My questions is about the etiquette of toasting. In a nutshell, I need tips on giving a toast. As a guest at a New Year’s Eve dinner party, how do I go about giving a toast?
–TB, Charleston, SC
Six top etiquette tips for toasting:
- Ahead of time practice what you wish to say. Even if it is as simple as “Let’s all raise our glasses to our hosts Marjorie and William!” Practice what you plan to say ahead of time. Do not ever read a toast.
- The host usually gives the welcoming toast. If he or she hasn’t made a toast by dessert, any guest can start the toasting by praising the hosts for such a delicious dinner.
- Rise to the occasion. When there are more than four guests at the table, stand with your glass in your hand and straighten out your arm toward the center of the table to ask your fellow guests to raise their glasses in toasting your hosts, Marjorie and William, for a splendid New Year’s Eve.
- Clinking of the glasses usually is not done when there are more than six guests at the table because the logistics don’t allow for clinking everyone’s glass without walking around the table.
- Make the toast all about the host(s) and not about yourself. You can say, “It is an honor for me to toast our hosts ….” The exception would be if you didn’t know most of the guests, only then would you say, “As William’s oldest brother, George, I would like to thank William and Marjorie for having me to stay over New Year’s and giving me the opportunity to meet all of you.”
- The best toasts are short and to the point, and no more than two minutes long. They should never be maudlin, even if there was a recent death in the family. Find the right toast to make all the guests smile. You’re not roasting the person, you’re toasting him. It goes without saying that you would never embarrass your host with tales about how naughty and wild he was in his youth, or about his former sweethearts.
A few quick simple toasts:
- May the best of this year be the worst of next.
- May it be the best year yet for you, and everything you do may prosper.
- Let’s drink to the maker of the feast, our friend and host. May his generous heart, like his good wine, only grow mellower with the years.
- May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out. -an old Irish saying
- To the sun that warmed the vineyard, to the juice that turned to wine, to the host that cracked the bottle, and made it yours and mine.
- Happy New Year’s!
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