How to Make a Toast

Making a toast

When you make a toast, you can turn a simple occasion into a festive, memorable event.

Toasting is a tradition of goodwill.  Words are spoken and a drink is taken as an expression of welcome, or in honor of a person, group or occasion.

Toasting is also important to have in your business skill set.  You may be in a situation where you want to welcome someone new to a company or group, welcome an important visitor, bid a colleague goodbye, or launch a new idea or announce a new service.

Whether social or business, most any occasion deserves a toast.

Who's on First?

The host of the gathering or event will give the first toast, usually at the beginning of the meal in the form of a welcome.  It would also be appropriate at this time to toast the guest of honor, although this is often done at the dessert course.

If the host doesn’t offer a toast, a guest may propose a toast saluting the hosts once the meal has begun.

And if the gathering is informal, and no particular person is hosting, anyone can make a toast, perhaps "To all of us!"

What Are You Celebrating?

What's not to celebrate?  Life is a special occasion!

You might toast in recognition of a new job, promotion, or opportunity.  Graduations, engagements, weddings, births, or a memorial toast for the dearly departed.

Toast a special guest or a VIP.  Toast someone you'd like to thank for a job well done.  This type of acknowledgement is always appreciated.

When to Make a Toast

The first toast is usually proposed as soon as the wine or other beverages have been served.  Sometimes the host decides to separate the welcoming remarks, and saves a spot midway during the dinner for a special toast to the guest of honor.

At the conclusion of the meal, before or after dessert, when champagne glasses have been placed at the table, the host has something special in mind.  Perhaps it is honoring the special guest, advancing a cause, or announcing something very special.

If no special glasses are set, the concluding toast can be made by any guest who wishes to honor another guest at the table.  But only after the host has taken the opportunity to make a toast.  Many times at a dinner, several toasts are offered for guests present.

The more people you include in your toast, the more happiness will be generated!  Bubbly drinks aren't necessary, but they certainly make the occasion fun.

How You Do It

Here’s to us that are here, to you that are there, and the rest of us everywhere.
     ~ Rudyard Kipling

  • The host proposes the toast by first standing, raising a glass, and asking for everyone’s attention.  In small, informal settings, standing is not required, but will always add an element of importance to the occasion.
  • When the word “toast” is mentioned, guests should reach and place their hands on their glasses.  The word is a signal.  Guests do not actually raise their glasses until the remarks have been made.
  • When the toaster is finished, guests pick up their glasses and extend their raised arms toward the person/people being addressed and all say, “Hear! Hear!” or “Cheers!” or “To ______!”
  • After the glasses are raised, everyone drinks.  (Of course, alcohol is not a requirement.)
  • It is important that everyone participates in the toast to its completion as a gesture of respect.  If your glass is empty, pick it up anyway.

When YOU are being toasted:

  • Smile!
  • Do not raise your glass or drink.  (It helps to keep your hands in your lap as a reminder.)
  • As soon as others have enjoyed drinking to you, there will be a moment when you can nod and say, “Thank you.” 
  • It is most often the case that the person being toasted should rise (or not, depending on the situation ) and offer a reciprocal toast.  You will raise your glass and briefly say a word of thanks.

And Remember . . .

  • Speak clearly, audibly, and look at those in attendance. 
  • Keep your remarks short, simple, and upbeat.
  • If you intend to be funny, refrain from being offensive and always end on a positive note.
  • The best toasts come from the heart!
  • Toasts are gifts!  Be appropriate and flattering.
  • Be happy and dignified as you receive a toast and enjoy your moment to be honored.
  • No need to clink glasses - they are breakable.  Toasts do not require clinks.

However, the most important thing to remember when you make a toast is to have fun!  Toasts are a celebration and should be accompanied by joy and laughter.

Here's to you!

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