Colin Cook, Wedding Presenter & Master of Ceremonies performs across the North East, North Yorks, Teesside, Tees Valley, Durham, Tyne and Wear & Northumberland

I’ve just had a very interesting conversation with one of my lovely couples who visited their venue for a menu tasting and meeting yesterday

They mentioned to the wedding co-ordinator that they had booked a professional Master of Ceremonies (me) for their wedding. The co-ordinator said ‘Oh you don’t need to do that, our duty manager will do all that’.

They asked to meet the duty manager to be told ‘we don’t allocate that shift until 2 weeks before the wedding’. My clients were understandably intrigued as to how an unknown person would be able to successfully interact with their guests and represent the Bride and Groom in the way they wanted to be represented. Luckily they had one of my event planners with them in their Wedding Folder and asked the co-ordinator a couple of questions from it – most notably about personalised introductions. Obviously the co-ordinator didnt have a clue about this and basically told them they’d be introduced into the room.

This highlights a few issues. Firstly, Duty Managers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are competent and some arent. Very very few are competent toastmasters and will generally give you the most basic of services. I’ve even heard (on many occasions) ‘Ladies and Gentleman, please be upstanding for the Bride and Groom’ and that was it! No names, no personal touch – that could have been any wedding on any day, not specific to anyone. Duty managers are just that – they are in charge of the venue staff and the venue’s responsibilities for the day. They need to ensure the food gets out on time and correctly, that the bar is staffed and stocked, that the serving staff are where they should be at the right time. In other words, they have a full time job to do. They generally don’t have time to get to know you and you may only meet them once (if at all) just a short time from your special day! In fact at a recent wedding one Duty Manager (who is actually very competent) told me that when he did his training they were specifically told NOT to personalise the proceedings and to be as generic as possible. The Reason? Being generic reduces the chances of making an error. Of course it also reduces the wedding to a generic occasion!

Your wedding, apart from probably being one of the most expensive days of your life is also an expression of your personality, your perfect day running in your perfect way. You are sharing this incredibly personal moment with your family, friends and loved ones. Whilst some couples may be happy with the very basic services many others choose to employ someone who works for them, not the venue. Someone who gets to know them, their tastes, their personalities and sense of humour and who can interact with their guests to express exactly those things. Someone who can help keep the timeline running smoothly but who is totally focussed on them and their guests, not having to check on food, drink, staff etc. A point of contact for your guests in terms of connecting emotionally as well as practically. Someone who can present information about you almost as if they were part of the family. In other words – YOUR choice!

So why do venues interfere? Obviously their service is there for those who want it, but for those who dont want a McWedding and want to choose their own team why do venues interfere in this?

Generally the reason is routine. Many venues are a little like factories. They do their weddings in their way following their routine and this works fine for them. It is inside their control and inside their comfort zone. When you introduce a new element it can throw them. This is the difference between a ‘McVenue’ and a good venue. A good venue will appreciate that this is your Wedding. They’ll understand that this wedding has never been done before and that you want it to be something amazing, something unique to you. They’ll embrace this and are happy to work with professional suppliers. The venues which resist this seemingly want to give you the same as everyone else. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, there is also nothing great about it.

As Master of Ceremonies I work closely with the venue staff and duty manager on the day. I support them and work as part of a team. I free up the duty manager to do his/her main duties without them having to worry about other things. At the same time I represent my clients and help provide a day which is completely unique to them and about them. Some clients just want a fairly straightforward service – if you like the basics but about them, presented with the stamp of their personality and humour. Others want a more involved, more personalised service. Things like their ‘Love Story’, personalised introductions, quips and information personal to them and their guests, musical intros or sound beds for speeches, or just a lot more attention than most Duty Managers can provide. The Cake Cutting can be something special, not a boring photo opportunity. After all, I bet that cake cost more than a McMuffin – why give it the same attention! The Wedding Cake is symbolic of many different things in different cultures and ‘doing it right’ can really enhance the emotion and atmosphere in the room.

Having a professional Master of Ceremonies helps make your wedding about people, not things. helping to create totally unique and amazing memories. It allows the venue to excel at what they do best and by creating an amazing day makes every supplier stand out. So if your venue tries to influence you into having their day rather than your day it is worth sticking to your guns. Many venues know me well and welcome me being there. Venues who dont know me – feel free to pass on my details and ask them to contact me as I am more than happy to put their mind at rest and in fact I would be in touch with them closer to the time in any case

Fortunately my clients did just that and have already provided me with some amazing information to share with their guests. Their wedding isnt until later this year, but I already know it is going to be an incredible day!

And if you are looking for a Master of Ceremonies and Wedding DJ who genuinely wants to give you the very best day imaginable and who is utterly professional and reliable – please get in touch

Another massive reason to choose a professional DJ who is also an experienced Master of Ceremonies is that he has the equipment to do everything ‘better’. No need to shout, he has a microphone. He can provide music throughout your function and can ensure that the volume is always perfect, that there are no awkward moments and that the control of both the music and the microphone is seamless. No long silences whilst a bar person runs to where the ipod is plugged in and slams ‘Stop’ followed by a pause whilst they find the mic. No mixups in volume because nobody is controlling the sound levels during the speeches. Having the perfect person running all of this creates a smooth and effective flow and keeps your gusts entertained whilst portraying you in the perfect light