Giving The Perfect Toast
Some people just have a knack for giving a toast. They can make you tear up and then burst into hysterics a moment later, ending the whole thing on a poignant yet celebratory note that you remember for years. This type of toast takes practice.
Most of us fear we will be too nervous to make any sense at all. If you tend more toward the latter, here are a few golden rules to follow...
Don't assume that a few glasses of wine will turn you into a poet and try to wing it. In fact, don't get too tipsy before the toasting time comes! Plan your toast well in advance, that way you can think of all the memories you have with that person and decide if they are appropriate to share at the event. If you're not sure, just ask! Being prepared for a toast means you gave it thought and want to make the audience see just how special of a person the host is.
Find the perfect hook.
When preparing your toast make sure you start off with the perfect story that will grab everyones attention. Try not to use a sentence that starts with "me", "my", or "I". You have to remember this toast isn't about you, it's about the other person. Instead start with a story about the person you are toasting. Maybe it's the first thing they ever said to you and thats how you knew a friendship was forming. It could be a an embarrassing story about something they did when they were younger (make sure it's appropriate). Whatever your hook may be, make sure you give the audience something juicy or funny that will make them interested in hearing more.
Rehearse in front of a close friend with whom you can trust for an honest critique. Jot down a few key themes on a note card so you have the structure of your toast down and don't forget anything. Your toast should be no longer than 5-7 minutes. Keep it short and simple, and speak from your heart. If you're really uncomfortable, it's fine to raise a glass and say something as simple as “I'm glad to have the family together to celebrate the New Year” or “Here’s to Joe's return from London!” If the cook is someone other than you, it's always nice to raise a glass in his or her direction.
Remember Your Glass
When it's your time to get up and give the toast you have been preparing for, please don't forget your glass.