What it Takes to Emcee: An Interview
In our previous blog we touched on the importance of enlisting a good emcee for your wedding reception. All the decisions and choices you make in planning your wedding can be very overwhelming.Take your time in choosing your emcee and make sure you choose the right person for this task. The MC can either make or break the evening. Ask someone who you trust to handle this position with finesse and style to ensure that your night of nights will be remembered for all the right reasons!
Being an emcee can be a very challenging but rewarding job so do yourself a favour and think of someone confident and responsible, with good public speaking skills who won’t crack under pressure.
Ensure they know exactly what you expect from them as well as the tone and atmosphere you’d like to cultivate at your reception. Call this person your emcee, the master of your ceremony, the ringmaster to your circus or the conductor to your orchestra; either way this person is vitally important to a successful wedding.
At a recent Linga Longa wedding we were very impressed with the emcee and his handling of the events over the weekend. His dealings with the bridal couple, their guests and us as venue managers was second to none.
As such, we asked Brad to answer some questions, shedding light on an often underrated but absolutely vital role in any wedding.
How long have you known the bridal couple?
About 6 years. I am great friends with the bride and groom and I consider them both family.
How did you feel when they asked you to emcee their wedding?
I was lost for words (and that’s a rare thing!). Hannah asked if I would be part of their wedding, and I was happy to just be going. Then she asked if I would be the emcee at their wedding because I was too important to the both of them to simply be on one side or the other... I may have started tearing up at this point.
What particular traits do you think you have that made them choose you as their emcee?
I can talk to anyone about anything. I am quite personable in my career and engage with a wide range of people regularly. I'm a bit of a planner and like to have everything working the way it should, always thinking two or three steps ahead. Ultimately I am pretty organised and am able to back-build from where the next action or event needs to occur. Our group of friends all look out for each other and Hannah and Isaac knew I could juggle whatever was needed to make sure any issues were dealt with behind the scenes and keep the party going.
With a bunch of moving parts happening across the wedding, I was (at least I think I was) able to identify the important things that needed to occur, keep the concerned parties informed and on script/time to make sure Hannah and Isaac had nothing to worry about, and just really enjoy the night.
Have you been an emcee for other weddings or events?
Not weddings - but I'm involved with a lot of team and high stakes people as well as issues management. I'd say this gives me a little edge in that I know what needs to be done to effect the result I need. I can keep calm, juggling everything else to make it happen.
What preparation did you undertake before the event?
Not a huge amount 'scripted' wise. I knew a little of what I would have to say if asked, but knowing the style and formality of the wedding, I knew the important speeches would be just the Father of the Bride, Best man and the wedding couple themselves. There's no point in trying to add value to that so I decided to just ensure that those three had all the focus as necessary and usher along the party for everyone else.
I did walk the venue before it began to get a feel of the location, and processed numbers and movements of people required for transport to and from the Forest Cathedral. The change in tracks threw a spanner in the works but with a few other vehicles roped into transport the numbers worked out fine.
As the event kicked off, I got around to the important players - DJ, musician, transport, food, drinks, parents etc, and kept in the loop with what they needed, arranging back of house to support everyone in making the night one to remember.
How would you describe the experience?
Humbling. Being able to be there for the wedding was amazing, but being asked to play a part was an honour. There was a little pressure with a few of the changes we needed to make on the day/night (mother nature played her part), but keeping everyone who needed to be informed aware of the changes made the load easier to carry. No matter how hard it all got (which wasn't much at all) it was well worth the challenge to see the bride and groom lock eyes for the first time and then being able to announce them entering the marque as Mr and Mrs Powell was very special indeed!
Would you do anything differently?
I actually wouldn't. I had an amazing day playing a small part with two special friends on their most important day. Everyone that was involved was happy to work around a few little bumps to make the day truly memorable. People went over and above, help was never too far away, and ultimately, Hannah and Isaac created memories that will last a lifetime.
If you could give future emcees one tip what would it be?
Really understand what your role to the couple is, and what they want you to do. Are they relying on you to hold the formalities together and make sure that the guests are all ready as needed? Are you more like an on-the-day wedding planner that they want to help orchestrate the flow of the day? Do they just want you to say a few words, introduce a few people and then do your own thing? The emcee role can be a thousand and one different types of roles, but your job is to figure out which role they have asked you to fill, and then deliver on it.
What advice would you give couples in choosing an emcee for their wedding?
This is YOUR day. YOUR event. YOUR memories. Decide on what you want YOUR emcee to do/perform and choose/change appropriately. Are you after a someone akin to a wedding coordinator, a meet and greet person, or someone to tell a few humorous stories? Once you figure out what you want them to do, be sure to explain it to them so THEY know what you have asked of them and expect them to do. If they have to do a lot of talking and mingling, you need to let them know; most people would rather be in the coffin than making the eulogy. Give them a chance to prepare and deliver on exactly what you want.
A good emcee should want you to have the best wedding day bar none, and be willing to work to make it happen. Your emcee should know you both well enough to be able to help out and control any issues for you before they happen to make YOUR night the best it can possibly be. In the end it should also be a great event for them, even if they have to be a little reserved for part of the celebrations. Remember they are there for you and because of you.