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Toasting Etiquette Tips For Everyone

Weddings are probably the most common event where #toasting etiquette comes into play. The emcee, the groom, the best man, the person toasting the bride and even from the bride herself may give toasts. We’ve heard them all, from exceptional toasts to the worst toasts. My work associate told me about her wedding 26 years ago when the best man stood up to toast the bridesmaids. “The bridesmaids look lovely and the food was good.” Wow, OK. Not the worst toast I have ever heard, but certainly not the most exceptional or memorable.

Toasting etiquette tips

Traditional Toasts

  1. The welcome toast: Delivered by the host at the beginning of an event.

  2. The event toast: Delivered by the host or MC acknowledging the guest of honor, event, or occasion. This toast is generally given at dessert of immediately after.

  3. The thank you toast: Delivered by the guest of honor demonstrating appreciation to the host.

Toasting Pointers

If you want to lift your glass, but are fearful of committing a faux pas, follow these toasting etiquette pointers:

  1. When giving a toast at a large table, always stand.

  2. Never tap the side of your glass with a utensil to get attention. Instead say, “Time for a toast” or “Can I have everyone’s attention for a moment please?” Sometimes the simple act of standing will get everyone’s attention.

  3. The host is the one to start the process. If there is a guest of honor, after the host has made the toast about the occasion, the guest of honor may rise and respond with a toast to thank the host.

  4. Clinking your glass with your neighbours is not required; especially if it’s a larger gathering. If you do, it’s customary to take a drink afterwards while making eye contact.

  5. Follow the four 4Bs for delivering a successful toast: be prepared, begin, be brief, and be seated.

  6. Don’t touch your glass while you are being toasted. This is the equivalent of congratulating yourself.

  7. Do not turn your glass downward if you’re a non-drinker. It is perfectly acceptable to toast with water or any other non-alcoholic beverage.

  8. And last, but not least: Sip, don’t guzzle.

There are so many occasions where a toast is appropriate and engaging. If you know you’re attending a special occasion, it helps to be prepared. Write down what you intend to say. Keep it short. Practice delivering the toast out loud until you feel comfortable and confident giving it.

A well-delivered toast is a gracious gesture that can make a simple moment special.

“No toast except his own should last longer than 60 seconds.” – Mark Twain


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