Have you been tapped to make the toast at a 90th birthday party? It’s time to prepare a memorable speech!
The perfect toast is one that celebrates the birthday celebrant’s unique qualities AND entertains the party guests.
Don’t get too stressed out about writing the toast, though. Read on to learn how to make a classy 90th birthday speech or toast.
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Prepare Before the Event
A 90th birthday is a milestone celebration, and the speech that you’re going to make should be prepared ahead of time.
The best way to start is to take a few moments to think about the guest of honor and his or her life. What is your relationship to the birthday man or woman – are you making a 90th birthday toast for your Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, other relative or friend?
Your relationship should be mentioned in the toast for the benefit of the guests who might not know it. How long you’ve known the birthday celebrant and the relationship will make a difference in the toast that you give.
What life lessons has the guest of honor taught you? Have they been your supporter in both good times and bad?
Now take a few minutes to reflect about the guest of honor. What are the first words or memories that come to your mind when you think of this person? What is the most interesting thing you can think of about this person? Write down his or her interests, passion, and hobbies.
For example, if I were to write a 90th birthday speech about my mom, I know that she loves her family, cruising, wine, the Denver Broncos, entertaining and baking. I would want to incorporate some of these passions and our shared experiences into my toast.
It’s a great idea to write your toast (at least the outline) on note cards that you can take with you to the party. They’ll make a handy reference in case you’re a bit nervous while making the speech!
How Long Should the Toast Be?
Short and sweet! You want to take enough time to honor and celebrate the guest of honor, but you don’t want to steal the spotlight in any way. Remember, it’s all about them!
As a general rule, keep your speech well under 5 minutes. Two or three minutes is probably about right. Time yourself when you’re practicing to make sure that it’s not too long.
What Should You Talk About?
You’ll want to start your speech by thanking the guests for coming, as well as thank the hosts for organizing the celebration. Try to add a brief, heart-felt compliment to the host or hostess about something especially wonderful at the party (for example, the food, cake, or decorations).
Does everyone at the party know what your relationship is with the birthday celebrant? If not, you’ll want to add a sentence of two explaining that and perhaps mentioning how long you’ve known the birthday man or woman.
Since this is celebrating a 90th birthday, you might want to talk a little bit about how much life has changed in all those years. One or two humorous or interesting facts about the cost of living or historical trivia is enough, though…you’re not meant to be giving a history lecture! If your speech is running long, you could skip this.
Most of your speech should be about the guest of honor. Personal anecdotes are usually the most meaningful and the most enjoyable to both the party guests and the guest of honor. Tell one or two brief stories that highlight the toastee’s passions and characters.
Use your speech to highlight some of the guest of honor’s achievements. Have they had a career, volunteered, raised a family, travelled? Try to think about what the honoree would most want to be remembered for.
Conclude your speech by congratulating the celebrant on reaching their 90th birthday. You may want to add a humorous or meaningful 90th birthday quote or wish.
End your speech by asking everyone to raise their glass and toast the the honoree’s birthday.
Know Your Audience
Hopefully you’ll know ahead of time who will be attending the celebration. If this is a gathering of family members and close friends who all know the birthday celebrant well, you could bring up a few inside jokes or shared history that everyone will “get”.
If the audience is a larger gathering that includes more casual acquaintances, the inside references or jokes won’t go over as well.
Do’s and Don’ts When Making a 90th Birthday Toast
- Do practice your toast before the event. Try to get someone to critique your speech before the party.
- Do keep it short. Aim for 2-3 minutes.
- Don’t embarrass anyone, especially the honoree. This milestone birthday celebration is meant to be a fun and happy event for everyone! If you feel doubtful about anything in your speech, leave it out.
- Don’t be shy about being sentimental, but don’t become a blubbering mess up there. A 90th birthday is a sentimental occasion; it’s perfectly find for guests to shed a few sentimental tears.
- Don’t be raunchy or crude in any way. Keep your toast clean!
- Don’t have more than one drink before you give your toast. Sloppy and slurry is not a good look for anyone!
At the Party Itself
The hard work is over – you’re written your toast, practiced it and know what you’re actually going to say. Here’s how to actually give the toast when you’re at the party.
- The best time to give the toast is usually just before cutting the cake or at the beginning or ending of the meal. Talk this over with the host before the event.
- Get a clean glass before you make the toast, so that no one is distracted or horrified by fingerprint marks or lipstick stains.
- Don’t hold the glass while you’re actually speaking. You might accidentally slosh if you gesture while you’re speaking. Put the glass on the table within easy reach.
- When it’s time for you to give your toast, get everyone’s attention by loudly asking to say a few words or by dinging a knife on a drinking glass.
- If you’re using note cards, don’t hold them directly in front of your face. Use the note cards as a reference; don’t read word for word.
- Speak loudly and clearly. Don’t rush through the speech.
- At the very end, pick your glass up and invite everyone to join you in toasting in honor of the 90th birthday.
Congratulations! Your speech was successful…now you can enjoy the rest of the party!