Tips for Toasting Any Occasion

Advice on how to craft a memorable toast — and ideas on what to say

Great events, both large and small, punctuate our lives. Graduations, engagements, birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries are but a few of them. Often these events call for toasts. The following is a guide to crafting the perfect toast for each occasion that will leave the toastee feeling honored, the guests captivated, and the toast-maker above reproach!


What Makes a Toast Good?

• Be structured. Introduce yourself and your relationship to person or people being honored. Segue to the meat of your toast and end with the actual raising of the glass and specific language that makes it obvious for other guests to join you in the toast.

• Be gracious. Always thank the host of the event.

• Be brief. No, really. More than three minutes (two for less-formal affairs) is self-indulgent, not flattering, to the toastee.

• Be light-hearted and sincere. Humor is wonderful when used appropriately, but not if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Direct, honest sentiments expressed simply are never inappropriate.

• Be relevant. The toast should focus on the toastee, not the giver.

• Be rehearsed. If you need notecards, your toast is too long. If you can’t deliver it from memory, it’s too long. If you can’t remember the next line, you didn’t rehearse enough!


The Perfect Toast For Any Setting (and What to Say)


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Graduations are about marking the end of an era and looking to the future. A toast to the graduate should include brief highlights of where they’ve been — good grades, honors won, sports achievements, friendships made — as well as words of encouragement and advice on their next chapter. Sincerity and optimism should infuse the toast. Irony and snarkiness do not work in this setting.