Being a Master of Ceremonies is all about being in control but discreetly. You should be heard not seen. If you have ever been asked to perform this important role then here are a few tips to ensure the day goes smoothly.
If need to use a microphone, then make sure you do. Don’t try to shout above the hubbub of the crowd – the microphone will add more power to your voice. Make sure all audio equipment (if used for speeches/toasts) is in working order.
Some weddings may have the tradition of a receiving line. As the MC you should direct the wedding attendants to their proper spots in the line. If it is a very large wedding party, then the bridesmaids and groomsmen should not stand in the receiving line in order to have it move faster. The receiving line should be located near the entrance to the reception area. From left to right the bridal party should line up as follows:
the bride’s mother (as hostess)
the bride’s father
the groom’s mother
the groom’s father
the maid of honour
the best man
the groomsmen (although not necessary)
Remember to discuss this with the bride and groom to ensure they have who they want in the line. Make sure that everyone is clear on who will be standing where in the receiving line.
Direct special guests to any reserved seating areas. Groomsmen/ushers can help with seating of general guests if they are not in the receiving line.
Once guests are seated, announce the entrance of the bride and groom. Have the DJ or band play any music that was selected for their entrance. Introduce yourself as the Master of Ceremonies. Welcome the guests to this happy occasion and introduce everyone at the head table. Include the flower girl and ring bearer, even if they are seated elsewhere.
Announce the serving of dinner and introduce the person who will be saying grace, if this is to be included in the reception.
Once the main course has been completed, but before dessert, it will be time to begin the speeches. Make sure you give the head table 10 minutes warning, so that they can run to the washroom, etc. before the speeches begin. Also make sure that there is wine or champagne at each table for toasting.
As the wedding MC, you will call upon the first person to begin the speeches, which is usually the father of the bride. They will present a speech and toast to the bride and groom.
The MC then announces that a reply will be made by the groom (or the bride and groom both, as is often done today). The groom/bride accept the toast to themselves, and in turn thank everyone for their help in the wedding preparations and thank the guests for attending. They finish with a toast to the maid of honour and bridesmaids.
The MC will then stand and call on the Best Man to respond to the toast. The best man accepts the toast on behalf of the bridesmaids, then usually tells a short, humorous story about the groom, followed by a toast to both sets of parents. The best man or a groomsman read any faxes, telegrams or letters that were received from guests that couldn’t attend the wedding
The MC then announces the cutting of the cake by the bride and groom. Following this, dessert is served, and the bride and groom walk from table to table speaking with guests and handing out the cake.
After dessert is finished, the Master of Ceremony announces the first waltz by the new couple.
During the reception, the MC also announces when it’s time to throw the bouquet and the garter at a time prearranged by the bride and groom. You will also announce any special dances or other activities that have been planned for the evening.
At this point your duties may be finished but if the couple have asked you to stay to the end then your final duty may be to announce when the bride and groom are ready to leave. The Master of Ceremony announces this to the guests so they can make their good-byes and give their good wishes to the bridal couple.
Keep in mind that these are just generally followed guidelines and that they can be changed to suit the wedding couple. The main thing to remember is to relax and have fun. A wedding is a celebration of joy and love between two special people, not a rigid, military procedure. Don’t get so caught up in your “duties” that you forget to have fun. Go with the flow and enjoy the party!