Ask AnchorBlanc: Should I hire a Wedding Emcee or get my Friend to do it?
Phrased differently, “Why should I hire an Emcee when my friend will be able to simply read off the script provided?”
While the decision is still yours, I’ll objectively weigh out the pros and cons for you:
Getting a Friend as an Emcee:
It’s a strong sign of friendship, telling the friend that “You are my bestie, and I entrust this fully to you.”
It lends a personal touch to it, and the common friends between you and the emcee will be able to relate.
These are just my honest opinions. I’ve seen some rare occasions where the Friend MC does an amazing job, but I’ve only seen this happen twice in my career. The main downside is the stress that emceeing causes, resulting in errors and mistakes on stage.
Talking Head. As a non professional, your friend will try his/her best but will be looking down and reading off the script most of the time. As Emcees, we call this issue the “talking head” and spend a lot of time and effort fixing it to a point where it is reduced to glancing down for a little bit, but looking up most of the time. Asking your friend to memorise it would not be fair to your friend as well, as this takes hours, weeks, and months of gruelling work. We have put in the long hours already as this is our career.
Awareness. A common problem we have seen with friend emcees is also the lack of awareness to the surroundings because their mindshare is fully on their script, as it would likely be their first or second time. They may not be able to react fast enough to, for example, give a verbal cue when they see that the bride and groom does not know when to commence champagne pouring.
Articulation. Even reading off the script is not as easy as it looks, as it takes a lot of practice to articulate. Most friends will probably try it once, twice, maybe thrice if your friend is hardworking, and then put it aside, assuming that they will be able to read it smoothly on the actual day. The sad reality is that most of the time, it doesn’t happen(see Stage Pressure point below), unless that friend happens to do it professionally, or speaks very well. The few exceptions I’ve seen of highly articulate friend emcees includes, but are not limited to, Entertainers, Teachers, and Sales people.
Stage Pressure. Let’s take your maximum level at anything that you do well. Lets take that level to be 100%. Now, lets put those skills on a stage, with bright lights, all audience’s eyes on you, that little voice inside your head asking “Am I doing this right?” and another voice inside your head telling you to be alert to the surroundings. This drops your maximum level to around 70%. And that is what your friend is going to be facing when he or she is on stage.
Stage Pressure is not a sign of weakness; Performers and Emcees have it as well, every single day of our performing career! But here is the big difference – because this is our job, we have trained to 130% or more, so that when all the stage pressure is on, you will still see us at our 100%.
Bottomline: The choice is yours, and you only have One wedding, One opportunity, One moment to shine, so weigh the pros and cons wisely.
We also have an article on the factors that determine a paid Emcee's Pricing. We hope that you will find it helpful as well!