The text that follows is from the video I recorded for a TV show about the ‘accidental’ rise of the professional wedding MC. It was shot just before a wedding reception was about to begin.
Well firstly, a little bit of history about myself. How did I get to be a wedding MC? I didn’t grow up telling everyone I was going to be the wedding MC – who does?
The industry has taken on enormous change. When I first started emceeing weddings in the mid 90s, it was a cliche that the wedding MC was an older gentleman with gray hair, a frilly shirt and told very bad jokes – that he laughed but no one else did. And it was a real cliche; and it worried me. In fact, I was told by my corporate clients not to say that I was a wedding MC – but I was proud to be wedding MC.
And it happened by accident. I was a corporate MC as I said, and I used to do a lot of work. I first started with Westfield Shopping Center – thank you Westfield for all that thousands of hours of training on their stages. I made all my mistakes there.
One of the marketing managers had a girlfriend who was getting married; and she put me up “I know this guy – a compere – and he can do it” and she rang me and said “you’re going to emcee my girlfriend’s wedding” I said “oh no, I’ve never MC’d a wedding before – I dont think I’ve even been to a wedding – what’s going on?” she said “please please” and it was well paid and so forth like that -and I said okay.
So I had enough smarts to ring a DJ – and it was the first one in the Yellow Pages and he was close to where I lived, and he’s still a friend today and he was great “A Ball Entertainment” Rick Chisholm – thank you; and he sat down, it was for free and he sat down and he said ‘yeah Ive MC’d a bit’ in those days the DJs kind of had to take it on board whether they liked it or not and some of the run sheets that he gave me I still use today.
And so I turned up at this wedding and I started to MC and I thought “goodness me, how long has this been going on for?’ this is fantastic; this is much more better fun than a corporate MC job. I mean the corporate MC is great – it’s a big
responsibility like a wedding, but the wedding so much fun. And I thought ‘oh please’ and Ive stayed there ever since I’ve never looked back
But what happened, how the agency came about, was I got booked and double booked, and it just it went crazy because I was writing down everything there was not one piece of information, apart from Rick Chisholm’s run sheets, on how to do it – so I wrote down everything I was learning so fast that I used to come home at night time and I’d get home about half past 12 at night-time – and everyone would be asleep – so I’d write and write and write and I’d sort of fall into bed about four o’clock in the morning having scribbled notes.
Then a bride rang me on a Wednesday she said ‘can you MC?’ and I said NO I’m sorry I’m booked already’ and she ‘please please please’ and she started to cry she said I’ve just been to a wedding and their friend did it and it was terrible.
I’ll never forget that phone call, I’ll never forget it. I thought ‘I have to do this’ I can see what the world is telling me to go out there and and be a really really good MC a wedding MC and train other people to do it because it’s really really really important job – you only get one chance to get it right – so I put the phone down. Originally I said No. I put the phone down and then I thought about I sat there. I’ll never forget it
I sat on the desk and thought ‘Peter come on you know you can do better than that’ and I thought I’ll ring my mate Gary and he’d done a little bit of compering for me and helped me out in jobs I couldn’t do and he said – nice guy – ‘yeah okay’. I said ‘look Ive got these notes that is handwritten scribbled notes – I’ll send them to you.
So I rang her up and I said ‘look I think I’ve got someone’. and she went ‘thank you thank you thank you’ so I ran to the newsagent and I photocopied them I put them in the express post he got them on the Thursday and looked at them on the Friday.
I rang him on the Monday and I said ‘Gary how did it go?’ he said ‘mate it’s good fun’. ‘yeah t’s great fun isn’t it’ and he said ‘those notes you gave me were excellent’ he said ‘mate you should make it into a book’. I went ‘yeah yeah yeah yeah’
Anyway to cut a long story short, he did another job for me and he said ‘mate you’ve got to make those notes in your book’ because what I’ve done I had written out the scripts and I didn’t realize that its a plug and play live as a template.
And that book YOU CAN BE A WEDDING MC became a best-seller straight away it was published and now it’s on Amazon and it’s sold lots and lots and lots and lots of copies. It became the handbook for all professional wedding MCs around the world and so that’s how it started … completely by accident; there was no plan. there was just a need, a real need for it to be done well.