Weducation Presentations

How A Master Of Ceremonies Can Help With Wedding Speeches! A Weducation Presentation with Tim Podesta MC


How A Master Of Ceremonies Can Help With Wedding Speeches. An in depth chat with Tim Podesta MC about the help and support provided to Brides and Grooms.

Listen to Tim on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Tim Podesta, Master Of Ceremonies

Mark Fenn

Yvonne Beck Wedding Celebrant


James: [00:00:01]

Wedding Speeches, and how an MC can help!

So I’ll hand over to you now and you can take that away for us. 

Tim: [00:00:02] OK. Start with a sound check. 

James: [00:00:08] Yeah we’re good. We’re very good. We can hear you! 

Tim: [00:00:11] Perfect, thank you.

So I’d like to talk to you about wedding speeches. As a Toastmaster, master of ceremonies of special events, one of my favourite, if not the favourite part of a wedding event that I always look forward to are the actual speeches.

I always find them moving, and very much appreciated by family and friends. So as a master of ceremonies, one of my roles is to facilitate the speeches, but not just facilitate speeches, help them run smoothly. And many times I’ve come across people who are lined up to speak, they can dread it. And even accomplished speakers, particularly at a wedding breakfast, or at wedding events, they can be nervous. And it’s quite natural to be nervous because it’s an important event. 

Tim: [00:01:16]

So what I like to try and do is in the planning of an event, to offer to give advice on speeches, and to offer coaching.

Because I found that that can be quite welcome, and it can be an option. But even just talking through what the content might be, and actually encouraging people who are going to speak, giving them some encouragement and putting them at their ease. I think that’s one of the key things I find. 

Tim: [00:01:56] Now speeches at weddings, there is a traditional angle and that, as we’ve talked about before in this webinar, with modern approaches, there’s no rules. So with the traditional approach to speeches you would have three speeches. They would be the father of the bride followed by the bridegroom and then the best man. But it’s more than possible that you might have the bride maybe say a few words or the bride’s mother, or maybe even… At my daughter’s wedding., one of the bridesmaids gave a speech as well. 

Tim: [00:02:39]

The advice I give is to consider the length of time the speeches might take.

And if people are speaking, to encourage them to prepare, and most people will prepare their speeches. But to consider how long they might be so you can have an idea for how the whole part of the ceremony, or part of the event where you have the speeches, that that time fits with other things that are going on. Particularly if the speeches are happening together, let’s say before the wedding breakfast, before the meal or afterwards. It’s always good to take into account a little bit of planning of how much time might be required. And that’s another thing I try to advise on. The sort of time that might be necessary for speeches. 

Tim: [00:03:28] And in terms of the traditional speeches, the father of the bride’s speech, what I’d say is normally that would be an option for you to give some thanks. For the father to say something nice about his daughter. Say something nice about his new son in law and then to toast the bride and bridegroom, or whatever appropriate toast that they would like to make. My advice, a little tip, normally around the making of the toast, is, if there’s a toast to be made during a speech, to be clear that you want people to follow you. You’d say “raise your glasses”. And then at the end of each speech, it may be appropriate to ask people to stand up. My tip is, be clear. The speaker would then tend to say, please stand,. raise your glasses, and the toast is… and then I would, as the Toastmaster then, if that’s the appropriate place for the speech to end, to help with the transition to the next speaker. 

Tim: [00:04:41] And then the bridegroom would normally… His speech would normally include some thanks as well. But he would then have the option to say something about his family’s parents, his prospective in-laws, and obviously his introduction possibly as “my wife and I”. That’s a nice touch for that part of the speech. It might be one of the first times you might be saying it. 

Tim: [00:05:09]

And then of course we come to the best man’s speech. Which can be the most interesting and normally can be the most entertaining.

I always try to have a word with the best man, or whoever might be giving other speeches, as to whether there’s anything interesting happening during a speech, so I can help them, help those particular things they’ve got planned, happen smoothly. Particularly if there’s a presentation. One of my favourite ones was recently, the best man wanted to have a stein of beer presented to the bride groom. It was part of the speech. And so I was able to help facilitate there to be a stein of beer. It was some story about the stag weekend, so it’s something I was able to help with. And then the challenge wasn’t for him to finish the stein of beer thankfully because hidden behind the stein of beer was a sort of replica one, a small one, which I then presented to him as part of the setup. That he could drink this one because apparently on the stag weekend, the bridegroom had not been able to finish his drink. Anyway that was the whole setup. 

Tim: [00:06:19]

So I guess in summary, speeches are my favourite part, one of my favourite parts of the day. I think they are important particularly for family and close friends. One of my roles as Toastmaster is I try to make everything possible, to put people at ease.

Help them prepare and encourage them to say what they want to say, and to enjoy the moment. That’s it for me. It can be a very moving part of the day. My advice to couples is if you are thinking about your planning of your day, put some time in thinking about speeches. And as a toast master, master of ceremonies, seek some advice. Thank you. 

James: [00:07:20] Brilliant! Thanks very much Tim. I recall from our wedding actually that we… Although we thought we were on it like a rocket, you know we thought we’d planned everything perfectly. There were so many things we hadn’t thought about. Like we’d planned the music to sort of announce our entrance, to cut the cake. We got a piece of music, but hadn’t actually thought that somebody might actually need to just say “Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom are now about to enter the room”. We’d missed that bit. Forgot about that bit entirely.

But our MC just took over and he did all these things for us.

I was wondering obviously that if you have a lot to do with the couple before the event, then it’s something you might be in discussion with them about. But do you have basically a stock of everything ready to go? So that if at any point during the day you need to announce something, or you need to present something, you’re ready to go? Do you have that kind of already pre prepared? 

Tim: [00:08:16] Yes, there’s certainly…

I would say there’s a list of moments that will be important to be ready for. But on top of that, it’s to be alert and be ready for the unexpected. And in helping to make the whole event run as smoothly as possible.

It’s to avoid the awkward moments, almost I think, for example, at the end of the speeches, make it clear the speeches have ended, and now people can enjoy their meal or enjoy their coffee. It’s just sort of making sure everyone’s at ease, that you know what should be happening next. 

James: [00:08:59] Yep! I certainly love it.

Mark do you have any questions that brides and grooms should be asking Tim prior to, or maybe not even having considered having an MC? 

Mark: [00:09:10]

The weddings I’ve been at and I’ve been to a few now. The ones that do have a Toastmaster seem to run very smoothly.

So that really seems covered. My question in a way, about the role that a Toastmaster plays within the day, putting people at ease, making things run smoothly. But my question to Tim is what stage of the planning do you recommend that a couple get in contact or start discussions with a Toastmaster? Because it sounds like Toastmasters have a wealth of knowledge about the day. Yes you’ve got the books, you’ve got Web sites etc, about planning your wedding. But when would you suggest that couples who are thinking about a Toastmaster, get in touch? Is it sort of a year before? I get couples coming a year before, even two years. Is it sort of like a year? Six months? What sort of time? I mean would you like? 

Tim: [00:10:28] I would say there are sort of two points to think about. But one is making sure that if there’s… it’s a very personal thing. So if there’s a Toastmaster or someone to MC, that you would like to have help you at your event, your wedding, then make sure you get them booked. And that can be a year, can be six months, depends on availability. And then…

the actual part of the full Toastmaster service would be a detailed planning meeting.

Probably three to four weeks, maybe four to five weeks in advance. Because at that point the most useful advice that I can give is, when there’s a clear idea of the running order today, which obviously the Bride and Bridegroom, the couple, will have thought about. But it also depends quite a lot on the venue, and the timings of ceremonies. If it’s a civil ceremony? And then that will be one of the key things to to work around. It provides a framework. But within that conversation, at what point are you looking to have a cutting of the cake, if that’s part of the plan. Or the first dance. And as we talked about the speeches, at that point the couple probably will have a good idea as to who’s doing the speeches, or they might be thinking about the fine tuning. So to answer your question, probably about a month beforehand. 

Mark: [00:12:11] Thank you. Can I ask one question? You might not be able to answer this. What was the best best man joke you’ve ever heard? 

Tim: [00:12:23] Oh! I’ve heard a lot. None come to mind. 

James: [00:12:30] Rachel and I had a bit of an inside joke about this because up in Yorkshire, Leeds is kind of you know, our big city now. It’s kind of considered like the second London. And for whatever reason, one particular year, the best man’s speech, the best men’s speech would always start with “there was this one time in Leeds.” And it was happening over and over and over and over again and we did sort of like… It just became a joke, because everybody was saying it. I don’t know whether something special had happened in Leeds that year. I have no idea. But yeah, so I’ve definitely experienced the entire gamut of Best Men’s speeches for sure. Brilliant. Welcome back Yvonne. It sounds like we have audio, because we can hear you laughing in the background. So have you got any questions that you think Brides and Grooms to be should be asking Tim before booking a master of ceremonies? 

Yvonne: [00:13:25] I haven’t ever worked with a master ceremonies or toast master, but I do know that you have an incredibly long and involved training and development, which you know, I think…

What impresses me very much is also your uniform and how you look.

So I don’t suppose I’ve got the questions… Because I think, you know, couples will have seen you, or people like you, at various events and realised you know just… Maybe they don’t realise just how much you can offer them. So do you find that they’re surprised at how much you can help them with all the different experiences that you’ve got? 

Tim: [00:14:09]

Yes so I do enjoy getting into conversation with couples and exploring their thoughts about their day.

And going back to speeches again, getting into conversation as to what their thoughts are about that particular element of the day. And then of course going back to the point I made earlier. There are a number of moments during the day which, you know, the entrance of the bride, the speeches, and those are all so important to get the timing right. And in terms of the training, a big part of it is experience. And the uniform I think is important because of the way it provides a bit of presence. But I think it also emphasises the seriousness of the role. We’re not there to be serious, we’re there to help people have fun. But we are there to be ready for anything. So I think the uniform reflects that as well. 

Yvonne: [00:15:28] Yes it does, I think it’s a very trusted uniform. I mean as I say I have, as a celebrant, you know a bit like Mark, you’re not part of the whole ceremony, the whole day. You know I leave usually just after the ceremony ends, at my end of the ceremony.

But I have been around ceremonies where there is a Toastmaster or MC present and you just feel that “oh my goodness”, you know you’re just leaving it all in such good and capable hands you know.

It’s like because even at the end of my ceremonies, my bride and groom will sometimes go to me “what do I do now?” Where do I go now? And even though we’ve tried to rehearse that part of it. And I say well just face your guests and and I’ll ask your guests to follow you, or something. And I think to myself, well you know it’s lovely having someone like you there, Tim, who will really you know make it go with a swing. Make it feel real and resonate with them. You know that this is a proper occasion. You know this is not just a party. This is a real occasion that is really meaningful. 

Tim: [00:16:40] Yes. Yeah. Thanks for saying that. I think that does reflect the feeling I get when I’ve been able to help a couple through their day. 

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  • Reply Yvonne November 28, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Really helpful and informative – I didn’t realise a toastmaster could provide such a great variety of support!

  • Reply Yvonne November 28, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Brilliant explanation of how much support an MC and Toastmaster is able to provide to couples and family for those all important moments!

  • Reply Tim Podesta November 28, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    An insightful and purposeful discussion – and that you Yvonne for your comments

  • Reply Tim Podesta November 29, 2018 at 6:06 am

    A great record of an enjoyable conversation about being an MC and the speeches, Having the transcript as well as the video makes a big difference as well. Thank you to Wedding Espresso for a terrific moment.

    • Reply James Pearson November 29, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Our pleasure Tim, lovely to catch up with you! Must do it again soon! 🙂

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