Wedding Toasts: An In-Depth Look at Toasting

[caption id="attachment_1060" align="alignright" width="333"]Wedding Toast Photo Credit: Molly Tomlinson[/caption]
For many centuries, it's been common practice for people to propose a toast. Generally performed with an alcoholic drink in hand, toasting often accompanies and directly refers to a celebratory life event. You'll hear people toasting to congratulate someone for an accomplishment, at a newly wed couple's special day, or in honor of someone's birthday or anniversary.
According to some apocryphal stories, the general custom of touching a glass to someone else’s glass actually evolved from concerns about poisoning. One account states that by clinking glasses together, it would cause each drink to spill over a little bit into the others' but there is no real evidence to support this theory as the origin of toasting.
Toasts are also usually offered at times of celebration or commemoration, including certain holidays, such as Christmas or New Year's Eve. Other occasions for toasting might include retirement celebrations, graduations, housewarming parties, births, job promotions, the launch of a new business, and many more.
At a wedding, it is appropriate for the father of the bride to offer the first toast, thanking everyone for attending and wishing the couple well in their life together. The second toast is usually offered by the best man, where some humor might be interjected into the little speech, which might be a few minutes in length.
A toast usually involves alcoholic beverages, especially Champagne or some other variety of sparkling wine. But it's also perfectly acceptable for non-drinkers to raise a glass of water or a soft-drink when toasting. Some people have been known to raise a flask when toasting, and everyone knows that a flask usually contains some sort of alcohol.
According to the rules of etiquette, putting your glass down before the toast is complete, or simply holding it without drinking is considered to be impolite, and it suggests that you don’t share the benevolent sentiments expressed in the toast. It's better to touch the glass to your lips, and at least pretend to be taking a sip, even if you do not.
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