When you book the venue for your wedding reception, there’s a chance that you might be offered the services of a free Toastmaster or a Wedding Master of Ceremonies as a part of your wedding package. It goes without saying that you’ll need someone to oversee the proceedings and to make sure your day flows smoothly, but is this free service everything it’s cracked up to be ? Will you be happy with it, or is it worth paying extra for a professional?  And if you do decide to hire someone, is there a difference between a Master of Ceremonies and a Toastmaster? What do they actually do, anyway?

Here’s the lowdown:

The Wedding Package Freebie

Regardless of whether your wedding venue has named the person who’ll be responsible for your day’s proceedings as a Wedding MC or a Wedding Toastmaster, he’ll often be neither of those things. In fact, he’ll be the venue’s function manager – someone who is perfectly able to ensure that your meal arrives on time and that the bar doesn’t run dry, but someone who is unlikely to have had any training at all in public speaking or entertainment.

As he’ll usually have had no contact with you before your wedding day, you’ll be nothing more to him than ‘just another bride and groom’ and so the service you can expect to receive will be very basic, and sadly, very impersonal. His main concern will be ensuring the staff are working to schedule – which is great – but other than that, he won’t bring anything special to your special day.

With no prior knowledge of your personalities or tastes and no vision of how you want your day to feel,  his  announcements are likely to be brief and to the point, and delivered with little or no emotion – Be prepared for him to not even call you by name, but merely refer to you as ‘the bride and groom’.

If you’re working with a very tight budget, the freebie Wedding MC or Wedding Toastmaster is nothing to be sniffed at, but don’t expect to be wowed because you won’t be. Remember…his job is to be a function manager and that will be his priority.

The Friend / Family Member

So….you have a friend or a family member who you just know would be brilliant at doing this job! He’s confident, he’s funny and he’s always the centre of attention at parties. He’d be perfect, right?

Wrong.

Don’t make the mistake of burdening someone you know with this responsibility. How many times have you expected to hear a fantastic speech from a funny and confident Best Man, only for him to die a slow, painful death as soon as the microphone was thrust into his hand?  It happens time and time again in weddings across the world.

A Master of Ceremonies is exactly that – a Master of his trade. It takes years of training to excel in public speaking, script writing and microphone skills, let alone wedding etiquette, protocol and event timings. However lovely your friend is, this choice of Wedding MC isn’t an ideal one.  One thing often overlooked is the pressure your friend will feel to make sure everything runs smoothly, surely you would rather have him celebrate with you rather than running around organising things and getting his next mic time prepared.

If you really can’t afford to pay extra for a professional, opt for the Wedding Package Freebie. (Having said that, I’d seriously suggest losing one tier of your cake, forfeiting the wedding favours or readjusting your budget before deciding that you really can’t afford a wedding Wedding MC)

 The Wedding Toastmaster

We all know what a conventional Toastmaster looks like; adorned  in a long-tailed red coat and a starched white shirt with matching waistcoat, gloves and a bow-tie, his outfit is as steeped in tradition as the formality of his performance.

In a nutshell, a professional Wedding Toastmaster is an experienced public speaker with knowledge of ceremonial proceedings, protocol and wedding rituals. So, If you want your wedding to be a formal day, encompassing all of the pomp and circumstance you’d expect to see at a dignified event, then a professional Toastmaster is what you should be choosing. He’ll ensure your day runs smoothly by welcoming your guests, arranging your receiving line, making all the announcements and liaising with the venue staff throughout the day.

As a result, everything is likely to run seamlessly because he’ll be there to iron out any creases, whilst remaining a visual (but rather conservative) part of the proceedings.  But If you do opt for a Wedding Toastmaster, don’t expect much frivolity, fun or laughter. His knowledge and experience lies in tradition, etiquette and formality, not in personalising your wedding, entertaining your guests or making your wedding day unique. Other than changing the names of the bride and groom, his wedding day ‘script’ remains the same throughout the year, and as such, your guests will know exactly what to expect because they’ll have seen it many times before.

The Wedding MC

A Wedding Master of Ceremonies will be the host of your wedding day and will do everything a Wedding Toastmaster will do, but his performance will be more flexible, and his attire will stand out much much less.  If your dreams for your wedding are for it to be a relaxed and fun day whilst ensuring that everything behind the scenes runs without a hitch, a professional Wedding Master of Ceremonies is what you should be opting for.  This really is the ultimate service in wedding day management and entertainment because a wedding MC will take your day to a whole new level.

To have a truly personal and unique wedding, someone has to take the time to get to know not just the bride and groom, but the entire bridal party – bridesmaids, the best man, ushers, parents and grandparents – and this is exactly what he’ll do. By spending many hours before the big day getting to know all of the special people involved, a Wedding MC will write and deliver a unique performance that will be full of surprises and cram-packed with fun, laughter and emotion. Making the bride and groom the stars of the show, he can write a tailor-made script incorporating stories, anecdotes, music, sound clips and games, ensuring that the happy couple get the red carpet treatment they deserve.

One of the highlights is the Grand Entrance of the bride and groom, guaranteed to put smiles on faces and make one of the most memorable parts of the day. Rather than being mere spectators, the wedding guests will play a significant part in the day’s proceedings too, and will be ‘wowed’ by what they witness.

This service is new to the UK shores, hot from America, and only myself and a handful of UK DJs have been trained to deliver it. To find out more about how a professional Wedding MC will not only make your wedding day unique, but make your guests green with envy, just click here.

Whichever option you choose for your special day, just remember one thing: You only have one chance to get it right!