MC (or Emcee) stands for Master of Ceremonies. This is the person on the microphone making announcements throughout the night and encouraging people to get out on the dance floor. While many DJs also MC, we often book a DJ/MC team to ensure a clear distinction between each role. There are actually several advantages to booking an MC but usually it comes down to preference.
An MC will make all necessary announcements throughout the night. This includes, but is not limited to bridal party introductions, special dances, cake cutting, and any other formalities that need to be communicated. Think about it this way… A wedding party consists of many people that rely on somebody telling them what happens next throughout the night. While some couples employ a day of coordinator, they aren’t responsible for making announcements. So the MC becomes the most important person in directing the flow of a wedding; “Good evening everyone. We ask that you please find your seats and we will bring out your bridal party momentarily.” Or “Ladies and Gentleman, please direct your attention to the dance floor where your lovely bride will join her father for a dance.” Without this type of commentary, weddings can be disorganized and confusing.
It’s not enough for just anyone to handle talking points throughout the night. The best MCs are the ones that can inject personality into the event. You want someone with infectious energy. They should wear a smile all night long and have a pleasing tone to their voice. We often book MCs who are also singers. This isn’t to say that they will be singing along to every song but it can be fun for them to join in on the occasional chorus. Plus, we think it’s important to book MCs that have experience performing in front of an audience.
Every wedding is on a timeline. It is common for the caterers to look for signals from the entertainers so they can prepare the next course. For example, the schedule might say salads will be served at 7:15 but maybe things got off to a late start and they won’t be getting salads out until 7:25. We don’t want the MC telling guests to take their seats at 7:15 if they are just going to be sitting around for 10 minutes, so it becomes very important for them to stay in close contact with anyone in a coordinating role throughout the night. Or what about the various formalities? It’s approaching the time you should be cutting cake but your groom is outside enjoying a cigar with his groomsmen. The MC will have to make sure everyone is present before making that announcement, which may even involve a quick trip outside to gather up your man before finding the photographer and anyone else who need to be present before this announcement is made.
Divide and conquer
You want to be sure to book a DJ that is skilled at mixing songs, up to date on the current hits, and has a solid grasp on your expectations from a music perspective throughout the night. Thea measures often used to evaluate a talented DJ are not always what we want to go by in evaluating a skilled MC. While there is crossover, they can be viewed as two very different roles with very different skill sets. It is often a good idea to let the DJ focus on the music, while the MC handles all talking points, timeline concerns, and guest interaction. While a DJ is relatively mobile most of the night, an MC has the ability to move freely around the room, which has serious advantages in maintaining a flow to the evening.
Think about it this way. A DJ is one person. Since that timeline us vendors rely on is so important we also view the MC as someone to assist the DJ. If your DJ is providing music for your ceremony, then for the cocktail hour in another location, then the reception in yet another location, it can put a lot of pressure on them to get from A to B to C in between each phase. When an MC in on site, they can carry a speaker… or stand out on the dance floor while the DJ gets audio levels set… or grab the DJ a glass of water when the party gets really busy.