With 2012 coming to a close (can you believe it?!) and New Year’s Eve just around the corner, I thought it was the perfect time to offer some advice on giving (and receiving) a great toast. It can be one of the most touching moments at a wedding or special event but if you’re not careful, it can also be an embarrassing disaster. Follow these helpful tips and you’ll be well on your way to delivering a one-of-a-kind, heartfelt toast.
Tips on Etiquette
- If you’re being toasted, don’t drink! Proper etiquette says you never drink to yourself. Instead, personally thank the toaster after they’ve finished.
- Never toast with water. Legend says it’s bad luck! Not a drinker? No problem; any drink will do, even an empty glass if that’s all you have.
- If you’re at a formal event, allow the host to open with a toast or a greeting before beginning a toast.
- Avoid leaving the floor open for toasts. This can lead to extensive toasting which will inevitably bore your guests.
Giving a Toast
- DO introduce yourself. You don’t need to tell your auto-biography but do announce yourself and let your guests know how you know the host.
- DO make it personal. Tell a brief story that will entertain the guests as well highlight a special/fun time that you and the host have shared.
- DO keep it short. Ideally, a toast won’t last more than 2 minutes. A crowd will quickly become distracted and antsy if you go on too long.
- DON’T wing it. Practice makes perfect! At the least, go over a few things you want to mention a few hours beforehand. Hate public speaking? Keep notes with you and practice your toast aloud in front of the mirror. Still can’t shake the nerves? Give the bride & groom and hand-written letter instead.
- DON’T mention an ex. If you’re toasting at a wedding, though it may seem like a way to get some laughs, avoid mentioning an ex. Even though you’re so happy your best friend didn’t marry the crazy ex that you hated, his/her wedding night is all about the bride & groom and their new life together, not re-living memories of failed relationships past.
- DON’T audition for your own show on Comedy Central. Include a few jokes, by all means, but remember your audience. Great grandma Ruth might not appreciate that dirty joke as much as the groomsmen. Also try to avoid telling too many inside jokes. While your toast is directed towards the host, don’t forget you’re also entertaining the entire crowd. Give praise to the happy couple while also engaging the guests.
Now that you’re equipped with this simple advice, grab a bottle of champagne and start writing the perfect New Year’s toast. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite toasting highlights from our 2012 wedding season. Cheers!