The Role of a Professional Toastmaster
There is no doubt that professional toastmaster is one of the oldest occupations in the United Kingdom. It is also quite certain that there are no similar professions in any other country in the world. Toastmasters pride themselves on maintaining their traditions. It is a uniquely British, very ancient, highly dignified and an extremely vital profession within the vast world of banqueting, conferences, dinners, luncheons, weddings and the countless other events where a person of good voice, intelligent approach, dignified appearance and strong personality is required.
The Toastmaster’s role is to ensure that every event he attends is perfect in every way. He consults with the hosts on every aspect of the event, agreeing all necessary timings, procedures and protocol. It is the Toastmaster’s role to advise on etiquette, ceremonial precedence, correct form of address and the general conduct of any particular occasion. Attention to detail and continuous unobtrusive liaison, throughout the event, will ensure that it keeps to time and flows effortlessly.
The Toastmaster works at a wide range of events, such as State and Civic Occasions, civil partnerships, corporate events, dinner dances, banquets, gala nights, sporting events, awards ceremonies, weddings, Rotarians and Round Table events, charity fund-raisers, reunions, garden parties and Masonic Ladies’ Festivals.
Toastmasters are becoming increasingly popular at weddings. Here is how a toastmaster can make your wedding day a success.
The role of the professional toastmaster at your wedding is to ensure the celebration flows smoothly from start to finish. It is his training, knowledge, skills and expertise that give all concerned confidence in his abilities. A good professional toastmaster’s experience helps him find a satisfactory solution to any problem that may arise and he may well prevent something going wrong before it happens. He will also have a high level of Public Liability Insurance.
His role involves much more than just being a ‘master of ceremonies’. He should be your friendly consultant and advisor and well before the day he will be in touch to discuss arrangements. This ensures he knows the names of the principle guests and understands the order of events. He liaises with the venue, caterers, photographer, videographer, entertainers and any others who will be playing a part in the celebrations. In addition he will be familiar with the geography of the venue.
Civil wedding ceremonies are outside the remit of the professional toastmaster. However, when the ceremony is held in the same venue as the wedding breakfast he may, with the agreement of the registrar, contribute to the atmosphere and overall presentation. He may ensure that both the Bride and Bridegroom meet separately with the registrar prior to the ceremony. He can announce the entrance of the Bride and her escorts into the room and may well announce the newly married couple when leaving the ceremony.
Now the celebrations can really begin and the toastmaster will guide the guests throughout the day and keep them aware of what is happening and when. It is now that his preparation and liaison with the venue, caterers, photographer etc. becomes evident.
The Wedding Breakfast
After checking the top table place settings for correctness and photographs are completed, he will announce the wedding breakfast. As previously discussed with the happy couple, he will arrange the Receiving Line in the agreed order. These days the relationships of the respective families can vary tremendously, but diplomacy is one of the professional toastmaster’s trademarks. When all the guests are seated, he announces and escorts the Bride and Bridegroom into the room. If required, he will announce a Grace or introduce someone who has been delegated to do so.
During the meal he will stay within the call of the Bridal party. Continued liaison with the venue is very important during this time. His next official duty may not be until the ceremony of cutting the cake. This usually takes place at the end of the meal and is followed by the speeches. However, the option of having the speeches before the meal is very popular. The cutting of the cake can also be held at the beginning of proceedings, between courses or even at the beginning of the evening celebrations. All these details will have been discussed beforehand. It is the Bride and Bridegroom’s special day, and they can arrange the sequence of events however they desire.
The usual procedure for the speeches is – Father of the Bride, followed by the Bridegroom and finally the Best Man. However there may well be others who are to make a contribution. The toastmaster’s preparation again becomes evident in the manner in which he presents each guest in turn. He will ensure gifts to be distributed by the Bride and Bridegroom are to hand. At the conclusion of the speeches he announces the end of the formalities. After giving his best wishes to the happy couple, he takes his leave, unless he has been asked to stay for the evening celebrations. His duties may include announcing the throwing of the bouquet, the cutting of the cake (if not done earlier) and the first dance of the newly-weds.
During the day there are many other ways in which the professional toastmaster can be of assistance. His friendly formality and attention to detail will ensure that the Bride and Bridegroom, together with their guests, can relax and fully enjoy the day.