I’m sure weddings elsewhere might entail different things. This is my own “notes” so it’s closer to Malaysia/Singapore weddings (specifically, very Chinese / non-religious type). Should be useful for that one off emcee job you gotta do coz you’re a close friend and the newly wed couple can’t afford to get a professional one.
Square brackets are optional. XX, YY, ZZ, __ etc. just substitute away.
Before the start of the wedding
The ceremony will begin soon, we would like to invite everyone to please take a seat.
Pre-entrance of bride / groom, after everyone’s mostly seated. Spot lighting if available.
大家好。我是 JJ, [我是 KK], 我[们]将会是你们今天的司仪。
[Hi, I am JJ [and I am KK] and we will be your emcees for the day.]
欢迎大家来到 _______ 出席 AA BB 夫妇的儿子 YY，与 CC DD 夫妇的女儿 XX，的婚礼。
Good [afternoon/evening] everyone, today is the wedding of Mr. & Mrs. AA’s son YY with Mr. & Mrs. CC’s daughter XX. We are honored to welcome all of you to celebrate this joyous occasion with us here in ________.
Note: Some families are very serious about the exact enunciation of the parent’s name / combination (considering some might have unfortunately passed away etc.). Refer to the banquet invite that was printed and ask if you can’t pronounce the name of both party’s parents (or rep), bride or groom’s name. Never 有边读边！
现在，有请大家起立，掌声欢迎我们今天的主角 YY 与 XX 入场！
May I invite all of you to rise and welcome YY and XX [into the Grand Ballroom]!
March in: Entry of flower girl + flower boy, or anything interesting for a march in (ballet girl?), last being the newly wed couple. For serious ones, take interval steps (one foot forward, next foot bring to match to stand straight, wait, then switch).
For weddings that starts directly with cake cutting (the common case), proceed to get them on stage etc. Otherwise, it’s also common to do it altogether during the 2nd entrance/half way through the dinner (4th to 5th dish).
Let’s welcome our newly weds to come up on stage to cut the wedding cake.
*Say good things here
大家请坐。Please take a seat.
我谨代表 AABB 夫妇，与 CCDD 夫妇，感谢大家百忙之中抽空出席 YY 和 XX 的结婚[午/晚]宴。
On behalf of Mr. & Mrs. AA, and Mr. & Mrs. CC, we would like to thank all of you for gracing this joyous occasion.
Lunch will be served immediately. We hope you will enjoy every dish that has been specially prepared.
Hotel/Restaurant takes over for launch of first dish. The following is pretty fluid, depending on what you have. Usually the simplest is to ask the photographer to make montages of events that happened preceding the banquet, like the “rescuing” of the bride, baby photos, how they met etc. Life performances attracts the most attention. The following are snippets:
请大家欣赏我们即将播放的录影，关于 YY 与 XX 共度的人生片段。
We have prepared a few short video clips for YY & XX. Sharing their journey and special moments with you. Without further ado, here they are. Enjoy!
今天我们有一位特别的嘉宾，那就是 [ YY/XX 的 ??, ] LL, 来为我们献上一首歌。
Today, we have a special performance by [ YY/XX’s ?? ] LL. S/he would like to [sing a song/perform a piece] entitled __________ to the newly weds. Let’s put our hands together to welcome LL!
让我们掌声欢迎，LL 来为我们的新人[唱/表演] _______!
让我们再次给 LL 掌声鼓励好不好？Another round of applause for LL!
谢谢 LL 。 Thank you LL.
The traditional “climax” of such banquets is in the toasting. This is unique, in that it is institutionalized into our culture for a long time. The use of the cross cultural “toasting” of champagne or wine or other celebratory drinks, and the efforts to create a congratulatory scene the newly weds will not forget, is essential in such banquets (which has evolved into a celebration / marketing effort from its traditional ceremonial significance). Although most modern weddings had settled with Mandarin as the preferred medium to cater for the various dialect groups, the toasting remains, uniquely, Cantonese (speaks to the success of the HK film industry).
Hello everyone, we hope you have enjoyed the dishes today.
* Insert second entrance if it’s an evening dinner that involves the bride changing from her wedding dress to her evening gown.
* Insert cake cutting here if not done earlier.
Let’s welcome our newly weds YY & XX to come on stage to pop the champagne!
*Say good things here
Next, the couple will have a cross toast with each other.
*Say good things here
We now invite parents and relatives to come on stage to propose a toast. [We also like to invite the brothers and sisters to help us out on stage as well.]
For the first toast to our newly wed couple, may both of you treasure one another and live happily ever after.
For the second toast, we wish our newly wed couple to be fruitful and multiply in numbers!
For the third toast, we would like to wish everyone great health and good fortune in the coming year.
We will now invite the couple to say a few words of appreciation.
The so called “speech” can be quite terrorizing / emotional to the newly wed couple. As an emcee, the responsibility is to make sure that the show must go on. That’s why I think the toasting should happen before the speech as it’s simple and rehearsed, and the
shoutingcheering can sooth the nerves of the couple (some do it before, so that we can toast to what the couple say). If the couple cry half way / fall down / do something weird / panic etc. say good things and keep the show going, at the very least, ask the audience to applause for encouragement.
大家请坐。 Please take a seat.
Let’s take a look at what happened earlier today when the groom overcome all obstacles to fetch his bride home.
The last part is optional. The realistic attendees won’t really need a good bye as they will leave after they’re full / done eating the last dish. However, in certain occasions it’s polite to sign off, wishing everyone well, before the end of the last dish.
We have come to an end of today’s banquet. Again, we would like to express our deepest appreciation for your support today. We wish that you will have a happy [day/evening].
[谢谢/晚安/再见]。Thank you / Good night / Good bye.
End note: I thought of putting this up on a wiki interface, so that more people can contribute, becoming a form of public property anyway. But then I thought if everyone add it’ll be too much to be useful. So if you have more good sentences to add (especially on the “good things to say”, which I’m lacking), please feel free to drop a comment, indicating when it will be good to say that. I’ll edit it as I go.
Similarly, this is in no way a substitute for the all too familiar Dai Kam Jie (Tai Kam Jie / 大妗姐 / 喜娘 / 全福人 / 好命婆 search these terms all you’ll see plenty of contacts) or Dai Kam Gong. If you’ve heard one (especially those who can do half a dozen dialects and doesn’t seem to get tired throughout the day), you’ll see that it’s a profession that is a class of its own.