The wedding reception

Photo courtesy of John Trainor -

Photo courtesy of John Trainor

The one person who can make the next part of your big day go well is your Toastmaster, or Reception MC. Here are some things that you’ll need to talk to that person about. You don’t necessarily need to have all of these steps, but you should at least think about:

  • Announcing reception venue details & times to guests following the ceremony;
  • They need to arrive at reception venue early to liaise with venue staff – times, cocktails, any expectations;
  • Welcome guests to reception during cocktails & invite to be seated;
  • Check with speakers – are they ready? The time they are expected to speak;
  • Introduce and lead Bride & Groom to top table;
  • Grace – invite someone to lead the Grace. You may also wish for people to stand for Grace;
  • Announce the procedure for the guests with their food;
  • Commence to circulate guest book, if there is to be one;


Before, during or after the meal? The toastmaster will announce each speaker – for example:

  • Father or Mother of Bride – plus a toast to Bride & Groom;
  • Mother or Father of Groom – an option;
  • Bridegroom or Bride (or both) – plus a toast to Bridesmaids or entire bridal party;
  • Best Man – (Tip: Needs to watch his humour and length of speech)
  • Best Woman/Chief Bridesmaid – same tip as above;
  • any messages (either of the bridal party could do these)
  • any other special speakers that you may want.
  • Special toasts – to absent friends (can be done by either parent in their speech), andto the parents of each of the Bride & Groom (done by a family friend);
  • Introduce Cake Cutting;
  • Introduce first dance – Mr & Mrs….

Speeches – some things to keep in mind

My years of experience leads me to give this advice about speeches – Short is Sweet, short is good, short is all the people/guests want, less is more, but with the exception of course of any doting parents or grandparents.

Your toastmaster/MC will need a copy of your proposed reception programme, a list of your chosen speaker, and perhaps something of note on each speaker.

As the late George Burns once famously said – The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible.