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The Art of the Toast

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  • The Art of the Toast

    the-art-of-the-toast-etiquette.jpgToasting to success in business, love, happiness, wealth, good health, and a variety of other well wishes has been a part of most cultures throughout the history of the world. It was once an honorable act that, over the years, in most cases, has been reduced to a glass dinging, drunken embarrassment. After banging on a glass, the host often proceeds to take some cheap shots at the person that is supposed to be honored by the gesture. After that, one or two jokes are told and then the statement follows, "But seriously......." and then ends with another jab at the guest of honor.


    So what is the proper etiquette for making a toast?

    Traditionally, the man that is hosting the party or event is the one that should make the toast. None of the other guests should make a "preemptive toast strike", but rather allow the host to initiate the first toast. The toast can take place at the beginning of the meal welcoming the guest that is being toasted. However, it can also be done in the middle of the meal. The person being toasted should have been seated ahead of time to the right of the host.

    Do's and don'ts for making a toast:

    Do's: The number one rule of toasting is to make sure the glasses are filled! They do not necessarily have to be filled with an alcoholic beverage like wine or champagne. Nonalcoholic drinkers can toast with water, juice, or other beverages. Just be sure the glasses are filled with something. The host should get the group's attention by standing, raising his glass, and verbally announcing, "May I have your attention, please?" This can be said over and over again until the host has the crowd's complete attention. The words delivered for the toast should be kept to a minimum and should be uplifting and respectful to the person being toasted, as well as to all the guests that are present. Praise, a reminiscent story about the guest, and kind, personal remarks are all acceptable verbiage for toasting. If possible, with proper pronunciation, toast the guest in his native tongue.

    An acceptable toast may be, "We want to give a warm welcome to Thomas, a good friend, a wonderful family man, and an asset to the community in so many ways. To Thomas." (raise your glass).

    Another one might be, "I am so pleased you could all join us tonight to welcome my good friend, Raymond, who has come all this way from California to spend Christmas with us."

    Don'ts: Please do not bang on your glass to get the attention of the people attending the event. Make sure that you are not long-winded, and that you speak loudly and clearly enough for everyone to hear you. Do not tell embarrassing stories about the guest, or anyone, for that matter. Don't take jabs at, insult, or make fun of the person you are toasting. Also, make sure that you are not inebriated to a point that makes you or the guest look foolish. Do not end the toast with any tacky clichés such as "bottoms up", "here's mud in your eye" or "down the hatch". Definitely not, "Over the lips, through the gums, watch out stomach, here it comes". Never, ever, toast yourself!

    If you are the recipient of the toast, you should remain seated, smile with gratitude, and you should not drink to yourself. Once the toast is finished, you should thank everyone, and, if you choose to do so, you may stand, raise your glass, and propose a return toast to the host. You may also toast anyone else in attendance, if you so desire.
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