Have you been asked to emcee a wedding and have no idea where to get started? Check out this blog to get the planning ball rolling!
The first thing to remember is that you are not the entertainment, you are the Master of Ceremonies. You are running the reception and will become the main point of contact for the reception portion of the evening. If the couple is OK with some jokes, that's fine, but you are not here to become the entertainment.
During cocktail hour while everyone is mingling and chatting, take some time to familiarize yourself with the equipment available.
1) Are you using a microphone provided by the reception venue, or the DJ?
2) Are the batteries full?
3) Have you done a sound check?
4) If you don't have a microphone, how loud do you need to speak for the guests in the back to hear you?
Familiarize yourself with the vendors you need to talk to during the reception.
1) Photography: Where are the photographers sitting? Do they need specific shots of the speeches? Should you be alerting them before starting a speech?
2) DJ: Is there an entrance song being played? Any other songs you should be aware of?
3) Reception Venue: Have you found the banquet manager? Is dinner on time? What time should each course be done so the speeches do not get interrupted by service staff?
4) Wedding Planner: Is there anything specific they would like to announce?
It is a great idea to meet with the couple a week or so before the wedding to mark down all of the details and timing of the big day.
If the bar is going to be closed for dinner and/or speeches, you should be announcing this about 15-30 minutes before the bar closure. This way it allows the guests to grab a drink, and take their seats so nothing is delayed.
Double check with reception staff if they have a staff member to close off the bar. If the bar is supposed to be closed at 6pm, and there are 75 people in line, the chances of dinner running late are quite high. Stay organized and stay on top of the small details!
When you meet with the couple, you should go over the pronunciation of the wedding parties first and last names. There is nothing worse than being up at the podium with a deer in the headlights look when you can't say someone's name. A nice touch, depending on your timing, would be to find out how the couple knows each person in the wedding party. Giving each person a bit of a personalized introduction validates their importance on the big day.
A bit of general info to include in your opening announcements:
1) Where is smoking permitted?
2) Are guests allowed to leave their vehicles overnight?
3) If there is an escort card table, do the guests need to have their place cards out and visible for the servers to see?
4) Should you be announcing the out of town guests, or is that part of the bride and grooms speech?
5) How do you get the bride and groom to kiss? Is there a game that needs to be explained?
6) Is the dinner a buffet? How are the tables being called up?
Finally, remember that you are a very important part of the wedding day, and the flow of all of the events. Go easy on the open bar, take advantage of the drinks after your responsibilities for the evening have concluded.
Communication is key, call vendors before the big day if you have questions! Come prepared, it will relieve a lot of un-necessary stress during the reception.
Until next time, happy planning!