Wedding Etiquette: Master of Ceremonies

by James Stuart
A good MC helps ensure the couple has a memorable wedding day.

A good MC helps ensure the couple has a memorable wedding day.

Even people comfortable with public speaking may feel nervous when friends ask them to emcee their wedding. The couple has entrusted you with making their wedding day a special one and expect you to rise to the occasion. Luckily, wedding ceremonies typically follow a prescribed etiquette and the same goes for acting as an MC. Knowing what the couple and the wedding party expect of you will ensure everything runs smoothly.

The Role of the MC

The primary function of a wedding MC is to act as a host for the ceremony, but you will also need to help organize and prepare for the wedding day. MCs typically deliver a short introductory speech and even shorter introductions of family and friends. You should also guide the party so guests know when to eat, dance and pay attention. Long before the wedding, talk to the couple and listen to their suggestions and expectations for the day. Ensure you know the exact timetable and practice all speeches beforehand.

The Speech and Introductions

Your speech will start the wedding party and help set the tone for what follows, but that doesn't mean you should stress out over the speech. There are several approaches you can use in your wedding speech: Try sharing a personal story about the couple, talk about their future together or simply focus on what makes them perfect for each other. Don't worry about writing the most passionate, original, heartwarming speech of all time. Keep it simple. The same goes for your introductions. You should introduce each of the speakers with a sentence or two and step away from the microphone. Typically you will introduce the bridal party starting with the grandparents, then introduce the parents, the flower girl and pageboy, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the maid of honor and best man, and finally the wedding couple.

Jokes

Many MCs struggle with making their speech and introductions funny, and it's important to remember that jokes aren't required. Jokes don't always come naturally and trying to shoehorn a lame joke into your speech can seem obvious. If you're a naturally funny person, then by all means include humor in your speech, but don't force yourself to write a funny speech if you find it difficult; and if you have even the smallest suspicion that a joke is in bad taste, scrap it. If you decide against jokes, you may find it easier to share an emotionally moving story, but remember to keep things light and not get bogged down in sentimentality or touch upon awkward subjects such as divorce.

The Party

Public speaking is by no means the only role of a wedding MC. You will also know what's going on at all times and help lead guests through the festivities. While it's important to be organized, things will never go exactly as planned. The best man may be in charge of much of the planning, so you should talk to him beforehand and work together on the wedding day. Know the exact schedule of the wedding and try to make sure guests stick to it as much as possible. Remember to be flexible. If the father of the bride is giving a particularly moving but long-winded speech, you may need to adapt and move things around.

About the Author

James Stuart began his professional writing career in 2010. He traveled through Asia, Europe, and North America, and has recently returned from Japan, where he worked as a freelance editor for several English language publications. He looks forward to using his travel experience in his writing. Stuart holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy from the University of Toronto.

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