In my opinion, the Master of Ceremonies or the MC is the most underestimated role at a wedding.
On the outside looking in, the MC only seems to make a few simple announcements, but there’s so much more that happens behind the scenes.
Here are the pivotal roles that MC’s play at a Reception behind the scenes;
- Being very familiar of the schedule and planning ahead, executing each formality on time (or close as possible), prepared for the next steps and ready for any changes that might need to be made.
- Being the Host or Hostess with the Mostest! The MC will welcome guests, make themselves available for any questions and provide a warm and friendly presence.
- Communicating with all wedding suppliers and participants of the event; making sure that all participants (e.g. photographer, videographer, venue staff) are clear on instructions, ready for the formalities. It’s critical all suppliers are aware of announcements and prepared for any formality, so they can be in the best position to fulfill their job at the maximum capacity.
- Giving guests a warning that formalities are coming up, so they don’t miss out on the highlights of the evening. The MC will often need to hunt down any stray guests in the lobby, toilets or smoking areas.
- Clearly and professionally communicate the housekeeping and venue guidelines to the guests. It’s important to also be very familiar with these details in case any guests have any questions throughout the night.
- It’s crucial to fulfill all these roles so the pressure is taken off the newlyweds, the Wedding Team, friends and family. When possible, it’s best to communicate with a member of the Wedding Team (Maid of Honour or Best Man), so the couple aren’t stressed about these details and can sit back and enjoy their special day.
- Arriving early, helping other suppliers and being the last to leave will allow all the i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed. It’s vital to do a sound check and go through the schedule step by step with the venue before guests arrive, so you can relax and enjoy the experience. After all, if the MC is having fun, so are the guests!
Often couples like to choose a friend or family member to be the MC (whether it’s to save money or include a loved one in the festivities or just because), but often this person isn’t the best equipped for the job.
A great MC can make or break an event or wedding, so it’s important to choose wisely.
Sure, your friend or family member can easily research on the internet “How to be an MC”, but there are so many factors that are underestimated and several skills that you can’t just Google.
Here are some invaluable skills only a seasoned and professional MC will have;
- Being MacGyver with time and while in action. An experienced MC needs to think on their feet, be flexible and spontaneous, as well as comfortable working well under pressure and responding to stressful situations.
- Ready to run errands on the 11th hour, take on last minute housekeeping tasks and have contingency plans for small fixes at the Reception.
- A pro MC is on alert, aware of any issues and is ready to deal with any situations quickly . For example, if there’s a spill or a mess, take action to clean it up quickly or take leadership by delegating someone to help.
- Having a good mic technique comes with extended practice and experience. Novice MCs often struggle with the microphone, especially when the nerves kick in and when they hear their own voice through the speakers. It is vitally important to know how to hold and use the microphone to ensure the message is loud and clear.
- Being a loving and encouraging support for any friend or family member who is nervous about doing speeches. Often the MC needs to be a life coach, giving motivational tips and even hugs.
- An expert MC will be conscious of every element of a wedding reception, so before anything is announced they’ll make sure everything is covered. For example, they will check the knife and champagne is ready for the cutting of the cake or make sure pens are placed for the guest book to be signed.
- You can’t put a price on an MC who is be fun, engaging and uplifting or can build rapport with every guest, or someone who engages in friendly banter with friends and family to help everyone feel relaxed and comfortable.
- With experience comes the ability to read the room, a great MC will have an innate knack of being able to know exactly when to be sincere, or humorous or even engaging, judged based on the energy of the room. They will also know how and when to drive the mood into a different direction if needed.
- The ability to bring a new level of interaction with engagement and fun games, such as the Shoe Game, Heads or Tails, Scavenger Hunt and more.
- Found their level of proficiency through years of experience and making mistakes at previous events.
- Oozes confidence and professionalism, which usually comes with extended time in front of a crowd.
- Strong knowledge and use of inclusive language. It’s important that the MC is aware of the newlyweds and their Wedding Team’s pronouns and uses them correctly. A pro MC will also capture the entire LGBTQIA+ community in their language throughout the night (for example, announce Friends and Family instead Ladies & Gentleman).
One last factor to consider before choosing your MC, while it is lovely to include your loved ones in special day, the MC role can be a stressful position and it may take away from enjoyment of your union. Plus, some of us get excited, might have a few too many drinks and things get a little lopsided. Don’t risk that happening on one of the most important days of your life.
The MC needs to be the Master of the Ceremony, that’s what it is called after all and often being a Master at something comes with experience and practice. So choose someone who has that and you can sit back, relax and trust that you’re going to have the best Wedding Reception you could have ever hoped for.