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Toasting Etiquette and Tips

Aug 17, 2007
Here are a few pointers on the correct way to perform a toast:

The host of the party or event should always be the first one to start the toast. This person should also be the one to make sure that everyone's glass is full before the toast is performed. For a wedding toast, it is still very traditional for the best man to perform the toast. Many people tend to think that the disc jockey or band is responsible for the toast, but this has never been true.

When you give a toast, you should be standing. Make short, simple and sincere comments.

If there is a large group of people, it is not mandatory to clink your glasses when the toast is made. Instead, just raise your glass and take a sip. If it is a small group of people, you should always look the person in the eyes when you clink their glass. As you clink your glasses you can say something like "Cheers, Prost (German), Skoal", or whatever your nationality is.

Take some time to prepare yourself for the toast.

Keep it simple. It's best to just be yourself and talk as you would any other time. For a wedding an easy way to start off is by thanking the bride and groom for allowing everyone to be a part of their special day. A simple closing would be something like: to the bride and groom (raises glass) may they always be as happy as they are today.

Speak to "everyone" and not just a small group of people. Try to look at the entire group of people.

Speak loud enough so everyone can hear you.

If you are nervous about giving a toast, practicing your toast over and over will give you more confidence. If it helps, try practicing in front of a friend.

Jokes can be great as long as they are not inside jokes. Don't tell jokes that only a few people will understand.

Talk about something appropriate. Talking about how you have lost your girl chasing buddy isn't funny - especially to family members. Remember, this is not about you, it's about the bride and groom. Your toast could be on video for many years.

Use proper toasting etiquette. Sip instead of guzzling. If your toasting glasses are expensive crystal, clink gently.

Try to stay sober. It can get a little difficult if you are tipsy not to mention that you may be an embarrassment.

When you are finished, let everyone know that you are. Raise your glass and close your toast with something like, join me in congratulating the bride and groom, etc., or you can end it with the meaning of the word "to toast" in their heritage. For example, if it is a German wedding, you would say "Prost" as you raise your glass.

In the end, if you know you just won't feel comfortable giving a toast, then don't be afraid to decline. Let the bride and groom know ahead of time so they won't be expecting you to do something you are not ready to do.

After the toast, the recipient, if there is one, SHOULD NOT DRINK (this would be like patting yourself on your own back if you do). Instead, he or she should stand and respond with thanks or by offering another toast. During the toast, if the recipient is already sitting, there is no need to stand unless the recipient would like to return the toast.

Although traditional, alcohol is not necessary to perform the toast. Sparkling fruit juice, punch or even pop may be used. It is your choice.
About the Author
Evelyn Whitaker writes articles for German Toasting Glasses http://www.german-toasting-glasses.com which specializes in custom engraved wedding gifts from Germany.
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