Varied groups from different cultures and generation have enjoyed the practice of toasting for friendship, happiness, and success in many forms.

It seems that no celebration is complete without this ritual which has long been recognized as an expression of honor and goodwill.

The host or hostess offers the first toast.  This is especially observed in many formal occasions and large functions.  At a wedding reception, the best man usually leads the toasting.

In a less formal setting with friends, the guest can often propose the first toast to express thanks to the host for brining everyone together.

A gracious host will ensure that guests are served with glasses that are filled before toasting. Wine or champagne is not a requisite especially for non drinkers and minors. It is perfectly alright to raise  one’s glass filled with water, juice, iced tea, or soda drink.


Before making the toast the host must ensure that he has the diners’ attention focused on him.  Before making the toast, he must stand and raise his glass.  Never ever bang the glass with a utensil.

The decision to sit or stand can be trying on the nerves but it is ultimately a test of one’s sensibility and should be based on what comes naturally. For instance, toasts made before dinner, in an open setting, like a cocktail area or living room calls for the toaster to stand.

If the group is small and is at a sit-down dinner, the toaster may remain seated.  If the group is beyond  ten, the toaster must stand so he can be seen and heard better.  In which case, it is not necessary for  everyone else – including the person being  toasted – to stand.  Unless the toaster makes the  request to “stand and raise your glasses to …”

The way to respond to a toast is to take a sip of the drink, without draining the glass. There will most likely be other toasters to follow.

On official ceremonies, the toaster is called a toastmaster or the chairman of the committee.  He takes charge of interjecting the toasts between speeches and before the end of the meal.   On formal occasions and official business the toaster and all the guests must stand.


The timing of the toast can vary depending on the occasion.  During meals, the first toast is made at the onset.  The first toast is offered by the host to welcome to guests.  Guests may offer their toast during the dessert course.

It must be made clear that toasting is not confined to a meal or special event.  Toasts may be given whenever deemed appropriate, as when someone raises his glass, recognizes the good company, and wishes others goodwill and good health.

Related Article: How To Enjoy Your Afternoon Tea Like Queen Victoria

If you are receiving the toast, it is not necessary to stand nor to drink to yourself. As the “toastee,” you simply remain seated and smile to acknowledge.

The toastee must acknowledge the toast with a “thank you” as soon as it is given.  Subsequently, she may stand and raise her own glass to propose a toast to the host or anyone else she wants to honor.

The structure of the toast is short and sweet.

If it is given as the primary toast of the evening, it can be a succinct speech.  Use notes to ensure that  your stay on point and end the toast right away.

Experiential references, praise, a memory, or any relevant trivia or tasteful joke is always welcome. A toaster must be mindful of his language and deliver a message in keeping with the occasion.

For instance, wedding toasts are sentimental and witty, toasts in honor of an old friend must be nostalgic and inspiring.  Humor in the message is always a good call. 


Extemporaneous toasts among friends call for something spontaneous and brief.  After all, it does not require much thinking to say “Cheers” or “To your health!”  What gives the impact is the friendly and jovial tone. If you must say a line to compliment a person, remember to be sincere and polite: “Cheer to Lev, a dear friend and inspiration to many of us.”

Formal or casual, indoor or garden, business or family, the occasion must be considered when giving a toast.

Cheers to learning more about hosting sensibility and toasting etiquette!


www.talkshop.ph  | (632) 894-5588 | “Social Graces and Etiquette”  l  “Protocol Training”



Posted by TalkShop
Sheila Viesca, TalkShop CEO and Director of Communication, took up Bachelor of Arts in Literature, pursued Master's degrees in Entrepreneurship and Economics, and completed her Doctorate in Applied Cosmic Anthropology. She designed the Philippines' Language Competency Benchmark for the Department of Education and pioneered Integrated Language Teaching (ILT) in workshop designs and corporate communication training. You can follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIN


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