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Wedding Supplement: Guo Wen, Professional Wedding Emcee

Instead of haphazardly selecting chattier relatives to take on the challenging Master of Ceremony duties, Chinese families often hire a professional host who has a performance background and specialises in servicing wedding banquets. Guo Wen began emceeing weddings five years ago after completing a training program at drama school.

What is your favourite part of your job as a wedding emcee?

After the ceremony I always feel like a celebrity because all these people come up to thank me and ask me for my name card. It makes me feel appreciated, like I was an important part of their experience.

What’s the biggest misconception about your job?

People think it’s easy, but it’s not. Emcees attend school for a year to study acting, and this type of job requires a certain personality. We don’t just announce the bride and groom when they enter a room or introduce the next segment of the wedding; we are the entertainment. Emcees are expected to perform and deliver a great show that combines stand-up comedy, music and skits.

It sounds like a hard job. What makes it all worthwhile?

I love when the bride is made up and ready to meet her groom. She just looks so happy and beautiful! In that moment, I always feel like there’s a purpose to what I do. I’m here to make her day all the more special and memorable.

What’s the most challenging request you’ve ever received?

One customer wanted me to perform a Shanghai-style folk opera chronicling the romance between him and his wife. You can't just start singing in this style. I had to learn in just three months what takes professionals years to perfect. Shanghai style folk opera requires a different turning of the tongue and fairly intensive training. It was a very tough time, but I did it and they were happy. For the next month, every time I sang it came out sounding like Shanghai folk opera!

So if you’re singing and talking all the time, what happens when you get a sore throat?

You have to know how to take care of yourself and try to prevent that kind of thing from happening in the first place. I probably drink more water and tea than a normal person should, but it’s important that I don’t get sick. Cough drops are also never far from me!


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