Wedding Toastmaster Duties
The following short video is of Richard Birtchnell, the London Toastmaster, explaining the wedding toastmasters duties.
The following short video is of Richard Birtchnell, the London Toastmaster, explaining the wedding toastmasters duties.
An interesting and privileged assignment this week – acting as Toastmaster for the Inter-Parliamentary Union which traditionally hosts a reception at the Houses of Parliament for, among other dignitaries, Ambassadors and High Commissioners after attending the State Opening formalities. My task was to announce these distinguished guests to the hosts. Although most of them have difficult to pronounce names, I am spared risk and embarrassment because correct protocol dictates that Ambassadors are referred to by their countries – as in, for example, “His Excellency The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany”. Incidentally, for anoraks among you, an Ambassador is ‘of’ the country and a High Commissioner is ‘for’ the country, as in “Her Excellency The High Commissioner for the Maldives”. In the picture I am with Jill Pay, the first woman to be appointed Serjeant-at-Arms, a position that dates back to 1415. She is responsible for security at the House of Commons and ceremonially carries the mace during the opening of Parliament and each day processes with it ahead of the Speaker into the chamber.
About the Author: Richard Birtchnell,?the?london toastmaster ?who covers? all types of events, from the State Opening of Parliament to weddings,?all over London and beyond. If you want your event to run smoothly, on time and with a bit of pizazz, why not contact Richard now?to check his availability.
I was Toastmaster at the 50th birthday party of Amanda Eliasch held at the recently decommissioned St Mark’s Church in North Audley Street, now renamed No.1 Mayfair. It is a rather special party venue, mainly because the 150 year old internal d?cor, stained-glass windows and structure of the gothic Grade 1 building are intact and you really feel as if you are in church, which feels bizarre. The guests danced at the altar, the DJ’s rig was in the organ space, my announcements were from the pulpit. There was top musical talent and a burlesque show. One entertaining distraction available to guests during the evening was an unusual PHOTOBOOTH run by Jon-X and Rita Dobo. With their fertile imagination, in the past two years they built haunted castles, 16th century boudoirs, Japanese gardens, magical forests, and desert islands. Partygoers have survived airplane crashes, hitchhiked a Harley, fought tigers & posed with pumas or had their teeth pulled out at a dentist surgery! They use no green screen technology or other usual gimmicks, instead they build tailor-made 3D photo booths. There are no digital effects or post-production involved and the sets give a huge, real life, visual impact. The “models” are the attending guests who play, pose and act within the sets. For more information, go to www.bigbigday.com
About the Author: Richard Birtchnell, a?london toastmaster ?who covers events all over London and beyond. If you want your event to run smoothly, on time and with a bit of pizazz, why not contact Richard now?to check his availability.
I was recently captain of a team of Toastmasters invited to challenge the highly-regarded ‘Eggheads’ who appear nightly on BBC2. For those who are unfamiliar with the format, the ‘Eggheads’ are a team of Britain’s most successful quiz and game show champions and in each episode a different challenging team attempts to beat them through a series of rounds for a cash prize. As our particular show is not to be broadcast until Autumn 2010, I am not at liberty reveal the outcome until after transmission.
Anyone may create a challenging team. Application forms are available from the BBC. If satisfactory at this stage, there follows an audition which involves mental and presentational skills and if through, the team is taken to Glasgow where the programme is filmed and although a little scary it was great fun to participate.
In the photograph the Eggheads are standing left to right: CJ, Chris, Barry, Daphne, Kevin and show host Jeremy Vine and seated, looking very smart I am sure you will agree, are my Toastmasters team left to right: Mike Jacobs (standby), Richard Birtchnell, Neil Hunt, Ian Low, Tony Forward and Roger Galton-Davies.
The Wedding Ideas Awards are the UK’s only wedding industry awards voted for by real brides and on 22nd January 2010 ?the winners were announced at a ceremony and celebratory lunch held at the Andaz Hotel, Liverpool Street. Guest presenter was TV personality Jenni Falconer and I had the honour of being the Toastmaster/MC. During the afternoon guests were delighted with a cabaret performed by ‘Incognito’ who were truly wonderful. The three singers pose as guests, then develop an excuse to get up and sing classical arias, to everybody’s surprise. I have seen many surprise tenors and divas acts, but these were the best and I highly recommend them – check out their website at www.incognitoartists.com and for further information about Wedding Ideas and how to get your copy, go to www.weddingideasmag.com or better still, pop into your newsagent!
The London Wedding Toastmaster at Gibson Hall, London
Here are a?couple of?photos of me as the wedding toastmaster?at a wedding at Gibson Hall, London. A special thank you goes to Graham Lacdao for supplying the photographs.
The Main Hall is a spectacular setting for a wedding celebrations. An idyllic romantic venue for weddings of all sizes,?the courtyard garden is ideal for a drink reception.
When we talk of the ‘City’ of London, we are referring to the ‘Square Mile’ representing mainly the international financial district, which since Norman times was the capital’s hub of craft and commercial activity. The City is a democratic self-governing entity with its own Lord Mayor and rich in tradition, history and what may be thought of as quaint ceremonial customs.
One such is that the City of London Toastmaster does not wear his red tailcoat, instead he wears a black one. It is said the reason for this is that by tradition, a foxhunt may not pass through the City’s streets and as the Toastmaster’s red coat is reminiscent of mounted foxhunters, it is preferred that he maintains a less ostentatious profile. However, this policy creates a problem of identity. A Toastmaster’s work in the City is inevitably at Mansion House (home of the Lord Mayor) or the Guildhall or one of the 40 Livery Halls where formal banquets are held, often with members of the Royal Family, Government and Heads of State present. Frequently guests at such functions will wear white tie and black tails, just like the Toastmaster, who no longer will be identifiable by his red jacket. An elegant solution was devised whereby the Toastmaster would wear a red and white sash over his right shoulder, representing the colours of the City’s crest. This way, he stands out, even if on occasion he gets mistaken for the Polish Ambassador!
Acting as a City Toastmaster requires a higher degree of knowledge and protocol than for example, in the ‘West End’ and there are many subtle differences in procedure. For example, outside the City when introducing a guest speaker with a post-nominal (eg OBE) the Toastmaster would say “Pray silence for John Smith, an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” but within the City the Toastmaster simply says “Pray silence for John Smith”. Another example would be how the Loyal Toast (“The Queen!”) is introduced. Outside the City the Toastmaster would gavel for attention and say: “Would you all please stand.. and.. pray silence for the Chairman who will now propose the Loyal Toast”. In the City, when we get to this point in the meal (before the coffee is served) the Toastmaster simply taps his gavel three times, does not speak at all and the host will rise and pronounce: “The Queen!” then all guests rise and repeat the exclamation.
About the Author: Richard Birtchnell is not only a Master of Ceremonies,?but he is also a City of London Toastmaster. If you want to make your?event one to run smoothly and on time, then why not contact Richard to check his availability.
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Richard Birtchnell is Beadle to two Livery Companies: The Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights and The Worshipful Company of Masons. Many people do not know what a Beadle does, or how the position originated, so here is the explanation. Beadle, sometimes spelled “bedel” is derived from the Latin “bidellus” or “bedellus”, rooted in words for “herald.” He was originally an official of the Roman Temple. The word Beadle has also been used to describe early policemen and church or parish wardens.
The Livery Companies, as they evolved many hundreds of years ago, needed a point of contact between the Master, Wardens, and Court of Assistants and the Livery in general. They therefore appointed (and paid for) a Beadle, who took care of the Company’s meeting place (‘Hall’), called the Court members and/or Livery together on behalf of the Master, and enforced any disciplinary measures decided by the Court.
The Beadle would also find suitable apprentices, and would organise the social and ceremonial functions. He was, in summary, a policeman, an almoner, a friend, social worker and communicator.
Whilst the Livery all lived and worked within the Square Mile, the Beadle was able to summon them personally, but, as people became dispersed, there grew a need for someone who could write and so use the new postal services to summon the Court. The humble Clerk then began his rise in importance to his position today as the chief executive of the Company. The office of Beadle, meanwhile, has become a ceremonial function.
The Beadle in most Companies retains his stewardship of the Company’s property, including in many cases, the fabric of buildings owned by a Company. The Beadle advises on matters of protocol, and acts in collaboration with the Clerk, to ensure all Livery functions take place smoothly and with due decorum; that the required regalia and treasure is produced, in place, and returned to the vaults after a function. He will attend the Master and Wardens on all proper occasions, to ensure that they are properly gowned and badged, and to assist the company by acting as Toastmaster at all its functions.
He would be issued with a Staff of Office, often wrongly called a ‘mace’, with which to protect the Master and enforce discipline. The Staff is usually a tall one so that it could be used as a rallying point at Common Hall etc. when the Livery was summoned to “Attend upon the Master”. The Wheelwrights’ staff which appears in the photos was made in London by John Carter in 1774 and bears the Company’s Coat of Arms and motto.
You can find out more about the work of Beadles by visiting the website www.thebeadlesoflondon.com
About the Author: Richard Birtchnell is not only a Beadle to two Livery Conpanies, he is als0 a?Toastmaster in London. If you want to make your?event one to run smoothly and on time, then why not contact Richard to check his availability.
A Toastmaster’s life is not all about pomp, ceremony and formal announcements. Sometimes we need to introduce fun elements to the programme and here are two examples of recent experiences. From ‘Britain’s Got Talent‘ we have finalists Julia Naidenko, the mesmerising Latvian belly dancer who was engaged to entertain at a Kurdish wedding where I was the Toastmaster and the hilarious Stavros Flatley and his son who were performing at a charity Ball where I was the Master of Ceremonies. Despite neither act winning the talent contest, both are much in demand at celebrations, parties, weddings and Balls. Of course, I just had to have my picture taken with them.