The English Wedding Toastmaster
A personal message from Colin...your friendly Wedding Toastmaster...
Utilizing the services of a professional Toastmaster doesn't mean your wedding needs to be overly formal and stuffy...it just means you will have somebody on your side making sure your day moves along smoothly; so you can have some fun!
I would normally meet the happy couple and (sometimes your families if you wish) a couple of months prior to your special day and run through all the details with you; from experience I find this is best done at the venue if possible. You are individuals and no two weddings are the same...so I will listen to your thoughts, ideas, aspirations and requirements before I offer my advice on everything from overall timings, the welcoming of your guests, the wedding breakfast, the evening function; as well as 101 little bits of information that you might find useful for your individual wishes.
Having worked in the hotel & catering industry for many years, I really understand the "operation" and I will always be on your side...supporting you in every way. Out of professional courtesy I always phone the venue/caterer and your photographer before the day, to introduce myself and to double check that we are all working as one. This is especially important regarding your photographer, for they are key to all timings. In my opinion, common sense states that he/she must have enough time to do the job that has been asked of them...if you have requested photos that will need one hour to take and we have only allowed 45 minutes, we will overrun and there could be a problem ensuring your food is both warm and perfectly cooked. Additionally, if your photographer has stated that he/she needs one hour to take the photos, I would always suggest allowing another 15-30 minutes...for two main reasons. The first is because they are creative people so they can sometimes get wrapped up in taking the "perfect shot"...so their time keeping may not always be at the top of their agenda...and the other important thing is to ensure that you (the happy couple) don't feel as if you are on a conveyor belt...going from one thing to another...and that you have enough time to relax and enjoy your day; if you don't it will fly by before you know it...and modelling for photos can be quite exhausting!
On your wedding day itself, I will be very friendly and super attentive to everybody's needs and ensure the formal procedures (if wanted), such as the photographs, receiving line, announcement of the parents and happy couple into the room, the cutting of the cake, introduction of the speeches (and supporting the person who is giving a speech), the first dance and the throwing of the bouquet are all delivered with warmth, dignity and with a smile upon my face. I never use a gavel at a wedding...in my opinion it is far too stern.
There is often a debate about whether you should have a receiving line at your wedding. A receiving line is normally where the Bride & Bridegroom, both sets of parents and sometimes the Bestman and Chief Bridesmaid line up and welcome your guests as they enter the dining room where your wedding breakfast will take place (it is called a wedding breakfast because it is your first meal as a married couple). Most caterers and hotel management will advise you not to have a receiving line, because they say it will take too long. I understand what they mean; but like most things in life, it is about how the situation is managed. If your guests are asked to make their way through the receiving line and on into the banqueting suite at their own pace then meeting and greeting 100 guests could take up to one hour! However, having me as your Toastmaster will reduce that time to just 10 - 15 minutes! I achieve this by standing at the front of the line and take people's names and introduce them to the first person in the line, which traditionally is the mother of the bride; whilst using the tempo of my voice to move everybody along nice and quickly. Every venue I work at always tell me that they have never seen so many people move along so quickly. The venue / caterers will be happy...the photographer will be happy...the guests will be happy, so you will be happy! I never tell anybody what to do...I only convince them to do the "right thing"...and always with a smile upon my face :-) Please believe me when I say that I am not trying to convince you to have a receiving line...all I am hoping to do is offer you options so you can decide what is best for you.
I would just like to mention the difference between a Professional Toastmaster and a venue offering somebody to "do the toastmaster's duties" as they often put it. Having me as your Toastmaster means there will always be somebody at your wedding who will have your interests as their sole focus. The reality of the hospitality industry is that it is very fluid...you might agree all your requirements with a wedding co-ordinator way in advance, but by the time of your wedding, he or she might have moved jobs...or if they do still work at your chosen venue, it is very rare that the co-ordinator will actually be around on your wedding day. It is normally a banqueting supervisor or manager that you might not have ever met; so please ask yourself whether you would want to hand over the running of your special day to the hands of a complete stranger; who probably has many other duties to perform as well as looking after your wedding (he/she might also be a duty manager...or maybe even trying to look after another wedding or function at the same time if your wedding is held in a hotel)! The banqueting manager's focus will be on serving your food, he/she will not have the time or even the personality to ensure you, your families and guests are looked after; I promise you that it will be a member of your family that will end up taking all the strain on the day...and if you are using outside caterers (maybe in a marquee or hall you have hired), then there won't be any professional at all to take on the M/C role! As I am writing this, I am conscious not to promote my positive services on the back of raising doubts in your mind...but because I have worked in the Hotel & Catering industry I recognize the pitfalls. In my opinion a Toastmaster (whether you decide to choose me or not) is vital to ensure your day is a happy one...I will work with all your other suppliers to ensure we all deliver the best possible experience for you, your family and your friends.
Please be assured that I know I am not the star of the show...you are; so I promise not to take over your wedding, but just keep the day flowing nicely...this friendly approach means you can sit back, relax and enjoy your whole day. Please take a look at my references and I have a number of couples who are happy to give an honest appraisal of my service on the phone. I am a good man with a good heart and my only objective is to do a good job and to look after everyone. Ladies and Gentlemen, you are in safe hands.
Thanks for your time and speak soon.