EVERY wedding reception owes its energy to the emcee, bringing the shy bridesmaid to the dance floor or getting the groomsmen grooving. Today, in our second episode of the wedding special, we will talk with the event host to discover how they do it and what couples must know when looking for a wedding host.

Talking to Stephanie Tujan and Don Gonzales, both seasoned voice actors and events hosts in Davao City, I learned how complicated it actually is to be a wedding host. It’s not just about the energy. One must also master having grace under pressure, to make sure guests enjoy and feel included, and to know when and how to do adlibs.

On the second episode of Twenty Something: The Wedding Special, we focus on the advantages of having a professional wedding host on your wedding.

What’s your first must-do to set the mood in a wedding reception?

Steph: The couple must know what type of wedding reception program they want to find a host that will fit the program. The wedding coordinators here in Davao will also be able to help the couple once they have a specific program in mind. Others want spontaneous, others want classic. Others look for hosts who can crack a joke or can sing. It fosters a festive atmosphere. Different hosts have different skills in executing our craft. A professional host should be spontaneous, can do adlibs, and someone unfazed of unforeseen stressful situations.

Don: The host must be very engaging. You have to be on top of all the guests. The moment they arrive at the reception, the bands, the caterers are there. Everything is set. You need someone to tie it all together -- the speeches, the toast, the traditions. You have to be in control of the program. There are a lot of times that mishaps that may cause stress to the couple or the guests so the emcee should know how to handle situations like that in such a way that the others won’t notice.

Do you talk to couples before the actual reception? If yes, what do you usually discuss?

Steph: Yes we talk to them. We call that the wedding suppliers meeting. We meet them, we ask questions that we might use during the reception party. Most specifically, their love story, funny moments, and special song. From there, we can familiarize the dynamics of the couple’s relationship. We also discuss the games we will incorporate in the program. The adlib of the host should fit the couple’s preference.

Don: I make it a point to meet the couple a few days before the wedding. You have to understand the host is the spokesperson of the couple. You only get to hear the couple during their thank you speech and that happens usually at the end. Throughout the wedding program, you are the one speaking on behalf of them. You speak of their sentiments, their joy.

How were you affected by the pandemic?

Don: Very drastic ang shift from the large number of guests attending the wedding, karon kay we’re only given a 20-person limit. There’s an impending guideline from the national government to totally ban public events. It’s painful but they’re still in the process of studying it. Before, we would do an average of three to four weddings a week. Now, we’re blessed if we’re given one or two weddings in a month. Imagine! We just accept what’s given to us.

Steph: I think the word is “terrible”. These industries suffered a major blow with this pandemic. Bookings are limited. There are job losses, lots of cancellations. But like most of us, we need to think of other ways to earn money. We have to shift gears temporarily. If there’s an opportunity for us to do hosting, we grab it -- making sure that we adhere to safety protocols. Pero yun na nga, hindi ganun kadami.

With Davao City placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) anew, limitations for social gatherings and events as weddings have been stricter.

Wedding hosts like Don and Steph can only hope for a silver lining and a better tomorrow for the event industry in the city once the pandemic is through.

To view the full interview, visit SunStar Davao Facebook page and click on the “Videos” folder.