What should I say?

    I receive numerous e-mail messages asking for examples of anniversary toasts, celebratory toasts, etc. My favourite book about toasts, Toasts, by Paul Dickson, Crown Publishers, New York, 1991, does a wonderful job of explaining the history and purpose of toasts. In addition the book contains 1500 sample toasts, and graces.

A Toast is made to someone, rather than to inanimate objects which are not endowed with spirit or life. There are rare occasions when a Toast to "something" such as "Spring" may be appropriate.

As part of your Toast, you ask the guests to
"Please rise, and charge your glasses to...: ________________."
The phrase is then repeated by you and the guests in attendance. For added impact, the phrase should be short and easy to repeat.

    Hints for Effective Toasting

    1. Do it in a way that is most comfortable to you.
      (You may remain seated if you wish).
    2. If you are likely to be called on, it is a good idea to have a few short toasts memorized.
    3. Check the context of your toast if it is quoted from a known poem or prose.
    4. Make sure that the toast you are delivering is appropriate to the group at hand.
      (e.g. "Bottoms up" would not be appropriate at a boat race)
    5. Don't push somebody who is not so inclined to propose a toast. The result may not be the desired one.

      - Taken from, Toasts, Paul Dickson

    Examples of Toasts

    Below are some toasts, poems and quotes, listed by category, which you might find useful in a toast or speech of praise:

    Age

    "May the Lord love us but not call us too soon".

    "May you enter heaven late".

    "To maturity: When there's snow on the roof, there's fire in the furnace".

    "The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes."
    Frank Lloyd Wright

    "It's not how old you are but how you are old"



    Anniversary

    "Here's to you both--
    a beautiful pair,
    on the birthday
    of your love affair.

    "To your coming anniversaries --
    may they be outnumbered only by your coming pleasures".


    Birthday

    "Although another year is past,
    He/She's no older than the last!"

    "To wish you joy on your birthday
    And all the whole year through,
    For all the best that life can hold,
    Is none too good for you."

"Another year older?
Think this way,
Just another day older than yesterday."

"May you live all the years of your life"
Jonathan Swift

"Live long and prosper."
Mr. Spock


    Death (Eulogy)

    "Over their hallowed graves
    may the winds of heaven
    whisper hourly benedictions".

    "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die".

    "You lived respected and died regretted."

    "It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.
    The act of dying is not of importance, it last so short a time".

    "Here's to our dear departed friend who lived life to the fullest"

    Some poems that might be appropriate as part of a eulogy:

    We'll Go No More A-Roving
    by Lord Byron

    So, we'll go no more a-roving
    So late into the night,
    Though the heart be still as loving,
    And the moon be still as bright.

    For the sword outwears its sheath,
    And the soul wears out the breast,
    And the heart must pause to breathe,
    And love itself have rest.

    Though the night was made for loving,
    And the day returns too soon,
    Yet we'll go no more a-roving
    By the light of the moon.

    Death Be Not Proud
    by John Donne

    Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
    For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
    Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst though kill me.
    From rest and sleep, which but they picture be,
    Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow;
    And soonest our best men with thee do go --
    Rest of their bones and souls' delivery!

    Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men,
    And dost with poison war, and sickness dwell;
    And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
    And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st though then?
    One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
    And Death shall be no more; Death thou shalt die.

    Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
    by Dylan Thomas

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning t hey
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into t hat good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Dirge Without Music
    by Edna St. Vincent Millay

    I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
    So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind;
    Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.
    Crowned with lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

    Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
    Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
    A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
    A formula, a phrase remains, -- but the best is lost.

    The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, t he love, --
    They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
    Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
    More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

    Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
    Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
    Quietly they go, the intelligent the witty, the brave.
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.


    Friendship

    "A health to you,
    A wealth to you,
    And the best that life can give to you.
    May fortune still be kind to you.
    And happiness be true to you,
    And life be long and good to you,
    is the toast of all your friends to you."

    "Here's to a friend. He knows you well
    and likes you just the same."

    "We work in the trenches
    Day after day.
    Your friendship makes it worthwhile,
    It's certainly not the pay."


Retirement

    "You now have the freedom to do all the things you spent the last forty years dreaming of doing."

    "Here's to the holidays -- all 365 of them!"

    "When you're sitting at home with nothing to do. Think of all of us still at work.
    We'll be doing that too!"

    "To your retirement. A well-deserved reward for a job well done."

    "We don't know what we are going to do without you.
    But we're ready to find out".

    "Here's to no more alarm clocks."

    "We salute you as you retire. Now you will be able to dedicate
    more of your time to your hobbies."

    "To a man who always has his foot to the pedal, his shoulder to the wheel,
    and his nose to the grindstone.
    How he got any work done in that position I'll never know."


    Weddings

    "A toast to love and laughter and happily ever after."

    "Grow old with me!
    The best is yet to be"
    Robert Browning

    "Here's to the groom with bride so fair,
    Here's to the bride with groom so rare".

    "Look down you gods,
    And on this couple drop a blessed crown."
    William Shakespeare

    If you are looking for great sample toasts and speeches for the various speakers at a wedding the site Foreverwed.com has a good selection to choose from.


    Graduation/Promotion

    "To the graduate - in a class by him/herself"

    "Here's to becoming top banana without losing touch with the bunch"
    Bill Copeland

    "As you leave the world of academia and enter the world of reality,
    remember the best way to change the world is to set an example
    for others to follow.

    "We wish you the brightest future filled with hopes, dreams and
    promises of a wonderful life".

    "As you depart from the odyssey of high school,
    may you take the things you have learned
    and use them to your advantage in the rest of
    life's adventures."

    "Always remember that education is important.
    It's what you have left over after you have forgotten
    everything you learned."

    "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!
    Life t he life you've imagined!
    Henry David Thoreau


    General Toasts

    "A very merry dancing drinking, Laughing, quaffing and unthinking time"
    John Dryden

    "And the night shall be filled with music,
    And the cares that infest the day,
    Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
    And as silently slip away."
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    "Whenever the occasion arose he/she arose to the occasion."


    Sample Graces

    "Come Lord, Be our Guest, and let Thy gifts to us be blessed".

    "For what we are about to receive, Lord make us truly thankful".


    For more information on the history of toasts and protocol for toasts, please see Guide to Toasting .


Sources:
Toasts,
Paul Dickson, Crown Publishers, New York, 1991

Everything Toasts Book, Dale Irvin, Adams Media, 2000

Book of Eulogies , Phyllis Theroux (Ed.), Scribner, New York, 1997
 

 
 

Contact us: toasted@shaw.ca.
Copyright 2007 Toastmasters International Edmonton & Area
Last modified: January 29, 2005