You’ve been asked to emcee a wedding and you’re not sure where to start. You’re not alone. The job can seem massive and mysterious until you’ve acted as an event MC at least once.
Not to worry, with some research and planning, you’ll be fully prepared for the big day. Be flattered that you’ve been asked to act as a wedding emcee. It means the couple trusts you with an important part of their special day. An event MC needs to be organized, well-spoken, and invested in the day itself. Being asked to play this role for your friends or family is an honor — you’ll want to do your very best for them.
So, where do you start? How do you make sure you are the best possible event MC you can be? We’ve got you covered with a list of best practices to help you follow tradition while helping to create a memorable wedding night for your loved ones.
Put in the Work
Once you’ve agreed to be an event MC, the background work begins. It’s helpful to know the basic structure and size of the wedding for which you’ll be the MC. Be sure to find out high-level details as soon as possible:
- When and where will the wedding take place?
- How many people will be in attendance?
- How big will the wedding parties be?
- Will the happy couple have a traditional wedding reception, following the ceremony?
- How many speeches will there be?
- Who will be speaking?
With these details in mind, you can start mapping out your evening plan. Chances are, as the event MC, you’ll be asked to guide the wedding guests through the reception and into the evening. Having a clear plan for the evening will give you a broad map, which you can then fill in with detail.
Plan Highlights and Transitions
As event MC for a wedding, your role is to guide the wedding guests through the reception. Here are just a few of the highlights and transitions you will want to have planned out:
- Introducing the newly-married couple for the first time
- Introducing the bridal parties
- Introducing yourself and the role you will play
- Calling attention to moments or events before they happen
- Introducing the scheduled speakers
- Speaking from your heart about the newly married couple
Of course, the details will vary from one wedding reception to another, but your fundamental job as event MC will remain the same — gain the attention of the room when needed, keep the evening running smoothly and on time, provide guideposts for where guests should give their attention and offer a clear sense of closure when your role as event MC is over for the night.
Plan What to Wear
While your wardrobe may sound like the least of your concerns as an event MC, it’s an important detail to get squared away long before the wedding. As a rule of thumb, you should be dressed as well as the best-dressed person in the room, except for the bride and groom themselves.
For a wedding, this means no jeans or casual pants. Some venues have dress codes, which can help guide your decisions. In general, you want to match the overall tone of the wedding. Keeping with the idea of being one of the best-dressed in the room, this will often mean wearing a suit and tie or an elegant dress.
If there is a distinct theme for the wedding, you should dress in line with the theme, with a slight nod to the importance of your role as event MC.
When in doubt, speak to the engaged couple to see what they think. They may have clear guidance that you weren’t expecting. The key component, when it comes to your wardrobe as the event MC, is to have it organized and in place well before the wedding date.
Add Audience Interaction
To keep your audience engaged as event MC, be sure to add some degree of audience engagement. Asking the wedding guests to answer questions or inviting them to participate in an activity will keep them engaged and interested.
Some event MCs use humor for this component, which naturally engages an audience. Make sure your humor is authentic and clean — the last thing you want to do is insult your wedding couple or offend their guests.
When in doubt about the best way to interact with wedding guests, run your ideas past the wedding couple. They may have strong thoughts on what to include and exclude.
Stay Up to Speed
Naturally, in the time between agreeing to act as event MC and the wedding date itself, things change. Wedding receptions are fluid events — your wedding couple may throw in an additional speaker or decide to do away with specific traditions.
Be sure to check in regularly with your wedding couple. While there will always be last-minute changes to the events and details of a reception, the longer you have to prepare for any changes, the better.
If you suddenly have an uncle flying in from Europe who is desperate to speak at the wedding, for example, you will want to know a thing or two about him before introducing him to the crowd. The more notice you have for schedule changes, the better prepared you will feel.
Remember to Rehearse
While every event MC handles rehearsal in their own way, it’s important to give yourself enough runway so that you don’t run out of time. Some event MCs will want to make sure they have every line of the evening memorized.
Others will go through the evening relatively unscripted. They will favor genuine conversation and natural transitions over a formal approach.
Naturally, there are risks to both approaches. An event MC with a rigid, memorized agenda may be thrown if something unplanned happens. By contrast, those with a laissez-faire approach may tend toward long, rambling speeches, which are bound to lose the attention of wedding guests.
You are likely best off having clear notes for the evening, with an understanding that things may not go exactly as you have them lined up. With some practice ahead of time, you will be able to make eye contact with wedding guests, without needing to read each word from a script.
Have Fun, But Also Have a Backup Plan
When you are an event MC, it’s important to remember the wedding guests are rooting for you. They want the evening to run smoothly. They want you to succeed in helping the wedding couple shine. Have fun with the role. Be confident. But also, keep your speaking role contained, with forward momentum in mind.
To go above and beyond in your role as event MC, you may also want to secure a backup plan, should you fall sick or have a reason you can’t attend at the last minute. Having a backup in place will give both you and the engaged couple peace of mind that you all deserve.
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