This article below was submitted by Christopher Smith, aka DJ Spinz, one of Ambient DJs' wedding specialists. Chris is a gifted entertainer with multiple stage personas ranging from the smooth and refined wedding MC to the high-energy taskmaster.
As Master of Ceremonies ("MC" or "Emcee") you have a very important job to do. You are the spokesperson for the Bride and Groom on one of the most important days of their lives! Family and friends have traveled from near and far, and every last detail has been thoroughly planned. You must create the seamless flow that will carry the reception from start to finish and leave the guests feeling like they just attended the party of their lives! This article includes five essential tips that will help you become a better wedding MC, and also guide you towards creating flawless receptions, even under the most demanding circumstances.
1) Practice, practice, practice....
Just like anything else in life, practice makes perfect. Practice projecting your speaking voice, tonality and pacing. You can use a tape recorder or video recorder to review how you sound and look while speaking. Check your body language. Do you look uncomfortable? Are you rushing your speech?
Create a repertoire of phrases and descriptions that can be drawn from for your performance, and mix them up. For example, some emcees overuse stock phrases such as "at this time" or "Ladies and Gentlemen..." Mix it up to avoid appearing like a boring drone! As bridesmaids and groomsmen pairs are announced, use a variety of phrases such as "escorted by" "accompanied by" "ushered by" and so forth. For examples of effective emcees, study the delivery of a late night talk show host who guides their guests through a structured program of entertainment.
For the event, create a brief script in preparation for your performance. This script will help you to refine your thoughts and delivery, and also serve as a base in case you need to change a few things off the cuff later. During the drive to the venue, begin focusing on your upcoming performance, visualizing the success of the event and reviewing the pronunciations of names in the family and bridal party.
2) Be Prepared and "Take Notes"
Have all of your notes in order before arriving to the event. Whether you use an iPad, a legal pad or note cards, be sure to make these notes easy to edit, as it is not uncommon for things to change unexpectedly. Bridal party rosters can be overhauled just moments before a grand entrance, meaning that you must be able to react well under pressure. The guests have no clue about the chaos behind the scenes and may not forgive you for confusing the flower girl with the Maid of Honor! Also, be sure to review your notes with each of the other onsite wedding vendors, including the photographer, videographer and banquet manager.
3) Listen, Interact and Be Approachable and Fun
You may overhear that it's also "Uncle Ron's" anniversary tomorrow, or "Aunt Peggy's" birthday on the 5th! Including special announcements such as these personalizes the event for the extended audience of family and friends, and makes the celebration more memorable. Rather than spending too much time back in the DJ booth with your partner, mingle among the guests, befriend them and collect information that you may be able to inject into your performance!
It should go without saying that this is a people business, and nobody likes a grouch. Smile when making announcements and be enthusiastic. You are the "Steward of Good Times"! Guests will be drawn to your positivity, making the party an even bigger success! While surely an extreme example, recall how guests were drawn to the outgoing Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson in the movie "The Wedding Crashers"!
4) Check In
Your Bride and Groom will be swimming from all the excitement of their big day. Make it easy on them and check in periodically to ensure that the music and entertainment is to their liking, and to see if there's anything that you can do to make their evening more enjoyable. Of course, for any formal activities, you will need to provide them a heads up on the impending ceremony (e.g., Cakecutting, Parent Dance), so that they can freshen up their makeup if needed (Bride) or put on their jacket (Groom).
5) Be Confident
If you believe in yourself, then others will follow! Conversely, if you are nervous, then you will look, sound and perform like an amateur. Take a goodhearted approach to your role. You are a representative of a great couple and are tasked with making memories that will last a lifetime! With practice, preparation and experience, your confidence will only increase.
Of course, confidence should never be confused with arrogance. Brash, aggressive Emcees are a dying breed! Treat your guests as you would expect to be treated at a wedding reception. Never humiliate a guest. Work together with the other wedding professionals in a collaborative approach, and check your ego at the door! This event is not about "you" - it is about the bride and groom, and their guests.
One final tip - enjoy yourself as you get to spend your time with happy people celebrating the good times in life. This is a reward in and of itself! As a wedding emcee, you should be grateful to earn your livelihood performing in elegant party environments while getting to see people at their very best.