provide a way for everything to continue to run smoothly. This may be by your filling the gaps in the program or by getting someone else to do it. But whatever happens make sure the wedding reception flows smoothly. You are to smooth everything over.
- Keep everything and everyone to time.
How easy it is for a wedding reception to drag on. People speak far longer then they should, the bride and groom are late arriving, the knife for the cake cutting goes missing, the bride's mother faints ... there are any number of possible events that can stop the ceremony going to time. As the Master of Ceremony at the wedding your job is to make sure everything runs to time. If this means you go to the kitchen 15 minutes before the cake is due to be cut to ensure the knife is available and the cake ready, then you go to the kitchen. If you need to talk to everyone in advance about the length of their speeches and how to help them stick to time, then you talk to all speakers in advance. You do whatever you need to keep to time.
- Get the introductions and protocol correct.
The Wedding Master of Ceremony is often responsible for announcing who people are and introducing them before they give a speech or a toast. Make sure you have sufficient information on all the relevant people, and that you know what they are doing and when. Ensure you get the titles and protocol correct for all the duties including the introductions. For example, the Master of Ceremonies announcements may include introducing a toast to the bride and groom, calling upon the groom and bride to respond, inviting the parents of the groom to speak, inviting the bride and groom to the dance floor for the bridal waltz, and so on. Work out carefully, in advance, exactly what is expected of you. Your Master of Ceremonies duties can vary from one wedding to another. No two weddings are identical and not everyone wants a traditional wedding. (Also, it is important if you are not also the Best Man that you know which duties the Best Man will take responsibility for and which ones you, as the Master or Mistress of Ceremonies, will do. )
- Leave everyone feeling proud of the "happy couple".
Emotions are a very important part of your job. As the Master of Ceremonies at a wedding it is very important that everything you do is geared to two emotions: pride and happiness. You need to ensure everyone at the wedding, particularly the parents and siblings of the bride and groom, glow with radiant pride throughout the wedding ceremony and wedding reception. There are many ways to do this, e.g. telling positive stories about them, finding others to tell relevant stories about them, praising the bride and groom, commenting on good features that are happening... do what you can to leave everyone feeling proud of the couple and proud to have been at the wedding.
- Build up happiness.
Help the bride and groom to leave feeling very happy. As their Master of Ceremonies the bride and groom will want you to help them take away a wonderful set of memories that will last them a lifetime. People cherish their wedding photos for years and years; they still talk about their wedding 10, 20 or 30 years later, and they want everything to go well so they can savour each moment. The happy memories matter. The Master of Ceremony needs to have the couple and their happiness as a major focus.
- Encourage laughter.
Relax the wedding guests. Relax the bridal party. Relax everyone there by using humour so people laugh. You may for instance tell funny stories, or encourage others to do so, about the couple. This can keep a wedding light and enjoyable. Do not make the stories too embarrassing though, the Master of Ceremonies is not there to humiliate anyone, even if the groom is your best mate!
- Help the guests feel comfortable and connected.
One of the difficulties with wedding ceremonies and receptions is that the guests do not know each other. One of your tasks as the Master or Mistress of Ceremonies is to help the guests feel comfortable and connected. Very often guests can feel awkward and alone: bring everyone together. Help everyone get to know each other. This is even more important if it is a cross cultural or cross religious wedding.
- Make sure everyone knows what is happening.
So often I have been to weddings, as a guest, and had no idea what is happening next, or where I am to go or what I am to do. As the Wedding Master of Ceremony do not let this happen to your guests. Do not leave your guests standing around not knowing what to do next. Tell them what is happening each step of the way.
- Do not crack irrelevant jokes.
Master of Ceremonies who are new to the role, often make the mistake of thinking that they have to tell a whole series of jokes. There is no need to. There are other ways to produce humour. If you do tell jokes make sure they do not offend anyone. Pick them very carefully indeed.
- When alcohol is present be prepared for anything.
Sadly, people who drink too much alcohol at wedding receptions can cause a nightmare for the Master or Mistress of Ceremony. However, the Master of Ceremonies (usually along with the Best Man) is responsible for managing crowd behaviour. You become the unofficial bouncer. My worst memory of a wedding reception was when a small number of guests, myself included, took to the dance floor. A man behind me was inebriated. He decided to come up close and starting shoving himself at me, as if he were dry humping. It was disgusting and revolting. Fortunately, with very little fuss he was taken aside and encouraged to go home early. It is your job as the Master of Ceremony to avoid such incidents from occurring and if they do to deal with them swiftly and discreetly so there is as little embarrassment for the bride and groom as possible.
Want to know more? Got your wedding coming up soon? Then there is an E-book you can get immediately that is packed full of many more practical tips on how to be a superb Master of Ceremonies.
It contains a whole special section on "How to be a brilliant master of ceremonies at a wedding"; and there are also an additional "Ten tips for wedding MCs from a DJ's viewpoint", by Adrian Makarov, a professional DJ at weddings from Goldbass Records.
Have it delivered immediately to your e-mail box so you can be a brilliant Master or Mistress of Ceremony at your wedding.
Author of "How to be a brilliant Master of Ceremonies" gives you some top MC Tips
And, as an extra special bonus for you, once you have read the book you are welcome to send any questions you have about being a Master of Ceremonies to me, so I can personally answer them for you. The normal cost of an individual coaching session with me is $300+GST per hour so you are getting this for free.
Enjoy being a brilliant Master of Ceremonies at your wedding.
PO Box 344, Kelmscott, Western Australia 6991.
Phone: +61 8 9390 1188. Fax +61 8 9390 1199
|These tips are only general in nature and may not apply to all people, all cultures or all weddings or situations. While every care has been taken to ensure the tips are useful, no responsibility can be taken for the results gained from their implementation. Please seek individual professional guidance for any difficulties you may have in your communication, inter-personal, wedding management or performance skills. Thank you.
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