How to be a Professional Wedding MC
This is probably one of the most comprehensive guides written for wedding DJs and MCs that you will find on the internet. I wrote this many years ago for my DJs only and have finally decided to make this DJ/MC guide public for anyone who will benefit from the information. Feel free to pass it onto your wedding MC or if you are a DJ/MC yourself use this information until you too can call yourself a Professional Wedding DJ/MC.
Introduction to being a Wedding DJ/MCThis is a simple guide for Wedding DJs and MCs. As a wedding DJ, you have a responsibility beyond just being a “Party DJ”. This main responsibility is to take control of the running sheet/time schedule and make sure everything runs to the plan and in time, even if you are not the MC. Doing this job does not require a whole lot more energy, just your concentration. If for example the Introductions are set at 7:45, then make sure you prepare 5 minutes before and make them right on the dot. If the speeches are at 8:15, then don’t wait for someone to ask you, let the right people know they will need to be ready, and get it started right on cue.
As an MC, you are also a host, this does not mean that you have to be constantly using the microphone but it does mean that you must help co-ordinate events and make sure that the wedding runs to schedule, and you must also get the attention of the appropriate people at certain times. These are the people you may have to communicate with at a wedding:
- Bride & Groom – To discuss music/cds provided, timing, preferences
- Best Man / Matrons of Honour – To discuss music, timing, client details
- Functions Manager – To discuss room lighting, meal times, schedule, client details
- Caterer(Sometimes also the Function Manager) – To discuss meal times and servings
- Photographer – To inform before formalities, so he/she can catch them on camera – Don’t forget to inform this person if they are not around!
- Camera Man – To inform before formalities, so he/she can catch them on camera – Don’t forget to inform this person if they are not around!
- Remember to stay confident and calm, you need to focus on sustaining this state of mind
- Imagine that you have done this a thousand times and now it is just another drill routine
- Wedding clients are very important, this is their special day and this means that you must take the event very seriously in terms of punctuality, respect to guests and venue
- Before you actually start, let the photographer and camera man know that you are about to start, we wouldn’t want them missing the crucial moments
- Make sure you get the name pronunciations correct if necessary, speak to the client and bridal party before they enter the room
- Speak clearly and confidently, with enthusiasm, like a radio presenter – Do not mumble
- Even if you are not the MC, it is still your job to prompt the MC, or function manager to stick to the schedule
- Before each main formality make sure you make an announcement 5 minutes prior to notify people to charge their glasses (if necessary) and/or go to the bathroom
- Most people have a camera man at their wedding, so if you stuff up, it’s on candid camera, this is extra reason to do a little homework before the show
Pre-IntroductionsAlways arrive an hour early to discuss plans with the venues function manager and the bridal party/bride & groom to do your pre-introductions
1. Make sure you arrive at least an hour early and dressed appropriately to verify all details and notes with the venue’s function manager, bridal party and bride & groom. Arriving in the last minute leaves no time for this and will dramatically increase negative pressure if no prior conversation has been made.
2. In this conversation you must verify that you have all CDs and music required for each individual segment of the whole wedding if you have not already (you will not be able to talk to them easily later on) and that you know how to pronounce all names required. Extra reminder to check pronunciation of names if necessary
3. The guests will probably be standing in the foyer having pre-dinner drinks for the first 30 minutes of the reception. When instructed by the reception manager, it is your job to welcome the guests to the room to be seated (sometimes the reception manager may do this him/herself or you may have to walk into the foyer and raise your voice).
- Remember not to talk over people, get their attention first!“Ladies & Gentlemen could I please have your attention. It is time now to be seated so if you please could make your way back to your tables as we will begin the introductions shortly.”Wait 1 minute and ask people back to their seats again if they are not responding, try turning the music off if still no response.
4. When the foyer is clear, and before the introduction of the bridal party, if you are the MC, you must first make sure the bridal party are in the correct order that you will be calling them out. You must locate the bridal party, introduce yourself and line them up in the order on the run sheet. Usually it will be the flower girl or page boy, the parents, the bridal party, the best man/maid of honour, and finally the bride and groom.5. In about 15 minutes, when everyone is seated, the bride, groom and bridal party will all be waiting at the door to be introduced (you did order them correctly didn’t you?), you must lower the volume of the music and get everyone’s attention. Summary of the Pre Introductions
- Arrive 1 hour early
- Verify you have the introduction song and CDs if you haven’t already
- Inform the guests to be seated
- Locate the bridal party, introduce yourself, and check name pronunciations
- Line up the bridal party in the order you will be calling them out
- 5 minutes prior, announce for people to charge their glasses (in case of a toast) and go to the bathroom if necessary
- Get everyone’s attention
The Introductions1. This part is the hardest but most crucial part of the wedding, all eyes will be on you, so therefore you must be precise. Everyone gets nerves, so don’t worry, they are natural. 2. Before you actually start, let the photographer and camera man know that you are about to start, we wouldn’t want them missing the crucial moments.
3. During the introductions, you will keep everyone seated until all the bridal party have been introduced and then make a special standing just for the bride and groom, for now, everyone shall remain seated. Once standing, people should (although sometimes they don’t) remain standing until the bride has been escorted to sit down by her new husband. 4. Remember to be confident and encourage people to give a response after each introductions with variations such as: a. (afterwards say) …could I get a warm round of applause b. (afterwards sat) …could I please have a great big round of applause c. (afterwards say) …please make them welcome d. (before say) please make welcome… e. Put your hands together for… f. (at the end say) …Thank you very much for your time g. Show your appreciation for… 5. The introduction will begin a little something like this:
“Ladies and gentlemen could I please have your attention as we introduce the bridal party to the room.’ ~Wait until everyone is quiet, just before you begin play the entrance song, if none is chosen, play ‘Michael Bubble – The Way You Look Tonight’.6. OK. First up into the room we have the Flower Girl and Page Boy, (name) & (name), PLEASE MAKE THEM WELCOME (make sure you say this loud and clear to encourage applause)
a. Fade the volume up quite loud so it is in line with the clapping and also to kill the silence after the clapping dies down however go back to very low volume before the next introduction. Usually the bride and groom will have chosen a song which will be on your wedding plan sheet however if they have not play: Michael Bubble – The Way You Look Tonight7. Next up into the room we have the Bridesmaid and Groomsmen (name) & (name) PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER! (say with enthusiasm) a. You can relax because by now you might have realised that people aren’t really looking at you, they are more concerned and happy about seeing their family members getting married. So don’t be nervous. 8. Repeat for each Bridesmaids and Groomsmen there are. 9. And now we have the Best Man and the Matron of Honour (name) & (name). COULD I GET A WARM ROUND OF APPLAUSE! 10. (THE BRIDE & GROOM) 11. And now could we have every one standing! 12. Wait a minute til everyone stands 13. Please allow me to introduce to you (quick pause), for the first time as husband and wife (quick pause), Mr & Mrs. (new surname). Could I get a great big round of applause. a. Make sure you know the surname, the pronunciation and are ready to announce smoothly and clearly – this should have been done in pre-intros. Also look at the wedding plan sheet for how they would like to be introduced. Mr & Mrs. (New Surname) OR (Name) & (Name) (New Surname). It will say on the wedding plan sheet. 14. Now play introduction song selected by client, if there is one. Put the volume up moderately loud, and wait for the Bride & Groom to make their way to the table. 15. Let them find their seats and then give permission for people to be seated so everyone sits down with the bride and groom 16. Thank you very much, you may now be seated. Your entrée will be served shortly. 17. You may now sit down yourself and continue playing dinner music
18. Sometimes people may go from the introductions straight to the cutting of the cake or perhaps even the bridal waltz, if this is the case, then go to that part of the script (See below) and follow the instructions. Whatever the case, it will say on you wedding plan sheet!Summary of the Introductions
- Refer to the wedding plan sheet for details on the introduction song, names of people, and what is taking place directly after the introductions (entrée, cake, bridal waltz, etc)
- Before you begin, warn people 5 minutes ahead that you are about to do the introductions
- Remember to stay calm and confident, once you announce the first couple it gets easier from there.
- Always throw in a comment to encourage applause after each couple
- Have the introduction song ready, and fade it moderately loud between announcements. If no song has been chosen, stick with ‘The Way You Look Tonight – Michael Bubble’.
- Keep everyone seated except when you introduce the bride and groom
- Keep everyone standing until the bride and groom are at their table and seat everyone together.
- Close by announcing the entrée OR the next event on the agenda.
- Don’t stuff up, it’s on camera! (joking… follow the instructions and you’ll be just fine)
When it’s time for the speeches it is your responsibility to help co-ordinate things. You must remember to warn people with an announcement 5 minutes prior, announce up the first speaker, and carry the microphone between speakers. This means that you announce the speeches, and introduce the first speaker, and then hand the microphone to them. After they have spoken you must take the microphone from that speaker, thank them, and hand it to the next. In some cases you may sit back whilst the people who are doing speeches work this out themselves however at the end of the day, it is your responsibility to make sure everything runs smooth. Begin the speeches with:1. Five minutes before the speeches you must say: Ladies and Gentlemen we are about to do the speeches so if you would like to go to the bathroom now is the time, and if you could please also charge your glasses. Thank you. 2. Then begin with: Ladies and Gentlemen could I please have your attention as we are about to do the speeches. Wait for about 2 minutes until everyone is ready. If there is anyone outside, then call them in. 3. Could anyone out in the foyer please make their way inside for the speeches, thankyou. 4. Once you have everyone’s attention you may continue by saying. 5. And first up for the speeches we have (position. Eg. Father of the Bride, Best Man) (name), please make them welcome. 6. After someone has spoken take the microphone from them and say, Thank you very much, and now we have…… If your microphone can reach the table of the person speaking, then bring it to them. 7. Let everyone speak and when the speeches are over it is now time to get prepared for the cutting of the cake or the bridal waltz depending on the structure of the wedding – Check your wedding schedule provided by the venue or Discosource DJs. Summary of the Speeches
- 5 minutes before you begin, remind people to charge their glasses and go to the bathroom if necessary
- Look over your wedding plan to see the order of the speakers, get everyone’s attention and welcome the first speaker
- Take hold of the microphone between speakers to announce the next speaker
- Encourage applause from the guests before each speakerThat simple!
Cutting of the Cake
Cutting the cake is a simple formality however sometimes everyone gets a bit lost now knowing what to do. First you need to announce the cutting of the cake, then make a count to 3 and then ask for applause. As you get applause from the crowd, play the selected song by the client if they chose one, otherwise play ’98 Degrees – I Do’ or something else appropriate. Always make sure the photographer is ready.1. (After the introductions or speeches – Usually) 2. And now it is time for the cutting of the cake, for any of you who have cameras and would like to take photos now is your chance, please feel welcome to make your way up the front of the room. 3. People will get out of their chairs and bring their cameras to the cake 4. Wait til everyone including the photographer is ready. 5. The photographer (if he/she is there) will guide them into position for the photos and then you must say: Okay we will do this one the count of 3. One….. Two…. Aaaannd 3. Could we get a round of applause. 6. And as people are clapping play the song for the cutting of the cake, if they have not chosen one play ’98 Degrees – I Do’. 7. People may continue to chat amongst each other waiting for what is to come next which depending on the schedule could be the bridal waltz or maybe even the speeches. Check your wedding plan sheet. Summary of the Cutting of the Cake
- Make the announcement for the cake
- Wait for the bride and groom to get to the cake
- Wait for the photographer to guide them into position
- Count them in and on the count of 3 ask for an applause
The Bridal Waltz
1. The Bridal Waltz will usually be a love ballad and there is usually a second ballad for the next song, then dancing music. The Bridal Waltz will have been chosen by the client and the second song you may choose, unless you have been instructed otherwise on the wedding plan sheet. (See below for some suggestions)
2. Usually after the cutting of the cake, main or the speeches is the bridal waltz, be prepared because the cutting of the cake does not take long. Then say: And now Ladies & Gentlemen it is time for the first dance as husband and wife, so if we could please get your attention to the dance floor and make them welcome!
3. Play the bridal waltz selected by the customer, perhaps if there is an intro, have the CD ready and play 15 seconds or so before they enter the floor.
4. Play the bridal waltz, and check the wedding plan sheet to see if the client has chosen to dance for the whole song or only the first couple minutes only before the bridal party are welcomed to the floor. Some people feel self conscious and do not want to be on the floor alone for longer than a minute, others see this formality as a very special moment and want to dance for the whole song, or perhaps they could have choreographed dance steps and there is a specific minute and second. Keep the same song playing until the end whilst you announce the next group onto the floor. Each customer has a different preference however if they have not said anything or you have prior instruction then welcome the bridal party.
5. Next you must check the wedding plan to see who is to be invited next. Everyone will be different, if for example the bride or groom have parents that have passed away or are divorced sometimes they will skip the parents. Now the Bride & Groom are dancing, when instructed (as per wedding schedule), invite the parents of the bride & groom onto the dance floor (if instructed, if not then continue with the bridal party)6. Could we now welcome to the floor the Bridal Party, put your hands together! 7. Wait a minute or two and then say 8. And now I’d like to invite anyone else who would like to join them onto the dance floor. Ladies and Gentlemen the dance floor is open.
9. This should kick off the dancing segment, and for the third song (after the second ballad), it’s time to kick off with some dancing. While everyone is partner dancing, I usually like to play a few more partner dancing songs to keep the couples and elders on the floor, and to make the transition from partner dancing a smooth one.Suggestions to start off some good partner/slow dancing songs may be: i. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Frankie Vallie ii. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen iii. Sway (Salsa Version) – Michael Bubble iv. Rock’n’Roll Megamix – Jive Bunny v. Michael Bubble – Moondance (fade in after the loud intro) vi. The Lambada Suggestions of some good party songs to start with may be: vii. B52s – Loveshack viii. Kool & The Gang – Celebration ix. Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music x. Superstitious – Stevie Wonder Suggestions of some songs to play directly after the bridal waltz, if the client has not chosen one: i. The Way You Look Tonight – Michael Bubble (Best Choice) ii. I Do – Brandy iii. At Last – Etta James iv. Stand By Me – Ben E. King v. Back At One – Brian McKnight Summary of the Bridal Waltz
- The Bridal Waltz formality consists of 2 partner dancing songs, the bridal waltz and the song proceeding the bridal waltz
- Call the bride and groom onto the dance floor and ask for applause as the bride and groom make their way down.
- Check the wedding plan to see how long the couple would like to dance for, 1 minute, 2 minutes, an exact time (if choreographed) or perhaps the whole song before you announce the next people onto the dance floor.
- Check who is to called out after the bride and groom and in what order
- If they have not chosen a second song then play ‘The Way You Look Tonight – Michael Bubble’
The Farewell Ceremonies1. This part of the night is winding things up. All clients are different, some don’t do this part because they want to party until the last minute, however most do, this applies to the garter, bouquet and farewell circle. 2. This usually happens 30 minutes before the set finish time, do not leave this too late or you will end up going overtime and venues do not like this!
The Bouquet & Garter CeremonyThrowing the Bouquet 1. This is where the bride throws the flowers behind her head, and whoever catches the flowers “is getting married next”. Unless the client has chosen a specific song, then to attract the girls to the dance floor, it is best to play, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper’. 2. Have a bit of fun with this. Say : Ok now can we get all the single girls in the room onto the dance floor, and this goes for anyone who is not married. Technically if your not married, your single! 3. All the girls will round up while your playing this song. Wait for the bride to get to the floor and count her in. and… ooone….twwoooo….threee! 4. Now as she throws the Boquet press the ‘CUE’ button to temporarily stop the music while the Boquet is in mid-air, this adds to the suspense, and then press ‘PLAY’ again just as someone catches it. 5. Congratulations! I think we know who’s getting married next! (or something like this) Collecting the Garter
6. This is very similar, however starts a little differently. First the Groom goes down on his knees and collects the scrunchy from the brides thigh/leg with his teeth. Sometimes more conservative people will choose not to do this in front of their family and friends and skip straight to the throwing of the garter.
7. As the groom goes down to get the scrunchy it is good to play a different song to the actual throwing of the garter. Something a little raunchy, the best song to play here is ‘Cream – Prince’, however it is important you skip the moaning noises in the first few seconds. As soon as the drum beat of this song kicks in, everyone will get revved up and there will be a lot of excitement in the air.Throwing of the Garter
8. After the Groom retrieves the scrunchy, then the next part is when the Groom throws is over his head so once again round up the single guys this time. The next song to play is ‘Thunderstruck – ACDC’, start playing this song before calling the guys up. This song usually gets all the guys quite pumped up and into the spirit.9. Ok now can I get all the single guys in the room onto the dance floor, remember if you’re not married your single. 10. This time as someone catches it do not stop the song playing, when one of the guys catches it finish up by saying Thank you very much, and now it is time for the farewell circle, so if we could get everyone onto the dance floor please and if everyone could just spread out a little so we can all fit.
The Farewell CircleThis part of the night is winding things up. All clients are different, some don’t do this part because they want to party until the last minute, however most do. 1. Start by saying:
Thank you very much, and now it is time for the farewell circle, so if we could get everyone onto the dance floor please and if everyone could just spread out a little so we can all fit.2. Now the Bride & Groom will be making their way around the circle to say goodbye, so the Bride will walk this way(clockwise) and the groom will walk this way(anticlockwise) as they say their last goodbyes!
Thank you very much, and now it is time for the farewell circle, so if we could get everyone onto the dance floor please and if everyone could just spread out a little so we can all fit.3. Then instruct the bride and groom.
4. Now the Bride & Groom will be making their way around the circle to say goodbye, so the Bride will walk this way(clockwise) and the groom will walk this way(anticlockwise) as they say their last goodbyes!5. Now play some ballads and soft songs, the client may have instructed some songs to play, if so play them.
6. You may begin to wind up, however don’t pack up until the finish time, or until everyone has left the room. Sometimes at weddings after the bride and groom leave you may play for another 5 or 10 minutes until the finish time.Suggestions of songs to play during the farewell circle: i. Red Red Wine – UB40 ii. More Than Words – Extreme iii. Stand By Me – Ben E. King iv. How Deep Is You Love – The Bee Gees v. I’ve Had The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes vi. Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers vii. The Way You Look Tonight – Michael Bubble viii. Home – Michael Bubble ix. Just The Two Of Us – Grover Washington x. All Night Long – Lionel Richie xi. George Benson – On Broadway Suggestions of songs to play after the Bride & Groom leave the room: i. Let’s Get Loud – Jennifer Lopez ii. Hot Hot Hot – Arrow iii. The Cup Of Life – Ricky Martin iv. Anything upbeat and energetic OR if you don’t have any time left, something slow.
Other Announcements Depending on the formality of the event or the venue, you may be required to announce meals, dessert and coffee. It is highly recommended that you avoid making an announcement for dessert as it quite often kills the dance floor and makes it much harder to get things warmed up again. Consult with client if it is not noted what the client prefers on the Wedding Plan Sheet.CLICK HERE If you are looking for a DJ anywhere in Australia & read about our DJs Feel free to use the share icons below, share on Facebook, Twitter, Google PLUS or even directly email it directly to your Wedding MC 🙂 by Paul Anthoni