A Gentleman Gives the Toast

Posted on December 16, 2011 by forgetfulgentleman | 2 Comments

by Teah Strandjord

Tis’ the season for office parties and holiday fete, candlelit dinners and cocktail soirees. Tis’ the season, my friends, to raise your glass and toast. As such, manner-up and make sure you really know how, then walk through the holiday season with a gentleman’s pride, and watch us smitten ladies bat our eyelashes.

Yes, smitten ladies. You don’t believe me? I know a dapper dandy who, while delivering a toast at a friend’s wedding, wooed the woman who he’d call girlfriend for the entire year after. Not intentionally. He was sincerely trying to honor the deserving groom. But ladies like the thoughtfulness and sincerity that go into the delivery of a good toast, as well as the lips that those well thought words come from.

There is something truly handsome in the mastery of toast-giving, a gentle confidence that we fall for. It is your moment to give note, glass of champagne in hand, to the people and occasions that matter to you. Yet too often have I seen the unwitting toaster at a loss for words, simply raising his glass with nothing to say at all.  Poor form, gents, you can do better than this. Make a toast that reflects the man you are.

The Words.

Obviously, your toast will vary depending on the occasion: a dinner date, a charity function, a birthday, a holiday party, a wedding, a welcome home, or a fare-the-well. And while some of the sing-song-y prefabbed toasts can be fun and merry, it is best to coin your own words. A few carefully selected words are all that’s necessary. Humor is always welcome, so long as your sentiment remains sincere. If you get easily tongue tied and doubt your personal eloquence, it’s okay to quote the greats such as Shakespeare and Churchill, or inspiring things said by your Grandfather, provided you give them credit. And if you’re entirely unsure what a good toast sounds like, I include a few toasts below taken from the website Etiquette Scholar.

  • To the spirit of charity. As Francis Bacon said, "In charity there is no excess."
  • To art - that which distinguishes man from beast.
  • To a happy marriage, or in the words of Andre Maurois, "To a long conversation that always seems too short."
  • To life. May we look forward with happiness, and backward without regret.
  • To 2012. In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want.
  • To your health. May we drink one together in ten years' time and a few in between.
  • To my father. If I can become half the man he is, I'll have achieved greatness.
  • Let's drink to love, which is nothing-unless it's divided by two
  • To victory. As Alex Haley said, "History is written by the winners.” 

The Rules.

There are some rules you should be aware of. Generally, the host of the event is allowed the first toast, unless it’s an informal occasion, in which case a guest might stand to thank the host. Before you toast, make sure everyone has a full glass to toast with, as in some hearts it’s considered either unlucky or simply rude to toast with an empty glass. To get the group’s attention, please refrain from banging a utensil on a glass. Simply stand and raise your glass, perhaps asking politely for everyone’s attention. Oh yeah, and stand. Unless you’re in a small intimate group at a restaurant, a toast should be delivered on your toes. Then, if toasting an individual, the toast is delivered directly to that person rather than to the group. And when toasted, don’t drink to yourself. Just stand and say a very simple thank you.

After your toast is delivered, the group (or individual) responds with something along the lines of cheers…. prost, cheerio, hear hear, salut, skål, l'chaim, viva, chin chin. And then you live happily every after. Or at least, for a few moments you relish in the clanking of glasses and joy of those whose hearts you’ve momentarily touched. To you, dear gents, and to your toasting endeavors. Maybe you have many happy a celebrations and a wonderful New Year.

Gentlemanly New Year Resolutions (Part 1 of 2):

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2 Responses


December 20, 2011

So…. under-appreciated, but true….


December 26, 2011

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