There is no doubt that a well delivered speech, toast or prayer can elevate the energy in a room. I’ve been the emcee / dj at over 1000 weddings and I know that a well done prayer, toast or blessing can really start things off in the right direction. With just a little help from google you can find a great irish toast, blessing speech or prayer but what you won’t find though is input from a guy like myself that has been to so many celebratory events – both family and corporate. As a dj and emcee I have had the privilege of seeing some amazing speeches and toasts. Some were total 10′s and some made you want to stuff your head under a blanket and cry for the bride and groom.
What I’d like to do first is provide a few distinctions because I find people looking to do something creative for their friend or family member often are unsure WHAT they are doing to begin with.
1) Prayer — according to Wikipedia – Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a god or spirit through deliberate practice.
TO ME As a Wedding Professional — I’d agree. It’s something you do on behalf of the couple in hopes of making their life better. It’s an appeal to a higher power in hopes that you’ll get them (and you and the family in the r00m) something good. Click here for more “Great Irish Prayers”
2) Blessing — according to Wikipedia – A blessing, (also used to refer to bestowing of such) is the infusion of something with holiness, divine will, or one’s hope or approval. Click here for more “Great Irish Blessings”
3) Toast – it’s a well wishing to an individual, a couple or even a group that usually ends in raising a glass when one proposes a toast. A best man or maid of honor often propose a toast at the end of their speech. Note though that they are two different “things”. A toast would generally be shorter and end something like this — “At this point I’d ask that everyone please raise your glass and join me in a toast to John & Katie… May the road rise up… (or whatever)” Click here for more “Great Wedding Toasts Tips”
4) Speech – in the context of weddings and special occasions is when a person (usually a close friend or family member) shares stories and memories and thoughts and words of wisdom and hopes for a bride and groom. Often this person is the Matron or Maid of Honor and/or the Best Man. It of course can be anyone in the room as well including the Father/s and or Mother/s of the bride and groom. Click here for more – “Great Wedding Speeches”
5) Greeting or Welcome Speech - this is usually done by the Father of the Bride but can also be done by anyone close to the bride and groom. It works best however when the person giving it is hosting the reception (paying for it). Welcome speeches can also be comfortably delivered by the bride and/or groom. One trick that makes a welcome speech easy is to start it off with “Welcome”. Everything flows very naturally from there. Delivering a good welcome speech (or as I prefer to call them when emceeing “A Greeting”) starts with literally “I’d like to welcome everyone here tonight” usually this is followed by we’ve got friends and family from as far away as __________ . And friends and family in from Florida, Germany, Iowa (mention the places that they are from). I find this interests people because it’s just fun trivia to know where people are from… a good welcome speech let’s you know who you are in the company “of”. Beyond that I think it’s hard not to share a word or two about your daughter or son and their new spouse. It is entirely fitting to do so at this occasion to the extent that you are comfortable. I find sharing a short story about the new couple or one about each of them (maybe when you first met your son in law or daughter in law). Stories pull people in right away. Stories are a great way to bond with a room quickly. Also, one difficult thing to do is end a welcome speech or greeting. I call it punctuating a moment, or wrapping it up. Raising a glass in a toast works well and so does ending with a short blessing though not a prayer as that will come after generally. Or even say in closing I’d like to end with a quote… “It is better to have…” or a famous movie line or song lyric everyone can relate to. For more great info on delivering a super toast or welcome speech check out this link.