Tips for MC's

By Marilyn Latchford, DTM

The role of MC is very similar to the role of a Toastmaster. The MC creates an atmosphere of interest and expectation, acts as a genial host and keeps the occasion on schedule. It takes a bit of planning but the result is very rewarding.

Create an Agenda

Create an agenda to gauge the timing of the event and keep it flowing so people don’t get bored. Give out a few copies to key people just in case you are not available. It may appear to be too much work but it helps eliminate gaps. Obviously, the agenda may slip but at least you can judge if something is amiss.

Example of an Agenda

  • Groom and Groomsmen arrive at Church - 2:30 p.m.
  • Bride and Bridesmaids arrive at Church - 3:00 p.m.
  • Wedding - 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Pictures (find out who is invited and where) - 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Cocktail reception for guests during pictures - 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Reception line (if desired) - 5:40 p.m. to 6:10 p.m.
  • Guests should be seated - 6:15 p.m.
  • Housekeeping items - 6:15 p.m. to 6:20 p.m.
  • Bridal Party will enter the room - 6:20 p.m.
  • Brief introduction of the bridal party - 6:25 p.m. to 6:35 p.m.
  • Grace (if desired) - 6:40 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
  • Break for dinner - 6:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Speeches after head table have dessert - 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • First dance - 8:45 p.m.
  • Bridal bouquet and garter toss - 10:30 p.m.
  • Treat Table and Coffee - 11:30 p.m.
  • Last dance - 12:55 a.m.

Things to Consider for Speeches

Prior to the Wedding Day

  • Plan out what you are going to say
  • Remember your audience – what may be funny and understood by one group may not be to another group
  • Confirm the activities and timing with bride and groom
  • Confirm the number of speakers and what toast they will give – discourage roasts unless in good taste
  • Confirm that speeches will be around 2 to 3 minutes long
  • Confirm that you will toast the bride and groom to kick things off
  • Collect information for your introductions of the bridal party – 35 to 40 seconds per introduction
  • Plan out what you will say in your toast to the bride and groom
  • Don’t drink too many alcoholic drinks because they slow up your reflexes or too many coffees because they may over stimulate you. If you have a dry mouth, drink something at room temperature or bite the tip of your tongue.

At the Reception

  • Ask the guests to take their seats
  • Just before the bridal party enters the reception room, make sure that the video cameraperson is ready to start filming, if you are videotaping the event. (I missed this part and the introduction of the bridal party was missed.)
  • Pause, smile and introduce yourself as the MC and that you will be the host for the evening’s activities
  • Go over any housekeeping items – location of the washrooms, bar (host or cash), no smoking in reception room, designated areas for smoking, introduce the DJ and say how guests can ask for requests, special instructions for the bride and groom to kiss, etc. (At my niece’s wedding, instead of tinkling the glasses, guests had to putt a hole-in-one – very unusual and fun.)
  • Ask the guests to stand as the wedding party enters the room
  • As the wedding party enters in pairs with the bride and groom last, announce their names
  • Once the wedding party is seated at the head table and the guests are seated, introduce the head table starting with the person closest to you (no more than 35-40 seconds each). Say their name and a little tidbit about them - their relationship with the bride and groom and something that would endear them to the audience
  • Introduce the person who will give the Grace and stand over to the side
  • Announce the break for dinner and advise that you will be coming back with the speeches after the bridal party has their desert
  • To start the speeches, check with the cameraperson and call the guests back to order
  • Start off the speeches by giving your toast to the bride and groom (something short and endearing – no more than 2 minutes)
  • Announce the name of speakers one at a time and step over to the side – stay close but not in the way. Don’t return to your table because it takes too much time.

Suggested Speaking Order

  • Toast to Bride and Groom - MC
  • Toast to the Groom
  • Toast to the Bridesmaids
  • Toast by the Maid of Honour
  • Toast to the Bride
  • Toasts by other guests – encourage them to be brief
  • Bride and Groom’s Speech
  • Be prepared for anything (I had a man break into tears because he wished he was in the wedding party – had to wait a few seconds because I didn’t want to look insensitive but really!)
  • Announce the first dance and hand things over to the DJ – your job is done
  • DJ will announce the timing of the Bride Bouquet and Garner toss
  • DJ will announce the treat table and coffee
  • DJ will announce last call and last dance

Have Fun!

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