Wedding receptions often have a Master of Ceremonies (MC) to keep the day running smoothly. This role is sometimes handed to the best man, or another close friend of the groom. The role of MC is simple. It requires you to make a few announcements loudly and clearly as the day progresses. The groom may know exactly what he wants these to be, but they usually include some or all of the following:
- Announcing who should be in the formal group photos
- Announcing that dinner is served
- Welcoming the bride and groom into the dining area
- Introducing the father of the bride’s speech
- Introducing the groom’s speech
- Announcing the cutting of the cake
- Introducing the first dance
If you are a nervous best man, then being MC is often a safe way of getting over many of your biggest fears before your speech. You’ll have the chance to shout out some pretty straightforward messages, getting you used to speaking in front of an audience. You’ll appear confident and in a position of responsibility from the start, which will impress fellow guests. Most importantly it will give you an idea of the acoustics and a feel for the microphone. Although you may worry about the first announcement, you’ll grow into the role throughout the day and will feel immeasurably more relaxed by the time you come to give your speech.
Here are some tips to help master the role:
- Test the microphone out before guests arrive to get a feel for the acoustics.
- Plan where each announcement will be made to avoid uncertainty.
- Introduce yourself with your first announcement so guests know who you are, but keep it short. The day does not revolve around the MC!
- Go through your role with the groom and other speakers, so they know when and how you’ll be introducing them.
- Get the tone right. You need to speak clearly and loudly, but this shouldn’t be interpreted as bossy and deafening. You are giving announcements, not barking orders at your troops.
- Keep humour to a minimum; you haven’t been employed to be the stand-up comic. Whilst a witty foreword before introducing each speaker can work well, it must be short and relevant.
- Don’t get carried away with the Champagne. Whilst your role may be small compared to others on the day, it is crucial that you are on the ball and punctual with your announcements.
I’ve helped numerous MCs get this role just right, so if you’re still worried about what to say or how to say it please get in touch.
Guest Post by Lawrence Bernstein of Great Speech Writing
Image from Claire Basiuk Photography