After months of hardcore wedding planning, you're probably thrilled to be passing the organisation baton (let's pretend that's a thing) on to the loyal friend you've assigned to be your Master of Ceremonies.
Your MC will guide your crowd of loved ones through all the formal proceedings of the reception, meaning you can finally sit back and let someone else do all the hard work!
Many couples choose a friend who is a confident public speaker and effortlessly hilarious. But if you don't have a Jimmy Fallon or Tina Fey equivalent to call on, you could also consider a friend who has been as immersed in the planning as you two have, someone who knows your wedding Pinterest boards inside out and gets the vibe you're going for. Alternatively, some people choose their best man and/or one of the bridesmaids to look after the official proceedings.
Once you've chosen your MC, casually slip this link into an email to make sure they know what they're doing (and keep the 'hilarious' stories about you and your groom to a minimum). You can thank us later!
Part 1: Get organised
First up, congrats on being chosen to be the MC! In a nutshell, your job is to keep the wedding running smoothly, from when the guests first arrive to when the newlyweds depart. It's also about keeping the day as stress-free as possible for the bride and groom, so speak to them beforehand to confirm how they would like things to run. A super-organised bride will probably give you a running sheet anyway, so you can start planning around that. "Study the running sheet well and be competent to introduce all the formal parts of the reception," advises professional wedding MC and entertainer Elliot Goblet. "Prepare humour related to the formal parts and also some tasteful jokes about the bride and groom."
If you're going to need them, get the names of the bridal party and other VIPs (family members, close friends, etc) and double-check pronunciation with the couple. Even a seemingly common name may be pronounced differently, which you don't want to be finding out for the first time on the night.
Part 2: Kicking things off
When you first get to the venue, test the microphone and look over your notes again to make sure you've got the order of proceedings down pat. Once most of the guests are there, introduce yourself to the crowd, explain your relationship to the bride and groom, and throw in a funny anecdote or two if you're comfortable doing so.
Public speaking can be a bit nerve-wracking in any situation, but remember that weddings are meant to be fun - especially once the formalities of the ceremony are over! Speak loudly and clearly, and establish the tone you (and the newlyweds) are going for. While the MC is an important part of the day, it's not all about you, so remember to keep the focus on the bride and groom. "And don't panic if something doesn't go to plan," says Elliot. "Again, humour can be used to diffuse awkward situations."
Part 3: The speeches
After the guests are settled in and you've thanked them for coming, it will be time to announce the arrival of the bridal party. Some couples will want you to introduce everyone individually, including the flower girl and pageboys, but others won't, so make sure you've confirmed that ahead of time.
Next up, the speeches. These are traditionally done around dessert time, but increasingly couples are choosing to get them out of the way earlier (while the photographer is still there) or spread them out between courses. Make sure you know who is speaking and when. "Ad lib with humour to ensure the audience continues to be entertained, especially between boring speeches," says Elliot.
As MC you may also be in charge of keeping speeches short, ensuring that the father of the bride or the best man doesn’t get carried recalling “the time when...” This task may be assigned beforehand, or be more of an impromptu thing - think a best man or bridesmaid who've had one too many glasses of bubbly.
Your other important announcement will be the cutting of the cake and the first dance. By then, you may have had a few too many champagnes yourself, so avoid the temptation to launch your stand-up comedy career at this particular moment. Keep it short and sweet and then let the couple take centre stage.
Finally, you may be required to announce the departure of the couple at the end of the night. Explain how this will be happening (whether it's a guard of honour, a final dance or some other tradition) and then thank guests again for coming.
Good luck and - most importantly - have fun!
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