Weddings Week 2011: an insider’s look at how to be the best MC
The best MCs are quick with a joke and adept at wrangling the mike from drunk relatives. Lawyer-by-day Greg Power has become the go-to MC among a growing circle of friends. Here, he talks about the dos and don’ts of the gig
Best part of the job: I love introducing the bridal party. It’s my job to make these people come alive, so I always contact the bridesmaids and groomsmen in advance to find out a funny story or a shared experience with one of the people getting married. I find this works a lot better than a sort of standard résumé intro like “This is Lindsay. She met the bride at university and currently works for TD Bank.”
And the worst: I’ve done eight weddings in eight years, but there is still that fear of bombing that happens right before every reception. I get butterflies—there’s nothing worse than knowing you’ve delivered a groaner.
What every couple should know: Tell your MC to avoid the open mike. The MC role is like that of a traffic director, and it’s really hard to keep things running smoothly when you have people going on and on—drunk or otherwise. The open mike, clinking of the glasses so the bride and groom will kiss, and the Macarena should all be banned.
Professional philosophy: As a rule, I never have more than two or three beers before stepping up to the mike. Overdoing it can hinder your ability to improvise, which can be the best part of emceeing. There’s also a fine line between setting the tone for the night and forgetting that it’s not your night. An MC should be memorable and funny, yes, but this isn’t the time to kick-start a stand-up career.
Current trends: I like it when couples plan something unconventional. At a recent wedding, after the newlyweds said their thank-yous, the bride deadpanned, “And for my husband, I have nothing to say,” as if she were mad at him. Instead, she sang him a love song. She was a great singer, so it worked.
Biggest misconception: People think speeches are supposed to be embarrassing, but I hate MCs who are crass. I never bring up exes, because I don’t think it’s appropriate on that day, and also because I don’t want the wrong names running around in my head.
Horror story: Once, the father of the groom went to introduce the bride to his family and said the wrong name—no one even knew who it was. It doesn’t get much more awkward than that.
Comic relief: During a wedding ceremony, the officiant described the bride as beautiful, then called the groom “dashing and sensual.” It was a pretty unusual thing to say, so when I introduced the groom, I said, “Peter, you have never looked so sensual.” People nearly died laughing.