Making Toasts

By Jill Bremer, AICI CIP

Toasts are not a part of our everyday life, but it’s important to know how to make a proper one when the occasion does present itself. Most often given at weddings, toasts are appropriate any time good friends get together socially.

In general, there are two points during a meal when a toast can be offered; both should be initiated by the host. The first toast is offered before eating and serves to welcome the guests. “I’d like to welcome all of you to the banquet today. Bon appetit!” A toast to the guest of honor is made after the dessert course when the wine glasses have been refilled or the champagne has been served. This toast is more like a short speech (1-2 minutes) that needs to be prepared and rehearsed ahead of time. It should be light, warm and humorous in tone and include personal anecdotes and words of admiration for the honored guest. Conclude by quoting a short, formal toast (see samples below).

Be sure that you don’t jump in with a toast before the host has an opportunity to offer one himself. If it looks like the host is not going to give a toast, approach him quietly and ask permission to offer one yourself. When there is no guest of honor at an event, a toast can be made to the host by one of the guests.

Toasting Techniques:

  • To get the group’s attention, never bang on a glass; simply stand, holding your glass in the air. (Toasts should be offered standing, unless at a private, small affair or in a public restaurant.)
  • The person being toasted remains seated.
  • Don’t hold your glass in the air during your toast. Set it down after you get their attention, make your toast, then raise your glass and ask the others to raise theirs for your formal, final words. You can also ask the group to stand for the final words.
  • Guests respond by taking a sip of their drink, not draining the glass. For those not drinking alcohol, toasting with water or a soft drink is acceptable. The person being toasted does not drink.
  • The guest of honor often returns the toast, thanking the host for their kind words and then proposing a toast of their own to the host.

What follows are a few of my favorite traditional toasts, suitable for your final words.

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine warm on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

May you both live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

May your glasses be ever full.
May the roof over your heads be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour
before the devil knows you’re dead.

May your troubles be less
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.

May your neighbors respect you,
trouble neglect you,
angels protect you,
and heaven accept you!

May all your joys be pure joys,
and all your pain champagne.

May misfortune follow you the rest of your life,
but never catch up.

Happiness being a dessert so sweet
May life give you more than you can ever eat.

© 2016 Jill Bremer All Rights Reserved