Tabi basa & greetings everyone. In this post, I’d like to share a story about my emcee job for Cornelius & Chriselda’s Wedding & Anniversary that took place at Mega Hotel.
WHAT DOES AN EMCEE DO ACTUALLY?
When I was little, I often wonder, what does an emcee do? You often see them with mic at hand, behind the rostrum (the platform where mic is placed) or sometimes moving around. They will call the names of the presenter, tells the audience what is happening, is going to happen and announce the start or ending of an event.
So what is their main task again?
EMCEE’S MAIN TASK
In my favourite word: an emcee actually directs the flow and energy of an event.
A hall of full of people is full of energy, though it is latent (dormant) most of the time. A good emcee will be able to channel these abundant energy to create a desirable effect. For example, to make the crowd cheers when the VIP or the bride and groom enters the hall.
Yes, you might say, even without the emcee, the crowd will cheer automatically. That is true – but a good emcee will amplify the energy.
No matter how good your event preparation is, ultimately, the emcee will make or break the event.
As an emcee, it is my task to make whatever event that I emceed is memorable. I like it too, especially informal / casual event because I can inject as much creativity as I can, even including some impromptu segment that will make the crowd excited. For example – you-may-kiss-the-bride segment. (nyamah nyecep kirumboi).
BEFORE THE EVENT
Being both freelance photographer and emcee, preparation before the event is crucial. Having experienced both, planning is a must. But emcee job is more planning intensive than photographer. If I were to draw a graph, the emcee job peaks during execution, but that’s where it ends. Meanwhile, for photographer, that is where the job begins. A lot of time of photographer is spent behind the scene, while emcee spends most of the time at the scene.
Overcoming stage fright is a must for emcee. But you can work on it as you go along.
Before the event, I would discuss with the couple, how would their program would be like. If they don’t have any program in mind, I will share my proposed event draft. They will adjust according to their liking.
Rehearsal is important, because that is where we will know what might go wrong. Ideally, rehearsal should be joined by all parties that is involved to ensure things are going well as expected. This much more important when you are doing a formal event. In this time, as an emcee, I would test my scripts.
But in an informal event without any VIP, I will usually use a lot of creative elements as long as it follows the main agenda. I won’t even bother to prepare a script. That’s why I like to do fun events such as parties or weddings. The only time I will look at the script is to look at the list of singers to be called. There can be a lot of singers.
For Cornelius & Chriselda’s event, we did a simple rehearsal to capture the essence of the event. That would suffice.
Before event starts, I grab an early dinner because I know I won’t have time to sit down and relax the moment event starts. For events at Mega Hotel, I would eat at Chatterbox Coffee House. Unlike its name, that place is quiet. A good place for me to eat in silence and do visualisation of how the event is like later. I enjoy solitude. Solitude can be additive, though.
After that, I went up to the fourth floor. Inside that elevator, one of the eventgoer told his son, that’s a Bidayuh costume. Turns out, the guy is also from Serian, just like me. For Bidayuh events, I would always use our traditional costume. For Iban events, a Baju Burung vest would be sufficient, and for Orang Ulu events, a beaded vest would be sufficient, and lavung tepo’ if there is any (without any feathers). Those feathers are reserved for those of social standing. E.g. a maren, three feathers; headman, four feathers; penghulu, five feathers; Pemancha, seven fathers and Temenggong, eight feathers.
Anyway, back to the hall, I was greeted by both parents. Cornelius’ mom asked me, where did I make that costume? I told her, at my village. The hall was quite full at that time. But the key personnel haven’t arrive.
So we wait and wait. At 7.30pm, unable to wait any longer, after consulting both Cornelius & his parents, we just start with the event.
First and foremost, we started the event with a Safety Briefing by Mega Hotel, Mr Damit.
As usual, I do my best to rile the crowd before announcing the entrance of both parents and both couples. The first costume was inspired by Pua kumbu mixed with Bidayuh costume (black costume with red & yellow lines at the end of clothing).
After that, it was time for Ngajat Ngalu Temuai, which was performed by Felicia & Lydia.
A wedding celebration is not complete without blessing from the God Almighty. That’s where Pastor Leonard led us in prayer. After the blessing, it was time for Food Presentation by Mega Hotel, a modern joget music-inspired performance.
During dinner time, since everyone is eating, I took the stage and sung few songs: Can’t Help Falling In Love, Perfect and Thank You For Loving Me.
Since both parents are not ready for their speeches, I went around the hall to look for singers. Initially, Desmond Chen and Arisha was suggested, but they said they “are still hungry and need to eat, so I look for the others. Finally, there is a representative from Groom’s side, from Sabah, Elnie who sings a song by Faith Hill – There You Will Be.
After that, it is time for Mr Robert & Mr Hock Pin, groom & bride’s father respectively, to give their speech. It was a simple but meaningful speech – thank you for coming.
Cake Cutting Ceremony is happening next, followed by Champagne popping. Champagne popping is always fun, and challenging. But lucky for Cornelius, both champagne pops in a huge burst of energy. That means a lot.
After that is the wedding toast. First one was, tara tara tara (Bidayuh), followed by Ooo Haa (Iban) and lastly, Yam Seng! (Chinese).
Gift exchange also was carried out between parents of both family. It was started with groom’s side, giving beautiful gifts to the bride’s side. Then, bride’s side took their turn.
Then it was time for the second session of karaoke. Uncle Wilson sung a song, Better Man by Robbie Williams, followed by the Amazing Grace with her song, Kau Ilhamku. I called Desmond Chan and Arisha, but still no response.
There was a surprise segment where Chriselda’s grandma have a gift to both Chriselda and baby Cherys. This is one of the custom of Iban peoples. These golden gift will be part of their heirloom in the future, something to be passed one from generation to generation.
With that, we continue on with Karaoke session until it’s time for Cornelius and Chriselda’s second entrance, this time with a louder band, just like Mr Worldwide, but better. Glow sticks are being shaken around. Discolights went wild and spotlight went crazy.
Cornelius’ friends continues to give him shot, after shot until his complexion matches his desire to have fun during that night.
Both of them went to the stage and proceed with thank you speech. After thank you speech, they dances to the tune by Brad Paisley, She’s Everything. To make it more fun, Cornelius sung the song live, while slow-dancing.
Then came the surprise segment, it’s time to kiss the bride. The photographer of the night, Jeff Manja & Patrick didn’t waste any time and shoot the surprise slot. The crowd was also taking pics like paparazzi too.
After that it’s time for group photo. With parents, immediate family and groom / bride’s side. The last slot was between everyone else in the hall.
Finally, it is time for open entertainment and karaoke session. There were a few back-and-forth discussion regarding the ending of the event, but in the end, we stopped at 12am. At 11pm, everyone was still excited. Stopping it that time would be like stopping a fast-moving train. So, the just continue on.
In my list also there was a lot of singers, waiting for their turn to be sung. In one of the song, Mr Hock Pin also led a conga line all around the hall during the song Original Sabahan by Kenny.
At the end, there was also a must-sing song for me, It’s My Life, which Chriselda said, It’s Mom Life. She finally realised where did she kept her phone.
Notable songs that were sung that night includes Kampung Love (Donald), Bujang Sebuyau, Singkong & Keju, Poco-Poco (Grace & backup artist, Priscilla), Bujang Apai Urang (Mami Luta), Aram Begawai (Michael), Bujang Semanggang (Jac), No Vacancy (Sandy), Angka Satu (Babeh Wilson), Ncelak Jari Tua (Malcolm), Bujang Runggu Ensing (Chris), Sayau Labuan (Bernard & Desmond), Mr Sanuh (Babeh Rapas) and Kampung Love (again).
I hope that night was a night to be remembered by those who came. If there was any mistakes or mis-spoken words etc, I would like to apologise but none of was intentional. All I want was to make the night a happening night and a night to be remembered. Thank you also to Cornelius and Chriselda for giving me the honour to be your emcee that evening. Until next time, stay safe & take care.