How to MC a Wedding: The Basics
You have been asked to MC (or emcee) your best friend's wedding! This is awesome! Or is it? You're pretty confident with a crowd, you can handle the boardroom like a champ and people think you're hilarious so you've got this right? Hopefully, but just incase, I have some advice for you!
To start off, do you know your role is as the MC of a wedding? Seriously, it might not be what you were thinking.
Your job, as the MC of a wedding, is to "run" the reception in the eyes of the guests. You're not there to be the star of the show, the couple of the day already have that role. So you can put away the joke books and stop worrying. If you have a quick one liner, or a short story about the couple great, but there is no need for you to tell elaborate stories and jokes each time you step up to the mic.
Depending on your friends this could go one of two way, the easy way or, well, the hard way. If they love you, they have already hired a super amazing Wedding Planner and life is going to be peachy! On the other hand if you hit on the Bride back in college or humiliated the Groom in a hockey game then they skipped the planner and your job is now exponentially harder! A big part of your responsibility is to make sure that all of the VIP are in the room, the banquet staff are in between settings, the photographer is ready to capture the moment and the DJ is ready to turn the music down. If there is a Wedding Planner then he/she takes care of all of that and cues you too, if not well get your runners on!
Your first moment of the evening is going to be the grand entrance. This is the moment when the bridal party and the couple of the day are formally introduced to the guests and is truly the kick off to the reception. Each couple has their own plans for how this part of the evening is going to go and it can be a simple introduction to an elaborate show. Make sure you fully understand their vision and if there is no Wedding Planner, make sure you are in touch with the DJ, Photographer, Banquet Staff and of course the VIP before you start this off! (No pressure).
I wish I could prep you here and now for exactly how the night would go, but every wedding is a unique reflection of the couple, so I can only offer you some basic guidelines.
The longest that you are going to be speaking at any given trip to the mic is in the beginning (after the bridal party and couple have entered). This is the time when you are going to welcome the guests, explain any house rules that they might need to know (think smoking area, kissing games and centre pieces).
If your BFF chose you to MC rather then a professional MC (yes, those actually exist!), then rest assured that they don't expect you to motivate the crowd and get the party going. They are probably leaving that job to their DJ. You just need to stay on top of speeches, dances, cake cutting etc. Wondering how you'll know what is happening and when? I recommend sitting down with the couple about 1-2 weeks before to get all the details!
Remember, you're not the star of the show, the couple is so just relax and help make sure their night runs smoothly!