Q. At a wedding, when the bride and groom are being toasted, do they take part in the toast along with everybody else?
T. O., Peterborough, NH
A. This is a great personal question which raises the issue of toasting at business events as well. Interestingly, the answer to this question is the same as for toasts in all situations: the person being toastedóbride and groom, honoree, retireeódoes not drink along with everyone else. The honoree(s) stays seated, smiles, and after the toast can nod a thank you to the toaster. It is then permissible, though not required, that the toastee becomes the toaster. Itís the perfect time for the toastee to thank the toaster for the toast, the attendees for coming to the event, or to single out a person who is especially important. The bride or groom might toast their parents or each other. An honoree or a retiree could toast the manager, CEO or the people he or she worked with.
Typically, the host toasts first, especially at receptions and other large functions. Itís optional whether the guests stand or remain seated.
Other tips for toasting:
Keep it short. One to two minutes maximum. Any more and youíll have everyone squirming in their seats.
Prepare ahead of time. Donít think you can just wing it. Write out your remarks ahead of time.
Practice, practice, practice. Do it in a room where you can close the door and speak out loud. Get used to the sound of your voice, and let your mouth get used to shaping the words. Youíll also become familiar enough with your toast that you wonít need to read it, you can speak it. Youíll sound more genuine. You can write a few bullet points on a note card to refer to when giving your toast.
Avoid personal stories, especially if they might be embarrassing to the honoree. A reminiscence, praise, or a relevant story is fine as long as itís in keeping with the occasion.
Avoid excessive drinking ahead of time. Mix your nervousness with some alcohol and you have a recipe for a disaster.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
about this blog
e-mail your question
Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.