Birthday Toasts

Look on the sunny side. Birthdays are an important day for lots of us. Don’t make it about getting older. Make his or her birthday complete with a terrific toast.

Why give a toast?
Birthday toasts salute the guest of honor. A testimonial. Giving a birthday toast is your gift to the birthday “boy or girl” and all the guests who await something refreshing.

It also offers a quick moment of stardom for the toaster. A special minute of fame. The toast has to be about the guest of honor, of course. A toast isn’t offered to steal the limelight.

A birthday toast is your special moment. A perfect time to profess how the guest of honor means so much to you. How he or she has become a part of your life. Your toast should bring smiles, cheers, maybe even tears. Yes, a great toast has that power.

How to give a toast 
Call to the attention of the guests a toast is about to get underway. Make sure you have everyone’s attention. Wait until you do. Birthday toasts may be pre-written or impromptu. Whatever works best for you. Be able to convey your message from the heart.

Preparation before the toast
You may need to do some research first to get to know more about the guest of honor. You can talk to the “toastee“, family members, and friends for unique stories to share during the event.

Asking the host of the event about the general make-up of the crowd is also useful. That gives you a hint about what to include and what to ignore in your toast. There are also certain etiquettes to muster before calling for a toast. Example: The rim of your class must be kept lower than the others as a form of respect in China. (1)

And Our Expert Says…

Susan Dugdale


Do you know the difference between a toast and a speech?

  • Toasts are most frequently given at celebratory events like a milestone birthday party, an engagement, or a wedding. The person proposing the toast will request all those present to raise their glasses, and drink in honor of the person whose birthday it is or the couple.
  • A toast may be a single sentence. For example, “I call on you to raise your glasses and drink to the ongoing good health and happiness of our good friend Jo.”
  • Or a speech could end with a toast. For instance wedding speeches generally finish with a toast to the bride and groom. For instance: “To the bride and groom – May we all be invited to your golden wedding celebrations!”
  • And toast is sometimes used to mean a brief speech. Confused? Don’t be. The guidelines on this page for preparing a toast are perfect for whatever occasion you’re celebrating: a birthday, wedding or an engagement.
  • Here are examples of short sincere engagement toasts. Use them as starters to help you prepare the toast you need to.

Be ready. Know when you are to offer the toast and the duration. Just worry about the right timing, however, if it is impromptu. Watch for the perfect time, such as when you can get everyone’s attention. A good time could be when the first-course dinner plates are collected. (1)

Creating your toast
Here’s a format for a great toast: (2)

Hook. Begin with one to three lines about the guest of honor (toastee). (2) Hook the guests to your opening line with some of the toastee’s quirks or intriguing tidbits. Your intro can be like this: “(Name of the birthday celebrant) is the first person you’d think of when ….” 
Background. Tell the audience when it is all ears why you’re giving a toast and how you are related to the toastee. (1, 2) One to two lines should suffice. (1)
Story. Add a story or two depending on how much time you’ve been allotted. One story is good for about a minute or so, but two stories can take from two to five minutes. (2) A perfect story would be humorous, vivid, interactive, and engaging. Make it a fun and unforgettable story of you and the toastee.

Go easy with your stories. Don’t tell it If it will possibly offend the celebrant or any guest. The cheers may turn on you if you try too hard to be funny. You also may call out a guest in the audience, for example, if he or she is in your story. You may say: “(Name of the guest), you were there, too. Back me up here…” End the story with a punchline. It can be a plot twist, a surprise ending, or a lighthearted yet heartwarming moral. (2)
Clink. This is the part of the speech when you can be sentimental and impart your well wishes, appreciation, and gratitude to the birthday celebrant and all the guests.

More tips

Practice. It will help you modulate the tone and volume of your voice. Try to memorize when you practice. This also will free you from reading your notes, which frees you up to interact more with everyone present.

No apologies. Don’t know the guest of honor very well? No worries. make your speech a relay of testimonials from the people who knew the toastee very well and with whom you talked to beforehand.

Keep it short. The aim is to highlight the importance of the event for everybody. Toasts generally precede drinking up. Don’t be afraid of offering a toast. We have some good ideas and inspiration for birthday toasts right here:


Funny Ideas of Birthday Toasts for Friends

Few of us want to hear a long boring toast. Funny birthday toasts are always in style.

  • Smart, sophisticated, friendly, and beautiful… Now that’s enough about me… Here’s a toast to you my dear friend! Ha-Ha
  • May you die in bed at 95 years, shot by a jealous wife (husband)!
  • To a secret that has the whole world (and this whole room) buzzing with excitement and wonder: your real age.
  • Cheers to the star of this evening! I believe I drank so many times for your health that I have ravaged my own.
  • I’ve drank to your health in taverns, I’ve drank to your health in my home, I’ve drank to your health so damn many times, I believe I’ve ruined my own!
  • May your liquor be cold, May your women/men be hot. And may your troubles slide off of you slicker than snot.

Happy Birthday Cheers Images

You can pass on the traditional toast by using one of these images. Just share one or two with the guest of honor.

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