I was thrilled when my friends Andrew and Ash first asked me to be a groomsman in their wedding party, and I was even more honoured when they asked me at Christmas if I would consider being their Master of Ceremonies. I did my best to play it cool, and didn’t mention it much afterwards, which in part lead to a funny situation right when I got back in Vancouver, fresh from Germany. We were sat having pizza somewhere for lunch, and talking about the wedding.Andrew: “Who’s our MC again?” Ash: “…” She looks over at me, then back at Andrew. I raise my eyebrows as Andrew looks over at me. Andrew: “Oh! Do you want to be our MC?” Tylor: “Yes, of course!” Ash: “You were supposed to ask him two months ago!”
It was a great honour. I was a little worried about being a groomsman and an MC, but the way they had the logistics worked out for their big day it wasn’t a problem at all. I looked around at different guides on the internet because I’m lame and do stuff like that. If you’re reading this, and you’re not one of my usual few readers, then you probably are as well! Anyways, I found 5 basic bits of advice I’d share with anyone in the same position:
1) Be confident.
You’ve been chosen because they believe in you – or at least hopefully they do! You’re likely the kind of person who they consider to be collected and put together, but still probably a bit of an entertainer. Be aware of that, and use it to boost that confidence. But be careful…
2) Avoid Dutch Courage
If you’re maybe not feeling that confident, don’t look to chemical means to bolster it! I didn’t find myself in this situation, but I can see some people turning to it. I even had a panic myself when, after two deceptively strong glasses of cider (the wedding being at a cidery), I felt a tugging at my sleeve. I turned to find it was the caterer, and he would like to know if I was going to be calling out the tables to the banquet, or if he would be doing it. This leads me to my next suggestion…
3) Communicate With Your Bridge and Groom
(Or with any other pertinent groups: the parents, the Maid of Honour/Best Man, the DJ, etc…)
Well before the wedding you should sit down with the bridge and groom and really hash out what they want you to do. I tried to do this with my friends, but I think it was an inopportune time and we ended up forgetting about it. You can imagine how my heart got to thumping when the caterer asked me about the banquet order. I could vaguely remember the bride mentioning something about it a month previous, but we definitely hadn’t hammered that out. Luckily though I could turn to the Maid of Honour who had been given logistical decision making duty by the bride, and between ourselves, the caterer, the DJ, and the venue manager we soon had everything sorted out with what I had to say.
4) Be Flexible.
So, while I had had a rough idea of what I had intended to say, those rushed conversations threatened to derail everything. I had about 20 minutes to re-plan everything and lock it down. If I had written everything out ahead of time, it might not have worked. Not everyone feels comfortable with working off the cuff though, so do whatever it takes for you to be prepared to switch around at a moment’s notice.
If my experience was any indicator I also wouldn’t be afraid of asking the DJ, caterer, venue manager, whoever, if they have input on how things should go. They’re the professionals, and have probably seen a lot more weddings than you have – both good and bad.
Which brings us to the last one…
5) Have fun!
You’re being chosen is a big honour. Enjoy your duty. Hopefully you have a crowd as ready to party as I did, because your audience can make a big difference in how everything is accepted. Besides, it’s your duty in part to get everyone ready to party, so you’d better be having a good time yourself!
Oh, and a final thing: I don’t remember where I read this, but the most inspiring and reassuring bit of advice I read suggested focusing on trying to get the bride to laugh. It’s her day, and by focusing your entertainment energy on her, you can avoid slipping into making awkward jokes at the expense of others. Will your joke about the friend hooking up with a cougar at the last wedding make her wince? Better leave it out then.