An after-dinner toast should be entertaining, thoughtful and appropriate to the occasion. Because it's offered after dinner, the toast is often more of a story than a "Here's to the birthday boy" comment. If you're giving an after-dinner toast, think about what you want to say to create a toast that's original, inspirational, personal and includes the people gathered at the dinner.
An after-dinner birthday toast allows you to poke fun at the guest-of-honor's advancing years or relate a personal and meaningful story about the person of honour. After making your toast, use a quotation by the masters to wrap it up. For example, after pointing out how much joy the birthday boy gets out of everyday life, say that he is truly living the advice of Jonathan Swift, who, in his book "Polite Conversation," said "May you live all the years of your life."
Toasting a couple on their anniversary is another opportunity to be funny in a gentle, teasing way or honour them for their enduring love, preferably both. However, stay away from the "We never thought you'd last this long" line, as it's cliché and may not always be taken in the jovial spirit in which it is given. Instead, go for the heartstrings and raise a glass to the couple who reminds you of that great Maxwell Anderson line: "If two stand shoulder to shoulder against the gods; Happy together; The gods themselves are helpless against them while they stand so."
Whether it's sealing a big business deal, celebrating a major individual or group achievement, honouring a graduate or wishing someone well on a new job or in a new home, a congratulatory toast puts a punctuation mark on any special event. These are the kinds of toasts where you can have a little fun. There's often a sense of relief to the event, so be a little cheeky with a line borrowed from your favourite writer, such as this one from the folks at Hallmark: "You worked like a beaver to get here, so have yourself a 'dam' good time now."
Toasting the bride and groom is traditionally done before dinner, early in the reception, and it's usually up to the best man to deliver something heartfelt, humorous and memorable. A good way to offer this toast is to say something funny about the groom, offer a compliment to the bride and end with a line such as, "If you two can love each other even half as much as you are loved by the people in this room, you have a wonderful marriage and a joyous life ahead of you."
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