Tell us a little about you, your family, etc…
How long have you been a Master of Ceremonies?
That is a terrific question, without an easy answer. I suppose it depends on the definition of a Master of Ceremonies. For many, an MC or “emcee” is the DJ that makes announcements on the mic during an event. If that is your definition, then I’ve been one for almost 20 years. But MY definition of a Master of Ceremonies is quite a bit different. A Master of Ceremonies is the person tasked with guiding and directing the flow of an event. There is training involved in not just what to say, but how to say it, and why you are making these announcements in the first place. Everything that happens at an event, especially a wedding, is a ceremony. From the wedding party introduction, formal dances, toasts, cake cutting, all the way to the end of the evening’s close, each and every part is important. So by THAT definition, I became a Master of Ceremonies when I attended my first Marbecca workshop in 2016.
What is the most challenging part about being a Master of Ceremonies for you?
Oh, the stories lol. Some days, the thing that challenges me the most is expressing what I do AS a Master of Ceremonies to others. Most folks are used to, and I did this for many years, a DJ that plays music, yells some names into a mic, and has flashy lights and loudspeakers. I have all of that too (minus the yelling) but as a Master of Ceremonies, I actually get to INVOLVE the guests in the couple’s story.
Describe your style. How did you develop your style?
I developed it by first attending workshops with elite trainers and industry pros from all over the world. Being in a room with 7 other industry pros from all over the world is pretty humbling. Things can truly open up for you in that small room. Once I saw what real emotion can do for something as “simple” as an introduction to a Father-Daughter dance, I knew that my style needed to incorporate storytelling.
What specifically do you like about Master of Ceremonies?
Being a professionally trained Master of Ceremonies allows me to get to know my couples on a very intimate level. During our Big Picture Meeting, we have a conversation about their vision for the big day. When that meeting is over, I have ideas on what I can do to bring their story to life. Sometimes I will roast their wedding party (thanks to my Second City training). Other times, I might play a commercial on my video DJ booth for the company that the bride’s mom founded (Let’s get Jets).
If you could describe your Master of Ceremonies in 6 adjectives they would be?
What is your favorite part of the wedding day?
The butterflies I get (yes it still happens) when I am about to open the mic for the first time. The welcome brings everyone’s attention to what is about to happen next. It is my first opportunity to build trust with the guests at an event. That trust helps them understand that I am there for THEM, not for ME.
Give us some advice for couples looking for a Master of Ceremonies.
The best advice I can give is to stop looking for the price first. I understand that it’s how people shop, but when it comes to your event, people will notice if you have a Master of Ceremonies versus a DJ.
What are your best tips to help your wedding day go more smoothly?
Tip #1, Stay Together whenever possible. Your guests want to see BOTH of you. It also helps your vendors to coordinate things with you throughout the event.
Tip #2 Don’t get drunk early. I have DJed and was Master of Ceremonies for a wedding with NO BRIDE AND GROOM. Short story. The bride got drunk on the party bus. The Groom took her to the hospital before dinner or toasts. They never came back.
Tip #3 Have your toast presenters write out their toasts. A good toast is succinct (under 5 minutes) gets to the point, has no inside jokes, and lands the plane with a raised glass. When folks wing it or speak from the heart, rambling occurs.
What are your best tips to help couples enjoy their wedding day?
Tip #1 Take a few moments for each other. I suggest that my couples find a corner overlooking the party later in the evening. The day will fly by. This gives you a moment to connect and celebrate a job well done.
Tip #2 Hire a professionally trained Master of Ceremonies. Ask if they are MarBecca Certified.
What have couples said about Thomas Heath Events?
Last, but not least, what was one of your favorite wedding memories?
So many great stories. One of my favorite moments was during a wedding a few years ago. The father of the bride was toasting the couple. During our discovery meeting, the bride told me how special their relationship was. It was evident during his speech. I am not sure why, but I told my assistant to hand me a set of batteries. Then I told him to cut the mic when I gave the signal. I watched him and listened for JUST the right moment when it was clear he would break down. Her father was a very proud man. Something else she told me. When he was about to break down we cut the mic and I rushed out to the dance floor batteries in hand. I apologized, blaming technology of course, and when I reached him, I could tell that he was relieved for the short break. I replaced the batteries and handed him the mic with a smile. “Are you ready?” I said quietly. He nodded and mouthed “thank you” and continued to the end of his speech. Later in the night, both the bride and her father asked me if that was intentional. My response “It’s just crazy how things happen.”