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.

Wedding MC Speeches

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Dear Wedding MC…

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This resource includes a concise wedding agenda checklist, as well. (Essential for every Wedding MC who wants to make sure the wedding reception runs smoothly.)

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This resource includes wedding jokes, one-liners, and quotes that kick up your wedding speech and entertain and amuse the wedding guests for a memorable Wedding MC Speech.

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Wedding MC Jokes Package Tips

Wedding MC Jokes Tips For The Master Of Ceremonies

As Wedding MC, you’ll find that many of your duties at the reception will revolve around making announcements and coordinating events including entertainment, games, dancing, and other traditions like cake cutting, the bouquet toss, and the garter toss.

If you’re a novice and learning how to be a Wedding Master of Ceremonies you might think about using humor. 

Wedding MC Jokes can always be part of your MC Duties, although they’re not essential for the guests to have fun at the reception.

When you MC at a wedding, you’re not only expected to run the reception, you’re also expected to entertain the guests. 

That’s where humor can come in handy.

After all, what better way to entertain the guests than with occasional humorous wedding jokes that are clean and tasteful and don’t offend anyone.

Tip #1 – Select Wedding Jokes What Will Be Funny With Live Audiences

Beware of falling into the trap of reading a funny wedding joke and thinking that it will work when you tell it to a live audience.

Some jokes are only effective when you read them, but don’t work when you tell them.

Tip #2 – Don’t Try To Be A Stand Up Comedian

One of the best parts about being a Wedding MC is that no one expects you to be a stand up comedian.

All they expect is to have a fun time.

Of course, the guests will enjoy themselves more if you can add a touch of humor throughout the reception.

All you have to do during the reception is add at various places some humorous and clean wedding jokes to keep things lively and fun.

Tip #3 – Know Your Wedding Guests

What will your guests be like?

Will they be young, old, high society, hard working folks, or somewhere in between?

Guests can be all ages and come from all walks of life, ethnicities, and social standing.

So keep in mind that the funny joke you told your buddies at work around the water cooler might not be appropriate (or understood) by the guests at the reception.

Think about who your guests are and select jokes that you think will be appropriate for them.

Tip #4 – Select FUNNY Wedding Jokes And Mark Them Down On Your Agenda

While everyone has a different idea of what a funny wedding joke is, if you choose tried and tested material you have a better chance of getting a laugh.

Once you’ve selected your material, note it down on the agenda so you know when to introduce it during the reception.

For example, you might use jokes to introduce guests. Or you might use humor when making announcements. Or you might think of humorous alternatives (rather than clinking on glasses) to encourage the bride and groom to kiss.

Tip #5 – Make Sure You Don’t Embarrass Anyone

When you introduce speakers for speeches or toasts or talk about the bride and groom you have to be careful that you don’t embarrass anyone.

A wedding reception is a time for celebrating a marriage.

It’s also an event that will be remembered for years to come by the bride and groom.

That’s why you don’t want to do anything that detracts from those happy and pleasant memories.

If in doubt, the very least you can do is ask whether the humor will be offensive.

The best thing about Wedding MC Jokes is that you don’t have to be a professional comedian to make people laugh.

When you MC a reception, you’re in a room with people who are there to celebrate a marriage. There’s a party atmosphere which puts people in the mood for fun and laughter.

So your audience is “primed” for humor.

And your material is easy to tell – it’s generally about marriage or the groom or (very tastefully) about the bride or they’re about husbands and wives.

Keep in mind that jokes about the bride can be a delicate subject and should be used with caution. After all, it’s her special day and one of the most important days of her life, and you don’t want to spoil that special time for her with a thoughtless remark – even if it would get a laugh.

Tip #6 – Commit Your Material To Memory

Your jokes will have a better chance of succeeding if you choose ones that are funny and you memorize them – or the main parts so you can tell them effortlessly.

Pay particular attention to the punch line because that’s what makes the joke effective.

There’s no reason why you can’t rehearse before the reception – preferably in front of a live audience of friends or family – in preparation for the big day.

As Master of Ceremonies, this will give you a huge advantage in feeling confident in your timing and delivery.

Tip #7 – Give Your Material A Trial Run

Every joke has a special rhythm to it.

Sometimes you will emphasize a particular part of it to “set the stage” for the punch line.

Other times you make it sound so conversational that your joke almost sneaks up on the listener – and you get an even bigger laugh because it’s so unexpected.

The key to telling a wedding anecdote, for example, that’s funny is to practice so it sounds natural.

Tip #8 – Make Your Wedding Joke Sound Believable

Help your audience identify with your joke by making it believable.

To make it sound believable use real names – names of towns or cities or countries.

And use the names of the bride and groom if you’ve selected a bride or a groom joke.

You don’t have to use a real situation. It can be a made up situation that sounds real from the way you tell it – by using real names.

Tip #9 – Choose Enough Material For The Whole Reception

“Dead air” and long breaks between events aren’t a good thing when you’re the Wedding MC.

Your goal is to keep the guests entertained otherwise they’ll get bored and restless.

As MC, you want the reception events to flow along smoothly and you want to keep the tempo upbeat and fun.

Make sure you have a tight agenda that flows well and keeps events on time. Have enough material to fill in any gaps between events.

The Reception Is More Than Wedding Jokes

If you decide to use humor, plan on using it throughout the reception.

But remember, as much as the guests enjoy funny jokes, humor only goes so far.

You’re not expected to entertain and put on a show for an hour like a professional comedian.

It’s much more important that you plan the entertainment, games, and events because those make up the majority of a fun reception.

And a fun reception will leave a lasting memory.

In fact, a reception can be very successful without any jokes at all because they play such a small role at the reception compared to organizing a fun time.

That’s why if you have to choose between jokes and creating a fun reception, creating a fun reception should be your priority.

Create A FUN And Memorable Reception For The Bride And Groom

Wedding humor – if you use it – is an addition to your skills as an MC, not the foundation of the reception. After all, the guests are never going to complain that there were no jokes at the reception. 

In fact, your guests can have a lot of fun at the reception even if you don’t use humor at all.

It’s the experience at the reception that counts in the long run and that leaves a lasting memory.

That experience encompasses a multitude of things: the grand entrance of the bride and groom, the meal, the entertainment, the music, the games, the dancing, the traditional events, and the atmosphere.

It’s your job as MC to oversee an agenda that creates a celebratory atmosphere.

That’s where the secrets in How To Be A FUN Wedding MC can help the novice Wedding MC create a FUN and memorable time at the reception even if you’ve never been the Master of Ceremonies at a wedding before.

Click The Image Below For How To Be A FUN Wedding MC

 To Be A FUN Wedding MC

The following is a video by Wedding MC Maureen. It’s a speech and toast which includes jokes and was given before the main meal was served.

If the newlyweds request you give a speech, then Maureen’s speech is a good format to follow.

Maureen did a very fine job with her speech. A couple of pointers to help you if you’re giving a wedding speech: If you’re nervous, there’s no need to tell the guests. Your nerves will settle down quickly and you’ll feel more comfortable after a couple of minutes. Take a deep breath. Making a joke at the beginning like Maureen did is a good way to settle your nerves. While the guests are laughing it gives you a chance to calm down. 

At the beginning, your voice might get a little wavery from nerves. But I can assure you that most, if not all, of the guests are thankful that they’re not the ones giving a speech because talking in public terrifies most people. Also keep in mind that the guests are at the reception to have fun. They understand you could be nervous and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

The best way to overcome nerves is to know your material well so you can talk confidently.

There are three key ways to develop confidence: Practicing your material, having experience, and being prepared.

If you’re a novice Wedding Master of Ceremonies you probably won’t have the experience. But you can overcome that lack of experience by being prepared and practicing your MC scripts.

Try and avoid reading your speech. If you’re nervous it’s fine to read your speech at the beginning until you feel more confident talking in front of the guests. Glancing at your notes from time to time is a good way to give your speech and it makes you look confident even if you don’t feel that way.

Make sure the equipment – including the microphone – is working before you get up to talk. There seemed to be some question about whether everyone could hear Maureen and it threw off the rhythm of her speech at the beginning. 

Maureen used a lectern at this reception. Sometimes there will be a lectern. Other times there won’t or you won’t want to use one. If you’re nervous, having a lectern will seem like a gift – at least people won’t see your hands shaking. But if there is no lectern, then make sure you have some sort of folder or binder that you have your speech or notes in so your nervousness isn’t as noticeable.

There are some terrific Wedding MC jokes here: The joke about keeping speeches short and having a time limit, the seating arrangements, and the final toast at the end of the speech are funny jokes.

This is what made this speech so good – the jokes were funny. And that’s the key if you’re going to use jokes – make sure they’re funny. There is nothing worse than making jokes that people don’t find funny.

Generally, the Wedding Master of Ceremonies has a welcome speech before the reception gets underway and the arrival of the newlyweds. (At this reception the newlyweds had already arrived and were seated at the head table.)

The welcome speech is different from the speech Maureen gave and I give you a format to follow in How To Be A FUN Wedding MC.

Maureen’s speech took time to prepare. She had to find material which she thought would go over well with the guests and get some laughs because the newlyweds had asked her to keep the tempo fun and upbeat – something that every Master of Ceremonies at a reception should keep in mind.

However, there’s much more to being a Wedding MC than giving a speech with jokes in it.

The events at a reception can range from the Grand Entrance to wedding games and entertainment, to traditional events like the bouquet toss and the garter toss, to the Final Farewell.

All of those events require preparation and need to be included in your wedding agenda and timeline.

If you don’t know what to do or what to say or where to start then How To Be A FUN Wedding MC will help you prepare for the reception from start to finish.

P.S. Be sure to watch the video to the end: Maureen makes a toast at the very end that is a terrific finish to her speech.

(WARNING: Turn volume down on video below – it starts out VERY LOUDLY)

Get Your Wedding MC Duties and Wedding MC Jokes Information at Wedding MC and Create A Memorable Wedding For The Bride and Groom.

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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.