Thursday, October 5, 2023

Should You Hire a Professional Emcee or Have a Friend Do It for You?

Emcee, MC or Master of Ceremony – this role comes with different names, but they all refer to the same. They are the ones who host and facilitate your wedding programmes and is therefore the key to ensuring your guests leave your wedding celebration with a lasting impression – good or bad!

It is likely that at this point, you have someone in mind to fill this pivotal role. Probably a friend or relative who speaks fluently and not afraid to stand in front of an audience, or a professional host you “met” at an event? Hold your horses though! We might be able to give you some insights on the types of emcees available and who might be more suited for you.


First, we view a good Emcee as someone who can engage with the audience, connect with them on a personal level and manage the mood of the ceremony and reception. More importantly, he/she is able to retain the guests’ attention as necessary, ease out an awkward situation and react to any unexpected circumstances.

Now, it sounds a bit too overwhelming for a single person doesn’t it? Truth is, it is! Yet no matter who you pick – a friend or a professional, there is always going to be some trade-off in between. The trick is to find someone who knows how to create and build the kind of wedding atmosphere you desire.

Here are some tips, pros and cons that can help you evaluate who you should be getting to host your event of a lifetime!

Professional Emcee

Friends or Family

Infographic by The Wed Mag

Professional Emcee

Types of Professional Emcee

While the main purpose of having an emcee remains the same (i.e. to host), there are still different types of emcee you can expect. They vary in terms of how and what they bring to the table. Here are some options you can look into:

Live Band Emcees

If you are already engaging a Live Band, it is quite common for them to also have emcee-ing as an add-on service for you. They will be the perfect choice if you only require them to help with making simple announcements. The main bulk of their responsibility still remains as singing and providing live music.

Event Emcees

Event Emcees are known to be versatile as they host corporate events as dynamic as Dinner & Dances, to official occasions as formal as Award Ceremonies. You can therefore expect a higher level of engagement with these personalities as they are skilled in hosting according to the event brief and sometimes entertaining as well.

Radio DJs

These days, radio personalities don’t just sit behind closed doors in a studio. Their speciality is in connecting with audiences through their voice in a personal and friendly manner. Hence, they’re quite a crowd favourite and the go to if you’re looking for someone with a pleasant voice and perfect pronunciation.

Celebrity Hosts

It is not a surprise why some may choose to hire a celebrity host. They bring with them on-screen experiences in entertaining audiences and is a familiar figure that many of your guests will be able to relate to. Go for it if you have the budget as they will certainly amp up the entertainment factor at your wedding.


Price Range

The price range for engaging a professional emcee can vary from a top-up fee of $100 to $10,000 onwards, depending on the types of professional emcee you’re engaging.

Pros of Hiring a Professional Emcee

It is not a surprise why some have undertaken being an emcee as a full-time career because it does take experience and skills to achieve all the traits of a good emcee. Here are some reasons how they can contribute to your wedding:

Reacting to Situations

Truth be told, running behind schedule is quite a common theme in wedding receptions. Professional emcees are used to such situations and understand the need to buy time in a smooth and unsuspecting way to the guests. They are also more adept to reacting on the spot in instances such as a technical glitch or a sudden need to change the program flow.

Crowd Control and Connecting With the Crowd

When it comes to receptions in a huge space, it may be hard to garner attention, let alone sustain it with a large group of people over a long period of time. Professional emcees have the experience and ability to engage the crowd and connect with them regardless of the guest size.

Hosting Games and Activities

Games are increasingly more welcomed as part of a wedding program. They entertain the guests in between dish courses and never fail to bring a bit of humour. Professional emcees are experienced in conducting games and may have an arsenal of activities for you to choose from. Most of the time, the ad-libs by the emcees are the best parts that make your guests tickle with laughter!

Photo courtesy of Canva Pro

Cons of Hiring a Professional Emcee

Not everything can be perfect so here are some reasons why you might think a Professional Emcee is not a good idea:


This is probably the biggest con to engaging a professional emcee – the cost. Because why spend on it when you have someone you know who could do it complimentary right? Yet if you think you’d rather let a professional handle it, have a discussion with your fiancé early on in your wedding planning journey to discuss on the matter and set aside a budget for it.

Personal Touch

You may have a meeting with the emcee before your wedding day for him/her to know you and understand the program flow. That meeting, however, will not be able to substitute the many years of friendship or relations you have with a closed-friend or family member. The professional emcee will not be able to share any inside jokes or stories from significant life moments as well as your closed ones will.


Friends or Family

These people need no further introduction. They are trusted by you and may be the outgoing cousin or the dramatic friend in your clique.

Pros of Having a Friend/Family to Be Your Emcee

Weddings are essentially family affairs and it does make a difference if such an important role is filled up by someone close to you. Here are the reasons why you want them to host:

Lower Cost

Getting a friend or family member to help out is usually at no cost, although a token or gift would be nice to appreciate their help and effort! The cost is just going to be that!

Personal Touch

Having someone you know do the hosting will make the wedding a bit more personal. They will be able to share some interesting stories, perhaps their impression when you and your partner both got together. It is such little anecdotes that usually leaves an impression on the guests.

Photo courtesy of Canva Pro

Cons of Having a Friend/Family to Be Your Emcee

That said, sometimes it is precisely because they’re family or close friends that things may get a little bit trickier. You can’t have too high an expectation because it is highly likely that it is their first time (or that few times) hosting an event. Here are some consideration to look into before asking them for help!

Script Preparation and Reading

They may not be very familiar with wedding programs or they may not know the correct terms to use or what to say. Hence, likely you will have to take on the role of preparing the pointers or scripts for them. Most of them would also have the tendency to then rely heavily on these scripts on the actual day. It is often the case they will end up sounding monotonous and lose guests’ attention.

Inability to Manage Crowd

On the same note, they may not be experienced in calling for guests ‘attention, holding them and engaging with them. This will often result in guests being more interested in their own activities rather than paying attention to the wedding program.

Lack of Experience and Discomfort

Even for a professional, nervousness is inevitable! The difference would be that a professional, having had so much more experiences, will be able to mask it well and verbalise himself/herself effortlessly. For someone who speaks well but isn’t used to addressing a crowd, the intense pressure could be unnerving. They will really have a hard time enjoying themselves throughout the reception not to mention having to react when an unexpected situation happens!

We hope this gives you an idea on how to approach this aspect of wedding planning. If you’re unsure about how to start, we are working on articles to help you through the process of engaging a professional emcee or to work together with the chosen family or friend for the perfect wedding program. Subscribe or follow us on Instagram to be updated!

Feature image – Photo courtesy of Canva Pro

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