A wedding can be the most important day of a bride’s life and there is always the thought of it being one of the most stressful times as well. A toastmaster can help to take this stress away for you on your big day so you don’t have to worry about it and can just relax and enjoy your special day!
I recently asked Professional Toastmaster, Malcolm Kindon, what it is like to be a Toastmaster…
How long have you been a toastmaster for?
I trained with ‘The London Guild of Toastmasters’ in 2005 and did my first events as a Toastmaster in the same year. I had previously been involved with fundraising at charity events and school PTAs -offering advice and then hosting and managing the evening and also running the auction and fundraising games – but I was interested in how I could take this to the ‘next level’.
In December 2005, I did my first wedding – well actually, a Civil Ceremony. It was on the first day that single sex couples could hold a legal ceremony, the day that Elton John held his! It was a great experience and a lot of fun as there was no laid down protocol or procedure as this had never been done before.
What do you like about it?
The variety of work. As no two events are the same. Taking a wedding or event from the planning stage to actually carrying it out as envisaged to the satisfaction of the ‘client’ is very rewarding.
Whilst working within the Wedding Industry is there anything you have found most challenging about being a toastmaster?
People working in the wedding industry tend to work well together to ensure that the couple get the day they have dreamed of – after all, it is a once in a lifetime event that we all want to be a success. I remember my first Asian wedding – a very knowledgeable Toastmaster asked me along and, at my first sight of 1000 guests, I wondered what was going on! That first one was challenging, but I have now done numerous Asian weddings with anything from 500 to 1200 guests.
What advice would you give to any bride and grooms who are looking for a toastmaster?
I think the most important thing is to meet the Toastmaster and see if you get on with him/her. After all, this is the biggest day of your life, so you have to be able to trust and rely on the Toastmaster you choose.
Check them out to see if they are what you are looking for. Not everyone offering their services have had any formal training, so you need to know what you are getting! If they belong to a Guild or Association, they will have standards that are to be met as well as having backup if they are ill on the day of the wedding.
For any bride and grooms who haven’t considered having a toastmaster, how can they benefit from having one at their wedding?
A lot of planning, time, effort, and money has gone into organising such a big day, so it is important that they have someone there to ensure that their plans are kept to without a fuss. Often the plans are in place for all the individual professionals to do their part but really they need someone to co-ordinate it to make it run smoothly. I have found that photographers like it when I am at a wedding as they can rely on me to organise the guests and keep an eye on the time!
Arriving at least an hour before the guests, a toastmaster makes sure that absolutely everything is ready and will look after the wedding party from the time they arrive up to the time his duties are finished, not just for the meal.
A good toastmaster will be at the end of a phone for queries and reassurance in the weeks leading up to the wedding, which many couples have found help them to relax as nerves may kick in.
Is there any advice you would give anyone who is thinking of becoming or just started out as a toastmaster?
Approach an experienced Toastmaster for a chat. We will give you advice, but you should receive training for the career – this is not just a job. We are dealing with people’s dreams, so have to get it right first time. Apply to join a reputable association, like the Northern Guild of Toastmasters. First and foremost, you must be a ‘people person’.
Toastmasters wear the red jacket with white gloves uniform, is there a reason for this? Is it symbolic at all?
Originally, the Toastmaster wore a black tailcoat. Legend has it that a famous Toastmaster, William Knightsmith, got tired of being mistaken for a waiter and his wife suggested that he had one made of a different colour and suggested ‘Military Red’. This was back in 1894. Initially he was laughed at by other Toastmasters, but the Prince of Wales liked the look of it and once it had received the ‘Royal seal of approval’, the red tailcoat became the uniform for all Toastmasters. Black is still worn on occasions such as City Banquets and Livery Dinners and is always an option if required. The red coat does though make a Toastmaster visible in a crowd.
Apart from weddings, what other types of events have you been a toastmaster for?
- Charity Events – fundraising
- Awards evenings
- Corporate Dinners
- Mayoral Ball
- School Proms
- Charity Auctions
- Legal Profession Dinners
- I have also appeared in two televised weddings –‘reality type’ shows.
As a Master of Ceremonies I have also acted as Compere for:
- Sportsman’s Dinners
- Showcase for a Dance School
- Fashion Shows
- Musical Talent Shows
All of which would be ideal to host in the Sheridan!
Do you have a favourite memorable moment from a wedding?
So many, but possibly actually reading a Bridegroom’s speech for him!
Why is this your favourite?
It was just one of those occasions where I stepped in to help. The Bridegroom was a young man and he literally froze when standing up to make his speech – actually froze! I offered to read his speech for him as he couldn’t do it. I remember he had written notes in bullet points, fortunately, I knew what he wanted to say so was able to help him.
Do you have a favourite memorable moment from another event?
This is quite hard, because I actually enjoy all aspects of my work. Possibly it was the first time I sold an item at an auction for over £1000 – that was quite a buzz back in the ‘90s. I had previously managed to ‘sell’ a large cuddly toy for over £900, so that was a special moment as well. These were both for St. Rocco’s Hospice in Warrington
Why is this your favourite?
Doing an auction, you have to interact with the audience and think on your feet to obtain the highest bid. Not everybody wants to take part in an auction, so it has to be as quick as possible, but also enjoyable – a bit of theatre, I suppose. Doing it for a charity makes it fun but also you’re helping to make a difference for the charity concerned.
Do you have favourite ‘duty’ that you enjoy doing the most at weddings?
The most important thing is to try to get the Bride, Bridegroom and their families to relax and enjoy themselves – to try to take the stress away from them. At an English wedding, I do enjoy announcing the newlyweds into the room – I am the first person to call them ‘the new Mr. & Mrs.’ after the wedding ceremony. With Asian weddings, I enjoy the whole spectacle of the event – from the colours of the dresses to the importance of the various ceremonies. At an Asian wedding I try to get round as many tables as possible to see if all the guests are enjoying themselves and enjoying the food. In a small way, I am a surrogate host for the family.
What do you enjoy most about hosting a wedding at The Sheridan?
At The Sheridan, I think there is a very good mix between professionalism and being friendly. I get so many comments from the guests about the good standard of the food and also about the staff, who are very approachable and try to ensure that their high standards are maintained.
I still get the ‘wow’ factor whenever I do an event there – the way the room is decorated is always very impressive. This is very carefully planned with the family to make sure that each event is different. They believe that attention to detail is very important and also for the guests to be happy and well cared for, sentiments that I fully agree with.
Thank you Malcolm, that was really interesting and I’m sure you have got loads more stories about being a Toastmaster. I can definitely see the benefits of having a Toastmaster at a wedding or any other events; it really does just take the stress away!
If you would like any further details from Malcolm or a ‘no obligation’ chat, please feel free to contact him on email@example.com or ring 07756 017503.
The Sheridan is proud of the weddings and events it hosts and we highly recommend using a Toastmaster for our events.
To speak to one of our team about any event that you would like to have at The Sheridan, then please call 0161 203 5444 the offices are open Monday to Friday 10am-6pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org