The essential resource for anyone acting as the MC at any wedding.
First things first . . . Congratulations! The Bride and Groom have entrusted you with their wedding, by asking you to be their MC .
The fact that you are taking the time to read this means you care enough to put in the time and effort to do the best job you can for them, that in itself means that you will do a great job, coupled with the fact that they have chosen you because your personality is exactly what they want to make their guests feel comfortable. You are the perfect person for job.
This guide is basically the culmination of our experience acting as the MC at weddings. You have the personality the Bride & Groom are looking for, and we have the experience. This is our way of joining the two attributes to make you the perfect Wedding MC.
Some of the guide may not apply to you, particularly if you have a public speaking background, if that is the case, just skip ahead. We have tried to pack all of our knowledge and experience into one guide, catering for everyone.
The Role of The MC
I have found in the past that a lot of people don’t really understand the role of the MC, or think it is just about public speaking. It is important to be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, but a good MC knows exactly how a wedding is run and all the little things that go on behind the scenes.
If you are the MC, you are the host of this wedding. No, you don’t want to be in everyone’s face, however, you do want to make it clear that you are the person who knows who needs to be where and when. Guests (and the Bridal Party) need to feel comfortable that you are going to guide them through this entire function, with minimal hiccups or disruptions.
The Bride and Groom have spent months planning this event. We don’t want the bride running around trying to organise everybody. It is your job to take care of all the details, ensuring that the bride & groom can relax and enjoy their wedding reception.
If you have a good understanding of the program, and keep everyone in the loop, this ensures that other service providers will be coming to you with their questions rather than harrassing the bride & groom all night.
Don’t forget, keep everyone in the loop. It is no good to announce the Bridal Waltz if your DJ doesn’t have the song ready and the photographer isn’t there to take the photos.
I can not stress enough how important timing is to the success of any event. It is your job to ensure that the formalities run to the the program you have been given. The best way to do this is ensure that everyone who is required for a formality is reminded 10 minutes prior to it. If the formalities run over time, then money spent on entertainment will be wasted when there is no time to dance, because there were big gaps between dinner, the speeches, cutting of the cake and bridal waltz.
It can be very costly to the couple if their event needs to be extended an hour because everything ran behind.
You are also a guest
Don’t forget that you are also a guest at this wedding. If your DJ is from Overload Entertainment, we are all experienced MCs and are more than happy to help out wherever we can. Your DJ & the Bride & Groom want you to be able to have a great night as well. Make sure you don’t miss out on a slow dance with your own partner or a quiet drink and chat because you are running around doing everything.
You have some responsibilities that really should be done by you, but other than that, let us help you so that you can have a great night too.
For those of you who have a public speaking background, you might want to skip ahead here, for those of you that have been thrown completely in the deep end, this is where we have all the tips and tricks to ensure you come across as a relaxed and comfortable host.
Even the greatest written and delivered speech will fall flat if your guests can not comfortably listen to you. Your DJ or the venue should control the microphone levels ensuring that all your guests are able to hear you clearly, however there is only so much they can do if the microphone is not being used properly.
While you don’t want to have your microphone too close to your mouth, muffling all your words, it is important to hold it within a two inches of your mouth as it can only amplify sounds that are within it’s range.
All microphones vary, if you are unsure as to where you should be holding your microphone, discuss it with your dj prior to the function.
Know what you are going to say in advance
It is important to know what you are going to say in advance. A lot of people will turn up ready to MC with the timetable or running sheet. It is not enough to write down “announce the bridal waltz”, you need to give yourself something to say, like “Now, I would like to invite Mr & Mrs Smith to come and take the floor for their first dance as husband and wife”, it doesn’t matter if you digress from what you have written, even if you are a comfortable speaker and plan to do the whole thing off the top of your head. If you have something written down to say, if for some reason you do go blank, you have something eloquent to say.
If you don’t have something like “Now, I would like to invite Mr & Mrs Smith to come and take the floor for their first dance as husband and wife” written down and your mind goes black you will end up saying something more like “Umm, alright, now it’s time to do the Bridal Waltz”, which is not too bad in itself but if you word every announcement exactly the same, it will sound very repetetive.
You also want to do this for introducing the speakers when the speeches are on time. This means you avoid saying “Next up we have…now we have…next up is…” etc. Jot down things like “First I would like to hand over to, Janes father ‘Mr Smith’ to share a few words with you”
You are going to hate this section. But I am afraid the first thing you need to do is practice in front of a mirror. Once you have a program, and written out your announcement for each one, you need to do a few performances, complete, with a pretend microphone.
This is where you can see how comfortable you look and sound. Sometimes things look nice written down, but when you say them aloud they are somewhat stilted. Watch & listen to yourself, and weed out all of your bad habbits, until you have a nice, smooth presentation.
Now you are really going to hate me.
Take your pretend microphone and notes out to the lounge room and practice in front of a friend or family member.
I know it’s mortifying and embarrassing. But it’s the only way to pick up all your little nervous habbits. Once you start practicing in front of someone, you are going to start doing all sorts of things you never new you did. Dropping the microphone away from your mouth, or worse, gesturing with it, umming & aaahing, twisting the microphone lead, stepping from side to side, speaking too fast, mumbling, even twitches.
We all have them (mine were twitches and speaking too fast), but we can all control them. They will come out when you practice in front of someone (as long as you feel self consious doing it.). Have them point out all your little quirks to you, and keep practicing until you have kerbed them all.
Better to feel foolish in front of one person, than the 50 – 100 guests at the wedding. Trust me, you might hate it now, but on the day you will feel so comortable and confident you will be so glad you did it.
The Nitty Gritty
This is where we get down to the nitty gritty, exactly what you need to do on the day, and all the little things you can do, to make this wedding perfect.
Get to The Venue Early
It is a good idea to get to the venue early, say 15 minutes before it starts, so as to prepare.
When you arrive at the venue introduce yourself to all the relevant service providers (and remember the old trick of repeating peoples names when they introduce themselves so you remember their name throughout the night.) ie Photographer, Caterer, DJ.
You will be working with these people on the night so it is great if you know them and are comfortable dealing with them.
Find out all the relevent venue info.
Find out where the lights are, the toilets, smoking areas.
About 5 minutes before the Bridal Party is due to arrive, take the microphone and introduce yourself. You want to:
- Introduce yourself – explain your relationship to the Bridal Party and that if they need anything throughout the night
- Houskeeping – let everyone know where the toilets, bar & smoking areas are
- Bridal Party – let them know to relax and have a chat, and that the bridal party won’t be to far away.
It is also a good idea at this point in time to check that the Bridal Party will have a clear path to walk through. If they do not, politely explain to the people who are seated in the way, that you would appreciate it when the bridal party arrive if they could push their chairs in and stand against the wall so the bridal party can come through – explaining it at this early stage means that people will move quickly & without confusion when it is time.
Bridal Party Entrance
From the time guests arrive, keep and eye out for the bridal party so that you can meet them when they arrive.
When they do arrive, you want to make sure everyone is in the order on your list (it should start with any Flowergirls & Pageboys, then Bridesmaids & Groomsmen, then Best Man & Maid of Honour, ending with the Bride & Groom.) read their full names out loud as you do this, as this will ensure that you pick up any mispronounciations now.
The venue may have already done this, but if they have not, explain that they walk in together when announced, the man generally walks the lady to here chair, pulls it out for her, waits until she is seated & then walks over to stand behind his own chair (the groomsman remail standing so that the bride & groom can walk behind them.
Once the Bride is seated, everyone can sit down.
If people remain standing or attentive once the bride is seated. Announce that they can have a seat, relax & enjoy each others company until the entrees come around – which should not be to long.
Again, most venues will take care of this, but make sure that the Bridal Party have a drink.
The speeches are best held after dessert is served. Though different programs may have the speeches before dessert or after it is cleared away.
The best way to go about this is once the main is being cleared away, go and speak to the bridal party and anyone else making speeches that speeches will be after dessert is served. Be ready to introduce the first speaker as soon as the last dessert is served. By this time the Bridal Party will have finished their dessert as well as anyone making speeches (who would usually be sitting at one of the tables served first).
Remind the Bride & Groom that straight after the speeches you will be doing the Cutting of The Cake & Bridal Waltz.
You also want give the photographer, venue & DJ 5 minutes notice before you start the speeches so that they will all be ready.
A few tips with the speeches:
- Invite people to come up to you and speak – this looks much nicer than you running the microphone to them. Also radio mics still have their limits and you don’t want to get interference if someone is sitting in a bad area.
- Never invite anyone to speak who isn’t on the list – if they wanted to speak, or the Bride & Groom wanted them to speak, they would have put them on the list.
- Never ask if anyone has anything they would like to add – this is dangerous for two reasons:
a) it can encourage innaproprate people to come up and say a few words (ie a work colleagues drunk girlfriend) and
b) it can make the speeches drag on much longer than the Bride & Groom intended.
Cutting of The Cake
Immediately after the speeches, you want to move straight into the cutting of the cake.
Invite the Bride & Groom to come forward and cut the wedding cake.
It can be helpful to the photographer is you ask guests to refrain from taking photos for a moment while the professional photographer takes photos.
Give the photographer a minute to take their photos, then invite guests to come forward and take a photo if they like.
The photographer will usually guide the Bride & Groom through this process, but if it is someone who does not usually photograph weddings and the Bride & Groom look a little lost, encourage them to stand behind the cake. The Bride should put one hand under the knife and the other over it. The Groom should come around with one arm around the Bride and the other over the top of her hand on the knife. Don’t cut straight away. They should for the photographer to take a few photos before they slide the knife in.
Once the cake is cut, invite the Bride & Groom to the dancefloor for the Bridal Waltz. Check with the Bride & Groom, but most couples don’t like to be dancing, just the two of them, for too long.
After about one minute (usually one third of the song) invite the Bridal Party to join them on the dancefloor.
If the venue has not done so, dim the lights.
Invite everyone to come and join the Bride & Groom on the dancefloor. You may need to be a bit encouraging. Feel free to hand the microphone back to the DJ so you can go and have a nice dance with your own partner.
This is where you get to kick back and relax, most of our clients who have a friend or family member MC will have them finish here so that they can drink & enjoy the rest of the night, leaving the Bouquet Toss, Garter Toss & Farewell Circle up to the DJ. If that is you, go and enjoy the rest of the night.
If you are in the second group who is taking care of the entire evening, have a short relax now, but there is more work for you to do!
About 30 Minutes Prior to The Conclusion of The Wedding….
- Let the Bride & Groom know that you will be doing the Bouquet Toss in about 10 minutes
- Check that the Bride has her bouquet to toss
- Also let the DJ know, so they can have a song ready
- If the photographer is still there, let them know too so they don’t miss it
- Make sure a chair is handy for the garter toss.
- Remember, if they go over time at all, many venues will charge them (and not a small amount either), so it important to have the function finished by the pre arranged time.
This needs to happen about 20 minutes prior to the conclusion of the function.
Have your Bride up the front with her bouquet.
Invite all the single girls up to the dancefloor. Now remember at this is a less formal part of the evening (and all your guests may have had a few drinks) so you will need to be loud, and repeat yourself a few times and just generally really encourage people to get up.
I also like to define single and say something like “I don’t care if you are dating, have a boyfriend or living with someone! If there is no ring on your finger and you are not married get up here on the dancefloor!” I often repeat this as some people take a little bit of coaxing to get up at this point.
Give all the stragglers a bit of time to get up. “Alright, have we got all the single ladies up here now?”
When it seems like you have everyone, sometimes it helps to count down from 3 for the Bride.
This follows the Bouquet Toss.
Go and get the chair you had handy and place it on the dancefloor. Be sure to angle it sideways, towards an area where there is no one standing, so that the Brides don’t see a little more than they bargained for!
Follow the same routine as for the Bouquet Toss.
This is the final part of the evening. You need to encourage all of the guests to make a big circle, again this takes a lot of repetition to get people into a big circle.
Encourage the Bride & Grooms parents or nearest and dearest to be at the end of the circle towards the doors they will be exiting from. The Bride and Groom should start at this end of the circle.
Instruct the Bride & Groom to travel in opposite directions, saying goodbye to everyone as they go, halfway they will cross over and continue until they meet up again back at their parents, this means that they get to see their parents last, before they leave.
Announce that it is time for the Bride & Groom to go and start their life together and wish them luck. (Sometimes it’s good to give a “hip hip”, “hooray” going so that the couple leave in the midst of celebration.
Last Tips For You
- Don’t change the program. I know first hand how much time and effort couples put into organising their program, and it is always dissappointing when the MC decides to change things around on the night. A lot of thought went in deciding the best order to do things in. Changing it at the last minute is not only against the couples wishes but it also makes things very difficult for the service providers.
- You can’t go wrong. Really you can’t. The Bride and Groom have asked you to MC because of who you are as a person. Be yourself, use the tips above that you feel are appropriate and you can only do a fantastic job.
Need more info, or just a bit of encouragement? We are not just here to help the Bride and Groom. If you are the MC at one of our functions and we can be of any help to you, call us on 02 4341 7495.