The most common question I am asked about weddings is not about the various speeches but rather “What do I have to do as the Master of Ceremonies?”
Here is a quick checklist – the bottom line is that it is your job to keep the celebration moving along: speeches, gifts, toasts, cutting the cake and dancing!
Prior to the reception:
1. Check with the couple for any traditions that must be included in the proceedings – these may be cultural or family based.
2. Get a list of all the toasts and speeches to be made, who is to make them, where they will be seated and how long each one is expected to last.
3. Prepare a running sheet of activities (entrance, welcome to guests, parents speeches, couple speeches, other bridal party or family speeches, cake, dancing etc) and check this with the couple.
At the reception:
4. Ensure everyone is seated prior to the entry of the couple.
5. Announce the couple and allow them to enter the room and be seated.
6. Introduce yourself and make any special announcements e.g. photo restrictions of the venue, gift table or wishing well location etc.
7. Stick to the running sheet, particularly with timing of speeches. Check with each person making a speech a couple of minutes before their turn so they can prepare themselves.
8. Don’t let anyone ramble, tell inappropriate or embarrassing stories – keep the talking part to a minimum.
As with any public speaking situation, think back to similar ones that you feel were appropriate and use them as your learning examples.