Is there a more stressful role than being asked to be the Master of Ceremonies at a wedding? How do you manage the formal wedding protocols with the specific needs of the bridal party to make it all flow so it becomes a successful celebration? I have been a wedding MC on a number of occasions and each has taught me different lessons.
The role of the wedding MC is to help bring the wedding couple’s families and friends together to celebrate the special occasion. You will need to work with the functions manager, photographer, videographer & DJ so the function seamlessly flows, from the order and timing of the toasts, speeches and meals, to the sequence of the other wedding elements.
Your first job is to sit down with the bride and groom and find out what they want. Make them aware of the traditional wedding protocols and let them modify the format to suit their particular circumstances. What wedding sequence do they want, who will be giving toasts & speeches, and when will the meal courses be served? This preparation is vital to your success as the wedding MC.
The traditional Wedding Sequence is as follows…
THE BRIDAL PARTY ENTER THE RECEPTION
The order that the Bridal Party is introduced at the reception:
- Parents of the Bride
- Parents of the Groom
- Best Man & Maid of Honour
- Bridesmaid & Groomsman
- Bride & Groom
However, each of the weddings I have attended has been different. The Bridal Party of the last wedding just had the young daughter and son of the bride, followed by the Best Man & Maid of Honour, followed by the Bride & Groom.
As MC, call the reception to order to announce that the Bridal Party has arrived. Ask everyone to be seated. Introduce each party to signal them to enter the room. Finally, ask everyone to stand to welcome the newlyweds, “Please join me in welcoming our newlyweds, Mr and Mrs John and Mary Smith”, and lead the applause. Everyone should remain standing until the bride and groom take their place at the head table. Then ask everyone to be seated.
You will have needed to work with the functions manager to find out when the meal courses are to be served so you can program the toasts and speeches to be between the courses.
TOASTS AND SPEECHES
The order of the toasts & speeches will depend on family dynamics.
Traditionally, the order was:
- Friend of the Bride & Groom proposes a Toast to the Bride & Groom
- Groom responds to the Toast and proposes a Toast to the Bridal Party
- Best Man responds to the Toast to the Bridal Party
- A friend of the Bride’s family proposes a Toast to the parents of the Bride
- Father/Mother of the Bride responds to the Toast
- A friend of the Groom’s family proposes a Toast to the parents of the Groom
- Father/Mother of the Groom responds to the Toast
This order will change when the bride and groom decide who they want to be involved.
In our multicultural society, ask if there are any unique cultural customs that you need to be aware of and make sure you know the correct pronunciation of any ethnic names.
THE READING OF LETTERS AND EMAILS OF GUESTS NOT ABLE TO ATTEND
This is also a great opportunity to acknowledge those in attendance who have travelled far as well as anyone who is celebrating a special occasion. For example, we acknowledged family members who travelled all the way from England as well as a couple who had recently celebrated their fifty-seventh wedding anniversary.
THE CUTTING OF THE CAKE
THE BRIDAL DANCE
THE THROWING OF THE BOUQUET
The cutting of the wedding cake, the bridal dance and the throwing of the bouquet are special moments so you may need to alert the photographer, videographer & DJ that they are about to happen.
THE FAREWELL AND GUARD OF HONOUR
Your success as a wedding MC will depend on your prior planning with the bride and groom, and the amount of confidence and enthusiasm that you bring to the role. The confidence and skills that I learnt in Toastmasters really enhanced my role as MC. I always recommend Toastmasters to anyone who wants to practice a wedding toast or speech for an upcoming wedding. The positive feedback that you receive will greatly boost your confidence and skills.
Being a wedding MC is an honour; being part of a successful wedding celebration knowing that you played a major part in helping the newlyweds, and their families and friends, celebrate the start of their married life together is a great feeling. By following the above format and tips, you can make the role not only successful but enjoyable.
~ Tom Wilde is a member of Alpha Toastmasters Club