In New Zealand it has been common for couples to select a friend or family member as the MC. Typically this is based on their personality or experience with public speaking and has little to do with their experience and ability to plan the flow and successfully manage all the other tasks related to this role. This is very uncommon in many other countries and most likely came about in New Zealand due to the lack of professional MC's available.
More and more local couples are now using a professional for this critical role, allowing their friends and family members to enjoy the day and removing stress from the couple worrying about the details on the day.
For couples that do choose to have a family member they often find it is helpful to have a professional coach the MC and support them on the day.
Guests need to be informed on what is happening, guided on what to do and directed to take action or focus their attention to a particular place.
There are many traits needed to fulfil this role successfully - much more than just being a good public speaker.
The MC should be fully involved in the planning process ensuring the day flows, transitions are planned and all service providers are on the same page.
Simple things like checking with the kitchen that the meal is ready before commencing the entrance ensures that once the wedding party enters you can flow directly into the meal without awkward delays.
There are so many possibilities to create a unique and memorable day. It is important that the items selected reflect your personalities and are delivered in a tasteful and professional manor.
Obviously with such an important role you need to know that you are dealing with a suitably qualified person that can back it up with actual qualifications and experience. Unfortunately there is no formal MC qualification available in New Zealand so to obtain the necessary training and certification you need to travel to the US or UK.
I have attended training with Mark and Rebecca Farrell and Peter Merry in the US and will continue to hone my skills. I am currently booked to attend Bill Herman and Jason Jones' Entertainment Experience workshop in January 2014.
In addition to the formal training, I have provided MC services to 100's of weddings and large corporate functions throughout my career.