When you make a birthday toast, wedding toast or any other type of toast, it is important to know the socially accepted methods for executing the toast. Making the toast correctly and with ease, will really add a classy aspect to what you have to say. It’ll be sure to leave the birthday boy smiling and will ensure the night is a memorable one.
The birthday speech is only half of the battle, the other is making the toast classy from beginning to end. Here we will outline what’s generally considered the correct way, of making a toast.
Timing of the Toast
There are a few opinions on when the conduct the toast. The best one for you will vary on a variety of factors such as number of people, noise levels, and how hungry the guests might be. Here are the options:
- At the beginning of the meal – You can perform the toast at the beginning of dinner when everyone has their food and is about to start eating. This is a common choice but not always the best if people are hungry and eager to dig in!
- During the first 10 minutes of the meal – A typical birthday dinner with family and friends lasts about an hour. If you execute your speech after the first ten minutes, no one is dying of hunger and you are likely to get undivided attention. This is the most popular choice.
- At the end of the meal – This is an option if you want to create an atmosphere of relaxation in the room. Everyone is full, some people are just relaxing and talking, and it should be the easiest time to gather their attention. If you have an extra loud group of people this might be the best time to make your toast.
Getting Everyone’s Attention
There are many ways you can get the room’s attention when making your birthday toast. The generally accepted way is to use a piece of silverware to tap on a glass, making a “clinking” sound.
Preferably, use the back side of a butter knife to gently tap near the top of a wine glass. Hint: Do not tap too hard or the glass can break!
The idea here is you tap the glass multiple times in succession (at a rate of about 2x per second), making a “ding… ding… ding” sound until the room is quiet. As you begin tapping, slowly slide your chair to the rear and come to a standing position.
The number of times you tap the glass will depend on how long it takes the room to be quiet and for all eyes to look in your direction. Typically this is from 8 to 10 taps of the glass. The quicker the room gives you their attention, the less you will need to tap on the glass. As you are doing this, often others will join by tapping their glasses too (but they will remain seated). This is generally accepted and is a way for others to assist you in quieting down the room.
Delivering the Speech
Make sure you have a speech prepared that you have practiced so you do not need to read it from a piece of paper. If you need help planning the speech, take a look at Making a Great Birthday Toast.
As you read the speech, look around the room at everyone who is present. If you say positive things about the people joining you at the dinner during your toast, make sure you look at them. If you are making loving, romantic, or thoughtful wishes to the birthday boy, make sure to make eye contact with him while you do so.
Concluding the Toast
After you state the last line of your speech (and you are still standing), raise up your glass with an outstretched arm and state “to [birthday boy’s name].” An example would be “To George!”
Everyone at the table should then also raise their glasses and begin tapping the sides of their glasses with the sides of their neighbor’s glasses repeating your words, “To George!” or alternatively “Here, here!” (either is acceptable). Again, don’t tap too hard or liquid could spill or glasses can break.
As this is happening you should be joining in, and tapping your glass against other’s glasses as well. Make sure that as you are tapping glasses you tap only the side of your glass with the side of other’s glass. It’s considered inappropriate to use the rim of your glass to tap with other’s glasses (for sanitary reasons, since this is the area of the glass you touch with your mouth).
After the clinking of the glasses is done, everyone in the room (including you, who should still be standing by the way) raises up their glass one last time with an outstretched arm and then brings the glass to their mouth for a small drink. Typically you don’t want to do anything more than a short sip of your beverage.
After this is done, you can sit down and allow anyone else who wishes to make a birthday toast time to do so.
Executing a birthday toast correctly along with a well prepared birthday speech, can really make a classy ending to a wonderful birthday dinner!