At any special occasion, a toast is an appropriate gesture to offer at a formal or informal meal, an engagement party, wedding reception, a way to say thank you, to acknowledge an anniversary, a new job, a promotion or a graduation… to name a few reasons. No matter the reason, when you have the responsibility, it is important that you always project, a warm personality, great communication skills including eye contact and confidence!
Toasting adds a touch of savvy and festive ambiance to any occasion or celebration if it is done correctly. There a few basic guidelines that you need to be familiar with whether you are the one proposing the toast, you are the recipient of the toast, or a guest at the occasion. Traditionally, men have been the toastmasters but, in today’s society, women are equal to the task.
Some Basic Guidelines:
Remember that the best toasts are tasteful, brief, humorous and audible to everyone.
At a large gathering, you should always stand up and raise your glass high or clear your throat to get the attention of everyone.
If hosting a dinner at home or at a restaurant, tradition requires you to offer a welcome toast to your guests.
Toasts, in general, can be offered when everyone arrives at the table or just before the dessert course is eaten. The champagne glasses are then set, filled, ready for the toast.
If you are the guest of honor or the recipient of the toast, you never stand or drink with the group, simply smile or nod as an indication of your gratitude for the thoughtful gesture.
The person toasted, if not the President of the U.S. or a high ranking official, usually returns the toast such as the groom at a wedding reception.
For a couple dining intimately, the man simply catches the eye of his companion, does not stand but raises his glass and proposes a toast, many times in French, to the lady. If you cannot recant a toast in a foreign, translate it to English so that you still are suave.
It is considered rude if you refuse to drink a toast to anyone.
If you do not or cannot drink, any liquid in a glass will suffice to use as a toast.
While it is wonderful to extemporize graciously at an occasion, in is unnerving for anyone new at the task. It is comforting to be acquainted with some traditional toasts you will be able to say with the ease of a seasoned raconteur such as:
"Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please, I’d like to propose this toast to the new dentist in our family..."
“May you live to be 100 years old with one extra year to repent” -- Author Unknown
“Cheers”; “¡Salud!”; "Proost"; "À votre Santé …"
Finally, when it comes to toasting, keep it lively, appropriate, short and remember... Whatever you do - just do it with class!”