Not a lot of people (and until recently, me included) know what a professional MC actually does or understands the role of an MC at a wedding.
But what I have noticed, when I talk to my brides and grooms about their wedding planning, is a definite trend towards hiring an experienced MC, rather than asking (read: begging/bribing) a relative to do them a favour.
So is hiring a professional MC the right choice for your wedding and what in the hell do they do anyway?
In 1993, Ben of DJ Ben Events began entertaining crowds at various kids discos, school formals, birthdays and weddings. As time went on and his list of gigs quickly exceeded the 1000 mark, he started to crave a fresh way to introduce a more personal and interactive element to these events; which since 2013 has been almost solely weddings. Fast forward to 2017, when Ben recently achieved the milestone of 100 5-star reviews for his combined DJ & MC services.
Both clients and guests love his relaxed warmth, wit and fun approach to weddings; so much so that DJ Ben now offers the option of MC only services. He believes that a modern wedding deserves the very best in communication, entertainment and fun all washed down with a big swig of good humour.
DJBen gives us the inside story..
What Do They Do?
You may have been the (unlucky) witness of an old-school MC who, after booming into the microphone that mains were about to be served, sat back with a self-satisfied look on his face; job done!
Thanks Captain Obvious.
Times and expectations have changed a whole lot and in 2017, the list of responsibilities for a modern professional wedding MC are long and varied.
These can include:
- acting as the host of the wedding reception, welcoming your guests,
- being the communicator of public announcements – vocally inform, navigate and convey housekeeping details,
- acting as the middle-man for wedding suppliers (think catering staff/band/venue supervisor etc.),
- being keeper of the schedule & timing of speeches/cake cutting/first dance/farewell etc.,
- ensuring the smooth running of the reception, and
- taking the pressure off the newlyweds and/or their bridal party, parents and siblings.
The Skills They Need
While it may crack you up at family get-togethers when your notoriously funny and inappropriate Uncle spins a few yarns, not every extrovert is the best choice to MC your wedding.
It’s pretty well accepted that prior experience, aptitude or training is a great first start, but DJBen believes that you should also be considering the finer skills of a great communicator when deciding who you want to run your wedding celebration:
- Good mic technique - there’s nothing worse than someone speaking so close into a microphone that the sound is distorted, except a person holding it around their belly button (and you can’t hear a word)
- Organised and prepared – it’s the MC’s job to know what’s meant to happen, when, how and by whom. They need to be all over it; all night.
- Unflappable with a poker face – when the bar runs out of beer or the kitchen is on fire, you want someone who can communicate it (or distract your guests from it) in such a way that everyone is calm, relaxed and happy no matter what happens, and to that point..
- Think quick on their feet – Murphy’s Law frequents weddings, my friend. And you’d better hope that your MC can work around the issues as they crop up.
- A great people-person – a demeanour that is warm and puts everyone at ease will win out over someone who cracks jokes all night, but that said..
- You want someone witty and charming with a personality that draws people to them – humour is the best ice breaker there is.
And last, but certainly not least, you're probably looking for someone who is relatively sober too.
So that means your Uncle is off the list, yes?
What Separates The Amateurs From The Pros?
There are good MCs and then there are great MCs.
You also want to hire someone who:
- Can ‘take the temperature of the room’ and feed off your guests’ reactions to ensure that the party is personalised and relevant
- Will make everything fun with flair – is there are good way to tell everyone where the toilets are? Yes. There. Is. (contact DJBen)
- Commentate the night – inclusive and appropriate banter bonds your guests by encouraging a shared experience of your wedding
- Makes everyone feel comfortable no matter how many, or few, people they know in the room
- Can coach the bridal party or family members who are doing speeches
- Bring another level of interaction and entertainment to the reception with games and fun segments like the shoe game, quizzes about the couple’s quirks/relationship or a scavenger hunt.
What's your experience of amateur or professional MCs? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.