How To Be A Wedding MC (Master of Ceremonies) and What It Takes To Be A Terrific Wedding MC
Why The Bride and Groom Should Choose An MC For Their Reception
Of all the planning that you – as bride – do, the reception is one of the most important events after the ceremony.
It’s usually the most expensive part and it’s the most elegant part.
It’s also the event where you celebrate one of the most important days of your life.
You choose an MC because he or she will be responsible for conducting the reception at your wedding – one of the biggest days of your life.
As newlyweds being honored on your special day, you want to spend time having fun and mingling with your close friends and family.
The last thing you want to do is to be concerned about the reception details.
You already have enough to do with planning your wedding without having to worry about running the reception (although you will work closely with your MC in planning the agenda and the events).
Who The Bride and Groom Should Choose As MC
Some engaged couples ask the Best Man, a member of the bridal party, or a close friend or relative to be the MC.
One of my customers, for example, who purchased How To Be A FUN Wedding MC and was delighted with the help it provided since he was a novice MC with little public speaking experience, performed the MC duties at his nephew’s wedding. (If you’re the bride, you can see The Bride’s Guide To A FUN Reception here)
Still others ask their DJ to be the MC.
Some engaged couples choose a professional MC but most couples choose someone they know – such as a friend or a relative.
While it’s a personal preference and there is no “proper” etiquette when selecting a master of ceremonies, choosing someone you know puts a more personal touch on the event.
When it comes to planning your reception, you might end up choosing your own Reception Master of Ceremonies for one of two reasons:
1. You can save hundreds – even thousands – of dollars (or pounds) if you use your own MC instead of hiring a professional one or having a DJ perform the duties for an extra fee.
That’s not intended to disparage or undermine professional MCs or DJs. They do a terrific job and some couples prefer to have a professional MC or DJ (or both) conduct their reception for them.
Sometimes, though, you choose your own master of ceremonies because of the significance the position holds and you want to honor someone close to you with the MC duties. Again, it’s that personal touch you want to add.
Other times you’re a DIY Bride and it’s simply a matter of economics and budget planning, given the high cost of a wedding.
2. Your Master of Ceremonies – even one who is a novice and inexperienced – will be able to do a terrific job if he or she has the right resources on hand that show him/her what to do.
Wedding MC Requirements – How To Pick Your MC – Advice For The Bride and Groom
Most Emcees have never performed their duties and responsibilities before. They don’t know where to start, what to say, or how to create a FUN reception.
That’s why it’s not only important to look for certain qualities in your Master of Ceremonies but to also make sure your emcee is properly prepared.
When you’re planning your reception you’ll want to choose someone who is outgoing, personable, organized, and who likes to have fun – because having a fun personality is one of the keys to creating a fun reception.
Someone who is diplomatic and on time helps too since these are qualities which a master of ceremonies has to have to be effective.
It should go without saying that you should choose someone you can trust to not only co-ordinate and conduct the reception but someone who won’t be an embarrassment either because they drink too much or because they use inappropriate jokes.
What Are The MC’s Duties – Advice For The Master of Ceremonies
You’ve Been Selected As The MC At A Reception. Now What Do You Do?
In a survey I conducted several years ago many novice MCs admitted to not knowing what to do or what to say at the reception.
And that’s completely understandable – there’s no formal training in duties even though weddings require a huge amount of planning and there are numerous things that require attention.
There’s nothing more exciting than being a master of ceremonies. As MC, you’ll get to meet a lot of people and have fun during the reception.
In addition to preparing the reception agenda with the bride and groom, duties include:
1. Introducing the bridal party and bride and groom during the Grand Entrance
2. Making general announcements
3. Introducing the officiant for the blessing or grace before dinner (if you don’t do it yourself)
4. Directing and coordinating entertainment and games
5. Making head table introductions
6. Introducing speakers for the speeches and toasts
7. Announcing important events include cake cutting, the First Dance, the bouquet toss, the garter toss, and the final farewell
Other duties and responsibilities include:
1. Making sure the guests are entertained and having a good time
2. Knowing the order of speeches and toasts
3. Ensuring that the bride and groom are safely transported from the reception after the farewell
Wedding Reception Timeline
The reception timeline can refer to two things.
It can refer to the timeline during the reception and is part of the reception agenda.
That timeline is created after knowing how long the reception will run and how many events the bride and groom choose to include during the reception. Some receptions are very short and last just a few hours. Others are much longer and can go into the early morning hours.
The reception timeline comes after the Day Of Schedule which comprises the events – including hair, makeup, dressing, photographs, transportation – leading up to the ceremony and then the reception.
For the MC it also refers to the timeline leading up to the reception and includes the duties and responsibilities that have to be attended to.
The Reception Timeline for the emcee usually starts anywhere from four to six weeks before the reception (although it can be even shorter than that if the MC is called upon to perform duties at the last minute – which sometimes happens – in which case How To Be A FUN Wedding MC would be very helpful.)
That’s when the emcee starts preparing his or her material as well as organizing and coordinating the events which will take place at the reception.
If you’re the master of ceremonies, it’s wise to start as early as possible preparing for the reception since there’s a lot involved in your duties and you need time to organize all of the events.
Wedding Reception Agenda
The Reception Agenda is also known as the reception runsheet or run sheet. It’s extremely important because it helps ensure the reception runs smoothly.
It lists all the events that are to take place at the reception.
It can start with the cocktail hour or Grand Entrance and it ends with the final farewell to the bride and groom and closing remarks to the guests.
The Reception Agenda is one of the most important tools the Emcee has because it itemizes everything that the master of ceremonies is responsible for or oversees during the reception.
The Reception Agenda is prepared in consultation with the bride-to-be and the mother-of-the-bride and/or the planners.
The reception program is different from the reception agenda.
The reception program is for the guests and can contain a number of elements including:
> A photograph of the bride-to-be and groom-to-be
> A personal note to the guests from the bride and groom
> An outline of the ceremony
> A concise outline of the agenda
> A map showing the location of the reception venue
> Information about the main meal and dessert
> Background about the bride and groom
> Information about Westminster Abbey
> History of the Royal Weddings celebrated in Westminster Abbey
> The Coats of Arms of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton
> Information about the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry
Wedding Reception Games
Reception games are a common way to make the reception a fun time.
In most cases, the reception games will be organized by the Master of Ceremonies after consulting with the bride and groom or planners.
Games can be held while guests are waiting for the main meal or they can be held after the main meal.
Some games involve the guests and others will be specifically for the bride and groom with the guests looking on.
The more you involve the guests in the games the more they’ll enjoy the reception.
Choose games that are fun, funny, and not overly competitive. And remember that competitive games can turn into pushing or shoving matches if the participating guests have had too much to drink. (Even something as traditional as the garter toss or bouquet toss can result in participants being jostled or pushed or falling to the floor.)
A FUN selection of more than 50 Wedding Reception Games (as well as Entertainment Ideas) – whether the occasion is held in the spring, summer, fall, or winter – can be found in How To Be A FUN Wedding MC.
Wedding MC Jokes
Entertain the Guests with Your Clean and Funny Wedding MC Jokes And Fill the Room With Laughter…
Wedding MC Jokes aren’t just confined to the MC Speech. They can also be part of the reception – although they’re not the only way you can make a reception a fun time.
One of your duties will be to entertain the guests. And what better way to do so than to tell funny and tasteful jokes.
There is, of course, a difference between wedding humor and jokes.
Humor is generally about weddings, the differences between men and women, or marriage advice.
Humor can also be about being engaged, grooms, bachelors, husbands, wives, love, dating, anniversaries, fathers (especially the father of the bride who’s paying for the wedding or giving away the bride), mothers, single women, and more.
As well, there could be humorous advice to men about what women mean when they say “Whatever” or “Fine” or “That’s Okay” or “Nothing” when a man asks what’s wrong.
Another type of “advice” is marriage advice. There’s advice for the groom about marriage or about a wife and there’s advice for the bride about marriage and about a husband.
Sometimes, of course, advice comes in the form of wisdom – particularly if it’s from someone who is respected or who is a dignitary or honored guest.
But while advice might get a chuckle or two or a smile, it’s not really a joke in the way we think of jokes.
Some people have heard or come across jokes or one-liners to get ideas.
And that’s perfectly fine as long as they’re appropriate and not embarrassing. Because, let’s face it, not all jokes are appropriate for all guests. Which is important to keep in mind because you’re probably going to be with people of all age brackets up to and including grandparents.
Embarrassing jokes, for example, can be about sex or put downs about brides, wives, or mothers-in-law.
The problem with some of the jokes and one-liners you’ve heard or come across is that sometimes they’re funnier when you read them than when you tell them in front of an audience. For whatever reason, they lose their effectiveness when told out loud.
Here are a few tips on using MC Jokes:
1. Keep Your Wedding Jokes Clean and Appropriate
A reception is not the time to tell off-color jokes that you’d usually tell your best buddies in the locker room. Keep your jokes appropriate so you don’t embarrass or offend the bride and groom – and the guests.
Jokes about divorce, failed relationships, and past relationships (whether they’re about the bride and groom or about your own experience) are topics to avoid.
2. Memorize The Punch Line
This tip might seem obvious, but sometimes it happens – you mix up the punch line and your joke is ruined – no matter how funny it was.
If you forget the punch line then your joke won’t work. So be sure to memorize it so it flows smoothly.
Just as you should practice your MC Speech, you should also practice your jokes.
After all, even professional comedians practice their material before they take it before a live audience.
Make sure you have the timing right so you can deliver your joke flawlessly.
Don’t get caught unprepared at the reception without funny jokes and one liners.
Order Of Wedding Toasts and Speeches
Every MC needs to know certain things in preparation for – and during – the reception. Whether it’s planning a reception from scratch with the bride and groom or making humorous and funny remarks and jokes during the reception, they’re all part of the MC’s “toolbox” or “bag of tricks.”
A highly popular and invaluable tool that will help you during the preparation of the reception agenda is the Order of Toasts and Speeches.
The Order of Wedding Toasts and Speeches is entirely flexible – unless the bride and groom want to stick with tradition.
In fact, the Best Man Speech is the only speech that has to be made at the reception. And sometimes, the bride and groom want to dispense with the speeches and toasts altogether and ask the MC to make the keynote speech.
Usually, though, you’ll find that as a minimum there will be speeches and toasts by the Father of the Bride, the Groom, and the Best Man.
And of course, you’ll usually find that the Mother of the Bride, the Father of the Groom, and the Maid or Matron of Honor will want to make a short speech, too.
Depending on the wishes of the bride and groom there may also be “open” speeches where guests give short, impromptu speeches – which has its own set of “rules” and things you have to look out for.
In How To Be A FUN Wedding MC you’ll find the complete Order of Toasts and Speeches.
You’ll also find out how to make this a fun event filled with laughter rather than a boring time with long-winded, drawn out speeches that leave the guests restless and waiting to have fun.
Wedding MC Responsibilities
Many MCs don’t realize the amount of planning that’s required to celebrate the bride and groom’s special day.
In addition to the planning the bride-to-be and the mother-of-the-bride do for the reception there are specific steps and duties the Master of Ceremonies must perform to ensure the reception suits the bride and groom’s personalities and style.
An MC’s Responsibilities will also include:
1. Checking the reception venue
2. Coordinating events with key vendors
3. Introducing the bridal party and the newlyweds during the Grand Entrance
4. Making announcements throughout the reception
5. Arranging games and entertainment
6. Creating a fun time for everyone
7. Making sure the reception flows smoothly
It’s easy to say what needs to be done. It’s much harder to know HOW to do those things.
Planning a fun reception takes time and a huge amount of attention to detail.
The reception is where the bride and groom celebrate one of the happiest days of their lives with people who are close to them.
How To Be A FUN Wedding MC is for the Emcee who doesn’t know where to start or what to do to plan a reception and make it a fun time for the newlyweds and the guests.
This comprehensive guide will take the master of ceremonies step-by-step through the reception planning process – from the MC’s perspective.
It’s also a wonderful reception planning tool for the bride-to-be and the mother-of-the-bride as they finalize their arrangements for the reception.
After all, the bride and groom and their families have invested many thousands of dollars (or pounds) and many months planning a celebration of this big event. And understandably, they don’t want anything to spoil the reception – especially an MC who is unprepared or who doesn’t know what to do.
How To Be A FUN Wedding MC includes detailed checklists, preparation forms, games, entertainment ideas, MC scripts for key events, as well as duties and responsibilities.
As Master of Ceremonies you’ll find it much easier to prepare the reception agenda if you follow a reception timeline so you know what to organize and when to begin doing so.
> You have to know how to prepare a reception agenda. Whether it’s a small reception of a few hours or a large one that carries on late into the night or early morning, you have to know what events to include and the order of events.
> You have to know what games and entertainment to include during the reception. The guests want to have fun and the best way to do that is with games and entertainment that involve them and make them laugh.
> You have to know what Scripts to prepare and when to introduce them during the reception. Some of your remarks will be “on the fly.” But, in general, you will have your scripts prepared beforehand so you know what you’ll be saying before key events – such as the welcome, the blessing, the speeches and toasts, the dancing, the bouquet toss, the garter toss, and the final farewell.
MC Tips – Practical Advice About Your Duties
Here are several important tips to help you as you prepare for the reception:
1. Keep your notes in a binder or on your laptop computer.
Organize your notes in the order of the reception agenda. And if you use a laptop computer, it’s a good idea to print out a hard copy in case the computer crashes or the battery dies at a crucial moment.
2. Avoid using cue cards.
Some people recommend cue cards. But the agenda can be extensive – especially if it’s a large reception. Cue cards could very quickly become cumbersome and unmanageable.
Instead, print out each section of the reception agenda with an appropriate timeline and keep your notes in a binder.
3. Keep your alcohol consumption to the bare minimum.
I realize you probably want to calm your nerves with a drink or two. A tipsy MC, on the other hand, who makes inappropriate remarks and tries to be funny can ruin a perfectly happy reception.
4. Know how to use the microphone.
Practice using the microphone beforehand so you’re familiar with it. If you have a cordless microphone, all the better – it will give you more freedom to move around the room, if required.
5. Sit at or near the head table.
If you’re a member of the bridal party you’ll sit at the head table with other members.
If you’re not part of the bridal party, be sure to sit in close proximity to the head table where you can confer with the newlyweds as well as having access to the podium and microphone.
6. Help the speakers with their wedding speeches.
Remind the speakers that the content of their speech should be appropriate. Tell them how long the speech should be – which should be no longer than a few minutes. And give them an idea of when they will be giving their speech during the reception.
If possible, also show them how to use the microphone before the reception gets underway.
7. Practice your introductions and speeches before the reception.
Practice not only makes you look polished and spontaneous, it will give you confidence and help settle your nerves – especially if you’re not used to public speaking or speaking before a large audience.
8. Discuss contingency plans with the bride and groom.
Weather, power outages, delays, emergencies. They can all happen at any large event.
Have a plan “B” in place in case things don’t work out as originally planned.
Keep in mind that sometimes things won’t go according to plan.
Don’t let that upset you. Simply carry on and follow your agenda.
There might be delays. For example, the newlyweds might arrive late at the reception for their Grand Entrance because the photographer took longer than expected.
Or they might get delayed in traffic.
Some of the speakers might not show up and you’re advised at the last minute as you’re getting ready to announce the speakers.
Or someone might forget to bring something that you needed for games or entertainment.
That’s why you not only need a plan “B” but you also need to have built-in flexibility with your agenda and timeline.
Otherwise you’ll find you’ll have lulls in the program and guests will get bored or restless.
As you can see, an MC’s Duties are much more than making announcements.
You’re not only an advisor but also a director – since the reception will be your “stage.”
Many MC’s lose sight of the fact that their goal is to make the reception a celebration.
In fact, one of the most important parts of the MC’s Duties and Responsibilities is to create a FUN and celebratory atmosphere at the reception so everyone has an amazing time.
And one of the best ways to create a fun atmosphere is to have a mixture of games, humor, and even romantic and touching moments that the bride and groom will fondly remember for years to come.
You’ve been chosen as MC to oversee the reception because the bride and groom trust you. In return, you want to honor them and pay tribute to them on their special day.
As the MC there’s a lot riding on your shoulders. But when you’re properly prepared you’ll be able to relax, enjoy yourself, and have fun as you celebrate the newlywed’s big day.
Take a moment right now to check out How To Be A FUN Wedding MC – it shows the novice MC how to MC a wedding reception from start to finish.
Click on the image below to find out more about
How To Be A FUN Wedding MC…
In the following video, I cover 4 key duties and responsibilities of the MC:
1. Arrive at reception venue early
2. Meet the key people involved in the reception
3. Prepare for the Grand Entrance
4. Keep key people informed
Of course, this is just a small sampling of what you’re responsible for as MC.
You’ll find these duties and responsibilities – and many more – covered in How To Be A FUN Wedding MC
Filed under: Wedding MC