Frequently Asked Questions
It is a common fallacy that a Professional Toastmaster only lends pomp and formality. In fact we are simply there to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible and that your event or function is successful and memorable for all the right reasons.
Why should I engage a Toastmaster for my wedding?
You want your wedding day to be perfect. You may employ a professional photographer, caterers, musicians and others because you wish to leave nothing to chance. But for all this to run smoothly, who will coordinate the day for you? Who will greet your guests and take care of cards and gifts? Who will warn your caterer that the photographer is running late and delaying proceedings? Who will manage the receiving line and ensure your guests are seated at the right time? Who will let principal guests know when it is their turn to speak, put them at ease and introduce them? Who will liaise with the photographer so that he won’t miss the cutting of the cake? Who will make sure the band are ready to play music for dancing and that the videographer is on hand to capture the couple's first dance?
The visual impact of your Toastmaster in full traditional regalia, resplendent in immaculate red tailcoat and white gloves, gives your guests, venue staff and other agents a reassuring point of reference. His or her friendly, calming manner will reassure everyone. Your relatives, friends and guests will not have to run around working for you but can relax, share and enjoy your special occasion. Announcements and introductions will be made in the appropriate style; formally or informally, as the occasion requires; and will be made accurately, briefly and clearly. Everyone will be made to feel special and comfortable.
Isn't the Best Man supposed to look after the details?
To most wedding guests, the relatively few announcements a toastmaster makes, may be the only visible signs of the difference that he or she brings to the occasion. Of course this is merely the 'tip of the iceberg'. Much of what a capable and experienced Toastmaster does is never apparent to the majority of guests. They are unaware of the careful planning that has gone beforehand. They do not see the discreet and unobtrusive attention to detail and close liaison throughout the day that ensures proceedings flow smoothly - apparently without effort. They do not realise, and probably rightly so, it is the toastmaster who has brought the day to a successful conclusion.
A Toastmaster is, of course, expert in procedure and etiquette. Professionally trained and qualified and using a combination of tact, diplomacy and management skills, he or she will ensure the smooth running of proceedings. This is especially relevant when large numbers of people are involved.
The Best Man, however, is chosen because he is the closest friend of one (or both) of those who will marry. They have honoured him by inviting him to fulfil the role and want him to participate in and enjoy the big day to the full (including a drink or two!). He will almost certainly not have been chosen primarily for his organisational skills or his experience in looking after the needs of the wedding party and the guests. He may have little or no knowledge and experience of the hospitality industry. He is a friend, and should be treated as one by not burdening him with the responsibility of ensuring the smooth running of the big day.
But the venue management has promised to see to everything...
Well, maybe. This usually means that the head waiter or banqueting manager will attempt to fit in what a Toastmaster might otherwise do along with their many other duties. These may include managing the kitchens and front of house; ensuring that the meal is correctly served; supervising the banqueting staff; and perhaps at the same time acting as duty manager at the hotel with responsibility for dealing with incidents that occur elsewhere. They may possibly also have to manage another event hosted at the venue that day.
In addition, the manager of your event will be working for the venue in the same way as the chef, the waiters and the bar staff. If something goes wrong their responsibility is to the venue and employer. An independent Toastmaster engaged by you, works for you and you alone. You can rely on them to deal with problems and to work diligently to ensure that the venue effectively delivers whatever it has promised.
How should I choose my Toastmaster?
Toastmasters are not formally licensed. In theory, anyone can buy a red coat and call themselves a Toastmaster. Such an individual could be good, or bad. A Professional Toastmaster will have undergone proper training and hold independent credentials from, and be a member of, a recognised Association. Check that whoever you consider engaging for your event holds suitable insurance, and has testimonials from previous satisfied clients.
Wedding Fayres are good places to meet and chat with Toastmasters, but you will also want to meet them privately and talk at length about plans for your day. Toastmasters are individuals, so find one who you can work and relate to, and who suits the style of the event or function you are planning. This will make the pre-event planning easier and mean that, on the day, you have total confidence in your chosen toastmaster.
What will my Toastmaster do for me?
Your Toastmaster will liaise with the venue staff and any other suppliers involved, using his/her organisational skills to ensure everything happens as it should. He/she supports and encourages all those with a part to play, instilling confidence and providing a calming influence. Having a Toastmaster means that your event should run smoothly and to time; you and your guests can relax and enjoy the event without worry. Also, you are assured of that extra touch of style, making your event or function truly memorable.
Your Toastmaster will meet with you in advance to offer advice on protocol and etiquette, provide hints and tips and agree the schedule for the day with you. This is where your Toastmaster’s experience can prove a great asset by ensuring that you have the right plan for your event.
On the day you can expect your Toastmaster to arrive at the venue early for a thorough check of all arrangements. They will liaise with caterers, venue managers, photography and video teams, entertainers and other professionals involved, and will continue to do so throughout the day. Throughout the event your Toastmaster will keep a watchful eye and deal discreetly with any matters that require attention, reworking the plan should anything unexpected occur.