Offer a great toast to honor any occasion.
There are few traditions as sacred as that of the toast. What may have started as a libation offering to the gods became a tradition for honoring guests. Once upon a time, a host drank from the communal vessel to prove goodwill (and the absence of poison) before offering drink to a guest. Now we use the toast to formalize relationships and offer praise at the most elaborate of functions, but never underestimate or forget the power of the informal toast to convey that same honor and goodwill among friends and family gathered with much less formality.
Here are a few modern etiquette tips to help you toast like a pro:
How to Give a Modern Toast:
- Set the Stage: The contemporary toast may be offered by anyone for any purpose. A toast is a simple and gracious means of calling attention to shared gifts; whether it is thanking the cook for the meal, family members for attending, team members for hard work, or volunteers for effort. The venue can be a business lunch or a family gathering, but the elements of a simple informal toast remain the same and can be used to great effect.
- Fill Your Glass: While you might associate a toast with champagne, don’t be afraid to make each toast your own; fill your glasses with something as meaningful as what you plan to say. You can toast with with whatever you prefer to drink. It is the message you deliver, not the beverage you consume, that gives the toast true meaning.
- Get People’s Attention: Stand, raise a glass or hold a meaningful silence long enough to be noticed. Resist the urge to bang on glassware with silver or clear your throat repeatedly. Don’t forget the power of your words, they are magic. “Excuse me, could I have your attention for just a moment? I’d like to propose a toast…”
- Speak from the Heart: A successful toast is best kept simple. Be brief and speak from the heart. Keep the attention on the person being honored. Mention the honoree and the reason for the toast, then raise a glass and drink. It really is that simple.
- Cheers!: Formally, everyone stands for a toast. In today’s more casual, contemporary world, it is common to remain seated and toasts are not always ‘exchanged’ between the host and their guests. Anyone who feels so inspired may propose a toast and the idea will sometimes catch fire at a gathering. Think about all of the opportunities we have to share food and drink with others. There is usually someone present who deserves acknowledgement.