to Propose a Toast
by Tim Virnig
Chances are you
will run into an occasion in life which requires you to give a toast.
Perhaps the event is a wedding, or a birthday party, or an event
recognizing some achievement. With more formal events, a more formal
toast is appropriate, and unless you're a naturally-gifted and
golden-tongued speaker, you'll need to do some practicing beforehand
in order to get it right.
practicing it, you'll have to make up the toast. It might be funny,
or it might be more serious. When I had to create a toast recently, I
turned to the movie, "The Count of Monte Cristo", in which
Jim Caviziel's character delivers a gem of a toast to an adolescent
boy entering adulthood. The toast was so impressive in form and
substance that I not only memorized it, but I also broke it down so I
could adapt it to my own situation.
What I present
here is but one way to create your own toast using certain
guidelines. The toast itself is comprised of eight or nine lines, but
you should feel free to adapt it to your own liking.
Before you begin
the toast, you will probably want to break the ice by mentioning
something about the person(s) of honor to whom the toast is directed.
Perhaps a memorable story, a funny anecdote, or some other remarks
about the individual. This story, then, should lead you into, and
relate to, the toast itself.
The first line of
the toast should state a general observation in life using a metaphor
related to the introductory remarks that you just made. For example,
if your story told was about a bride's particular love of the roses
her groom regularly gave her while they were dating, you might start
the toast with, "Roses are the symbol of love". Or, if you
are toasting someone who will be soon be traveling to a far away
country, you might use, "Life is a long journey." Or, for
an entrepreneurial business partner, "Success is a vast
ocean". This first line should set the mood and the theme of the
rest of the toast.
The next two lines
are inter-related; the first should convey a benefit or positive
aspect related to the metaphor in line one, and the next line should
convey a negative aspect. So, if I begin with "Life is a long
journey" the next two lines might be "You may be greeted by
friends in one town" and the next might be "only to be
scorned by strangers in the next".
Now that tension
has been created, the next line should reconcile the previous few
lines. For example, I might say, "But what traveler gets to his
destination without venturing into the unknown?"
The next part of
the toast gives encouragement or advice based on the same theme. It
should continue with a line about the honoree(s) and the future.
Uing the same
theme of a traveler going on a long journey, I could say, "May
you never hesitate to step into that unknown".
After that, we
have two more lines which are interrelated and give a sense of advice
or observation about the world. This part might be difficult to
create, but if you do it correctly it can make all the difference. An
example here might be, "For to take a step outside the ordinary
/ Creates a life for you that is nothing less than extraordinary".
To wrap up the
toast, you will want an "epic" closing which pertains to
the public or the world and the honoree(s) of the toast. The last two
lines wrap it up neatly. Concluding the journey-themed toast, I could
say (using a dramatic pause between the lines), "And at the end
of the road of life, may you proudly proclaim to the world / 'I lived
my life as a Traveler'".
Of course, you
should adapt the toast guidelines presented here to your own needs
and situation. Add a line, or subtract a few as needed. Be sure to
plan ahead and spend some serious time thinking about the lines in
your toast and writing them down beforehand.
By following the
basic structure of metaphor - tension - resolution - encouragement,
you can probably develop toasts for all sorts of occasions. But
remember that the quality of your toast will depend also on your word
selection, the advice you give, and your delivery. I also suggest
memorizing the toast by heart so it rolls off your tongue. When
dozens or hundreds of people are staring at you, the last thing you
want to do in a moment of expectation is to look like a deer caught
in headlights. As a backup, make sure that you have a written copy
And lastly, have
fun with the toast. Standing up in front of a crowd and trying your
best is far better than not having tried at all.
About The Author
Mr. Virnig is a
cocktail aficianado and the owner of http://Cordial-Glasses.com.
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