A wedding MC, or emcee, is the master of ceremonies. This person is responsible for speaking to your guests during the reception, presenting speakers, and generally keeping the event moving along. They play a big role in setting the mood for the reception, and are often the first person that guests get to hear from once they’ve sat down at their tables.
This may sound like a big task, but for the right person, it’s a fun and enjoyable activity. Plus, if you’re working with a wedding planner or coordinator, they’ll have support from them during the big day.
THE BENEFITS OF HAVING AN MC
There’s a lot of value to having an MC at your reception.
For starters, it helps guests feel comfortable knowing that they have someone taking care of the flow of the reception. They can rest assured knowing that they’re in safe hands with an MC that’s making things happen when they should. Plus, the couple doesn’t have to think about any of the logistics, and they can just enjoy the event.
Second, it helps give the evening more structure. An MC can both introduce a speaker and provide closure after each speech, giving a hint of what’s coming next and when it’s coming.
Lastly, it’s another role that you can give to someone who wants to be involved in the wedding and is excited to help.
HOW TO CHOOSE AN MC
Picking the MC is one of the early tasks I give my couples when we start working together. This is because it’s quite an important role — so there needs to be some thought behind who it goes to — and because it requires someone who’s charismatic and comfortable talking in front of people. It also seems to be a task that takes couples a long time to make, so I like to give them as much time as I can.
While some couples prefer the idea of a professional MC that can provide some entertainment throughout the evening, my recommendation is to ask someone who’s near and dear to them. That could be a family member or a close friend that knows the two of you and can share personal anecdotes throughout the evening. This personal touch is important, it adds a loving touch to the role and ensures that any well wishes are genuinely given.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be the funniest person you know. Sometimes, an MC that’s too focused on being funny and making the audience laugh might pull focus from the couple and from the people toasting them.
HOW TO BE A GOOD WEDDING MC
Once you’ve chosen your MC, the best thing you can do is set them up for success. For the couples I work with, I like to reach out directly to the person they’ve selected and share some tips and tricks so that they’re ready for the day.
Here are some of the pointers I give them:
1. Have a chat with the couple to understand what they’re expecting on the day. Do they want the vibe to be lighthearted? Or a bit more formal? Are there any stories that are off limits?
2. Ask if the couple wants to have an open mic or not. If so, work with them to set ground rules that you can share at the beginning of the reception. For the record, we are not fans of nor do we encourage an open mic. If our couples insist, we do have a few tricks up our sleeves to take some of the risk away from this option.
- 3. Find out how they want to be introduced to their guests. Is one partner taking the other’s name? Does either of them have a professional title (e.g. doctor) that they want you to use?
- 4. Write down some notes or have a timeline with you to stay aware of what needs to happen when. If there’s a wedding planner or coordinator in the room, they’ll help you keep things on track.
- 5. When you get to the reception space, test the mic and get comfortable with how it works. The person running audio (usually the DJ) should be able to help with that.
- 6. Whenever you’re speaking, keep things short and sweet. And if you’re drinking that night, try to minimize the number of drinks you have before you fulfil your duties.
- 7. Take a moment to check in with the person you’re about to introduce. Ask them if they’re ready (there have been times when a speaker wasn’t aware they were expected to do a speech) and how they would like to be introduced. If there is a wedding planner, they will do this for you.
- 8. If you know a speaker, take a moment to share something personal about how you know them.
- 9. Any time you’re about to introduce a speaker, take a quick survey of the room. Are all the important people there? This includes the couple, parents, wedding party, and photographers. Again, if there is a wedding planner, they will do this for you.
Any time I’m planning a wedding, I love to work closely with the MC. It’s a partnership that’s not often talked about much, but it’s a really fun one. Sometimes I’ve even helped MCs plan little surprises for the couple, and it’s always a joy to see their faces during the reveal.
At the reception, particularly during the speeches, you’ll often see me steps away from the MC, gently nudging them when it’s time to kick things off, introduce a speaker, or make an important announcement. It’s one of my favourite places to be.
Are you starting to think about who could MC your wedding? Do you need help planning the other details around your reception? Let’s chat! I’d love to help.