How to Act as a Master of Ceremonies at a Wedding

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The master of ceremonies, or MC, at a wedding runs the reception and keeps events moving smoothly. Part announcer, part ringmaster, the master of ceremonies is a visible part of the reception. A good master of ceremonies knows when to speak and when to put the microphone down. While you should be entertaining and affable, remember that the guests are there to celebrate the wedding, not hear your comedy routine. However, you should feel comfortable picking up the microphone if the crowd needs an injection of excitement or encouragement to get onto the dance floor.

Learn and write down the names of the wedding party and parents of the couple well before the reception. Practice saying the names aloud and write them down phonetically, if necessary. You'll make the introductions of the wedding party as they enter the reception. Write down the names on an index card in the order they will enter the reception, and ensure the couples are lined up correctly before you enter the venue to introduce them.

Talk with the bride and groom at least several days before the reception about their preferred way to be introduced. Ask whether they want "Mr. and Mrs. Adam Smith," Mr. Adam and Mrs. Kate Smith" "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" or some other variation. Write this information down on a separate index card.

Confirm with the couple the order in which they'd like to do events such as the first dance, the father-daughter and mother-son dance and the toasts. Create a rough schedule of the events, such as "7:00 - Wedding party and couple introductions, 7:05 - First dance, 7:15 - Best man and maid of honor toasts" and so on.

Check with the couple or wedding coordinator on any other special aspects taking pace. For example, if there is a dessert bar instead of served wedding cake or a photo slide show planned, note that and agree on a time you will announce these events to the guests.

Share this schedule with the DJ or band so everyone is on the same page about when the special events will take place. This is especially important for events, such as the first dance, that call for special music, or the tossing of the bouquet, that call for quieter music.

Use an enthusiastic manner of speaking at the wedding. Encourage the guests to let loose with phrases such as "Let's all get on our feet and wave our hands in the air as we welcome Mr. and Mrs. Smith!" Keep your voice upbeat and peppy for these kinds of announcement. Adopt a slightly more solemn, hushed tone when introducing things such as the father-daughter and mother-son dance.

Slip in flattery to your announcements, especially those geared toward the new couple. "Now please help me welcome the beautiful bride as she dances with her father," for example.

Encourage guests to get on the dance floor for themed songs, like the "Electric Slide" or "We Are Family." Goad guests cheerfully - for example, "I still see some ladies in their seats. Come on ladies, get yourself out there and show off what you've got!" - but don't overdo it.

Know when the reception ends and announce the last dance to the guests. Encourage everyone remaining to get out on the dance floor for one final spin.