14 Dinner Toast Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Dinner Toast Etiquette
Hold the glass by the stem when giving a toast at dinner, and make eye contact. Introduce yourself and speak with clarity. Keep the toast short, sincere, and appropriate to the occasion. Mind your language and finish strong.

1. Timing Your Toast

Giving a toast at the beginning or end of dinner is common. You can also give a toast at any point during the meal if there is a special occasion or someone deserves recognition.

A well-delivered toast can make guests feel appreciated, recognized, and connected. It creates memorable moments that people will remember long after the event has ended.

2. Keep It Concise

Keeping a toast short and to the point helps maintain the celebratory atmosphere, creating a memorable message. It also demonstrates respect for the occasion and the audience.

Avoid rambling speeches that are difficult to follow. Instead, focus on a clear message that will have an impact. 

3. Plan Ahead

Preparing a toast in advance allows you to organize your thoughts and practice what you want to say. This will help you cover all the crucial points and convey your message effectively.

Rehearse it several times to reduce nervousness and anxiety. Lots of practice will make you less likely to forget important points or stumble over your words. The more you practice, the more confident you will become.

4. Introduce Yourself 

When you introduce yourself, you provide context for the occasion and give your guests an idea of who you are and why you are giving the toast. You also create a welcoming atmosphere and establish a connection with them.

Sharing a bit about yourself creates a sense of familiarity and trust with your guests. This puts them at ease and makes them feel more comfortable.  

5. Hold Your Glass Right

Here are a few key things to remember that will help you hold your glass properly during a toast:

  • Holding the bowl of the glass causes the liquid to warm up and change the taste of the drink. 
  • To prevent the risk of spilling, gently use your other hand to support the base of the glass.
  • When raising the glass for the toast, keep your arm close to your body and lift the glass in a slow and steady motion. 

To avoid spilling or dropping your glass during a toast, follow these simple steps:

  • Hold your glass by the stem or base, providing a stable grip. 
  • Keep your glass at a lower height than the person you are toasting with to avoid any collision with other glasses or hands.
  • Ensure you have a clear and unobstructed view of the person you are toasting with. 
  • Take small sips instead of large gulps to savor the taste of the wine and avoid any unnecessary spills or chokes.

Showing respect for the occasion during a toast is also mandatory. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Dress appropriately for the occasion. If it’s a formal event, dress formally. If it’s a casual gathering, dress accordingly.
  • Avoid using inappropriate or offensive language.
  • Be gracious and courteous throughout the occasion. Thank the host and others for inviting you, and show gratitude for the food, drinks, and company

6. Make Eye Contact 

Making eye contact while giving a toast establishes a personal connection with the guests and shows your sincerity when delivering your speech. By looking into their eyes, you acknowledge their presence and make them feel valued. 

It can help keep your audience engaged and focused on your message. Use eye contact to create a sense of intimacy, making your audience feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

7. Speak Clearly And Slowly 

Speaking clearly and slowly during a toast ensures that guests understand the message. If you are slurring your words, speaking too fast or mumbling, it can be difficult for guests to follow along and comprehend your message.

Speaking clearly and slowly shows that you value the time and attention of your guests. It also shows you’re committed to ensuring everyone can fully understand and appreciate the message.

8. Acknowledge The Host And Guests

When making a toast, you should recognize the contributions of the host in organizing the event. It creates a sense of connection and unity among the guests because everyone feels involved and appreciated.

Begin your toast by acknowledging their efforts in organizing the event.  Start by saying, “I’d like to raise a glass to our gracious host for putting together this wonderful celebration.”

Make an effort to include everyone in the celebration by acknowledging the guests and expressing appreciation for their presence.

9. Stay Positive 

Staying positive during a toast sets the tone for the event or occasion. A negative or controversial toast can create tension and discomfort among guests, while a positive toast can uplift spirits and create a sense of camaraderie.

To avoid negativity or controversial topics during a toast, focus on the occasion and the guests. Start by considering the purpose of the toast. Is it to celebrate an achievement, honor a milestone, or express gratitude?

Keep your tone and demeanor upbeat. Smile and speak with enthusiasm and warmth. Your positive energy will be contagious and help create a memorable and enjoyable occasion for everyone.

10. Humour Do’s And Don’ts

People laughing at dinner toast
People laughing at dinner toast

Before you start crafting your toast, take a moment to consider who will be present and what they might like.  Using humor lightens the mood and creates a fun atmosphere. 

To avoid offensive jokes, be mindful of your audience and avoid topics that could be hurtful or insensitive.

Here’s what to avoid:

  • Offensive jokes about race, gender, or religion.
  • Recent news or events related to a sensitive topic like natural disasters or political unrest.  
  • Making fun of someone else.

To lighten the mood without being inappropriate:

  • Focus on material that is universally relatable and not too personal or edgy. 
  • Stick to topics like travel, hobbies, or shared experiences everyone can appreciate and enjoy. 
  • Keep your jokes light, playful, and respectful.

11. Blessings And Gratitude

Offering a blessing or expressing gratitude during a toast creates a joyous and celebratory atmosphere. It provides an opportunity for guests to reflect on the importance of the occasion.

It shows appreciation and creates a spiritual or emotional connection with guests, thus deepening the meaning and significance of the occasion. It fosters a sense of community and harmony among all present.

12. End With Impact 

Closing with a strong finish leaves a lasting impression on the audience and reinforces the message you are trying to convey. To summarize the message and express a heartfelt sentiment:

  • Start by briefly restating the main points of your toast to help the audience remember the key takeaway from your speech.
  • Express your heartfelt sentiments, such as gratitude, congratulations, or well-wishes. You can use a personal anecdote, a sincere quote, or simply speak from the heart.

13. Moderation Is Key

Excessive toasting can disrupt the flow of the evening and make guests feel uncomfortable and bored. Strive to balance celebrating and enjoying each other’s company while maintaining a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

Too many toasts can make the dinner party feel unorganized. Guests may lose track of each toast’s purpose, and the evening’s flow can become disrupted as people stand up and sit down repeatedly. 

Excessive toasting can make guests feel uncomfortable or pressured to participate. Some guests may feel nervous about giving a toast or have nothing significant to say. 

14. Respect Cultural Differences 

Respecting cultural differences during a toast is essential for several reasons:

  • It shows that you acknowledge and appreciate the diversity of the people you are addressing, which can help to build trust, respect, and rapport. 
  • It demonstrates that you have taken the time to learn about and understand their culture, which can help to avoid misunderstandings or conflicts. 
  • It creates a more inclusive and welcoming atmosphere, fostering a positive social experience.

To avoid cultural insensitivity during a toast, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Before making a toast, take some time to learn about the cultural customs and practices of the people you will be addressing.
  • Be aware of your language, as certain phrases or words can have different meanings or connotations in different cultures. 
  • If you are making a toast in a religious context, be mindful of any religious beliefs or practices that may affect how the toast is received.
  • Express your appreciation and respect for the people and their culture.


Tabitha is a curious and enthusiastic writer who believes in the power of words and the importance of good manners. Etiquette is her passion, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

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