Do you need an MC at Events – Part 5

MC Michael Sage with Marta Kauffman the creator of the TV show, "Friends"

MC Michael Sage with Marta Kauffman the creator of the TV show, “Friends”

The MC has the job to organize, connect and move people and events from one place to another and make it seamless.

At the wedding I spoke about in the previous parts, the bride and groom chose to dance alone for the entire 1st dance song which is a rarity nowadays. That decision creates a task for the MC. How do you manage 200 people who are standing around a dance floor waiting to know what to do?

Usually you either sit them or dance them. This was a Jewish/Irish wedding and they wanted to do a Hora (traditional Jewish dance) right after the 1st dance. Again the sophistication of the segue will make or break this moment. A good 2/3rds of the guests had never done a Hora before.  These folks are going to need someone to lead them into it  and through it.  It could fall flat otherwise.

The MC leads the crowd into it without making it feel coerced.  He builds the excitement and leads people, strangers into holding hands and coming together as friends.  If done right it  it takes off.   If not people will leave the floor and sit down.

Here I caught it just right and it became one of the liveliest Horas ever at a wedding. We had women in the inside circle and guys on the outside and interchanging, and they were just going with the instruction because it was fun. When they look back at that on video they will be amazed at how exciting and crazy it was.

A top MC will also be able to lead and direct people into having a great time. And the people don’t need to know how to do anything. Imagine trying to do that without an MC. It is very difficult. Bands rarely even know how to lead these dances well or when to let them breathe.

Anyone who’s been to a few weddings knows how deadly toasts can become. I was at a wedding last week where the toasts of 2 people went on for 30 minutes. To take up 30 minutes of someone’s wedding with something you can say in 5 minutes is a bit ill conceived and unfortunate for most of the guests. The toasts can happen by themselves of course, but what would you do after a 30-minute toast?

At one there was a friend of the bride’s who was going to sing a song to the bride and groom scheduled to go on after the toasts. But the toasts were going on and on so I went over to him at the 15-minute mark and told him I have to move you later in the night, because these are too long. I promise to get you on at a time that will be more appropriate. He was very unhappy because he was set to go on – and got himself all ready. But I put him on ½ way through dinner and had the bride and groom sit on the dance floor with him as he played. He had the undivided attention of everyone. He thanked me profusely afterward saying “you were SO right.” This is another gift of a top MC: good decision making and timing. He manages the party in the moment so it doesn’t crumble into an abyss.

Imagine you were on a plane and instead of rolling down the runway you and lifting off, the plane just pulled up in the air.  Imagine the passengers reaction and responses to having to lift off that way.  Pretty jarring right?  With great lead ins and exits toasts with a great MC orchestrating are not jarring, you have an expectation of something great about to happen.

 There’s a flow from the ending of the last segment to being seated to getting people ready for the toasts, to making the ‘toaster’ feel relaxed and confident with the microphone, to the perfect segue from one to the next, again not announcing but flowing in conversation. At this event there were 4 toasts to be made and 4 champagne glasses on the table. After the second toast I asked everyone to raise a glass again and informed the guests there were 2 more to go so by the end everyone will have a nice little buzz going. This created  a nice chuckleh for everyone and provided an easy transition for the two more to come. It also created a relaxation point for the next speaker.

Next up the meat and potatoes of the wedding.

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