Toasts are a time-honored tradition in group gatherings that vary according to the mood of an event. Some typical toasting scenarios include weddings, birthdays, dinner parties, and essentially any event where you assemble with friends or loved ones. Like the event at which you are speaking, every toast has a unique style that demands careful attention in order to be successful. Here are a few different types of toasts and some helpful hints that apply to each.
The Elegant Toast
This toast usually occurs at a wedding, political event, or formal work party. The one thing these events have in common is that you do not know everyone… and not everyone knows you. That means that your jokes may go over people’s heads or, worse, offend. For many in attendance, your speech is their first impression of you. Therefore, it is important to remain polite and neutral. Do not make references to inside jokes. And of course, speak confidently.
The Sentimental Toast
This time of toast usually occurs at a family gathering or good-bye party. It is possible that not everyone in the room knows you, but they all know the guest of honor. As such, the guest of honors reaction to your speech will dictate how the audience feels about what you say. Try to remain nostalgic and bring up good memories that the guest wouldn’t mind sharing with present company.
The Funny Toast
Possibly the most fun of all toasts is the humorous one. A funny toast can happen at a friends’ gathering, a bachelor/bachelorette party or a close family event. Most rules go out the window for this toast—you are encouraged to poke fun at the guest of honor. However, it is important that you do this tastefully. Do not reveal past secrets. Do not compare your life to theirs. Do not talk about people who are not there. Do reminisce about stupid decisions you made together and the consequences that now seem negligible. And do offer a half-serious apology at the beginning for what is about to ensue, and a hug at the end to show no hard feelings. Keep this in mind: if you cannot comfortably hug the person you are joking about in public… you cannot make a funny toast about them.