10 Top Tips For The Novice Wedding MC

While being asked to be the MC at a wedding can be a huge honor, it also carries with it a lot of responsibility…and, to many inexperienced emcees, some trepidation because of the fear of the unknown.

For many people – especially the first time or inexperienced MC – it can not only be confusing but also a very stressful and nerve-wracking time.

Apart from the normal fear of speaking in front of hundreds of guests that many people experience, it’s a role that most people aren’t familiar with.

That’s why I’ve put together these 10 tips and ideas to help the novice Wedding MC with his or her duties and responsibilities:

1. Have An Initial Meeting With The Wedding Planners

Your role starts almost as soon as you’re asked to be the Master of Ceremonies even though most people think your duties take place once you stand up and direct the reception.

Sit down with the bride and groom and the planner well before the day of the wedding – at least two weeks, but preferably several weeks, before.

The initial meeting with the bride and groom and planner (if there is one) is the time when you gather information about what’s going to happen at the reception and what’s expected of you.

In most cases the bride and groom and their planner will know what they want but will leave the implementation of the details to you. That’s your role as MC.

At the very least, in your initial meeting you’ll want to know:

1. What’s expected of you and what duties you’ll perform

2. Who the key players are

3. What announcements will be made

4. What introductions will be made

5. What events will take place and when they will take place

Sometimes traditions or rituals will be followed as they have been for centuries. Other times they will be excluded. And sometimes they might be included but with a twist or variation.

The bride and groom might, for example, create their own version of the Grand Entrance or introductions of the wedding party.

Or they might dispense with the formal receiving line but include a cocktail hour where drinks are served in an adjoining room before guests go to the reception room.

If there is a cocktail hour, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to guests who play a role at the reception, usually giving a speech or toast.

During the planning stages you might be asked for advice or you’ll make suggestions for events such as wedding games or activities.

There’s a huge amount of preparation you need to do before the reception including preparing an agenda, knowing the names of special guests and key players, preparing introductions, and even organizing wedding games and activities.

2. Prepare A Detailed Agenda

The agenda (or run sheet) is your reception “playbook.” It’s the Wedding Master of Ceremonies outline used by the emcee at a reception.

The agenda includes the events and their sequence at the reception and should include virtually everything that will take place during the reception..

A very basic agenda – depending on the type of reception and the time allotted – will usually include:

> Cocktail reception or receiving line

> Wedding party introduction

> Grand Entrance

> Main Meal

> Speeches and toasts

> Traditional events

> Final Farewell

The agenda is flexible and the sequence for some events can be changed according to the bride and groom’s wishes.

Your agenda can be as detailed as you need and it’s advisable to create a binder or use a hand held electronic device for quick reference.

Your agenda will include names of the bridal or wedding party, names of guests who will be giving speeches and toasts, all of the events that will take place, approximate times the events will start, and any other information including games, activities, and entertainment.

A reception normally will include traditional events like wedding speeches and toasts, guest activities, cake cutting, garter toss, bouquet toss, dancing, and the final farewell although this is entirely flexible and will depend on the bride and groom’s wishes.

You will need to know when the speeches and toasts will take place and who will be making them. You’ll also want to know if there will be an open mic.

While it’s a tradition, keep in mind that not every bride wants to throw her bouquet or have her garter taken off. As well, not every bride wants to give a speech. These are things you need to know as you plan the agenda.

3. Understand What Your Role Is

Your role is to oversee the reception, ensure events flow smoothly, and to keep the atmosphere fun and celebratory.

Most importantly, you’re not the entertainment and you’re not expected to do a “routine” to amuse the guests even if you fancy yourself to be a bit of an entertainer or comedian.

In fact, a reception can be a resounding success without a single marriage or wedding joke or one-liner from the Master of Ceremonies.

Understanding your role can help avoid awkward moments.

There’s nothing more embarrassing than discovering you didn’t do something that the newlyweds or their parents expected you to do.

That’s why it’s important that you know your duties and responsibilities from the outset so you can plan accordingly.

4. Arrive At The Reception Venue Early

It’s never a good sign if you rush in at the last minute and guests see that you’re in a panic. Even worse if you saunter in while everyone is frantically looking for you or wondering where you are.

The reception is an important event and people are relying on you.

You have duties to perform before the reception gets into full swing on the newlywed’s big day.

If you’re attending the ceremony, make sure you have plenty of time to arrive at the reception venue, allowing for any unexpected delays including traffic delays.

In fact, if it’s possible, visit the reception room a few days before the day of the wedding.

The bride has already made arrangements with the venue manager for the placement of tables and where the dance floor, DJ or band, cake table, and buffet (if it’s not a sit down meal) will be.

Viewing the venue a few days before the wedding or arriving at the venue early will help you familiarize yourself with the layout of the room and the location of audio equipment.

Arriving early on the “day of” will also give you time to meet with key players: the venue manager, the caterer, the DJ or the band, the photographer and/or videographer, and any guests who are giving wedding speeches and toasts.

5. Follow Your Agenda or Run Sheet And Make Any Timing Adjustments Where Necessary

It’s unrealistic to think that everything will run like clockwork.

Delays happen.

The bride and groom run late after the ceremony.

The caterer is behind serving the meal.

The wedding party arrives late.

These and other unexpected surprises can throw off the timing of the reception – sometimes significantly. And that can have an impact on the scheduling of events that are planned.

It will mean being flexible and making adjustments to your original plans.

This is where preparation, poise, and confidence are essential.

Make sure you can fill in any gaps in the events. There’s nothing worse than having restless and bored guests wondering what’s happening and not enjoying themselves.

Best way to keep the guests entertained? Have extra wedding games or guest activities on hand in case they’re needed.

On the other hand, if time is short – which can happen just as easily – be prepared to eliminate or shorten parts of the program or combine them.

For example, if open mic was planned for the speeches, cut that segment short or eliminate it altogether. Open mic can be time consuming as people ramble on and “wax poetic.”

Eliminating this segment in the speeches and toasts event will have little or no effect on the fun atmosphere. In fact, it can be a relief to guests who find speeches for the most part boring.

6. Keep Your Key Players Informed

The key players will rely on you for direction so they can perform their duties.

The caterer needs to know when to serve the meal and whether things are running early, on time, or late.

The photographer or videographer needs to know when events are taking place so they can position themselves and take photos or shoot video.

Entertainers need to know when they will be required and where they can set up if they have props as part of their act.

The DJ (or band leader if there’s a live band) has to know when to prepare to ramp things up with music.

5. Be Well Prepared

Nobody will know you’re an inexperienced Wedding MC when you carry out your duties professionally.

In fact, if you’re well prepared, people will not only be impressed but will also assume you’re a professional emcee.

On the other hand, an unprepared MC shows his or her inexperience quickly: There will be lengthy lulls between events and a general sense of disorganization or confusion.

That’s why it’s important to have your agenda, timeline, and MC scripts prepared in detail.

Know your timeline and schedule so things run on time. Plan for delays. Make adjustments where necessary. The reception room is available for only so many hours so you’ll have to make sure that key events have an appropriate amount of time allotted to them.

7. Your Wedding MC Speech Will Be Different From That Of Other Guests

Many times there’s confusion about the Wedding MC speech.

Generally, it’s not a tribute to the bride and groom like the other speeches.

Instead, it’s more appropriately called a “welcome” speech that the Master of Ceremonies gives to the guests before the bride and groom’s Grand Entrance.

This is where you will welcome the guests, tell them what’s planned, and make announcements.

Announcements can include specific requests from the bride and groom (such as whether or not they want the clinking of glasses), where facilities are located (bar, restrooms, smoking area), the location of the gift table or guest book, and events that will take place during and after the reception.

Your welcome speech takes place before introducing the bridal (or wedding) party and the newlyweds.

Occasionally the newlyweds will ask the emcee to give a wedding speech. In this case, it will include a speech followed by a toast.

Other times, the MC might stand in for someone who couldn’t make it to the reception or give a special toast to acknowledge someone’s significant contribution to the planning.

8. Be Diplomatic, Gracious, and Helpful

The newlyweds will depend on you to oversee the reception so that they can focus on their guests.

Other people are depending on you as well.

And they want the reception to be a success just as much as you do.

You’ll be dealing with members of the wedding or bridal party, guests, speakers, honored guests, dignitaries, parents and close relatives of the newlyweds, the venue manager and staff, as well as support people including the caterer, photographer, DJ or musicians, entertainers, bar staff, and others.

Everyone will consider you to be the “go to” person for direction and help.

Your role is to see that people who are relying on you are properly introduced or acknowledged or that they are supported in their contribution to the reception.

9. Focus On The Newlyweds

The bride and groom are the guests of honor and should be the focal point of key events.

Your role is to shine the spotlight on the newlyweds instead of stealing the limelight from them.

Keep in mind that you’re not the entertainment and you’re not expected to do a “routine” to amuse the guests even if you fancy yourself to be a bit of an entertainer or comedian.

Be especially careful not to say things that embarrass the bride or groom or their families or guests.

10. Create A FUN Reception

The decorations are gorgeous.

The meal is delicious.

The cake is magnificent and tasty.

The guests will notice how elegant or rustic the reception room is.

They’ll remark on how pretty the bride is.

And they’ll comment on the meal and the dessert.

In the end, though, people will remember how much fun they had.

Because the guests are at the reception to celebrate and have fun, not just have a “nice time.”

Your role is to turn the marriage into a celebration.

That’s the role virtually no-one tells you about…or shows you how to do.

These tips will give you an idea of what’s expected if you’re the MC at a wedding.

There’s no denying that the Wedding MC’s role is challenging. But with proper preparation and attention to detail it can not only be rewarding but can also lead to lasting memories for the bride and groom.

For the novice Wedding MC who wants to plan a FUN reception, there’s a very useful guide called How To Be A FUN Wedding MC.

It has Wedding MC ideas for games (both indoor and outdoor and for children) and guest activities and entertainment (to create a fun atmosphere) and also includes sample wedding agendas or runsheets (so you can create an outline of the reception), MC scripts (so you know what to say), the Order of Wedding Speeches and Toasts (to help you plan one of the most common traditional events), and much more to help an emcee create a fun and exciting time for the bride and groom and their guests.

How To MC A Wedding

Many novice Wedding MC’s ask how to MC a wedding.

And it’s a great question because there’s a lot of planning that goes into knowing how to MC a wedding reception.

It also shows that you, as the Wedding Master of Ceremonies, want to do a professional job and make it a fun and memorable time for the bride and groom.

Here are some pointers to get you started:

1. Start Planning The Reception And The Events Early

Because the wedding reception is such an involved event, you’ll need time to prepare not only the wedding reception agenda but also the introductions, wedding games and entertainment, and checking out the venue to make sure everything is ready on the wedding day.

Each of these areas will take time to plan properly.

If you leave things to the last moment you risk missing important parts of the reception and overlooking special moments to make the wedding a lasting memory for the newlyweds.

2. Meet With The Bride and Groom and Planners To Find Out What Is Expected Of You As The Wedding Emcee

The bride and groom have given you a huge amount of responsibility. But chances are they don’t know what’s involved with your duties. They’re leaving that up to you as Master of Ceremonies.

That’s why it’s important that you find out what’s expected of you and what the bride’s vision of the reception is.

After all, she’ll have spent most of her time choosing a theme and table settings and centerpieces as well as the menu for the meal.

But she may not have put much thought into making the reception a celebration of her big day because she’s handing that responsibility over to you.

You’ll need to know what’s going on – and only the bride and groom and planners will be able to answer specific questions you have so you can be brought up to speed.

> You’ll need to know who will be in the bridal or wedding party.

> You’ll need background information on the bride and groom if you don’t know them very well as well as the members of the bridal or wedding party.

> You’ll need background on guests who will be giving speeches and toasts and information on dignitaries, if dignitaries are attending the reception.

In How To Be A FUN Wedding MC I have a detailed list of questions you can ask so you know what’s going to happen at the reception.

> When you consult with the bride and groom and wedding planners you’ll also need to know what wedding games and entertainment are planned so you can include those events in your agenda or run sheet.

> You’ll also have to meet with key people involved in the wedding planning including the planners, the event manager at the venue, members of the bridal or wedding party, and the caterer when you’re at the venue.

> You’ll need to know the layout of the venue and the layout of the head table.

> You’ll need to know the order of the bridal party for introductions.

Chances are, especially if you’ve never been a Wedding MC before, you’ll find that your Wedding MC Duties and Responsibilities will be overwhelming because you won’t know what to do or where to start.

As with anything that you’re unfamiliar with, you’re going to have many questions as you get involved in your duties.

Fortunately, there’s a terrific guide – How To Be A FUN Wedding MC – which shows you how to MC a wedding reception from start to finish and it will save you restless nights and a huge amount of time and stress.

You’ll want to make sure you have all of the bases covered before you enter the reception hall on the wedding day.

In fact, How To Be A FUN Wedding MC has extensive checklists to make sure you’ve covered just about everything.

Click on the image below to find out more about How To Be A FUN Wedding MC

MC A Wedding

In the following video you’ll discover several tips to help you in your duties:

Tip #1

Focus the attention on the bride and groom – not yourself.

As Wedding MC you’re an organizer and facilitator. You conduct the events of the reception but the spotlight is on the newlyweds.

This is the bride and groom’s special day. Remember, the wedding guests came to see them, not the Wedding Emcee.

Tip #2

Make sure you pronounce people’s names correctly.

This is one area where preparation can pay off because there’s nothing more embarrassing than mispronouncing someone’s name – especially if it’s the groom’s last name! So be sure to check to ensure your pronunciation is correct and make appropriate notes on your agenda or in your notebook.

Tip #3

Arrive at the wedding reception venue early. There’s nothing worse than people wondering where the Master of Ceremonies is – especially if things are about to get underway. When you’re late things get disorganized and it leaves a poor impression. If the venue is a long way away, make sure you leave plenty of time to get there and anticipate traffic delays.

One of the signs of a true professional is being on time and ensuring everything is in order before the wedding party and guests arrive.

Tip #4

Create a party atmosphere at the reception. The wedding is a celebration so it’s your responsibility to keep the tempo upbeat and fun.

Your duty as a Wedding Emcee is to successfully transition the wedding guests from the religious ceremony to a celebration of the marriage.

Tip #5

Don’t embarrass the bride, groom, or wedding guests. If the groom or bride doesn’t want to “say a few words” for example, don’t pursue the matter. Be gracious and understanding – especially when it comes to public speaking – because many people are terrified of public speaking.

This tips also includes using humor or jokes.

Use good judgement in what you say to get a laugh. If in doubt…leave it out.

Bonus Tip #6

Follow the bride and groom’s directions. This is where sitting down with the bride and groom beforehand and planning the reception will help you avoid embarrassing mistakes. If the newlyweds ask for something in particular, make sure you include it in the agenda so it’s not forgotten.

MC A Wedding

MC A Wedding: Short List Of Wedding MC Duties For The Wedding MC

When you MC a wedding at the reception, your Wedding MC Duties and responsibilities will be varied – and numerous.

That’s why it’s important to keep an agenda on hand to make sure everything is on time – from the Grand Entrance of the bride and groom…to the serving of the meal…to the final departure of the newlyweds.

Here’s a short list of Wedding MC Duties that you will be responsible for as Wedding MC at the reception:

1. Welcome the guests to the reception before the arrival of the bride and groom. This is the “warm up” time to get the guests in a party mood after they’ve come from the wedding ceremony.

2. Introduce yourself to the guests and tell them that you will be their Wedding MC for the reception – which may be either an afternoon or evening event. This is also an opportunity to make other announcements regarding the facilities including location of rest rooms, designated smoking areas, parking arrangements, forthcoming events, etc.

3. Announce the entrance of the bride and groom and formally introduce them to the guests as they enter the reception venue. This is the bride and groom’s first “official” gathering as husband and wife so it’s important that you introduce them correctly.

4. Introduce the members of the bridal or wedding party. The bridal party will normally be seated at the head table. Keep introductions brief but interesting.

5. Introduce the minister, pastor, or official who will say grace or a blessing before the serving of the main meal – if there is a sit down meal at the reception.

6. Introduce each speaker who will be making a wedding speech or a toast. Your introduction might include background information, an interesting fact about the person, or a humorous remark (that doesn’t embarrass the speaker.)

7. If requested by the bride and groom or wedding planners, give the Wedding MC Speech. Some newlyweds do not want formal speeches at their wedding and would prefer one speech by the Wedding MC instead.

8. Read faxes, telegrams, and other messages from friends and relatives who were unable to attend the wedding ceremony and reception. (This is the perfect opportunity to insert “creative” telegrams or messages that you have made up to inject humor into the situation. How To Be A FUN Wedding MC will give you ideas on how to approach this.)

9. Announce the ceremonial cutting of the wedding cake.

10. Inform the guests when the bride’s bouquet and garter will be thrown. You will ask the guests to gather around for these two traditional events.

11. Announce the dance program including the first dance by the bride and groom. You will want the bride and groom to be the center of attention during the first dance.

12. Announce bar opening and closing times or other arrangements for alcoholic beverages.

13. Announce other  events that will be taking place after the reception such as after-wedding activities or an open house or luncheon with the bride and groom’s parents.

14. Announce when the bride and groom will be leaving the reception.

15. Announce the formal ending of the reception and thank the guests for attending.

The Wedding MC is the key person who ensures the reception runs smoothly and that the guests and newlyweds have a memorable time.

As Wedding MC you will not only be a speaker and facilitator but also an entertainer to ensure everyone has a FUN and enjoyable time.

That’s why, when you mc a wedding, it’s important to have your Wedding MC Duties planned out well ahead of the wedding day.

Here are some other tips:

1. Be prepared. Prepare your scripts and notes well before the reception.

2. Create a detailed agenda (run sheet) and give copies to key players (caterer in particular) who need to know the timing of events.

3. Get to know the other key players. Introduce yourself to them and ensure they know when they will be needed. Attend to any requirements they may have.

4. Meet guests who will be participating in events such as speeches and toasts. Let them know when they will be expected to give their speech or toast.

5. Meet with the wedding (bridal) party to ensure they are introduced in the correct order.

6. Make sure guests and other key players are present when needed. For example, ensure guests who are making speeches or toasts are in the room and are ready for the event. Notify the photographer or videographer of upcoming events so they can have their equipment ready.

7. Advise guests of upcoming events so they can get drinks or use the restrooms before the event gets underway.

8. Avoid distractions during events where possible. For example, have tables cleared after the meal before speeches and toasts begin to avoid distractions and noise from the staff clearing the tables.

9. Be prepared to stand in and make a toast or short speech if needed.

10. Make important announcements including the location of the gift table, guest book, and any after-wedding events.

11. Anticipate delays that will cause changes to your agenda. Sometimes a guest who was to give a speech won’t show up. Or an event will run too long. Or the bride and groom won’t show up when expected.

12. Be prepared to fill gaps in the agenda with entertainment or games to keep the mood upbeat and fun.

13. Make sure the bride and groom are the center of attention.

14. The bride and groom are the guests of honor. Make sure their needs are taken care of during the reception.

15. Be flexible with your agenda. Follow your timeline to keep events moving on time but be prepared to make small changes if necessary.

How To Be The Wedding Emcee Who Turns An “Ordinary” Wedding Reception Into A FUN Celebration

If you’re a novice MC, chances are you’re not familiar with how to run a reception.

If you don’t know what to do or what to say and you want to save yourself time and stress, be sure to check out How To Be A FUN Wedding MC.

It’s the premier guide showing the Master of Ceremonies how to plan and create a FUN reception and includes wedding games, wedding entertainment, preparation sheets, checklists, Wedding MC scripts, sample wedding agendas, wedding timeline, and much more.

Click On The Following Link For How To Be A FUN Wedding MC


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wedding games, MC scripts, jokes tips, duties, checklists, run sheets, agendas, order of wedding speeches and toasts, and much more!

Get your Wedding MC download, How To Be A FUN Wedding MC, the treasury of scripts, runsheets, fun games, duties, and more, here.