A dinner prayer may be part of your wedding reception at the beginning of the meal. If not delivered by a cleric, you may need to deliver it yourself or find someone to do the honors. It helps to have a few examples for guidance.
Sample Dinner Prayers for Wedding Receptions
Wedding prayers all vary depending on the faith tradition of the married couple. Having some dinner prayer examples will help you prepare if you've been selected to pray at this event. Modify them to work as wedding rehearsal dinner prayers if needed.
A Christian Wedding Reception Prayer
Dear Lord, we gather in this place in a spirit of celebration and gratitude. Thank you for the blessing of bringing (name) and (name) together in marriage today. We ask you to bless their marriage, their family, and all of their relationships. Help them stay strong in any adversity, and to treasure and protect the joy of marriage. May we, as their family and friends, commit to uphold and encourage them to the best of our ability. Please bless this food we are about to receive, and let this reception be an honor to You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
A Jewish Wedding Reception Prayer
We praise you, eternal God, who brings forth bread from the earth. Blessed are You, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who have given us your commandments so that we may live in a way that pleases you. Bless this married couple, (name) and (name), and may their life together reflect your glory. May their home be full of joy and gladness, and may their union be blessed with much fruit. May (name) and (name) always find favor in Your eyes and in the eyes of those around them. May they enjoy and expand the community they belong to. May peace reign in their home, and contentment and happiness be a mark of their lives from this day forward. Amen.
A General Faith Wedding Reception Prayer
Thank you, Creator, for bringing (name) and (name) together in such a happy way. We ask the Universe to bless this couple and their future together. May happiness and joy be a hallmark of their relationship. As they explore their love for each other, establish a home, and build a life together, may they be strengthened by the love and encouragement of those gathered here today. If times get hard, may they remember the commitment they made today and the joy that brought them together. Help them to learn from one another and grow strong as both individuals and a couple. May the food we eat now bring strength to us, and may we all enjoy this time of celebration and friendship. Amen.
Elements in a Dinner Prayer
If you have been asked to give the dinner prayer at the reception and you're nervous, consider writing it down before that night. Unrehearsed nervous speeches tend to sound off-the-cuff and be riddled with "um," "oh," and other fillers as you try to think of the right things to say. Being prepared will make you look polished and honor the newlywed couple.
Writing a dinner prayer can be hard, even for the most eloquent of speakers. Keep in mind that unlike wedding speeches, the dinner prayer is brief and focused on the faith of the wedded couple. Elements to include in the prayer:
- Asking God (or other deity for the couple's particular faith) to bless the couple in their marriage
- Blessing the friends, family, and guests attending the wedding.
- Thanking God for the food which everyone is going to eat
- Praising God
Consider composing the prayer a week or two before the wedding. If you're especially nervous, ask close friends and family to read the prayer, listen to you practice, and offer constructive criticism. Use index cards with an outline of key points in the prayer if you have difficulty memorizing what you have written.
Who Gives the Prayer
Who gives the prayer is really up to the couple. Often the clergy who performed the ceremony gives the dinner prayer. If you want to have your priest or clergyman give the blessing before the dinner, be sure to mention this in planning sessions before the wedding date.
People to Ask
Though it is customary for the couple to ask the pastor to give the wedding prayer, by no means is it the only option. Asking someone important you, such as the father of the bride, mother of the groom, or a beloved relative is also appropriate. Be prepared that the person you ask may not feel comfortable with public speaking, so do not be offended if she/he turns you down.
Who Not to Ask
Certain people may not be suited to giving the wedding speech. If you are having a very religious ceremony of Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, or other denominational faith, asking someone of a different religion to give the dinner prayer at wedding reception meals could make him/her ill at ease. Additionally, many children and teens will not feel relaxed in a situation such as this. Instead, find other ways to include the special people in your life in your wedding, such as asking them to help with the guest book, distribute the programs, or take snapshots.
The Honor of the Banquet Prayer
Giving a dinner prayer at wedding reception meals is a solemn yet simultaneously joyous task. Guests asked to participate in this way should feel honored by the bride and groom, and should do their best to return that honor with an appropriate prayer. Don't feel like you have to pray for a long time, simply say a few words of blessing in the faith tradition of the couple.