Interview: Cheers to the Toastmaster

“I knew I could do a good job”
Will Buckley knows how to make people feel welcome; he has been working in the entertainment industry for more than 17 years, five of which were spent working on the five-star Celebrity Cruises, and  he is also available to hire as a wedding Toastmaster and Master of Ceremonies. We asked him how he got started…

I saw a wedding toastmaster in action and that being a Toastmaster would suit my personality and that I could do a good job at it. With this in mind, I contacted Richard Palmer who teaches the art of being a toastmaster at the English Toastmasters Association. I would always recommend couples check that their Toastmaster has a background in entertainment or public speaking and that they have received formal Toastmaster training.

From assisting with drinks to liaising with the kitchen staff, the ushers the couple to announcing the wedding meal, the speeches, cake cutting, dance and chatting to guests, the job of a toastmaster is very multifaceted, but I enjoy every moment. I tailor what I do according to each couple’s wishes, and can be as involved or not, as they like.

Toastmasters enhance the day, adding extra personal touches throughout that make it all the more special for the couple and for their guests. For me, being a toastmaster is about making special memories for people; I’m an added formality who can act as an extra pair of hands, not only helping to organise the day, but keeping guests entertained, helping the photographer by gathering guests for formal photos. I also have a great sense of humour, so by having me as a Toastmaster, you know there is never going to be a boring moment

A good Toastmaster needs patience, a fun loving, friendly personality, and experience in hosting live events. They also need a good microphone technique, an ability to ad lib with confidence, and excel in stressful situations or major events.

The couple always has a lot of input into what a toastmaster does. We meet a few weeks before the big day and talk about how they would like the day to run; I have a checklist I like to go through that helps us decide how to structure it all.

I’m dressing as a white rabbit for an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding soon, and I am really looking forward to it. As you can tell, I am a very non stuffy Toastmaster, and down to earth – two qualities that I feel are very important in my line of work.

A piece of advice for couples? Be wary of the drunk relative! A lot of couples say to me that their uncle or another relative, is taking charge and managing the speeches, but I’ve seen this get out of hand many times, particularly when drink is involved. The uncle or family friend can get carried away and offend other guests and rather than enhancing a wedding, people end up remembering it for the wrong reasons. Similarly, venue staff are great at co-ordinating the day, but they have no expertise in the talking and entertaining the guests. Hire a toastmaster – it takes away so many headaches!

For more details about Will and how to hire him as a toastmaster, please visit his website: elitetoastmaster.com

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