Emcee’s Story: Alexander & Brenda’s Love Celebration

Tabi basa & greetings everyone. In this post, I’d like to share about my recent experience of becoming the Master of Ceremonies (or emcee as many would call it nowadays) for Alexander and Brenda’s wedding reception at Imperial Hotel, Miri.

PLANNING STAGE

In any event, planning is an essential step to be taken. In fact, before we even do anything, we should plan it out properly first.

An event’s success often hinges on its planning phase: where resources are identified, potential problem anticipated including its mitigation. Basically, we’re planning for the worst possible scenario. Among these aspects include overall program, entertainment, food & beverages and ultimately, guests experience. 

If we broke it down further, there are few planning phases, which includes Conceptualisation, Budgeting, Scheduling and Execution. 

Being an emcee, I am only involved with Execution phase. Quoting Mr Morris Mail (Alex’s father), you’re the man of the night. 

HOW IT STARTED?

For those who would like to reach out to me, for enquiry or bookings, they may drop a text to me via WhatsApp, 014-8677585.

That is exactly what Brenda did. She reached out to me, and we had few exchange of texts. Once we have come into an agreement on service to be provided, package to be taken, and deposit paid, I booked my calendar lest. That exercise also helps me to prepare myself mentally for the event.

FIRST MEETING

Face-to-face meeting is another crucial step. Some prefer to meet F2F, some is good with text or phone conversation. Nevertheless, I still prefer F2F meeting. There is something special about F2F meeting that phone call or video call can’t beat. 

As for our F2F meeting, we discuss about the whole program. For me, it is an opportunity for me to understand their needs better, especially on how they want me to run the show. During that meeting, Mdm Josephine, Alex’s mother also help to ensure that the program is robust. Alex’s uncle, Mr Johny was there too. 

Being used to capture Minutes of Meeting at my office, I capture the minutes and passed it to Brenda for them to provide the missing informations, such as VIP’s attendance and some other key information. 

REHEARSAL

On paper, our plan might seems to be robust & thorough. But, rehearsal is another key step to find our whether it is practical and some adjustments are required somewhere throughout the program. 

Depending on the level of the event, one should emphasise its level of rehearsal. For wedding, full rehearsal is recommended, with all parties involved. But minimum requirement would be run full steps with key personnel only. 

For dancers, they can have their training elsewhere as long as they know the size of the stage, entrance cue and duration of their dance. It would be more difficult with live instrument. More peoples, higher risks of things didn’t go as per plan but it is actually more fun due to its human touch. They can do extended performance too.

For this, rehearsal was only done with key personnel. That’s where I met these wonderful personnel too, including the newly-appointed Floor Manager, Mr Shamus; Alex’s brother, Broderick, Keth, David, Max from Portsmouth, Ken, Yuzer and Kevin. From bridemaid team, Ria, Lolia, Lisa, Anil the One Ok Rock fan, Joanna, Jacqueline, Gloria and Barbara. 

Microphone testing is a must, since I need to know how is the echo in that particular hall. Getting to know the DJ / audioman is essential. During that rehearsal also I tested the crowd’s response, which was quite good. That’s how I know it is going to be an awesome evening.

WEDDING RECEPTION

Finally, the time that we have been waiting for is here at last. Dressed in 3-piece suit, I made my way to the ballroom, where party awaits. Upon my arrival, there were already a lot of people that arrived before 6pm. It is understandable since parking lot is quite limited and traffic is not helping either that the bottleneck of Imperial Hotel and Permaisuri Mall. 

Anyway, I went straight my station and get acquainted with the videographers and the photographers. During this period of time, I get warmed up, get my voice warmed up, check my runsheet or event program and ensure everything is  good to go.

The next thing for me to do is to wait. There are a lot of guests that is still lining up to the ballroom. I also get to meet Mr Simon Ilus – DBNA Miri Branch Chairman, Englebert, Kawat Ugi, Dana Empading – OIM-turned-HSSE Manager, Rose Peter. There was a lot of familiar faces to among the band members, including Frank Tela & Fabian Kok. Both of them is performing for the band Acoustic Symphony.

EVENT STARTS

Once I have obtained the greenlight from the Shamus, the Floor Manager, I made a short announcement to get everyone’s attention before starting with Safety Video Briefing. 

Once it was completed, I did my official salutation to our VIPs, including YB Adam Yii Siew Sang, Mayor of Miri City & State Assemblyman for Pujut & his wife Mdm Rita Lau; Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Clement Ang Seow Aun & his wife, Mdm Elizabeth Tang; Mr Bunyak Lunyong, CEO SEB Power and his wife, Mdm Sandra Janang; En Anuar Ismail, Senior General Manager PETRONAS Carigali Sarawak Asset & his wife, Mdm Zaiton Abdul Rahman; En Peter Majid Tandom, Chairman of PETRONAS South Sudan; Datin Sylvia THomas Salang, wife of Dato Janin Girie, Group CEO PETROS.

Formal part done, I moved to the more casual part as during our F2F meeting, we all agree that it shouldn’t be too formal, but rather a casual event since it is a happy occasion after all. In my speech, I employed four different languages, English, Malay, Iban and Bidayuh.

In my own style that get the crowd cheering, I greeted guests from Saratok, Sarikei, SIbu, Kuching, Labuan, Bintulu, KL, Johor, KK, Portsmouth (UK) and last but never the least, Miri.

I also share a bit of love story between Brenda & Alex, especially during their early days. The rest is history.

MARCH-IN

For any wedding, march-in is a common thing to do. It basically announces to the guests that this is the family that we are celebrating. After both family marched-in, it is time for both King and Queen of the Night to march-in.

Both B&G are accompanied by dances dressed in Iban and Bidayuh traditional costume, a symbolic of their ancestral roots, where Brenda herself is mix Iban & Bidayuh.

WEDDING BLESSING

It is not completed for any event to go without any blessing from the almighty God. Hence, for this event, we get Reverend Father Kevin Chundi to bless our happy occasion.

FOOD PRESENTATION

Food presentation is another common trend around Sarawak. Imperial Hotel have their own ways of doing it, which is music-oriented and quite fun, too.

DINNER TIME & DANCE PERFORMANCE

As guests enjoy their meal, they are being entertained by Kuai Magat, a Miri-based dance dance troupe. They performed Ngajat Ngalu Temuai (Iban dance to welcome guests) & Rejang Bauh (Bidayuh dance from Padawan-Siburan area, means dance of the eagle). 

SPEECHES BY BRIDE & GROOM REPRESENTATIVE

For groom’s representative, Mr Morris & Mdm Josephine went to the stage, together. Still the Young Ones as sung by Cliff Richard, in love with one another. Mr Morris thanked everyone that came from far and wide to celebrate this wedding reception and gave an advise to both Alex & Brenda. 

For bride’s representative, Mdm Agnes, Brenda’s mother, gave the speech. Her main point was, welcome to the family, Alex. She also invited everyone to have a lot of fun and poco-poco that evening.

WATCHING VIDEO FROM CHURCH WEDDING

LIVE BAND PERFORMANCE – ACOUSTIC SYMPHONY

After those speeches, it is time for the band to perform. Acoustic lead the stage performances by playing few famous numbers. Ai, their main singer sung few songs too, including by Theresa Teng. Frank also contributed with his baritone voice.

Some time during this time, Brenda & Alex went up to change into their second dress.

EXTENDED PLAY

Whilst waiting for both of them to get ready, Acoustic Symphony played additional song. For me, I was given the honour to sing a song, which is part of the filler program. I picked a famous joget song from Serian, Kampung Love by Acid Rain. I sung it both in Bidayuh and Iban. 

This is what we would, “membuka tirai” or in English, “opening the curtain”. The first song where people are dancing on the floor, or everywhere. 

After that song, Shamus gave me a signal that they are ready for the march-in, from which I switched gear from singer to emcee, once again. 

BRIDE & GROOM SECOND MARCH-IN

Back to my emcee station, I announced the arrived of the bride & groom, but this time there is a twist. The bridesmaid and groomsmen will enter first with their own unique dance moves.

Entering the ballroom with style, and Mr James Chung from Symphony Academy of Music playing Rush in the background.

Starting the entrance is Shamus & Ria, followed by Broderick & Lola; Keth & Lisa; David & Anil; Max & Joanna; Ken & Jacqueline; Yuzer & Gloria and Kevin & Barbara. All of them lined-up near the stage whilst waiting for Alex & Brenda to enter.

Finally, it is time for Brenda & Alex to enter. Dressed in white, their entrance was welcomed with nothing short of loud cheer from the guests. Then, they did a short run like a celebrity greeting their lined-up fans.

It something that you need to see live to experience.

CAKE-CUTTING & TOASTS

After that, both Alex & Brenda went to the stage to do cake cutting. Cake cutting was relatively straight-forward, but champagne pop is not. It actually was not working well, but that’s part of the fun. 

Then, once all family members are on stage, it is time for toasts. Broderick shared a bit of story about his first encounter with Brenda, which is quite embarrassing for him, but those little moment makes life more beautiful. Then, he lead the toasts starting with Oooo Haaa (in Iban way), Tara Tara Tara (Bidayuh way) and Yam Seng (Chinese style).

THANK YOU SPEECH & FIRST DANCE

During this time, Alex took the opportunity to thank everyone for coming and make that night happening. Following that, they had their first dance, which was accompanied by Concerning Hobbits music. 

BRIDESMAID PERFORMANCE

The bridesmaid also prepared something for Brenda & Alex, which is a modern dance performance.

After that, it is time for them to prepare for the next part, which Tuak Presentation. But first, since they are some time to kill, it is time for emcee to take action. Some emcee will do magic tricks etc, or doing stand-up comedy. As for me, I stick to singing. 

BIAR BEKIKIS BULU BETIS & WONDEFUL TONIGHT

To continue the joget-joget momentum, I sung Sarawak’s Number 1 song, Biar Bekikis Bulu Betis, a song about a guy who is willing to do anything to win a woman. I am quite pleased to see that there is a number of people dancing to this, not only in front of the stage, but at the left & right corner of the ballroom as well.

After that, I continued with a slow dance song, Wonderful Tonight. This is the song that I usually sang for couple’s first dance, just like during Charlist & Lorita’s wedding at Serian.

SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED

Once the Double-O Seven agents of Miri is ready, I commence their mission briefing. Both Yuzer & Broderick became the gatekeeper. Greenlight’s alight, then they enter, in style.

Marching to the stage, they made their way up and presents to the crowd that it is time for tuak to be sadong’ed. 

With the proclamation from Mr Emcee, yours truly, Let The Hoo Haa Begin, each of them went to their respective station. 

VIOLIN PERFORMANCE

As the alcoholic fire is being spread by those 007s, Mr James Chung takes the stage once again with his beautiful violin performance. I took this time to have my meal. Been standing the whole evening as I have to be on alert. Our Big Babeh of Bara Bidayuh Miri, Mr Simon Ilus warmedly welcomed me to their table, along with Mr Madang & Mr Bansa.

It was during this time the ambient starts to change as more and more people are fully-charged.

SPECIAL BAND PERFORMANCE

To kick start this, Mr Stevenson of Cap Apek fame took the stage. He really has a lot of performance, but he didn’t sing his hit song, Cap Apek. Anyway, we are really entertained by them. Mr Peter also sang a song, followed by Mr Morris with the song, Bekikis Bulu Betis.

Finally, once they have done, Acoustic Symphony took the stage once again until 1030pm. 

OPEN ENTERTAINMENT & KARAOKE

During this time, it is time for me to call upon the names of registered Karaoke singers. But when there are special requests from bride or groom, it will be prioritised, including Mr Sonny, Mr Madang and Mr Simon. 

At 11pm, but Kennedy and I took the stage with one last song – Kampung Love (though there was no picture, too bad). Both of us were sporting sunglasses to protect our eyes from the never-ending flashing strobes (baka retis).

THE END OF THE EVENT

At 1102pm, as the emcee, I thanked everyone for coming and closed it properly. Also I’ve announced about the second part of the event at Ming Cafe, where those who came are invited. But a lot of people stayed on at the hall until 1150pm just to chit-chat and take some pictures with one another. I also managed to catch-up with Mr Anyi of PETROS, exchanging stories from the industry.

I also asked Max, how was it? He said it was fun, and it is totally different from how an English wedding is. Dayak wedding tends to be longer, especially if it is done at longhouses. For Bidayuh Pichin, it is until our customary 6.30 am (Nam Stengah, kuan Mr Kimpa). 

EPILOGUE

For me, this is the one of the best event tha I have emceed this year, something that I will treasure in my heart. I also would like to thank Brenda, Alex & family, Mr Morris & Mdm Josephine for putting their trust in me to run the event.  I sincerely hope it is a good experience for all of you. 

May God bless the two of you, Brenda & Alex. 

Your Rockstar Emcee / Tukang Rantek,
Claudius

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