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May112012

« 9. How to be a brilliant wedding MC: Tips 1-5 »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. She is the author of "Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking" and is one of only 800 people in the world with the highest level of accreditation in the professional speaking industry - CSP - Certified Speaking Professional.

Weddings are emotional events and if the guests and participants all have high levels of emotional intelligence and EQ it would be a bonus for the master of ceremonies, but they generally don't!

The MC has to help people feel proud of the brideIf you've been invited to be the master of ceremonies at a wedding you know it's an honour. It can also be daunting as it is an important role.

The master of ceremonies can make or break the wedding reception, and you need to be able to engage your audience throughout the wedding reception even when problems arise or people drink too much.

To be successful you'll need your wits about you, lots of focused preparation, and your emotional intelligence so you can manage your emotions even in difficult circumstances.

You have a lot of people to look after.

Not only is there the bride and groom to care for, but also the whole bridal party, and then all the guests.

However, once you know exactly what to do and how to do it, the role become much easier than it might be.

There are many different tips and techniques to use and we cover these at length in our popular E-book, "The beginner's guide to being a brilliant master of ceremonies".

However, to get you started this is the first of two articles on how to be a brilliant master of ceremonies at a wedding.

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Emotional intelligence tip 1: Keep everything flowing smoothly

It is often your MC role to mastermind the entire wedding reception. Thus, you need to know exactly what is to happen when, where and with whom.

However, things are always in danger of going haywire at a wedding reception.

When events do not go to plan you have to provide a way for everything to continue to run smoothly.

This may be by your filling the gaps in the program or by getting someone else to do it. But whatever happens make sure the wedding reception flows smoothly. You are to smooth everything over.

This means you also need to keep your emotions under control so you can do this without getting ruffled.

Who would have thought that emotional intelligence would come in handy as an MC? But it does.

Emotional intelligence tip 2: Keep to time

The wedding master of ceremonies has to keep everything and everyone to time.

How easy it is for a wedding reception to drag on. People speak far longer then they should, the bride and groom are late arriving, the knife for the cake cutting goes missing, the bride's mother faints ... there are any number of possible events that can stop the ceremony going to time.

As the wedding Master of Ceremony it is your duty to make sure everything runs like clockwork.

  • If this means you go to the kitchen 15 minutes before the cake is due to be cut to ensure the knife is available and the cake ready, then you go to the kitchen.
  • If you need to talk to everyone in advance about the length of their speeches and how to help them stick to time, then you talk to all speakers in advance.
  • If this means you check with the DJ that the music is ready for the bridal waltz, you do so.

You do whatever you need to keep to time, even when people want to go over time. Yes, some speakers, for instance, can get caught up in their own emotions and you will have to be prepared to be strong and courageous in some circumstances to manage the timing well, without causing offence.

It comes down to emotional intelligence again and being able to manage other people's emotions, (the fourth dimension on the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso emotional intelligence model).

Emotional intelligence tip 3: Get introductions & protocol correct

The Wedding Master of Ceremony is often responsible for announcing who people are and introducing them before they give a speech or a toast.

Make sure you have sufficient information on all the relevant people, and that you know what they are doing and when. Ensure you get the titles and protocol correct for all the duties, including the introductions.

Imagine what would happen if you got them wrong; embarrassment is not an emotion you will want to feel!

For example, the Master of Ceremonies announcements may include:

  • Announcing the arrival of the bride and groom.
  • Introducing a toast to the bride and groom.
  • Calling upon the groom and bride to respond.
  • Inviting the parents of the groom to speak.
  • Inviting the bride and groom to the dance floor for the bridal waltz.
  • Announcing the departure of the bride and groom. 

and so on.

Work out carefully, in advance, exactly what is expected of you.

Your Master of Ceremonies duties can vary from one wedding to another. No two weddings are identical and not everyone wants a traditional wedding.

(Also, it is important if you are not also the Best Man that you know which duties the Best Man will take responsibility for and which ones you, as the Master or Mistress of Ceremonies, will do. )

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Emotional intelligence tip 4: Leave everyone feeling proud

Leave everyone feeling proud of the "happy couple".

As the Master of Ceremonies at a wedding it is very important that everything you do is geared to two emotions: pride and happiness. Again it comes down to the fourth dimension of emotional intelligence on the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso emotional intelligence model: the ability to manage emotions so as to attain specific goals.

You need to ensure everyone at the wedding, particularly the parents and siblings of the bride and groom, glow with radiant pride throughout the wedding ceremony and wedding reception.

There are many ways to do this, e.g.

  • Telling positive stories about them,
  • Finding others to tell relevant stories about them,
  • Praising the bride and groom,
  • Commenting on good features that are happening,
  • Expressing your own emotions and saying how proud you are of the bride and groom.

Do what you can to leave everyone feeling proud of the couple and proud to have been at the wedding.

Featured Video

Watch our video for even more tips on being a wedding master of ceremonies.

Emotional intelligence tip 5: Build up happiness

Help the bride and groom to leave feeling very happy.

As their Master of Ceremonies the bride and groom will want you to help them take away a wonderful set of memories that will last them a lifetime.

People cherish their wedding photos for years and years; they still talk about their wedding 10, 20 or 30 years later, and they want everything to go well so they can savour each moment. The happy memories matter.

The Master of Ceremony needs to have the couple and their happiness as a major focus, in other words, the main role of the master of ceremonies is to manage the emotions of the event as well as the practicalities.

Yes emotional intelligence is important at a wedding reception!

Gain even more tips on being a wedding MC

Want to know more? Got your wedding coming up soon?
  1. Then you'll find our very popular E-book,"A master of ceremonies: The beginner's guide to being a brilliant MC" is packed full of many more practical tips on how to be a superb master of ceremonies. There is a whole section devoted exclusively to being a master or mistress of ceremonies at a wedding. It has already sold in over 60 countries world-wide. Have it delivered immediately to your e-mail box so you can be a brilliant MC at your wedding. Order here: "A master of ceremonies: The beginner's guide to being a brilliant MC"
  2. Master of ceremonies coaching is also available in Western Australia for an individual MC or for a group of MCs who are MC'ing the same event such as a conference.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.

Develop your master of ceremonies skills now and engage your audience.

Thanks to istock.com photo for the photo.