Have you been to that wedding that didn't go well? It may have not been just one thing but a series of things that didn't go right that just took a little energy out of the magic. You might not have been able to put your finger on exactly what it was but it just didn't feel as good as it could have.
This day is only going to happen for the two of you this one time. You're not going to learn from this one and come back and do it the next weekend. Unless you are in the wedding business there are just these little things that you don't even think about that take away from or add to the experience of your wedding; not just for you but for your guests as well.
You may think of a DJ as someone who plays music in a night club and you're going to hire someone like that to do the same job at your wedding. While playing the right music to get people dancing is important at a wedding, that is just one component. You want a DJ who has "gone pro" and advanced to the role of "Master of Ceremony."
Your Master of Ceremony (DJ) goes beyond the music and focuses on "Event Flow," which is the sequence of events and how those events are timed. The primary job of the Master of Ceremony is to know the sequence or schedule of events, predict the outcome, and keep everyone according to that schedule.
The Master of Ceremony is focused on two groups attending your wedding;
The Bride and Groom.
Bride and Groom
Master of Ceremony is about coordinating key moments of your wedding experience. This begins with the start of the ceremony which can be nerve racking for many Brides and involves anxious anticipation for the groom. Last minute finishes to the Brides attire and late family members very often delay they start time by a few minutes. This is totally ok when a competent Master of Ceremony is in charge.
First, your Master of Ceremony is the protector of the Brides experience. He's there with the assurance that the Bride gets to take all the time she needs to be ready to walk down the aisle and that the guests are in competent hands.
Second, the Master of Ceremony is the protector of the grooms dignity. Traditionally the groom is waiting in the ceremony space several minutes before his Bride arrives. This is where music is important. Silence is the enemy. Minutes seem like hours and a delay in start seems like an eternity. While the Bride needs assurance she can take all the time she needs, the groom needs some certainty on how much longer the Bride is going to be. The Master of Ceremony will communicate between the Bridal party and the Groom the timing of the Brides arrival but will also keep the music going so there is no silence. If there is silence, some grooms feel the need to do something and because of their anxious anticipation they may do or say something awkward that detracts from their dignity and the dignity of the occasion. The grooms job is to stand confidently and wait in a dignified way for his bride to arrive.
When the bride is ready to walk down the aisle there needs to be a seamless transition in the music that lets everyone know the ceremony has started. Once the procession has arrived to the ceremony space, the music needs to fade away and signal the Wedding Officiant to start. This is another key moment you don't want messed up.
Having the appropriate microphone and speaker system that have been tested in advance is a critical preparation for the Master of Ceremony. Those first words of the Officiant need to be clear and crisp and well heard by all in attendance. Any problem with sound will detract from the event.
Your exchange of wedding vows is an experience for you and all of your guests; you will want a microphone so that you can speak in a normal voice and focus on the words and person you are saying them too. The Master of Ceremony will have instructed you on how to use the microphone so all can hear you.
Most Wedding Ceremonies are complete in 30 minutes and finish with the bride and groom walking down the aisle again with music. The music needs to start on time and fade out and the guests need instructions. It's traditional for your Master of Ceremony to make an announcement; "The Bride and Groom thank you for being a part of their special day and while they are having their pictures taken, would like to invite you to the reception area for appetizers and champagne."
As your guests arrive the Master of Ceremony will be on the look out for anyone who needs direction will the ultimate outcome that they are in their seats and ready when the ceremony starts. He is confident and accommodating to assist each guests he encounters to have the most enjoyable time possible. He knows all the key people at the wedding and coordinates his job with all others to keep the event flow going. When the time for the ceremony to start nears, the Master of Ceremony will make an announcement if appropriate directing guests to their seats.
For the rest of the evening the Master of Ceremony will play the appropriate music for each stage of the reception and make appropriate announcements directing your guests presence and attention. Maintaining the schedule and event flow is the focus so everyone has a memorable time.
Managing the Experience
It's not unusual for something unexpected to come up during the event. Your Master of Ceremony needs to be flexible and creative with solutions to keep the evening going. Having a wireless microphone handy for an impromptu toast contributes to the experience of the event. Being able to take special requests of music by the Bride or Groom and seamlessly blend that into the current music or activity is a plus. You want someone who can say "yes" to any request you make, and that takes a pro.