The Wedding MC (Master of Ceremonies) Guide
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Richard is a graduate of the Marbecca Method Advanced Master of Ceremonies Workshop and has been a professional MC since 2000, performing at dozens of weddings, corporate events and other celebrations, including twice a year at the Wedding Show at Auckland’s Sky City and for the past few years at the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. How does Richard look and sound when presenting? Click HERE to see video of Richard Mills as MC at a recent Business Awards event.
Richard has also been the MC for charity events, such as a large fundraising dinner and auction for SPCA and recently as MC and Auctioneer for the Skylight Trust’s annual appeal and gala dinner. Richard has also been compere for school functions, networking evenings, a three day fishing tournament and many other events, as well as countless weddings all over the country and overseas. Testimonials from attendees at these Bridal Fashion Parades are here.
He features in Tom Haibeck’s book Wedding Toasts Made Easy and is an organised, polished, eloquent and humorous speaker. Richard Mills is available to act as your professional Master of Ceremonies, with or without his DJ services and virtually anywhere in the world.
This guide has been published in ‘Engaged Magazine’, M2 Magazine and TV3’s website.
“I was recently booked as the DJ for a lovely couple and at very short notice was handed the role of wedding MC as they were concerned that the Uncle that they were originally considering might not have everything sufficiently organised. Other couples have expressed concerns about having the timelines adhered to, or that the family member they considered might get drunk.
In the first instance, I welcomed guests to the venue and gave them the ‘housekeeping rules’ such as where to smoke, when to turn off cell phones, the emergency evacuation instructions and importantly, what time the bar closed.
I not only introduced the speakers, but coordinated and liaised with the videographer, caterer, waiting staff and serving staff. I introduced the person offering grace/blessing and then directed the guests to the buffet table by table. I made sure that the guests and other wedding professionals knew what was coming up next and helped everyone relax and enjoy the celebration.
The Bride came up to me later that night and commented that she had no idea how much she might have had to worry about and delegate on the night had I not known what to do and when to do it. She felt that she had been able to relax knowing that things were well under control.
This made me realise something I had taken for granted because I’ve attended so many wedding receptions: that your MC should know your timeline and what needs to be done when. I should point out that some of the things I’m about to mention may be taken care of by your venue, but if the venue is a dry-hire where you supply everything, consider the following items, which are a few examples of important things for your MC to do.”
There’s no need to panic over the MC role. My intention with this web page is to help you plan in advance to avoid any panic or issues on the day. The wedding MC is the glue that holds the celebration together. It’s a pivotal role and one that carries responsibility, but with a little preparation, you’ll be able to shine and help the occasion (and the hosts of the celebration) look spectacular.
Research and become familiar with wedding protocol and social etiquette. Some weddings will be very formal, some incredibly informal. Know in advance what style is suitable and aim slightly higher than the expected standard of professionalism and formality.
Do your best to memorise the names of the important people in advance, so you don’t have to read off your notes all night. Some of the best MCs make it look so easy and unrehearsed, but in reality they rehearsed every detail.
Don’t search for a ‘wedding MC script’, prepare your own to suit the occasion you’re directing and officiating over. Every celebration and occasion is different and you need to recognise that by tailoring a unique script as Master of Ceremonies.
Try to avoid the ‘search engine standard speech’ trap. When using search engines to get ideas, try to avoid using the jokes, quotes and speeches that pop up most frequently. If you found them easily, so did hundreds of others, so keep your announcements fresh and original.
EXPECT that some things will change on the night. Be prepared for this.
Appear calm and unflustered, even if you’re having a mild panic! Butterflies in your tummy are fine- just get them flying in formation.
Introduce yourself fully, welcome guests to the venue and thank them for their attention.
Do not refer to the couple as ‘Bride and Groom’, ‘Bride and Bride’, or ‘Groom and Groom’ when you can use their names. Keep it personal, not generic.
Announce and introduce the wedding party and newly-weds into the room with style, flair and enthusiasm, but in a manner suiting your personalities. This sets the tone for the reception to follow.
Acknowledge and introduce the members of the head table and identify where they fit into the Bride & Groom’s lives. Do the same with the parents. This can also be handled by the newlyweds, rather than the wedding MC.
Get the dinner plates cleared away well before the speeches start so the waiting staff and noise aren’t a distraction. Also ensure that they aren’t chatting or working during the speeches where they can be seen or heard.
Make sure the toast glasses are primed and ready before the speeches start also and that the entire Bridal Party is seated.
Before announcing speeches, ensure that all of the important people are in the room!
Remind people to turn their cellphones to silent or off. Guests with babysitters won’t want them off altogether probably.
Before making any announcements, a good wedding MC will get the crowd’s attention FIRST and also let the videographer know that you’re ready to start the next formality.
Smile. All night, not just when you’re speaking.
Know in advance who the speakers are, what they look like, what their relationship is to the couple and where they are sitting.
Mock Grooms (without causing embarrassment to his family or other VIPs) by all means, but Brides are SACRED!
Never use humour that could offend your grandparents!
Don’t try and tell too many jokes. Sincerity is more important than humour for the polished wedding MC.
Keep it brief- it’s not the wedding MCs role to deliver a speech.
When speaking, ensure you can be easily seen by all guests, apologising in advance to any who are behind you or cannot easily see you. Then apologise profusely to those who CAN see you!
Give everyone involved a few minutes warning before announcing the next thing coming up. A quick visit to the restroom to powder one’s nose may be in order before embarking on speeches. Nothing worse than being uncomfortable when it can be avoided.
Brief each of the event professionals before making announcements to make sure they are prepared and ready for THEIR role in the next phase of the evening.
Announce any family gathering (like a barbecue at Mum & Dad’s) that may be on the next day. This is very often forgotten. Likewise the guest register, which you may even need to start making its way around the tables.
Be prepared to offer any thanks or make any toasts that you see have been missed, such as toasting the parents, or thanking (on behalf of the couple) for the wonderful gifts.
Be aware of the time-line and keep things moving along at a reasonable pace, but don’t make it too hurried. Part of the wedding MC’s job is to make sure everything runs to time.
If your eyesight isn’t brilliant, ensure you have your reading glasses with you and pick a well-lit spot close to the head table so you’re at the focal point of the room AND you can see your notes clearly.
Do NOT drink alcohol before you’re finished with your duties. It won’t make you funnier, better looking, wittier or taller.
The wedding MC (Master of Ceremonies) should be in control of the evening, but not obviously so. They are a facilitator, directing the flow, but not making the event about them. The stars of the night are the happy couple, their families and their wedding party.
Above all, your MC needs to be able to change and be flexible if things don’t go according to the script. Being a wedding Master of Ceremonies is a great honour and privilege and can be very rewarding.
Good luck and I hope this guide helps. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
Testimonials from Bridal Fashion Show attendees:
- “Wasn’t Richard an awesome MC? I thought he was really impressive”
- “Richard did a lovely job at the Wellington bridal show”
- “I saw him at one of the Auckland shows and I agree, he was great!”
- “I also thought that the MC did an excellent job and we enjoyed the fashion show.”
- “There was 1 thing I was pretty impressed with, I thought Richard Mills was a great MC for the fashion show!! Well done, the best I have seen in the number of bridal expos I’ve been to.”
- “Richard you did a great job as MC.”
- “Richard Mills – You did a very good job of the fashion show.”
Dozens more testimonials, commendations and comments from Richard’s previous clients are available HERE
Click here to view (and hear) Richard Mills at work as Master of Ceremonies at a recent Business Excellence Awards night.