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wedding master of ceremonies

What NOT to Do as the Wedding Master of Ceremonies

Being asked to be the wedding master of ceremonies at a wedding is an honor. As the wedding MC, you ensure the reception flows smoothly and stays on schedule. However, being the wedding master of ceremonies comes with big responsibilities. An inexperienced wedding MC can make mistakes that derail the party and upset the bride and groom.

The couple carefully plans a wedding reception to celebrate their love and union. As the wedding master of ceremonies, your job is to facilitate the celebrations while keeping the focus on the newlyweds. This requires sticking to the provided schedule, making appropriate remarks, and guiding the audience between reception events. A wedding MC who takes over the microphone or makes the night about themselves can ruin the experience.

To succeed as a polished, professional wedding master of ceremonies, you must know what mistakes to avoid at all costs.

Check out How to Host the Shoe Game Here.

Here are the top five things for a wedding MC to avoid doing at all costs:

1. Do NOT Drag Out the Night with a Lengthy Wedding Master of Ceremonies Speech

One of the worst things a wedding master of ceremonies can do is to make their speech too long. As the MC, you need to keep things moving briskly. Your role is not to perform a stand-up comedy routine but to smoothly guide the audience from one part of the reception to the next.

Aim to keep your MC speech concise and focused. Hit the key points – introduce yourself, welcome and thank guests, announce upcoming events like the first dance, toasts, etc. You do not need to tell your life story or include every joke and anecdote you know. That will drag out the night and lose people’s interest. Keep it short; keep it focused.

For example, resist the urge to include a 10-minute story about how you met the couple or rattle off every family member’s name. Keep it brief. Check out Tips for Toasting as Wedding MC and crafting a focused MC speech.

Your MC speech should last 5 minutes at most. If you find yourself going on too long, make some edits to tighten it up. Stick to key details about the couple and the events of the reception. Avoid meandering stories or jokes that eat up time.

Practice your MC speech so you have the pacing down. Time yourself to make sure you can deliver your content in under 5 minutes. Going longer will make guests antsy and eager to move on to the next part of the festivities.

 Resist the temptation if you are prone to improvising or adding new quips during the speech. Follow your script to avoid unwieldy ad-libs. The reception schedule is carefully planned, so do your part to keep it running on time.

2. Don't Waffle as the Wedding Master of Ceremonies - Stick to the Job at Hand

Another pitfall for an inexperienced wedding master of ceremonies is improvising too much on the microphone. It may be tempting to riff and make things up as you go. But as the MC, you must stick to the schedule and keep things structured.

Trying to improvise can lead to waffling on about random topics, losing track of time, and dragging down the energy. The couple has planned their reception order for a reason. Do not derail it by going off script.

Stick to the set run sheet and schedule provided by the couple. Do your part to keep the reception running like clockwork. It can help to practice and time your remarks to avoid improv rambling.

Ensure you are familiar with the reception timeline and all the events that need introduced. Whether it is the first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, speeches, etc., you must smoothly guide the audience from one part to the next.

Do not make introductions unnecessarily long. Keep your transitions focused on the task at hand. For example, say, “Let’s welcome the bride and groom to the dance floor for their first dance as a married couple.” Then cue the music. There is no need to pad it out with jokes or stories.

Similarly, do not overthink simple instructions. Keep it concise when directing guests to the buffet line or photo booth. Improvising can lead to confusion.

wedding master of ceremonies

3. Do NOT Make Too Much Fun of the Bride as the Wedding Master of Ceremonies

Gently roasting the newlyweds is often part of an MC’s role. But you need to tread carefully here and never go too far. Making a few lighthearted jokes at the groom’s expense is generally fine. But laying into the bride with embarrassing stories or mean jibes is a big no-no.

Keeping things positive and celebratory is paramount. Never mock or belittle the couple, especially steer clear of sexist jokes about the bride.

Humor should unite guests and get them laughing together. It should never make the bride or groom feel bad. Have a look at this guide on How to Host the Shoe Game and make it easy to poke fun at the couple gently.

If roasting or teasing the couple, keep it focused on their relationship and the wedding. Inside jokes that only a small group understands should be avoided. The content should aim to get laughs from the entire audience.

Make sure the bride is comfortable with any roasting planned for the reception. Do not surprise her with embarrassing stories or gags at the last minute. Get approval for any wedding jokes ahead of time.

4. Do NOT Tell Any R Rated Stories - Keep it PG

Make sure your speech, jokes, and stories are all family-friendly. Do not go off-color with sexual references or profanity. Children may be present, and you do not want to offend the couple’s grandparents.

The default for a wedding reception is PG-rated. Some light innuendo or subtle humor may be OK, but avoid anything overtly risqué. Similarly, do not reveal any salacious secrets or gossip about the newlyweds. Keep things tasteful.

If in doubt, remember there will likely be young kids and elderly relatives in your audience. Play it safe with the content. Do not assume all guests will be young friends of the bride and groom.

Keep profanity out of your wedding master of ceremonies speech completely. Do not use words like “damn” or “hell” as those can still rub guests incorrectly. Stick to polite language.

If you have any racy stories about the bride or groom, those are best shared one-on-one rather than into a microphone. The reception is not the place for R-rated roasts or explicit jokes. Kids could be listening.

5. Do NOT Make it Your Own Wedding Master of Ceremonies Stand-Up Routine - The Night is About the Couple

wedding master of ceremonies

The wedding reception is about the newly married couple. It is their time to shine. As the MC, your job is to keep the focus on them and celebrate their love. The night is not about you showing off your slick MC skills or comedy chops.

Avoid the temptation to ad-lib tons of new material and drag on the mic time. That takes the attention away from the couple. Keep your wedding master of ceremonies role classy, professional, and focused on hosting duties. Let the bride and groom enjoy their night.

The reception should highlight the couple. Do not spend half the night telling unrelated stories or jokes to show off. Even funny bits should tie into the wedding theme.

Ensure any entertaining bits planned fit the bride and groom’s vision for the reception. Do not override their preferences with your unapproved routines. This day is about celebrating their love.

Keep the groom involved, too, and avoid dominating the microphone yourself. Integrate the couple into activities like the newlywed game or shoe game.


wedding master of ceremony

Being the wedding master of ceremonies is an important job. Avoid derailing the reception by making any of these key mistakes:

  • Giving an overly long, rambling speech
  • Going off script and improvising too much
  • Making mean-spirited jokes about the bride
  • Telling inappropriate, R-rated stories
  • Making the night about yourself rather than the couple

Stick to the schedule, keep things moving briskly, and focus on celebrating the newlyweds. This will ensure you perform your MC duties smoothly and successfully.

If you avoid these pitfalls and read More MC Tips, you will keep the party on track and have the couple and their guests smiling all night.

Special Thanks

Photographer: Kelly Jury
Celebrant: Wedding Master of Ceremonies

Wedding Master of Ceremonies

Gary is dedicated to ensuring that wedding officiants and wedding emcees like you excel in creating unforgettable wedding experiences! With a passion for celebrations, he is an enthusiastic, down-to-earth, and fun Wedding Celebrant and Professional Wedding MC, operating in Australia.
Count on Gary to provide expert guidance and a relaxed approach to help you deliver remarkable ceremonies and receptions. His goal is to empower you to curate the best possible wedding day for couples, where every detail is thoughtfully arranged, and the party atmosphere is electrifying!