For me as a wedding photographer I definitely recognise the important of a toastmaster at your wedding. They definitely keep the day on track and without them it often ends up that the photographer keeps the day on track. I recently meet up with Nigel Worsfold and asked him a few questions on his thoughts as a professional toastster.
A little information about Nigel…
I’m 61, married with three grown up children and seven grandchildren. I live in the Hampshire town of Aldershot, where I grew up and ran my business, which I did for 30 years until I retired in 2010.
When & why did you become a toastmaster?
I became a toastmaster about three years ago. I’d been to several social events where a toastmaster was on duty; some of whom I thought were doing a great job, and others not quite so. The toastmaster is there to help facilitate the smooth running of an event and to make all the right announcements at the right time. He or she is not part of the ‘entertainment’ of the evening. Personality is important of course, but the objective of the toastmaster’s service is certainly not to enhance his/her popularity, nor to eclipse any of the top table speakers. The toastmaster profession is unregulated. Sadly, anyone can purchase the uniform and call themselves a toastmaster. But they will not have had the exhaustive training I received from one of the most prestigious toastmaster academies in the UK. There I learned all the theoretical aspects of the profession, including Royal Protocol and Etiquette, which was vital earlier this year at a large charity event at Ascot Racecourse, where I had the honour to introduce HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex to speak at the podium.
What do you love about being a toastmaster?
Where do I begin? I love every aspect of the job; it seems to suit me perfectly. I relish working at some splendid and historic venues, and I love the fact that everyone is there for the happiest of purposes. I enjoy meeting my couples, their families and friends and I welcome the responsibility of helping to make their happy day…the day they have been planning for many months…go as smoothly as it possibly can.
What are some of your favourite venues?
Another tough question! I have been very fortunate to work in some beautiful surroundings, including castles, stately homes, museums and civic buildings. With apologies to a long list of other great venues, I would single out Rhinefield House in the New Forest, Wentworth Golf Club, the London Golf Club (near Brands Hatch in Kent), Windsor Guildhall, The Royal Berkshire Hotel, Loseley Park and Amberley Castle.
Why do you think it is important to have a toastmaster?
The presence of an experienced and qualified toastmaster adds a certain special ‘something’ to an event, but there’s also an important practical side too. The guests need to know where they have to be at what time, and the top table speakers often need a touch of guidance on making their speeches, which I’m happy to provide, of course. Compared with some other wedding suppliers, the fee of the toastmaster is usually very much on the modest side, and therefore represents a prudent outlay for such a considerable and tangible benefit.
How important to do think a professional photographer is on the wedding day?
It’s vital. No question. I’ve worked with a host of superb professional photographers and a handful of enthusiastic amateurs. As one might expect, the end results are worlds apart in quality. A good photographer will always have had a high level of contact and interaction with the clients before the big day. Exactly as I do with my pre-wedding meetings, this enables them to tailor their style and approach to suit the couples’ requirements and expectations.
What do you think of the future for toastmasters at weddings?
I think the future is extremely bright, and I look forward to continuing to maintain the high standards which have been established in my profession, and to continue to take my work seriously. To provide the best professional service I can, on the sound basis of my experience, training and my great love for the work I do. I think the future is extremely bright, and I look forward to continuing to maintain the high standards which have been established in my profession, and to continue to take my work seriously. To provide the best professional service I can, on the sound basis of my experience, training and my great love for the work I do.