Many couples and families consider a wedding to be a religious or spiritual event. The newly married couple, after all, has just made a commitment to one another before God. If your religion is part of your wedding ceremony, it makes sense to include it in your reception, as well. Saying a prayer before eating dinner at your wedding reception is a wonderful way to express gratitude and appreciation for the love shared between the new husband and wife.
Who Says the Prayer?
Several weeks before the wedding day, consider who will be saying the prayer before the reception dinner. Often, couples choose to have the minister or pastor who married them come to the reception and recite a prayer. This is an ideal choice, since the pastor will be comfortable and familiar with praying in front of others. If the pastor is not available to say a prayer at the reception, a family member or friend may do so. Having those close to the couple say the prayer is beneficial because such a prayer will contain personal and heartfelt comments.
Timing of the Prayer
Praying over the meal at a reception typically takes place after all of the wedding's guests have been seated. If you are the one saying the prayer, you may be notified at the event when it is time to speak; otherwise, discuss this timing with the bride and groom beforehand. The prayer should be short, but eloquent. Although much can be said about the newly married pair, and there is much to be thankful for, guests may not have the patience to sit through a long prayer.
Writing Your Own Prayer
An originally written prayer is very thoughtful and often holds great meaning to the couple. If you are asked to pray before dinner, include a few basics, as well as a few personal comments. For example, it is advisable to first thank God, or the couple's particular higher power, for the meal about to be shared. Thanks can be expressed for the couple's love for one another. You may want to ask for a blessing for them as they start their life together. Include a word of thanks for those attending the reception, and ask that they are blessed as well.
Praying in front of a large crowd can be difficult, even more so if you have to write the prayer yourself. If you can't think of what you want to write, consider using a traditional wedding prayer. These prayers are commonly used at weddings and receptions, and are appreciated for their beauty and kind words. Prayers are available for specific faiths, such as Catholic or Jewish. Many of these prayers are poem-like and eloquent. If the married couple is quirky and appreciates humour, some prayers give thanks to a higher power while telling a joke or providing a funny rhyme. These prayers, however, would best be avoided at a very strict religious wedding.