What Are A Master Of Ceremonies Duties? Andrew Morgan, professional Toastmaster, shares some insider secrets on how the smoothest of Wedding Days happen!
Listen to Andrew on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…
Andrew Morgan, Master Of Ceremonies
James: [00:00:03] Andrew hello. Thanks so much for sparing the time and joining me today.
Andrew: [00:00:06] James it’s an absolute pleasure. Great to be here. Thanks for the invitation.
James: [00:00:10] Absolute pleasure. It’s fantastic to have you. So you are, to give you your full title, you are Andrew Morgan Toastmaster, Wedding Host and Master Of Ceremonies. Which is a big bowl of fun stuff, which we’re going to talk about in a minute.
So the thing that we’d like to hash out with you is “what are a wedding Toastmasters duties?”
Andrew: [00:00:35] Okay well I’d just like to start by just talking a little bit about the ethos of what a Toastmaster does, if that’s okay, just for a second. We’ll go on to individual duties because I think what’s important first of all, is to see each wedding, each function, although they may appear on the surface that some can follow a very similar sort of format, every wedding, as I’m sure you and people are going to be watching this will appreciate, they are totally individual, and they have to be treated with the respect that that deserves.
Every particular client that comes across our doors has their own set of expectations, their own set of dreams and aspirations that they want to achieve on their big day.
And we need to ensure that although, let’s say for example, you’ve got a traditional Western European Wedding or English Wedding, for example, they may follow a similar sort of format. As opposed to an Asian Wedding or an Afro-Caribbean Wedding, they’ll have their own sort of general expectations.
Andrew: [00:01:42] But you’ve got to get to the point that actually each of these clients come from their own backgrounds, they come with their own expectations. And therefore some work needs to be done in terms of finding out what their expectations are, how they want to see their day progress, and fundamentally what they are left with in terms of memories for the rest of their lives. Because I often say to my clients, what’s important is that you’re going to spend 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, maybe looking at planning your wedding. It’s very easy to visualise a Wedding, where it might get to.
But what’s actually important is, come the day, you’re going to spend the rest of your life remembering what happened. And that’s where making sure that the day goes as absolutely perfectly as possible for the bride and groom when they come into it.
So I spent a lot of time on that type of basis with my clients, talking through, having a planning meeting beforehand and understanding what they’re looking for from their wedding.
Andrew: [00:02:41] And then adding onto that one needs to take into consideration the expectations and experiences of the guests, the friends, the family who are going to turn up.
Not all groups of people are in and out of formal or semi formal occasions every weekend of their life. And it’s really important to make sure that people are comfortable with the situation that they find themselves in.
And I enjoy that part because I have to make sure that each wedding that I attend, I’ve got to make sure that I gel well with the clients. Make sure that they respect me for what I’m doing there. But more importantly that we have a rapport which lasts for the 8 or 10 hours or so that I’m going to spend in their company.
Andrew: [00:03:33] And getting to the bottom of all that then helps me deliver the duties of the day, so to speak. What would people expect to see a Toastmaster do? With the upmost sort of, at ease, and the least sort of resilience, if you see what I mean? Which goes with ensuring that people are getting from one place to another and enjoying themselves to the best of their abilities, all day long.
Andrew: [00:04:01] So there’s another level of things which need to go onto that as well with of course the expectations of other wedding professionals. Probably first and foremost is the venue that you’re working at, because they have their own ideas and their own customs and practices that work well. And I think it’s really important as well to respect the fact that most venues absolutely know 100 percent what works well on their premises, and what doesn’t work well.
Myself as a Toastmaster, and every other wedding professional that turns up, is a guest on their premises, just as the wedding guests are. This is the view that I look at it with and it’s really important to respect that.
Andrew: [00:04:38] And then working with photographers and other wedding videographers, other wedding professionals, to ensure that the day goes incredibly well, is another layer that goes on top of what I do in my role. It kind of comes as second nature after a while, but you need to sort of process all this in your mind, before and during the event. So that it all goes as well as possible.
Andrew: [00:05:01] So going onto the duties, normally at a wedding, I’d say let’s just go through a regular sort of straightforward British wedding, a traditional wedding. If it’s a civil ceremony at a venue then I’ll probably be there an hour, an hour and a half beforehand. Done any checks that I need to on audio visual systems that might be needed, and P.A. systems, and things like that. Help the groom specifically at this part of the day, because he needs help to get his buttonholes right, maybe his cravat and stuff like that. Just making sure that he’s comfortable. Because he’s going to be nervous probably. He’s got a big day ahead of him. Got to look forward to his fiance, his future wife turning up. That’s an important part of the day. And that’s an important element of actually setting the tone for what I’m looking at for the day, because I get to see the best man or the best men, the groom’s entourage. And I can create a relationship with them and have a bit of fun, maybe while they’re doing the group photographs for the groomsmen before the day kicks off.
Andrew: [00:06:04] So that’s what I’ll start off with doing. I work with the wedding venue to ensure that people are sat in the ceremony room, and then take into consideration anything that the registrars want to do at this particular point of the day. And then over to them, they’re the kings and queens of this part of the day clearly because they’ve got to get the happy couple married.
During the drinks reception, canapes reception, I often help photographers to get the group shots done. Having a list of the photographs that they want to do expedites the whole procedure.
It’s sometimes a part of the day that can go a little bit slowly. It’s really again with planning beforehand, it’s to ensure that I will always ask somebody from the groom’s family or the bride’s family, to act as a point of contact beforehand. So that we can look for the various relatives who I don’t know who they are. I don’t know who Auntie Jane is or Uncle Bill. But somebody does. And it’s easier to facilitate that, rather than have somebody like me shouting at the top of their voice in a beautiful garden, of a country house.
Andrew: [00:07:10] And all these little things help. So to help the photographer as much or as little extent as they want. Sometimes they don’t want any help, and that’s absolutely fine, and I’ll just go along with that.
Making some announcements to the assembled guests before the wedding breakfast, that’s always a bit of fun. Making sure that people are comfortable, filling in the guest books or if there’s any other types of memorabilia you know…
James: [00:07:40] Signing pictures?
Andrew: [00:07:41] Yeah that’s it. Yeah all that sort of thing. Making sure that people are aware that they need to do that because that’s an important memory of the day for the bride and groom. Just making sure people are comfortable and have a bit of fun with them as well, depending on how I feel the audience or the assembled guests are going to react to certain things.
A Toastmaster is there to make and facilitate a day, and to make it go really well. In my opinion a Toastmaster is in no way a star of the show or anything like that.
My job is to ensure that I bring a certain presence to the day. But the stars of the day are the bride and groom, the family, they all come before me. I’m just there to give them a little bit of help to make sure that they have that great day. Does that make sense?
James: [00:08:26] It does. Funnily enough for our wedding, we booked the venue and we didn’t think about having a Toastmaster, or a host, because we came from the wedding industry. So we figured, you know, we kind of knew what was going on and how to corral people, and how to announce things, and had a pretty good idea. But the venue unbeknownst to us actually had their own recommended Toastmaster, which they booked on our behalf, and didn’t actually tell us about. So we turned up on the day and had a Toastmaster that we didn’t know about. And he was the best thing ever. He really, really helped. And like you say, at the beginning, I was stood there, a cocktail… a storm of mad thoughts going through my head as I was waiting for Rachel to come down the aisle. And he was there, and he was a very calm presence and put all the guests at ease. And from that point onwards we’ve kind of become very, very pro Toastmaster. Very, very pro master of ceremonies, because they are fantastic. And like you said, you know, you organise the whole day and it’s so helpful.
Andrew: [00:09:29] That’s a really interesting comment that you made because of course the recommended Toastmaster of the venue knows the place inside out. He knows possibly other, maybe not specifically on your particular occasion, but the venue may well have been giving out recommendations for photographers and videographers and florists and whoever else might be involved on the day. And the Toastmaster will probably know them very well. And the Toastmaster then has a professional relationship to enable it to be as seamless as possible. And on those occasions, when that happens, it’s very, very noticeable.
So it’s very noticeable when I’m working with people I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of times in the past. I know how they tick.
It’s almost like working with a fellow employee. If I was employed by an organisation if that makes sense. So it’s a good point you make.
Andrew: [00:10:23] Of course the important part, a great part of the day here is of course getting a great entrance for the bride and groom. Because they’re going to come into the room with their assembled guests in front of them, and we want to make sure that’s a very memorable time of the day. And again that can be done in the most appropriate way for the couple. And sometimes having some great music behind it at the same time, creates a fabulous effect. And it’s a really good part for the videographers to get as well. Absolutely.
Andrew: [00:10:50] So then speeches. What’s important with speeches ,whether they’re before or after the wedding breakfast, they’re mostly after the wedding breakfast. And I often say to people if they’re looking for a choice with one way or another, it’s better to go afterwards, if there’s nothing else happening, because it helps the catering team not to have to guess when the starters are going to be ready. Really important thing to understand, that.
James: [00:11:16] And the guests are probably really hungry!
Andrew: [00:11:17] And the guests are hungry absolutely. They’ve had a few glasses of Prosecco, they need to have some starters. But either way that’s just advice that I give. Whatever the bride and groom wants, it’s absolutely perfect. Of course. And I normally introduce each speaker, give them a round of applause, put them at ease. Get them a round of applause after each speech as well. So I’m introducing them, passing them over, they propose a toast and then I’ll move the microphone to the next speaker.
Andrew: [00:11:47] And something which is quite nice as well is you often find the bride and groom will give some gifts away to some of their friends and entourage and so on.
It’s nice to be able to just pass the gifts to the bride to give to the recipients as well. So it saves the bride and groom looking round on the table, under the table or behind them, and things like that.
So all these little things add up during the course of the day, in terms of the way it’s captured and the way it goes smoothly.
Andrew: [00:12:14] I think another part of the day then after that is cake cutting. Mostly cake cuttings are done later in the evening as I’m sure you appreciate. After evening guests come, but sometimes there might be a cutting of the cake at the end of the wedding breakfast. If not, I think it’s a really, really important part of the day where I can set expectations of what’s going to happen for the rest of the evening. Because there’s normally going to be a few extra evening guests come. Like a handful of them, or there might be 150 extra arriving. You know, it depends on what’s going on. But whether there’s going to be a little bit of downtime, whether the room needs to be refreshed, the DJ needs to set up, or whatever it might be. People need to know at this stage what’s expected, so that they can go and freshen up, they can go and have a bit of downtime, have a walk around the gardens, or whatever it might be. And be back ready for the cutting of the cake and the first dance and so on. That’s an important part of the day.
Andrew: [00:13:05] And then I’ll normally stay through until I announce the bride and groom back in for the evening, along with the DJ or the band. And have a fabulous time with the cutting of the cake and announcing the first dance. And then that’s normally the sort of time that I would be saying farewell, and allow the DJ or the band leader to get on and do what they do really well, and hand over to them for the rest of the evening, because it’s a totally different function after that.
Andrew: [00:13:34] There are occasions where I will stay till the end, and I have stayed to the end. Where there’s been some specific reasons and it tends to be different culture weddings rather than the straightforward English style British weddings. So.Emb
Yeah I mean I’m there to do whatever is required during the course of the day, and I will act accordingly, and take it from there. But it all comes back to the planning beforehand.
The relationships with the guests and the bride and groom clearly, the family, and also the relationships and the working and understanding I have with my fellow wedding professionals, during the course of that day as well. And that’s it. I don’t know how many minutes we’ve taken.
James: [00:14:13] That pretty much covers it Andrew, that’s good. That’s great.
Andrew: [00:14:16] So yeah. That’s it basically. And yeah. Looking forward to another year ahead. It’ll soon be another wedding season getting getting underway and we’ll see where that goes.
James: [00:14:28] Absolutely. Well Andrew listen thank you so much for taking the time to share that with us today. Really appreciate that.
Andrew: [00:14:34] My pleasure. No problem, thanks for the invitation once again James, my appreciation to you and Rachel.
James: [00:14:39] Our pleasure. Pleasure to have you. OK. Hope to speak to you again soon!
Andrew: [00:14:43] OK, take care yourself. Bye!