I’ll let you in on a little secret: Speaking in front of people brings on butterflies for just about everyone. But when you’re celebrating with friends and loved ones, offering up a short toast is a sweet way to acknowledge the occasion.
Here’s our how-to for giving a truly great toast:
- Typically, the host has first dibs on making a toast. But if there isn’t an official host (say, you all got together at a restaurant) or yours isn’t making a move, the guest of honor or another person can jump in. One exception: Don’t toast at a wedding unless you’re asked in advance.
- Give thanks—to the host or hostess, as well as to the group for being there. A little gratitude goes a long way and sets a warm, welcoming tone.
- If it’s a big group, note your relationship to the guest of honor. You don’t want people wondering, Who the heck is this woman? instead of listening to what you’re saying.
- Pick a theme—friendship, adventure, love, whatever might be appropriate for your gathering. Weave in a few specific details, a couple memorable moments or an amusing story. But don’t embarrass, ramble or share inside jokes (unless everyone there is a part of it). Think intimate and inclusive.
- Say nice things about the guest of honor. After all, heartfelt words always win.
- Keep it short and sweet—a minute or so for a small group, a few minutes tops for a wedding. If anything, leave them wanting more, so you can all quickly move on to the sipping and celebrating.
- Including a cute quote is fine, but avoid any major clichés and only serve up a joke if you’re pretty confident it will be well-received. Remember, make it meaningful and memorable (in a good way!).
- A strong closing is crucial. Invite everyone to raise a glass and end with well wishes (something like “May you always…,” “To [name], the best…,” or “I wish you…” will do the trick).
- If it’s a formal toast, such as one given at a wedding reception, write it down beforehand. And no matter what the situation, a little practice makes you sound polished and confident—always a positive thing.
So let’s raise a glass to our toast-making futures… May you find the perfect words and the ideal delivery to honor your very special occasions.
What is your top tip for giving a toast?