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Helpful Tips For a First Time Wedding MC

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Being asked to MC a wedding can be a scary experience. It is the dreaded public speaking role [insert dramatic music here]. Not only do you have to speak in front of all the wedding guests, but most people are unsure of exactly what the role involves. Unless you have a wedding planner on the day to give you cues, it is hard to know when to step up to the mic and what to say when you get there. Here is a list of helpful tips:

  • First and foremost, the role of an MC is to "run" the wedding reception. You are the first person guests hear from and you will be providing them with information on the evening as well as introducing the speeches.
  • It is important to understand that you are NOT the entertainment for the evening. If you can tell a funny joke or quick one liners, that's great. Otherwise, you don't need to worry about telling a story each time you are at the mic. There is nothing wrong with simply saying, "I would now like to introduce the Maid of Honour."
  • During the cocktail reception, familiarize yourself with the main players. Find out who the photographer/videographer and DJ/band are and where they are sitting. You will want to give them a heads up before going to the mic to introduce anyone or anything. It might also be helpful to meet the floor manager for the night. They will be dealing with the kitchen and the timing of the meals. This is helpful to know when you are trying to start a speech. You don't want to introduce the Father of the Bride right when the kitchen is starting to serve the main course. It can be noisy and distracting for people trying to listen to the speech.
  • Once all guests are asked to take their seats for dinner, get the wedding party to line up in the order you will be introducing them. Double check that you are pronouncing names correctly.
  • The longest you will speak is at the very beginning. The role starts with welcoming guests, explaining any rules (no clinking glasses, bar is open, etc.) and then introducing the wedding party and the bride and groom. This first introduction to the evening is a great opportunity to explain how you know the couple. Just remember that the bride and groom usually are not in the room at this point so wait to say anything meaningful until after you introduce them and they are in the room.
  • Before you introduce anyone for a speech take a look around the room to make sure the important guests are there (parents and wedding party). You don't want the bride and groom to speak and find out later that the groom's mother was in the ladies room. Check that the speaker is ready and that the bride and groom are ready. Let the photographer, DJ and floor manager know you are about to introduce someone and then go for it.
  • Most importantly, try to sit down with the couple a week or two before the wedding to go over an itinerary. This should include the information for your introduction (what rules you need to let people know about, the names and order of the wedding party, etc.), the time for each course and when/who will be speaking. Also, the bride and groom will be able to tell you when you'll need to introduce the cake cutting, first dance and any parent dances. This will help you organize your thoughts and you will be able to plan out what you need to say.
  • Above all else, try to stay relaxed. Think of yourself as a traffic cop for the evening: you're there to direct the evening and help things run smoothly. You shouldn't feel the need to be the star of the show -- that is the bride's role!
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