Basic Dining Etiquette – Tips for the Toast

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 55,225
    Nancy Mitchell of The Etiquette Advocate gives tips to use during the toast.

    Nancy Mitchell

    Nancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).

    Nancy Mitchell: Hello, I am Nancy Mitchell with the Etiquette Advocate and we are talking about dining etiquette. I would like to talk now about toasting. There are three types of toasts, which traditionally are part of the dining experience. There is something called the welcoming toast, which the host or hostess will propose as soon as guests come to the table. Thats a toast for the occasion for all of us who are present. We all sip that toast and participate as the remarks are being made. Then the service for dinner will proceed and dessert will be served. The host will again get up and at that point will make a toast to the guest of honor. In that case, he or she may stand, may ask us all to stand to recognize the guest of honor. What you do not what to do when you give a toast is to call attention to the toast by clinking the glass with a utensil. Either stand or with your voice, say would you join me in toasting the guest of honor. Then, we all raise our glasses and the host or hostess makes the remarks. We drink to that person or to the occasion that we are celebrating with that person. The person who is being toasted does not drink at that point.

    Lets say I am the guest of honor, we are celebrating my promotion in the workplace. While everyone is toasting me, I sit there, I smile, I may hold my glass, but I dont take it to my lips to take a sip. Think about this for a moment, if everyone who is sitting there is singing happy birthday to me, I would not sing happy birthday to myself. So, I am not going to drink a toast in my honor. Thats something that brides and grooms need to be reminded about as well. After the toast in my honor, I may stand and reciprocate. I will thank our host or hostess for planning this lovely evening for me or for whatever the occasion. I will toast them and all of you who are with us here tonight. Thats called the reciprocal toast and then everyone will drink that toast. You may toast when you are in North America with water, with coffee, whatever the beverage is, if you dont have wine or you dont drink wine, you may toast with any other beverages that you have at the table. There are certain international cultures where that would be insulting to your host now to raise a glass of alcohol. Do some homework about international protocol. I would like to end the session by saying heres to each and every one of you and may you have successful timing experiences, cheers.