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Toasting Etiquette – What every professional needs to know


Your career and social life call for you to dine both formally and informally. In either situation, a socially skilled professional is able to present a warm, meaningful, and brief toast.

Toasting has evolved into a wonderful way to warmly greet your guests and clients, present your congratulations to colleagues, and to wish a newly married couple a blissful life together.

Toasting began in Greece. The host would drink to the guests’ health and taste the wine to make sure that it was not poisoned. Early Christians clinked glasses to ward off the evil spirits that they believed entered the body through alcohol.

The word “toast” comes from the Latin tostum and means parched, scorched or burned. Some say that this explains the word’s association with drinking. People were parched so they drank. I believe the term “toast” comes from medieval England. The English would traditionally add a piece of toasted bread into a jug of wine to reduce its acidity.

There are three customary toasts:

  1. The Welcome Toast:  The welcome toast is made by the host before eating. Your host will stand and simply say, “It’s a pleasure to see all of you here today at the Third Annual Children’s Hospital Awards Luncheon. Bon appétit.” If there is only one small table of participants, then it is not necessary for the host to rise. Never clink your glass with a piece of cutlery in an attempt to get your audience’s attention.
  2. Toast to the Guest of Honor:  The second toast is given to the guest of honor. It is offered during the dessert course and is traditionally made with Champagne. The host will rise and say something like, “We are here today to honor Mr. Alphonso Suarez. Mr. Suarez has worked tirelessly on behalf of the new Children’s Hospital Oncology Wing. His efforts have ensured over two million dollars in community donations. Please join me in toasting Mr. Alphonso Suarez.” The host will raise his or her glass as will all attendees. Everyone drinks except Mr. Suarez. The person being honored does not pick up his or her glass. One never drinks to him or herself.
  3. Toast Given by the Guest of Honor:  The third toast is given by the person being honored. Mr. Suarez rises and says, “I’m humbled by your compliments. This was a real team effort and I worked with the best volunteers in the world. Please join me in thanking our host, Mr. John Joyful for this wonderful luncheon.”  Everyone drinks except for the host, Mr. Joyful. Remember, one never drinks to oneself.

Toasts are meant to be upbeat, but most of all, toasts are meant to be short!

If You Don’t Wish to Drink During the Toast:  Champagne has been served with the dessert course. You don’t drink Champagne. Say nothing. You do not actually have to drink the Champagne. Simply raise your glass when the toast is made. Or, raise your water glass and sip your water. Since you are polite, you will choose not to draw attention to yourself.

Follow these simple guidelines and you will always appear polished and competent in business and social manners.

Excerpts of blog may have been taken from the book: Hospitality Management – People Skills & Manners on and off the Job. Copyright © 2015 Lyn Pont, Ph.D.

“Pont’s book is a must-read for anyone considering a career in hospitality.”

 — Isadore Sharp, chairman and founder, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts


See the book at:  www.HospitalityManners.com

Visit Lyn at:  www.MannersForBusiness.com




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