What do you think? Should the wedding MC be the main entertainment at the wedding reception, or the “ringmaster” coordinating each step along the way? Whether you have been asked to be a wedding master of ceremonies or you are a wedding couple planning your wedding, you need to carefully understand the wedding MC’s role. It is critical to the success of the wedding reception.

The traditional role as wedding master of ceremonies is to make sure everything happens as and when it should, and that the appropriate atmosphere of happy celebration for the wedding couple is maintained. The wedding MC must know when to take the lead as the “chairman” of proceedings, and when to step back to avoid dominating the event. A good knowledge of wedding etiquette is required, an understanding of the wishes of the couple getting married, and the ability to speak well and with good humor to set the mood and gain everyone’s cooperation.

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The traditional wedding MC, then, is closer to being the ringmaster than the main act for the reception. Usually the wedding MC is a volunteer, sometimes also the best man or the father of the bride, but most commonly a family member or friend with the appropriate personality and experience. To expect a volunteer to be the main entertainment will usually be asking too much, but you can mostly count on there being someone in the couple’s circle of family and friends who can play the ringmaster’s role successfully.

Most wedding MC volunteers will make a good effort to bring humor and fun to the introductions, thanks and toasts as the reception proceeds. Some wedding couples will be fortunate enough to have an outgoing and entertaining person they can call on to extend the wedding MC’s role a step further, to add an element of performance and entertainment. For many weddings it is the best man’s speech that generates the most hilarity.

At many receptions there will be a specific entertainment included in the program, such as a singer, often a talented guest. The danger of having a wedding MC who dominates the reception with his personality as an entertainer is that he will detract from the contributions of the other less professional and outgoing participants. The wedding couple needs to be very clear with their chosen MC about the role they would like him to play.

An option is to hire a professional wedding MC. That is often an expensive option, and favored mostly for celebrity or society weddings. The ironical thing is that a professional MC is usually expected by the guests to provide an entertaining act, while professional MCs often see their role mainly from the traditional ringmaster perspective.

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