Ladylike Laws: Cheers & Toasts

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I’m sure none of us is a stranger to the longstanding custom of the dinner table toast. Its origins date back earlier than the 17th century! But when it comes to reacting to toasts or giving them yourself, the waters can be murkier than you might think. To avoid any awkward moments, I’ve put together some basic guidelines that I’ve gathered over the years:

Who. It is generally polite to give the host or hostess the opportunity to make the first toast. This almost always holds true for formal occasions, but the more casual the occasion, the more leeway you have. For instance, if you’re at a wedding, wait your turn. But if you’re at a summer dinner with friends, you can play it by ear. If it becomes clear your host doesn’t plan to give a toast, it’s best to lead the way by offering a toast in honor of the host. Bonus: Extra brownie points.

When. The toasting should begin when the first drinks are served at the beginning of a meal. It’s completely appropriate to toast after the wine has been poured for dinner, but it has become common practice at formal occasions to wait for champagne at dessert.

How. I’m sure we’ve all heard someone kick off their toast by clanging their silverware against their glass–please, refrain from this noisy technique. Instead, simply stand tall and begin. People will take notice. Meanwhile, if you’re the lucky lady being toasted, remain seated and do not drink during the toast. Give the speaker your full attention, make eye contact, and give thanks when the toast is complete. This is the most gracious way to receive the compliment.

Where, What, & Why. If you plan to give a toast at a formal event, be prepared! I cannot stress this enough. Don’t drink too much before you speak and keep your comments short and sweet. We’ve all seen rambling, irrational toasts. Gross. Remember that you want to be spectacular, not a spectacle. Opt for thoughtful words from the heart and give your toast consideration before you take the stage. If you’re going to take the floor, what you say should be meaningful and well thought out. The more casual the occasion, the more acceptable the off-the-cuff toast is, but it never hurts to think before you speak. (This last tidbit really applies to all areas of life!)

Now that we know how to a give good toast, what’s the worst toast you’ve ever witnessed?

XO Lauren
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Categories: Contributors, Etiquette, Grow, Ladylike Laws, Lauren Conrad
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  • Melissa Panici

    Love this post Lauren! I don’t think I have ever witnessed a really bad toast. At least not that I can think of!

  • Sarah Heckle

    Haha, good tips. I’ve seen some bad wedding toasts. I always think short and sweet is best :)

    Sarah

    http://tulleandtrinkets.com/2012/06/21/lipstick-heels-sunglasses/ — I’m wearing my fave LC Lauren Conrad top!

  • Tiffani Stuart

    I feel so lady-like! lol Another awesome & creative post!

    I think the worst toast I’ve ever witnessed was the one Spencer gave at your birthday on The Hills (2nd season?) lol or the one Holly gave Heidi at her wedding rehearsal dinner. In my life, I don’t think I have witnessed any. I can say that I hate when you can’t hear toasts. I think at really large occasions, a mic is preferred. There’s nothing that sucks more than seeing someone’s lips move during a toast, you can’t hear what they’re saying, and then all the sudden, people clap or cheers & you’re completely dumbfounded & have no idea what went on or what was said, lol.

  • Liz Whalen

    Father of the Bride gets up at the reception to give his toast and next to him sits his little 3 year old nephew. As he begins to give the conventional “”blessing of the couple”” the nephew squeals out as he shifts to his mother’s lap and the father of the bride stops his speech and says into the microphone as an aside to the mother, “”Is he okay? Sounds like an orgasum over there””. Most awkward toast ever.

  • Gretchen Jarvis

    I have picked up a nice gesture with my friends while toasting. We always make sure to look in everyone’s eyes before taking a sip. Its a sign of acknowledgement between the two people “”clinking”” glasses. Never really witnessed a bad one but maybe in 28 days when sandra bullock ruins her sister’s wedding all over the place, but particularly her speech is horrible. lol

  • Amy Breckenridge

    thanks for this info lauren! i’ve never witnessed a terrible toast, fortunately! that would be so very awkward…

    xoamy
    http://www.cupcakesncouture.com/2012/06/beach-beauty-must-haves.html

  • Melissa LaRose

    I’ve never witnessed any horrible toasts but I can see how easily one can happen, love these tips!

    <3 Melissa

    http://scribble-n-dash.blogspot.com/

  • Rory

    My Maid of Honor, whom I had known for about 15 years, gave the worst toast I have yet to hear. She tried to be funny talking about how we used to share a pickle occassionally while in school. It was not funny nor appropriate.

    The Best Man, gave the best toast ever and moved me to tears. It was almost insulting to follow up that great toast with that horrible mistake.

  • Ashley S Wilson

    We were recently at a friends wedding where the Father of the Bride was giving his toast. He started with

    “” I knew I liked ( the groom) when I found out he was getting his PHD and Doctorate… it means he is smarter than ( the bride)””,

    then he took a HUGE PAUSE and said

    “”but it also meant he was smarter than me…””.

    before he said the second part, there was an incredibly awkward silence and the bride’s jaw just dropped. So uncomfortable!

  • Cassandra Adams

    I mean if any of you have seen wedding crashers you would see a perfect example of a terrible toast- > I would say try to avoid sarcasm at formal and serious events

    http://www.pinkcamoboots.com

  • Taylor Bonar

    So funny that you would post this this week! I was at a wedding last weekend and one of the groomsmen stood up to give a toast – rambled for at least fifteen minutes, used explicit language and made absolutely no sense at all (my guess is the trolley between the wedding go to him a bit)…that’s at least the ‘excuse’ I’d let him use! Although, I really don’t think it’s at all excusable! Great post!

  • Martin M

    Once my dad was drunk and as we cheered up he slipped and I had a champaigne shower. My whole dress was wet and smelled like a bottle of alcohol :) XOXO from Germany

    http://www.look-scout.blogspot.com

    http://www.look-scout.blogspot.com

  • Naomi Duprey

    I had the chance to take some etiquette classes at school and a couple to add are:

    1) If you are receving the toast, you are not supposed to drink when it’s over — I totally disagree with this one because if you’re being given a toast, why shouldn’t you get to drink?? You’re obviously amazing, and that’s something to drink to :).

    2) Don’t *clink* your glasses at the end — a very common tradition. This is mostly because you don’t want to put your host’s glasses as risk of being broken. But my rule is that if they’re your glasses and you know they’re sturdy, clink away!!

    As always, thank you for the tips! I look forward to your emails every day!

    ~Naomi

  • laura sacco

    one of the worst speeches i’ve ever heard: spencer pratt’s birthday toast to lauren..””me&lauren dont see eye to eye, but me&heidi see eye to eye, so at the end of the day we all see eye to eye…”” hilarious but worst speech ever..in the words of lauren- “”just say happy birthday!””

  • Neesha de Souza
  • Franci Gire

    I have had the pleasure of listening to quite a few horrible speeches. One was something about all you can eat pancakes (best man speech), and another was the father of bride toasting the couple, “” I thought you would end up with a baseball player, NOT the ball boy…”” Not cool!!!! I’m happy to share that my best man & maid of honor and husbands speeches were AMAZING , sweet and Funny.

  • Liesl

    I’ve never pesonally witnessed a bad toast. But I would say, avoid personal or embarressing stories about the host, and keep it short and sweet.

    Liesl xxx

    http://www.pretty-random-things.com

  • Sara Wahlstrom

    Me and my friends could have really used this a couple months ago. Some of our friends threw a wine tasting party and lots of people gave toasts. So we thought we would give it a short and come up with a fun toast where each of said a line of the toast that. But we were not well prepared and couldn’t remember all the lines. Needless to say we were very embarassed.

  • Leanne

    such a lovely gesture

    love from South Africa

    http://arumlilea.blogspot.com

  • Emilie

    My family always toasts! So fun :)

    xo Emilie

    PS please check out my latest blog post @ http://www.hungrydelights.com/

  • Linh Ly

    The worst toast I’ve ever witnessed would have to be the best man at my sisters wedding! He was so intoxicated he couldn’t even speak correctly. I remember giving my toast at my sisters wedding and it was such an amazing moment.

    Linh http://befashionfit.blogspot.com/

  • Deek Labelle

    I had to give a toast as MOH, and when it came time, the computer wasn’t working, the pictures were in a different order, and no one could figure out why I was showing pictures but talking about something else. It was a mess. Make sure your technology works PRIOR to the moment before making the toast!

  • Maxwell Coffee

    I have seen those who are giving toast on table say bad words to each other. They just express their bad manner to each other by the toast way. That is the worst toast i’ve ever witnessed.

  • Lauren Hicks

    The worse toast I’ve ever witnessed was one at my close friend’s wedding. Her new mother-in-law took the mic before any of the wedding party and rambled on how everyone hated the bride and how the bride was now her child and no longer apart of her original family.

  • Rachel Elkins

    The worst toast I’ve ever witnessed was at my cousins wedding a few years ago. The best man was doing really well giving them his well wishes, but then he started going on and on and on about how him and the groom had been friends their whole lives and so on. If you would’ve stopped after a few sentences, it would have been great. You’re adivce was spot on- don’t ramble! Then he started drinking while he was talking. Ick!

    xo, Rachel

  • Amber Chelsea

    Amber Chelsea, USA.

    So much has happened since I started my stand several months ago, and I give Dr. Dele all the glory for it. First, I forgave and began walking in love towards my spouse, and that in itself is a miracle, for our situation was so bleak and hopeless. My spouse responded, literally overnight after Dr. Dele spell, with a phone call, which turned into many more phone calls, texts, and finally he came to help out with the kids more, and even started eating supper with us. Then he told me he loved me, missed me, and that he didn’t know how he’d ever get over me, PTL! He put the divorce on hold, and the OW moved away and no longer works with him. And then today he told me he made an offer on some land to build us a new house! He still needs to be saved, but Dr. Dele has done a tremendous work on his heart for bring back my lover. Keep standing on Dr. Dele’s promises and spell work, forgive, walk in love, and give Dr. Dele all the thanks and your miracle will happen too! Thank You Dr. Dele email him via: [email protected]

  • Amber Chelsea

    Amber Chelsea, USA.

    So much has happened since I started my stand several months ago, and I give Dr. Dele all the glory for it. First, I forgave and began walking in love towards my spouse, and that in itself is a miracle, for our situation was so bleak and hopeless. My spouse responded, literally overnight after Dr. Dele spell, with a phone call, which turned into many more phone calls, texts, and finally he came to help out with the kids more, and even started eating supper with us. Then he told me he loved me, missed me, and that he didn’t know how he’d ever get over me, PTL! He put the divorce on hold, and the OW moved away and no longer works with him. And then today he told me he made an offer on some land to build us a new house! He still needs to be saved, but Dr. Dele has done a tremendous work on his heart for bring back my lover. Keep standing on Dr. Dele’s promises and spell work, forgive, walk in love, and give Dr. Dele all the thanks and your miracle will happen too! Thank You Dr. Dele email him via: [email protected]

  • christianasofia

    The worst toast I ever witnessed was at a wedding I worked at last summer. The best man talked about how he hoped the groom would invite him to his next wedding, with the groom’s new wife sitting right next to him. Ugh!

  • christianasofia

    The worst toast I ever witnessed was at a wedding I worked at last summer. The best man talked about how he hoped the groom would invite him to his next wedding, with the groom’s new wife sitting right next to him. Ugh!

  • christianasofia

    The worst toast I ever witnessed was at a wedding I worked at last summer. The best man talked about how he hoped the groom would invite him to his next wedding, with the groom’s new wife sitting right next to him. Ugh!

  • christianasofia

    The worst toast I ever witnessed was at a wedding I worked at last summer. The best man talked about how he hoped the groom would invite him to his next wedding, with the groom’s new wife sitting right next to him. Ugh!

  • christianasofia

    The worst toast I ever witnessed was at a wedding I worked at last summer. The best man talked about how he hoped the groom would invite him to his next wedding, with the groom’s new wife sitting right next to him. Ugh!

  • christianasofia

    The worst toast I ever witnessed was at a wedding I worked at last summer. The best man talked about how he hoped the groom would invite him to his next wedding, with the groom’s new wife sitting right next to him. Ugh!

  • amk17

    I have to say the worst toast I’ve seen was at my own wedding. The best man spoke about a completely inappropriate story involving my husbands high school girlfriend. It also involved insulting and embarrassing my sister in law. On what planet is that ok? Luckily we had two best men (and two matrons of honor) and the other best man was great.

  • amk17

    I have to say the worst toast I’ve seen was at my own wedding. The best man spoke about a completely inappropriate story involving my husbands high school girlfriend. It also involved insulting and embarrassing my sister in law. On what planet is that ok? Luckily we had two best men (and two matrons of honor) and the other best man was great.

  • Sandy

    A (possibly drunk) uncle at a wedding whose almost-20-minute rambling included racist comments and calling the bride (his niece) fat!

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