This my Frequently Asked Questions Page

If you are not already considering having a toastmaster you may wish to reconsider after reading this...

  1. We're not having 'That' kind of a day... we won't be needing a toastmaster!

  2. What, exactly, does a toastmaster do...?

  3. The Hotel provides a toastmaster in the package, so I don't need you... do I?

  4. The Best man and Ushers are worrying about what they are supposed to be doing!

  5. We are having trouble with our speeches... Help!

  6. The speeches; who goes first?

  7. Top Table; who sits where?

  8. Difficult relations! we are worried about certain members of our families!

  9. I have a problem, I've left something in the car, I'll just go and get it!

  10. Who is in the receiving line and what order do we go in?

  11. When and where do we have the receiving line?

  12. When do we cut the wedding cake?

  13. We can't really afford a toastmaster!

  14. Can you recommend other wedding services?

  15. What happens when things go wrong!

  16. For goodness sake! How do we book you??!!

  17. What is your Availability?



We're not having 'That' kind of a day... we won't be needing a toastmaster!

What do you mean by 'That' kind of a day? You Don't want a Party Atmosphere? You don't want your guests to be enjoying themselves and have big smiles on their faces? Don't be silly, of course you do. what you mean is you don't want your wedding to be overly formal and regimented with an unbearably stuffy atmosphere. Quite right too! it's a celebration you want! We are trained as Toastmasters in all the Protocols for many, strictly Formal occasions including Royal, Civic, Diplomatic, Guild and Livery functions. there are social rules and graces that govern these functions and the toastmaster works closely with this knowledge. But it does not mean that we must bring that formal approach to your wedding, on the contrary, because we know and understand those rules we know why they are there and what they are meant to achieve and we can therefore bend, even break those rules accordingly. My style and approach to your wedding is one that uses a very useful tool... Humour, this disguises almost any amount of formality and gets the job done with far less effort!  It is all about you and your day, you tell me how formal you want it, I won't be telling you!


What, exactly, does a toastmaster do...?

There is not much, on the day, that I won't do! Quite simply I organise and liaise with all the other professionals that you have booked for your day. This may be Hotel staff, Caterers, DJs, Musicians, Registrars, Photographers and Video crew among others. I will make sure that we all have the same information and that everything happens when and where it should. If I don't do this, then everybody who has a question will come to top table and ask you directly. This will prevent you from enjoying the day to it's best advantage as well as taking up valuable time when you could be mingling with your guests! If nothing else, I act as a central hub for information, this way there is no chance of there being "Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians!" It also means that no-one needs to think about a thing.... I'll take care of it! For you, on your day I will be -  a signpost, a Timekeeper, a sheepdog, a compere, an advisor, a go-fer and a flunky!

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The Hotel provides a toastmaster in the package, so I don't need you... do I?

This is a sticky one; As long as the hotel is providing you with a professional toastmaster with the red tail-coat then there should be no problem. However, quite often it is just the head waiter or manager and he will only make the general announcements for you (most people do think that this is all a toastmaster does, in fact it is only one tenth of what we can offer you!). This is, invariably a way to save money. however... what happens if/when there is a problem? (Delays due to the fire in the kitchen!? Another wedding in the hotel?) where, now does the managers loyalty lay? With you the customer, or with the hotel, his employer? "He who pays the piper, Calls the tune!" Booking an independent toastmaster like myself will, obviously, cost a little more but it ensures that loyalty stays with you and that it is your interests that are looked after.

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The Best man and Ushers are worrying about what they are supposed to be doing!

This is no problem at all… I will be able to inform them all of their duties at the ceremony and reception well in advance. This includes help with speeches, what their roles are at any point of the day and organising solutions for problems at any time. I am available to you all for advice at any time. Ushers are there to see that guests are in their correct seats (at both Ceremony and Reception!), have lifts to the reception venue and that they know where it is. If the bride or bridegroom has forgotten anything then delegate… send an usher!

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We are having trouble with our speeches... Help!

This is about the most appreciated thing I do! I can offer help and advice on wedding speeches; I have ready-made templates as well as sample speeches for Father of the Bride, Bridegroom and Bestman. I can and will help with Prop’s, gags and any aspect of your delivery and will make sure you get all the glory! Click here for more general tips

One word of warning… anyone who thinks that because they “do this everyday at work!” or similar, a wedding speech is going to be a doddle, then let me just remind you that you don’t get married every day!

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The speeches; who goes first?

At a traditional English wedding it is the father of the bride who has paid for the day, therefore everyone, including the happy couple, are his guests. Poor old dad can’t always afford this huge expense on his own so it is often, today, shared. But tradition has already set the rules and this means that Dad still gets to go first followed by the Bridegroom and finally, the Bestman. Occasionally, the lovely Bride might just like the last word! It is worth remembering here that these are really ‘Toasts’ with a bit of padding, rather than speeches. Click here for more general tips

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Top Table; who sits where?

The simple solution to this is the traditional (Victorian) lay-out. Basically this is really just Boy-Girl alternated starting with the Bride and Bridegroom at the centre with the bride on the left of her beau! then the Brides Parents followed by the Bridegrooms Parents then Bestman and Bridesmaids to balance the ends.


Mother of


Father of




Mother of


Father of




This is just a starting point for you; you can change it how you prefer! For instance, Step-parents have no official standing in the formalities and should be seated with other guests... unless you decide otherwise; after all, it is YOUR day!

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Difficult relations! we are worried about certain members of our families!

OK, another sticky one. The general advice is don’t invite ANYONE who can potentially spoil your day! Unfortunately, today, this most often means Parents have split and or remarried and this can be a source of some animosity. 99% of the time this is not a problem and you are worrying over nothing. Most people will behave themselves in these circumstances; it is only for a few hours after all! Seating plans like the Victorian Top Table have separated any warring parties. Step-Parents may get vocal as to their seating arrangements (“I am married to him, I should be sat with him!”) and you can only be firm, stick to your guns and insist. Its easy advice to give but not so easy to administer. Also you might find they won’t listen to you, in which case you can invite me to step in. Often, when this advice comes direct from a third party (unrelated) it formalises and eases the situation.

If all else fails, threaten to go to Gretna Green or the Caribbean and do it on your own (you can always have a party when you come home!). Above all, remember…it’s YOUR day.

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I have a problem, I've left something in the car, I'll Just go and get it!

Oh No you won't!!! This is the GOLDEN Rule! You do nothing on the day! "OK then I'll delegate and send the Ushers! Its their job to look after us!" Well.... yes But, Sod's Law dictates that you'll do this at the most inopportune moment... the moment you or your Usher disappears to do your bidding, that will be when the photographer calls out for you and the Bestman and Ushers for a picture, or similar! Therefore ANY & ALL problems should be given to me, the toastmaster, so that I can decide who is safe to send for the errand without disrupting any part of the day. I will be thinking about the logistics and the timings... you won't! It is all about maximising your time with your guests and stuff like this can eat up precious minutes! if you have a problem, give it to me!

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Who is in the receiving line and what order do we go in?

This is, really, entirely up to you. Many magazines and Guides suggest all kinds of different line ups but you should first consider this… How many guests will you be receiving? Let’s say 120, If they all speak to only the Bride and take only 30 seconds each… not a long time, is it??? Yes it is… 120 X 30seconds is an hour! Now multiply that by however many people you want in the line… Oh, Oh! Now you can see a problem, you need to do this quite speedily, something like 20-30 minutes is as long as it should take and this translates as 1½ to 2 seconds each if you have 6 people in the line-up (Mums, Dads and Bride & Bridegroom).

The correct protocol (at a traditional, English wedding) for the receiving line is Host & Hostess first followed by the Bridegrooms parents and then the Bride and Bridegroom. Bridesmaids, Bestman and ushers should be doing other things like collecting wedding gifts (bridesmaids), helping guests find their seats for the wedding breakfast and anything else that arises. If you want to have all the bridal party in the receiving line then by all means do, it is YOUR day, just remember to allow plenty of time before dinner!

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When and where do we have the receiving line?

Normally, the easiest and most useful place to have this is into dinner, if at all practicable, after reception drinks and the formal  photography (this allows stragglers and late-comers to catch up!). There are some venues that will suggest that you receive your guests in a car park or garden immediately as you arrive... this is firstly, weather-dependant and secondly,  means the bridal party have to try to be first to arrive at the venue from the church, that the bridal party may well be waiting for stragglers to arrive and that the photographer must wait until all the guests are received before he or she can take any pictures! This can take a lot of valuable time and you have NO control over it! If there are two rooms, a reception and a dining room, then  the choice can be easy as to location. have a table plan to hand for your guests to see where they are sitting, but not so close to the receiving area as to cause congestion. A plan at the end of a receiving line can be a 'bottle-neck'!

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When do we cut the wedding cake?

The cake gets ‘Cut’ three times usually! The first is a mock cutting where the bride and bridegroom pose for the photographer, on their own and is usually part of a formal package (‘Reportage’ or Candid photographers are more flexible and will most likely be at the reception most of the day so do not need a special pose). At some point either during or directly after the meal you will then do the ceremonial cutting of the cake where the bride and bridegroom actually stick the knife in! Finally the Kitchen staff will slice it into the required portions. When you cut the cake depends a great deal on when you want it served. Traditionally, cake comes with coffee prior to Champaign and speeches which requires we cut the cake at some point convenient to whoever is going to prepare it for guests, this may be between main course and desert. However, many Brides feel it is better served with the buffet where more cake may actually be eaten. The benefit of this that we can cut the cake at any time before leaving the dinner table.

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We can't really afford a toastmaster!

The usual answer to this is to get the Bestman to organise everything, it is his JOB after all! However, a toastmaster like myself has the experience of 500+ weddings, this is a huge amount of experience. You are, of course, going to spend a large amount of money for a single day’s event, the extra (Luxury?) expenditure of a Toastmaster may seem too much. But the fact is that I will maintain your plan (dream!) and ensure that all the money you have spent is doing what YOU want it to do and not what someone else wants you to do. You wouldn’t pay (say…) the Caterer £10k to tell you that you can’t have a Receiving Line! Or pay the Photographer £1k to take so many pictures your that wedding breakfast is delayed (or burnt!). The fact is, the less you spend at a wedding, the more you need a toastmaster and anyway, my proud boast is that If you CAN’T say to me at the end of your wedding day “Nige, You were Brilliant!  I don’t know what we’d have done without you!” I will not only give you a full refund - I’ll eat my Red-Coat!

Now ask yourself how much would you pay to guarantee success? I truly believe this is what I am selling

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Can you recommend other wedding services?

Well, of course! Over the course of many years in the wedding industry I have met and struck relationships with many associated trades from Photographers to Caterers, from string quartets to magicians and from Registrars to hoteliers… there is not much to the day that I do not have a handle on. I Can provide all kinds of advice and ideas for you to work on, they won’t all be for you but it will inspire and direct you and give you the ability to make the right decisions for your day.

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What happens when things go wrong!

More than one thing will go wrong at virtually every wedding! 99.999% of the time they are really trivial and minor and just as often go un-noticed. However, very rarely, something disastrous to the day happens. Obviously, nobody wants this to happen at their wedding but it is wonderfully reassuring to know that whatever calamity occurs, everybody involved (professional or otherwise!) in your wedding, will pull out all the stops to recover the situation. Whatever the problem, we let the guests all know… this makes it official and gets everyone on our side to help. It does not matter how much you spend to prevent a problem or how much you plan, the big problems are always the ones you don’t see and can’t plan for. But there is always a way of clawing victory from defeat. There is no other service industry (other than the emergency services) that I know of, who will go so far out of their way to make the best of a bad lot. I had a wedding where the caterer, for some reason, failed to appear! With an hour to go before the guests arrived, I had talked a local chip shop owner into providing for us all! It was his empathy for the situation that made it so special, having announced to everyone that they would be eating fish and chips from the newspaper it’s wrapped in, he duly arrived with everyone’s individual order on fine gold rimmed crockery!

Whatever happens on your day, it will be memorable and most likely, great fun!

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For goodness sake! How do we book you??!!

Simple!... Firstly find out if I am available for your date by sending me an email or calling me. Then send me a deposit with a few basic details and any contact numbers and that's it! It's me you book and it's me you get, no-one else! I can still help in all kinds of ways if I am unavailable for your date... just ask away! My contact details can be found on my Contact Me page

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What is your Availability?

OK, In general All Saturdays are at a premium because this is the single most popular day for a wedding. this is followed quite closely by both Fridays and Sundays. The most popular months and the ones that fill up soonest are 1, August. 2, May (especially the bank holiday weekends in both these months!) steadily followed by June, July, September, April and December. March, October and November fill more slowly while both January and February can be very light in wedding bookings. I tend to take bookings, on average, approximately 18 months in advance of the date, so really - as soon as you can confirm your venue & ceremony you need to find out my availability. It is always worth calling to find out as I can point you in all kinds of directions if I am already booked... I am here to help, after all!

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