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Master Of Ceremonies

Choosing the Master of Ceremonies

A wedding, no matter how big or small, should be remembered for all the right reasons. The starry-eyed couple, a simple and touching ceremony, a show-stopping entrance at the reception, the happy buzz of people mixing and having fun, good food and drink, clever-pithy speeches and dancing till dawn to great music. A special mix, making for a memorable occasion.

But then again, a wedding can unfortunately also be remembered for all the wrong reasons, and more than anything else, it’s the bad memories that will linger longest in the minds of all concerned.

Of all the things that stick in people’s minds when it comes to weddings, the reception has to be the key. Before the ceremony, the bride can be a tad late and get away with it – that’s almost traditional. At the ceremony, the priest can forget the groom’s name momentarily, get a few laughs, and get away with it, but…

At the reception, if Uncle Jimmy stands up to toast the bride, having demolished two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, and then regales the gathered guests with 40 minutes of his recollections of the bride dating back to her third birthday, he will not get off so lightly, and he could in fact be setting the tone for a wedding reception from hell! From then on, it could all be downhill. All that’s needed is for the waiters to start noisily clearing up the dishes during the speeches, the best man to offend the bridesmaids with his joke about the Irish streetwalker, and to top it all, the disco dude could permanently empty the dance floor by playing three hours of non-stop profanity-laden rap. We’ve all been to one of those, so why do we continue to step into the same trap? Why compromise weeks, months or even years of planning, by leaving a whole bunch of loose ends lying around to ruin the day?

A wedding Master of Ceremonies (MC) can help to ease the stress of the reception logistics, by working with the bride and groom, and their families, to structure and coordinate the programme of ‘events’ well before the day. Before the wedding day, the MC will assist and brief the speechmakers where necessary, check on any sensitive matters that need to be handled diplomatically – race, religion, family feuds, tricky cousins etc. and coordinate timings with the catering department in respect of the spacing of the different courses, serving times, cleanups etc. The MC will liaise with the disco or band technician, to ensure that all sound equipment is in order, and that the operator has the ability to be flexible, and can ‘read’ a dance floor – one bad music selection can empty a dance floor that will take another 40 minutes to fill. He will check with the photographer (notoriously bad time-keepers) as to what the photo-time requirements will be between the bride and groom leaving the ceremony and arriving at the reception, and he must keep the ‘buzz’ going in the quiet periods: before the couple arrive at the reception, between the speeches etc. The MC is essentially the ‘ringmaster’, a key person who coordinates the various aspects of the reception from start to finish.

The MC must never lose sight of the fact that this is the day the Bride has been dreaming of and waiting for, and that this is HER day. There can be no re-runs. It has to be right – first time.

By Patrick Mc Krill, who is a popular master of ceremonies in KwaZulu-Natal and can be contacted on 083 303 6958 or lesley@wellspring.co.za