The purpose of the wedding speech
The goal of every wedding speaker should be to entertain.
The original meaning of the wedding speech or toast is to wish the new couple health and good luck in their marriage. Guests are then invited by the speech maker to raise their glasses and to drink to the happy couple's health, wealth and happiness.
A round of entertaining speeches can go a long way to make a wedding memorable. This, therefore, is the purpose of the wedding speech, to entertain and amuse guests. The wedding speeches are usually the bridge between the formal wedding ceremony and the onset of the reception.
The wedding speech is usually seen as an opportunity for the speech maker to wish, on behalf of himself and his family, all happiness to the newly married couple. Wedding speeches can be sentimental, funny, and nostalgic - and sometimes the very best speeches are an amalgam of all three.
The wedding speech serves as a public thank you to parents who helped arrange the wedding, guests for their gifts, children who acted as flower girls or page boys and the speech time is often an ideal opportunity to bring the children right into the mix by presenting them with a small gift for all their hard work on the big day.
The clinking of glasses as the toast is being made stems from mediaeval times when to ring a bell signified that no evil spirits were present to influence the marriage. If the newlywed couple are religious it may be appropriate for a minister of their religion to make a speech which would, in all likelihood, include a pertinent extract from the Holy Book in question, and a special pre-nuptial blessing for the couple as they walk into their future together, as well as a blessing for those present.