The Art of Formal Toasts According to Naval Protocol
Just One More Thing To Make You Insecure About Official Washington
For almost 14 years, I published a society magazine for Washington D.C. called Washington Dossier. I was in Black-Tie so many evenings that the doorman at my apartment thought I worked in a restaurant. I attended every conceivable type of event from formal dinner parties, arrival ceremonies, National Day Celebrations, State Department functions, Inaugurals, Charity Balls and galas. Except for the fried food and single gatherings on Capitol Hill and an occasional “Playboy’s Girls of Capital Hill” Party, they all involved a degree of understanding of “Official Protocol.” After all, you never wanted to drink the finger bowl.
My secret source was called the Green Book. It was the listing of who’s in, and it included all the “cave dwellers, cliff dwellers and official Washington.” The reference section in the back had the real information — such as how to address a Senator and spouse, an Ambassador (male or female); where to seat people; how to host a proper reception and master the art of writing thank you notes. And much more.
I found that the back of the Green Book was taken directly from the Social Usage and Protocol Handbook: A Guide for Personnel of the U.S. Navy. Since the handbook is a public document, we at WHCInsider.com have taken the liberty of adding the appropriate chapters to our site. Now everyone in Washington will have access to the information they need if they find themselves in an unfamiliar high-profile situation. It is not just manners, it is a protocol and what I call the “programming of human behavior.”
- Formal Dining According to Naval Protocol
- Formal Receptions and Receiving Lines Protocol
- Proper Seating according to Naval Protocol
- The Traditions of Formal Toasts According to Naval Protocol
- Official Precedence (Order of Importance)
Needless to say, most reporters are not given this kind of training in journalism school, and being part of Washington means decoding elements of the proper social behavior.
Here is our first excerpt on ceremonial toasts, including some history and cultural differences.
David Adler, Co-Founder, WHCInsider.com
Formal Toasts as Recommended By Naval Protocol
Toasting is a means of expressing good will toward others on a social occasion. It may take place at receptions, dinners, dining-ins or wetting down parties. Toasting originated with the English custom of flavoring wine with a piece of browned and spiced toast. In 1709 Sir Richard Steels wrote of a lady whose name was supposed to flavor a wine like spiced toast. Thus evolved the notion that the individual or institution honored with a toast would add flavor to the wine.
Today we honor individuals and/or institutions by raising our glasses in a salute while expressing good wishes and drinking to that salute. Etiquette calls for all to participate in a toast. Even nondrinkers should at at least raise the glass to their lips.
Those offering a toast, men or women, should stand, raise the glass in a salute while uttering the expression of good will. Meanwhile, the individual(s) being toasted should remain seated, nod in acknowledgment, and refrain from drinking to one’s own toast. After, they may stand, thank the others, and offer a toast in return.The one who initiates the toasting is the host at a very formal occasion, Mr. Vice/Madame Vice at a Dining-in, or any guest when the occasion is very informal. The subject of the toast is always based upon the type of occasion. General toasts would be “To your health,” or to “Success and happiness,” while special occasions such as weddings or birthdays would require toasts more specific in nature, such as “To Mary and John for a lifetime of happiness and love,” in the case of a wedding, or on a birthday, “May your next 25 years be as happy and as successful as your first 25 years.” [Read more…]