Who's the host and what does he do?
April 26, 2012 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Emergency etiquette question: A family member is the father of the groom for a wedding this weekend. He and the groom's mother are divorced. He has behaved very well towards her, but she tries to get between him and his grown children. He was told today that she has arranged for a college friend of the groom to be the "emcee" for the rehearsal dinner tomorrow night. The invitations for this dinner were issued in both parents's names. The groom is oblivious to this issue and his father wants him to remain so. What should the father do? He was under the impression that HE was the host and would be acting as such but he has been essentially excluded from the planning process for this dinner. Any advice, experiences that are similar, clarification of the role of the father or of an "emcee" for a rehearsal dinner would be very helpful.
posted by Jenna Brown to Human Relations (19 answers total)
Did he pay for it?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:00 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yes. He has paid at least half.
posted by Jenna Brown at 3:01 PM on April 26, 2012

Contact the new MC, explain and ask what he should do? Perhaps they can share duties.
posted by zug at 3:03 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

If the MC is a friend of the groom, then it's not like his ex-wife has been given the upper hand - its not like she (or her sister or whatnot) is the MC. Having neither of the parents be the MC actually sounds like a really easy way to make sure that both parents are equally prominent in their role, without forcing them to cooperate on the nuances of running the evening.

I imagine that both parents will make a speech, most likely separately. He should probably ask if that's the case, and prepare it.
posted by Kololo at 3:08 PM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

I can't imagine what all there is for an "emcee" at a rehearsal dinner to do. Even the most formal ones I've attended are pretty casual; the floor was open for people to give toasts and share memories, but that didn't go on very long and didn't require extensive management from an "emcee". Maybe your friend should put his energy into putting together a nice toast to his son and soon-to-be-daughter and try not to worry too much about the emcee thing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:08 PM on April 26, 2012 [12 favorites]

Prepare his own, heartfelt toast. Circulate around the room behaving host-like. Greet everybody, on both sides of the family, etc. Then use all his energy to cultivate and maintain a great relationship with his son and the new bride both at all the wedding events and in the days and years beyond. That is the #1 thing that will be beneficial going forward. Years from now all the mishegos surrounding the wedding will be forgotten and what will matter will only be the ongoing (hopefully great) relationships. This is absolutely, positively not important.

I say this as a child whose parents divorced and remarried and all the related nonsense made my wedding quite complicated to say the least. That was 20+ years ago and I no longer give a shit.

Lastly, it may be that the bride and groom wanted a younger vibe by having the college friend be the MC.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:12 PM on April 26, 2012 [28 favorites]

He should have the emcee introduce him for a speech of welcome, then for the toast to his son. I've been to plenty of rehearsal dinners where someone other than either of the groom's parents was the emcee. Yes, it was rude for the groom's mother to make this arrangement without consulting him, but fighting rudeness with further rudeness is just going to embarrass the groom and his friend the emcee.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:12 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Emcee is not the same thing as host.

Though, having an emcee for a rehearsal dinner is weird in and of itself. I've never been at a rehearsal dinner that had more than a casual and spontaneous toast or two.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:12 PM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

He should prepare a speech, then discuss with the MC the appropriate time for the speech. He is the host or co-host, he should have a part in it. At the last few rehearsal dinners I attended, the bride and groom spoke, presenting gifts to the bridal party and thanking their guests. The father of the groom had a speech in all of them, welcoming the bride to their family. No MC at all.
posted by francesca too at 3:14 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

This article from The Knot may be helpful in clarifying what happens at rehearsals and rehearsal dinners. There will be the rehearsal at the church/wedding location (where there usually is someone affiliated with the venue directing traffic, perhaps that's what she means by emcee?) and then the party will move to another venue for dinner. All the rehearsal dinners I've been to have featured about half an hour for cocktails/mingling, then dinner, and after dinner about twenty minutes of toasts by the groom's parents, followed by presents to the bridesmaids/groomsmen by the couple (if they're doing those). The father of the groom should do exactly as BlahLaLa says and spend his time and energy radiating love and kindness for the couple getting married; a heartfelt toast welcoming the new daughter-in-law into their family and building relationships with her family by mingling and getting to know them during the cocktail hour.
posted by stellaluna at 3:19 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oops--I meant twenty minutes for toasts + presents, not just toasts!
posted by stellaluna at 3:20 PM on April 26, 2012

MY rehersal dinner was a t a resteraunt and my wife and I just said thank you to everybody opened up some presents and ate. If iwas the father I wouldnt worry about it.

I would chalk it up to doing the right thing for the son and leave it be
posted by majortom1981 at 3:26 PM on April 26, 2012

Erm, if this is an example of how the mother of the groom "tries to get between her ex-husband and their grown children", I question whether she is really doing that or whether the father of the groom is reading things into her behaviour that aren't there. The MC just introduces people who are to make toasts or speeches, cracks a few jokes, and says, "and now we'll have dessert and coffee" and that sort of thing to make things run smoothly. The father can still be the host, as the mother of the groom can still be the hostess. I'm sure she doesn't feel the MC replaces her, so no need for the father of the groom to feel that way either.
posted by orange swan at 3:27 PM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]

And perhaps the groom's mother thought it would be less awkward to have a third party friend of the groom do the emcee duties rather than argue with the groom's father about which of them should do that? Seeing as both parents are hosting.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:01 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would do EXACTLY what Blahlala suggested - I think that's the most courteous yet still a little assertive and host-like thing to do in this situation.
posted by echo0720 at 4:07 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Frankly, being an MC is kind of annoying - especially as a someone close to/in the wedding party. Parents should be enjoying the ceremony and reception - not being per-occupied with timing and random announcements.
posted by raztaj at 4:10 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think the father of the groom should focus on other things, as suggested by Blahlala. I think that any attempt on his part to try to take this role on will only reflect poorly on him and spoil some of the good day for his son. It's also really unclear whether the son would know or care about this.
posted by sm1tten at 4:12 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

BlahLaLa has it. That's what he should do: behave warmly towards all and don't worry about who's "hosting."

And as others have said, emcee != host. These are very different jobs. The host of a rehearsal dinner really should be pretty transparent because it's about the couple, not the host. Give a nice toast then go back to being quietly gracious to the guests.

I wonder a little if your friend is making this about himself instead of his son. I would find a rehearsal dinner that prominently featured one parent of the couple kind out odd. A friend as the emcee sounds more appropriate.

Finally, he should think of the worst thing his ex had done to tick him off, and decide that if something of that sort happens again he will not react, and will do whatever it takes to make sure the wedding weekend is drama-free and focused on the newlyweds. Even if it means your friend is railroaded. Even if his ex wins. This is about the couple.
posted by PCup at 4:33 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

My brother has been the MC at a couple of the weddings of his friends. I thought it was more because it was time consuming and leaves the parents and the bridge and groom free to mingle and worry less about what's happening and when since someone else has it under control. So I think like raztaj says, it's not an exclusion as all, it's actually a favor to the father in a way.
posted by bquarters at 7:28 PM on April 26, 2012

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