How to Give a Toast (And Examples for Various Occasions)

We use toasting as a way of sharing our happiness with friends and loved ones. It’s the ritual that brings people together, restoring those around them. However, not everyone is comfortable doing it every day or on special occasions like weddings and birthdays. So here are some ways you can toast in different situations!

A toast is a speech that is made in honor of someone or something. Toast speeches are often delivered at the end of a meal and usually include words of praise, congratulations, or thanks.

My wife and I (Jeremy) have held a Friendsgiving meal the Sunday before Thanksgiving for the last four years. It’s a time for us to come together with our friends for a potluck turkey meal and offer gratitude for all the wonderful things in our life (like friends!). Every year, I’ve been asked to say something before we all sit down to eat, and every year, I dread that little period of time when I’m expected to say something remarkable. I don’t recall giving a nice toast in past years, but this year I didn’t have the time to think about or prepare one, and I stumbled through attempting to repeat the one given by Will Smith in Hitch. This isn’t a joke. It was inconvenient. And, although our friends have most likely forgotten (or at least forgiven) the incident, I haven’t. It didn’t lift the mood or warm people’s hearts, which is precisely what a toast should accomplish. Rather, my toast was an odd note amid an otherwise lovely evening’s “song.” Wouldn’t it have been much better if you had exactly the correct words, ones that properly matched the situation and lifted everyone’s spirits?

As previously said, toasting has a lengthy (and often macho) history, and we should do more to resuscitate it in this day and age. However, since the custom is so uncommon these days, most of us have received little training and experience in it. What should you do if you want to help bring toasting back?

The steps below will show you how to raise a glass with confidence, flair, and an event-enlivening impact.

What to Say in a Toast

People giving a toast around the dinner table.

Prepare yourself.

“It’s like presenting sour champagne: flubbing the toast flattens the ambiance.” –Toasts, Paul Dickson

First and foremost, you must be prepared. While toasting is intended to be spontaneous, this does not imply working fully off the cuff in the moment; as Mark Twain famously noted, “a good impromptu speech typically takes three weeks to prepare.” Even if you want to offer your toast on the spur of the moment, you should have a few renowned toasts/quotes in mind, and/or have been thinking about a topic for a few weeks so you can select exactly the correct length and particular words when the time comes.

If you don’t have the confidence in yourself to accomplish even that, write anything down. While you’re doing so, consider the following questions:

  1. What or who is being toast? It may be a bit more casual if it’s a best buddy. Something lovely and heartfelt is definitely lot better if it’s a grandmother.
  2. What is the significance of the toast? Is it a special occasion? A college diploma? Is it a wedding? Is it possible to get a raise? Even the end of a relationship? Much of what you say will be influenced by the circumstances.
  3. What is the nature of the event? More than anything else, the sort of occasion determines the formality of the toast. Is it a work party? Things’s best if you keep it simple. What about a cocktail hour with your college friends? Going off the cuff and/or with an inside joke or two is safer.
  4. Who is going to be there? Related to the previous point, but in order to construct your toast, you need truly get to know your audience. You don’t want to express things that just one set of people will understand. You’ll say something different at a family gathering than you would at a company party. You want to keep words wide and focused on the toastee in a big, varied gathering so that everyone understands what you’re saying.

Brush up on your public speaking and improvisation abilities in general, in addition to these particular suggestions. The art of toasting neatly combines all of those elements, and it’s a terrific way to practice skills that can be applied to a variety of different situations. (Giving a toast is also a requirement for The Strenuous Life’s Orator Badge!)

 

Make a Format Choice

“A toast is a fundamental form of human communication that may be used to communicate practically any feeling, from love to fury (although angry toasts tend to cross the line into the domain of curses) (although raging toasts tend to cross the line into the realm of curses). They might be romantic, sardonic, poetic, funny, rebellious, lengthy, short, or simply one word.” –Toasts, Paul Dickson

You have the option of making the whole toast an original creation or reciting a standard prepared toast (see the suggestions below).

The finest toast, in my opinion, includes the two elements: a quick, creative introduction addressed towards the individual occasion and attendance, followed with a traditional set toast to conclude things on a high note.

Keep it brief.

As Dickson points out, toasts may be as simple as one phrase; fact, it was typical in ancient times to merely raise a glass and say, “To health!”

You don’t have to be as succinct as that, but your toasts should always be brief — about 30-60 seconds, erring on the shorter side rather than the longer. Get straight to the point, and do so swiftly. Just during special occasions, such as a wedding, anniversary celebration, or other event when a lengthier homage is more fitting, should a toast be longer than that — and even then, only for a few minutes or so.

Prioritize sincerity above humour.

Vintage group of men giving a toast.

Many men strive to be hilarious at social occasions, assuming that they are considerably more amusing than they are. When offering a toast, this is particularly true. Consider the differences between best man and lady of honor speeches. The former nearly always attempts to tell a joke or tell a hilarious tale, but it always falls flat. What is the reason behind this?

Humor is difficult to master, particularly when dealing with a wide and varied audience. Weddings, in particular, attract people of all ages, from all professions and life experiences, as well as from various social circles. The best guy attempting to be amusing is most likely doing it for his own circle of friends, and they will be the only ones to laugh. Avoid supposedly hilarious themes like exes, failures, and inside jokes in the great majority of toasts; although covering such ground is frequent, it’s too risky to do so.

If you’re among a small group of pals, possibly all of whom are male, humor can work. Inside jokes and even certain “colorful” comments are allowed and even expected in such casual situations. But, in general, strive for truthfulness. That may be difficult for males (which is why we rely on humor in the first place), but if you’re prepared — and it all comes down to being prepared! — you’ll be able to pull off a heartfelt salute with ease. The receivers of a toast remember sincerity considerably more than a bad effort at comedy.

Ascertain that everyone is involved and that they have a drink.

Vintage young men giving toast.

While toasting with wine is probably the most traditional, you may toast with anything, as these boxers who would soon be facing off in the ring illustrate.

 

Toasts are all about bringing people together. Nobody should be left out of the toast – youngsters, the elderly, and non-drinkers should all be allowed to participate. Ensure that everyone is seated with their food and drink during a dinner party. If there will be no food served, or if the toast will take place during cocktail hour rather than dinner hour, make sure everyone has a drink to toast with (ginger ale or anything else effervescent makes it extra wonderful for kids; and here’s a list of entertaining mocktails for the teetotalers). Also, make every effort to guarantee that everyone is there. Keep an eye on things as the host; if someone goes to the toilet, wait until they return. You don’t want someone to stroll into the midst of a toast uncomfortably.

Don’t start toasting before the hostess.

If you’re not the event’s host, don’t deliver a toast until they’ve had an opportunity to do so. If it’s been agreed that you’ll toast first, then go ahead and do it. Otherwise, wait until the host finishes speaking.

Declare Your Intentions Through Words and Actions

It might be difficult to know when and how to give a toast during a raucous party or gathering. What’s the best way to catch everyone’s attention? It’s a bit simpler at the start of a dinner party: as the host, you should wait until everyone else has finished eating before getting your meal. So, when you go up to the table, everyone else should be sitting or about to be seated, so you can just stand and say something like, “I’d like to propose a toast.”

You’ll need to attract the room’s attention if people are wandering about or if you’re offering a toast in the middle of a meal. Do not do so by banging your glass with a utensil, since this is unappealing and may even shatter the glass. Instead, stand up and raise your glass to shoulder level with your arm pointing toward the middle of the gathering to indicate your desire. If individuals continue to ignore your signal and remain silent, say something to the effect of “If I may have everyone’s attention.” A loud throat clearing or “Ahem” is a little off-putting and never quite comes over correctly; it comes out as sheepish and bashful.  

Finally, provide a clear invitation.

You’ve probably witnessed toasts that end amorphously, leaving the audience unsure if you’re done or not. As a result, after you finish your toast, emphasize that fact and show what everyone should do next. If you’re at a small group, say something like “Cheers!” or “Let’s raise a glass to ___,” and then lead the way by finding someone nearby to clink glasses with (if you’re in a big gathering) or taking a drink from your glass.

 

When Should You Make a Toast?

So you’ve learned how to make a toast, but when should you do it?

It might be difficult to recognize whether a toast is appropriate in our contemporary, toast-free culture. Fortunately, there are several times when offering one would not only bring a grin to everyone’s face, but would also improve the whole atmosphere and surroundings – which is always the purpose of a nice toast!

Below is a list of occasions when a toast is suitable; this is by no means a complete list, and there are many additional occasions when a toast is appropriate.

Weddings

Vintage bride and groom toasting.

While weddings are normally well-planned affairs, there are a few instances throughout the festivities when a toast could be suitable. The best man, maid of honor, bride and groom, and/or parents often give formal toasts during the reception. If you haven’t already gained permission from the couple, now is not the time to make your own toast. Instead, you might make your own “unauthorized” toast during the rehearsal dinner before to the wedding, or during the cocktail hour on the wedding day, at your own table or with a group of friends. Of course, your toast should be directed towards the happy couple.

Friendship Dinner Parties

Dinner parties are a disappearing species in and of themselves, but they’re the ideal setting for a toast. If you’re hosting, it’s simple and may be offered at any time, but it’s best at cocktail hour, when everyone has a drink, or at the start of dinner. Here, toasts may concentrate on your gratitude for the people in attendance, as well as an inside joke (if everyone would be privy to it, of course). Even if you aren’t hosting, you may toast, albeit you shouldn’t be the first to do so.

Holiday Get-Togethers

Vintage young people toasting at christmas.

Holiday get-togethers, whether they’re with colleagues, friends, or family, are ideal for toasting. You may toast to a good year gone by, a good year to come, your gratitude for the holiday, and/or the reason it exists in the first place (Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Easter, and so on — all of these have very obvious meanings). A prayer is commonly part of religious holiday observances, but both that and a heartfelt toast have their place.  

Graduation celebrations, retirement parties, and post-funeral get-togethers

This basically refers to any event planned for a certain life change, as well as promotions, engagements, and anything else you may think of. Of course, toasts at events like these should concentrate on the current life change, contemplation on old experiences, and best wishes for the future. While toasts are not customarily given during funerals or wakes, they are suitable if you gather with a small group of friends at a bar or pub following these more official occasions to pay more personal tribute to the deceased.

 

Date Nights and Anniversaries

Vintage couple toasting each other.

Even if you don’t organize a large anniversary celebration and the only audience for the toast is your spouse, toasts are a great way to commemorate love milestones. If you’re out on a date night to commemorate your anniversary, or even if it’s just a regular date night, you may give your lady a toast. In any case, toasting to the lady you care about is a wonderful way to convey your genuine love, awe, and thanks for her being in your life.

Social Gatherings that aren’t formal

Having a drink with old buddies at a bar? Are you planning a campfire with your neighbors? Attending the big game and tailgating? This is where you can truly get into the spirit of our forefathers. (Of course, whether or not you empty your vessel is up to you and your good — or bad — judgment.) Offer a casual toast; here is where you can show off your wit, humor, and inside jokes, which isn’t possible at many of the activities described above.

Toasts for a Variety of Occasions

Memorizing some classic toasts is a wonderful approach to ensure that you’re always ready to pay respect when the occasion arises; classic toasts are so named for a reason: they embody powerful, concise ideas and timeless wit. But don’t go looking for toast ideas on the internet; most of the ones you’ll discover are either about drinking or revolve on vulgar jokes. To fill this need, we’ve compiled a good collection of stylish and truly amusing toasts for a variety of situations.

Date Nights/Anniversaries

[To commemorate a 50th wedding anniversary] “It’s been fifty years since you’ve maintained your wedding promise. My old friends, the Golden Age is no longer a myth.” “The Golden Wedding at Longwood,” by John Greenleaf Whittier 

[In honor of the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary] “Love seems to develop the fastest, yet it is the slowest of all growths.” “Until a couple has been married for a quarter of a century, no man or woman really understands what perfect love is.” Mark Twain (Mark Twain)

“Wine enters via the mouth.” And love enters via the sight; before we get old and die, that is all we will know about truth. I sigh as I hold the glass to my lips and glance at you.” William Butler Yeats, “William Butler Yeats, ” “William Butler Yeats,

“Here’s to you, who cuts my sorrows in half and multiplies my pleasures.”

“Wouldn’t it be to thee that I would drink if you weren’t the last drop in the well, as I gulped on the edge, ere my fainting soul fell?” Byron, Lord 

Baby

“A baby will make love stronger, the days shorter, the nights longer, the bankroll smaller, the house happier, the clothing shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.”

“A new life has started, as father and son.” —Irish

[Awarded to dads who have a son or sons] “Make me a suitable example for a son, Father of Fathers.” —David Malloch

[It was given to me by my grandparents] “God blesses us with grandchildren. It’s God’s way of making up for the fact that we’re getting older.” —Irish

 

“Believe in yourself. You know a lot more than you believe.” —Baby and Child Care expert Dr. Benjamin Spock 

Birthdays

“Do not fight getting old; many others are denied the opportunity.”

“Do you want another candle on your cake?” That’s no reason to be upset; be grateful that you have the power to blow the blasted thing out.”

“Happy birthday to you and many more to come, with real friends like you!”

“Many benefits to lighten your walk on earth; many friendships to cheer and stir you to joy; many feastings and frolics to add to your girth.” Robert H. Lord (Robert H. Lord) (Robert H. Lord) (Rober

“May you live a hundred years and have one more year to repent.” —Irish

“On your birthday and throughout the year, I wish you happiness, because all the finest that life has to offer is none too excellent for you.”

Christmas 

“Be this, sweet friends, our song still— Be peace on earth, be peace on earth, To men of gentle will,” as befits the holy Christmas birth. William Makepeace Thackeray (William Makepeace Thackeray)

“Let us therefore be joyful and enjoy the good cheer, and remember that old Christmas only comes once a year.” —From a traditional Christmas carol

“Blessed is the season that involves the whole globe in a love plot.” Hamilton Wright Mabie (Hamilton Wright Mabie) (Hamilton Wright Mabie) (Hami

“Pile on more wood! The wind is howling!” But, whatever the wind blows, we’ll keep our Christmas cheerful.” —Sir Walter Scott, author

“Here’s to a day filled with goodwill, chilly weather, and warm hearts!” Here’s to the beautiful red berry of the holly. Let’s make this Christmas one to remember.”

“Here’s wishing you more joy than all my words can express, not only for Christmas, but throughout the rest of the year.”

“Ivy and holly are hung up.” And there’s something moist in each cup.” —Irish

“Christmas has always seemed to me to be a nice time; a kind, forgiving, generous, joyful time; a time when men and women appear to open their hearts freely by one accord; and so I say, ‘God bless Christmas.’” —Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”

“I know I’ve said it before, but every year I wish you a Merry Christmas,” she says.

“Wishing you a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.” “I’ve got a pocketful of cash and a cellarful of beer!”

“May you be as happy as Christmas finds you throughout the year.” —Irish 

Death 

“Oh, here’s to further gatherings, and cheerful greets; and here’s to people we’ve drink with, but will never be able to again.”

Dinner Guests

“Here’s to eternity – may we spend it in as excellent company as we find ourselves this night.”

“Friends understand the comfort of being together best around the table.” —Old Italian proverb

“To friends: as long as we can move our drinks off the table,” says one.

“A salute to our kind hosts” And a song from the little and tall among us: “May he live long enough to be our guest!”

 

“This is for our kind hostess, who is thoughtful and charming; her wit is boundless, but when do we eat?”

Friendship 

“May the warmth of our feelings withstand the ravages of time.”

“May conflicts of opinion foster friendship.”

“This is for a pal.” He is well-acquainted with you and enjoys your company.”

“May our youth’s pals be our old age’s companions.”

“To our closest friends, who know all there is to know about us yet refuse to accept it.”

Party to Say Goodbye

“We are pleased to have met, happy to have been, happy to separate, and happy to meet again.”

“Here’s to never having to say good-bye!” “Here’s to friendships that will never be shattered!”

“The agony of separating is nothing compared to the delight of reuniting.” —Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”

Graduation 

“May you never forget what is important to remember or recall what should be forgotten.” —Irish

“If you want to live a long life, keep hungry.”

“May you learn to live well and live well to learn.”

“May you have a long and happy life.” Jonathan Swift (Jonathan Swift, Jonathan Swift, Jonathan Swift, Jonathan Swift, Jonathan Swift,

“It’s not such a dreadful world as some would have you believe; yet whether it’s good or awful depends on how you take it.”

“May you have the foresight to see where you’ve been, the insight to realize when you’ve gone too far.”

“May the splinters of life never face the wrong way as you slide down the banister of life.”

New Year’s Resolutions

“A new year has begun!” Let it be another year with thee, for better or worse.”

“As we begin the New Year, let us kneel and thank God that we are still standing.” —Irish

“Wage war on your vices, make peace with your neighbors, and let each new year bring you closer to being a better man.” Benjamin Franklin is credited with coining the phrase “Benjamin Franklin is credited with coin

“Here’s to a bright New Year and a tender goodbye to the old; here’s to what’s still to come and the memories we have.”

“May we treat our friends with love and our foes with charity in the coming year.”

“May all of your problems this year be as brief as your New Year’s resolutions.”

“May this be your finest year yet, and may all your endeavors thrive.”

“May this year’s best turn out to be next year’s worse.”

“May the New Year bring us the face of all good news and the back of all negative news.” —Irish

“Ring out the old, ring in the new, ring merry bells over the snow; the year is drawing to a close, let him go.” Lord Tennyson’s Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Alfred, Lord Tenny

“To heck with the past, here’s to the present!” “Good health in the future, and happiness in the end!” 

Thanksgiving

“Here’s to the good old turkey, the bird that comes each autumn and makes us all gobblers with his delicious persuasive flesh.”

“To our national birds, the American eagle and the Thanksgiving turkey: May one bring us peace in all of our states, and the other a piece for all of our plates.”

 

“When the turkey is on the table, and there are wonderful things to eat, I’m glad I wasn’t made a vegetarian.” Edgar A. Guest (Edgar A. Guest) (Edgar A. Guest) (Ed

Weddings

“Love isn’t what makes the world go ’round; it’s what makes the world go ’round.” “It’s love that makes the journey worthwhile.” Franklin P. Jones (Franklin P. Jones) (Franklin P. Jones) (Frank 

“A toast to love, laughter, and everlasting happiness.”

[It was given to me by a parent] “‘When children discover genuine love, parents experience great delight,’ it is written. From now on, here’s to your and our happiness.” 

“May their happiness be as profound as the ocean and their sorrows as light as the foam.”

“May all of us survive to see their golden wedding.”

“May you live to be a hundred years old on one pillow.” —Armenian

“May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet; enough trials to keep you strong; enough sorrow to keep you human; enough hope to keep you happy; enough failure to keep you humble; enough success to keep you eager; enough friends to comfort you; enough faith and courage in yourself, your business, and your country to banish depression; enough wealth to meet your needs; enough determination to make each day a better day than the day before.”

“Nothing is more noble or magnificent than when two individuals who agree maintain home as husband and wife, perplexing their adversaries and pleasing their friends.” —Odyssey’s Homer

“May ‘for better or worse’ be considerably better than worse for the newlyweds.”

Miscellaneous/Multi-Occasion

“Content, cheerfulness, and competence.” Our glasses are full of joy, our thoughts are full with content, and our wallets are full of competence.”

“May the efforts of our nights never be afraid of the light of day.”

“Health, honor, and happiness are the three H’s.” Health to everyone on the planet, honor to all who desire it, and joy in our families.”

“Love, life, and liberty are three words that come to me when I think about love. “Pure love, a long life, and limitless liberty.”

“What could I wish thee more?” “I wish thee health, I wish thee money, I want thee gold in the bank, I wish thee paradise on earth—What could I wish thee more?”

“It is preferable to rise from life as if it were a feast, thirsty but not inebriated.”

“Enjoy life while you can, for life is brief and fleeting!” William Oldys (William Oldys)

“May our flaws be engraved on the sands of time, and may every good dee prove a wave to wash them away.”

“May we be content, and may our foes be aware of it.”

“May we live in a world of respect and die in a world of sorrow.”

“Live so long that even the undertaker will feel sorry for you when it’s time to die.” Mark Twain (Mark Twain)

“To the wild pleasures of a peaceful conscience.”

“Let us live while we can.”

“Let us live while we can.”

The following is the source of the information and the particular toasts: Paul Dickson’s Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings, and Graces For further information on the history and art of toasting, as well as hundreds of toast ideas, consult the book.

 

 

A toast is a type of speech given by one person to another at the end of a meal, usually as a way of expressing gratitude or friendship. The first toast was made in ancient Rome. Toast can be made for any occasion and various examples are included below. Reference: make a toast.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you give a toast example?

What do you say during a toast?

A: I say, Cheers!

How do you make a good toast?

A: It is best to use a knife and butter or jam on the bread. Spread this layer of jelly/butter onto your toast then add some cheese, tomatoes and olives before putting it into the oven for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown.
The most important part about making a good toast is that you need an oven with accurate temperature control and know how long each different type of cooking should take in order to get the perfect result

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