How to Propose a Toast. A few carefully selected words can add a personal touch to any social gathering. People make toasts over festive beverages such as champagne, sparkling cider or wine.
Let the host or hostess make the first salute at a dinner party. If she or he does not do so, initiate a toast after the dishes from the main course are cleared.
Make certain that everyone, no matter what he or she is drinking, has a full glass to raise.
Stand up and tap your glass to get everyone's attention.
For a formal occasion, have everyone (except for the person you are toasting) stand up. If it is less formal, guests may remain seated.
Direct your toast toward the host or hostess or the guest of honor. Speak loudly and slowly so that all can hear you.
Keep it brief, sincere and to the point; choose simple but substantial words to convey your feelings. Some of the best toasts are just a single sentence or two.
If you are feeling more creative, you can begin with an appropriate quotation, a poem or an amusing anecdote.
Consider mentioning an unusually brave, heroic, romantic or awesome act performed by the honoree.
Weave humor into your toast, but don't embarrass the honoree. If the assembled group is close-knit, it's all right to refer to shared experiences, but don't make the toast a private joke between you and a few of the people present.
When you have finished your toast, lift your glass to the recipient and lead the group in drinking to that person.
If you know ahead of time that you will be giving a toast, write down some thoughts on note cards and practice delivering the toast before the big event. Remember that the toast puts the spotlight on the honoree, not on you. If you are the recipient of a toast, remain seated and refrain from drinking when everyone drinks to you.
Make sure your toast is appropriate for everyone at the event. For example, a best man's speech at a wedding ceremony shouldn't refer to bachelor-party escapades.