Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It's All In the Details: Champagne Toasting Flutes

Champagne glasses, or flutes, are a common detail at many formal weddings today. The champagne toast is traditionally made before the meal to honor the newlyweds and wish them many years of health and happiness. Led by the Best Man, Maid of Honor, Father of the Bride or all of these and sometimes more, all guests raise their glasses and wish the couple well, then take a drink simultaneously. The guests' glasses are often a simple flute design, with a stem to keep the champagne cool while being held, and a tall, narrow bowl to hold the bubbly stuff and show off the cool carbonation. However, the happy couple's flutes may be a little bit more fancy and are kept for many years as not only a memento of the day, but a usable set of special-occasion glasses for their home. 
Champagne flutes for the bride and groom (or bride & bride, or groom & groom!) can be found at many stores with wedding registries, including Macys, Bed Bath & Beyond, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, or may be spotted online on sites like Etsy or Pinterest. They may be traditional, formal, fun, beautiful and/or unique. They may be engraved or painted and may even match the Cake Knife & Server set! They are often given to the couple as a gift, and make a great gift for a shower or an engagement! A few companies that make beautiful champagne flute sets are Kate Spade, Waterford, Lenox and Swarovski, among others. Here are a few examples that were spotted online- many of which are customizable to the couple. 
Typically, the Champagne flute set is placed on the newlyweds' table, and filled at their place settings when they sit down or immediately before the toasts.  

The Etiquette of the Champagne Toast(s) as a Guest:
1. Wait until the 1st toast is completed to take even a sip of your champagne.
2. Hold your glass up at the appropriate moment, clink your glass with your neighbors' glasses (if appropriate) and drink your champagne when everyone else does. In some cultures, the clinking of glasses is believed to ward off evil spirits. That being said, other cultures find it inappropriate, so if you're not sure what to do, take your cues from others.  If you do not like champagne or if you do not drink, remember that it's rude not to drink to the bride and groom at this time-- In fact, it's akin to saying that you do not agree with the marriage (eek!). Don't be that person- Alternatively, you can either lift up another drink of your choice or you can just pretend to drink your champagne. (Note: Never toast with coffee, tea or water, as these are said to bring bad luck).
**Of course, it is against the law for anyone under the legal age to consume alcohol, so children and young adults could toast with a beverage of their choice or a Shirley Temple! 
3. Be sure to leave more in your glass for other toasts. There may be 1, 2 or more, so a small sip is appropriate until you know that you are nearing the last one.
4. After the final toast, finish your champagne so that your Server may clear your flute away.

Using your Manners: It should go without saying that when somebody is giving a toast (as well as when the Bride & Groom are having their first dance), it is inappropriate to talk or call out, unless they have asked you to do so as part of their toasting plan. 

...The Etiquette of the Champagne Toast(s) As a Toaster:
10 Tips for Toasting
The biggest one I see: Don't forget to ask everyone to lift their glasses toward the end of your toast! Without your prompting, they may not lift, or sip, or toast- and that was the whole goal of you getting up there in the first place!

The Etiquette of the Champagne Toast(s) As a Toastee: 
In some cultures, it's believed that you are not supposed to drink to your own health and happiness, so you (the Bride or Groom) do not have to take a sip when everybody else does. However, if you want to get up and thank your toasters and guests after the other toasts have finished, you may toast to everybody else and take a drink from your glass at that time!

Toasts are considered the final formal part of the day, bringing in the informal part of eating, drinking and dancing. So now it's time to party!!

The History of the Toast:
A toast is a ritual in which a drink is taken as an expression of honor and goodwill. Historically throughout time and across cultures, wine has been used for celebration and has signified vitality, love and a life of plenty. Multiple cultures share the idea that a common cup is an intimate mark of deep sharing. Many wedding ceremonies include the sharing of a cup between the bride and groom, and taking a drink together during the reception is common practice as well- although this ritual varies and the type of cup may change from one culture to another. See the Quaich in Irish Wedding Traditions or the Kiddush Cup in Jewish Wedding Traditions for a few unique examples. 
   Wedding Toasts date all the way back to the 6th century B.C. when the Greeks poured wine from a common pitcher at their gatherings. The host would drink from his glass first, proving that there was no poison in the wine, then the guests would drink.  The Romans picked up this ritual years later, making the toast a common act done as a gesture of good faith and to wish health and happiness to the guests attending the special occasion at hand. It has trickled down through the generations and is still common practice at many weddings and celebrations around the world today. 

Why Champagne?
   Champagne- a bubbly, light-colored wine- has been historically associated with luxury and European royalty. After the French Revolution, it became a part of the secular rituals that replaced formerly religious ones- thus one might 'christen a ship' or 'bless a marriage', for example, by using the 'holy water' of champagne. Therefore, it spread around France (as a slightly sweeter variation) and continued to grow in popularity in England (where they liked their champagne dry), being opened at weddings, baptisms and other religious events. Technology was developed for bottling and corking, and experimentation with carbonation and a little bit of sugar led to extra bubbles and an 'effervescence' that made it seem to sparkle. The sweet version became trendy in Paris among the wealthy in the 1700's (Think Marie Antoinette) and the expensive drink was viewed as a status symbol around Europe. Not only was it a novelty, but it was said to have positive effects on a woman's beauty and a man's wit!
   In the late 19th century, champagne became a worldwide drinking phenomenon. Today, it still commemorates joyous occasions, marking both the excitement and the sanctity of the moment, literally 'overflowing' in abundance and joy for the guests of honor and their loved ones.

For more, check out Why Do We Celebrate with Champagne? here
Kate Spade's "Grace Avenue" toasting flutes and cake knife and server set, featuring sweet silver bows as part of the design. 

A few matching sets of Champagne flutes and Cake Knife and Server Sets.

The Magic Words for Toasting:
Giving a toast at an upcoming wedding or event? Many cultures have a word of phrase that they commonly use when lifting their glasses. Most mean something like, "to your health", "to your happiness", "to life!" or "bottoms up". Consider incorporating one or more of these into your toast, and asking the other guests to join you as you wish aloud...
  • Albanian: "Gëzuar" (Enjoy)
  • Amharic language (Ethiopia): "Le'tenachin!" (To our health)
  • Arabic: "بصحتك" (be ṣaḥtak, For your health)
  • Armenian: "Կենաց" or "Կենացդ" (kenats/genats or kenatst/genatst, "To life" or "To your life")
  • Australian English: Cheers, mate! (To your happiness, my friend)
  • Basque: "Topa!" (Toast)
  • Belarusian: "Будзьма!" (budzma, May we live!)
  • Bosnian: "Nazdravlje" (For health) or "Živjeli" (Live!)
  • Bulgarian: "Наздраве" (nazdrave, To health)
  • Catalan: "Xinxin" (onomatopoeic for clinking of glasses) or "Salut" (Health)
  • Chinese, Mandarin: "干杯" (gānbēi, literally "Empty cup", similar to "bottoms up" in English)
  • Croatian: "Živjeli" (Live!)
  • Czech: "Na zdraví" (To health)
  • Danish: "Skål" (literally "bowl" - refers to older drinking vessels)
  • Dutch: "Proost" (from Latin prosit - May it be good (i.e., for you)), or "(op je) gezondheid" ((to your) health); in Belgium: schol (from Scandinavian) or santé (from the French).
  • English: "Cheers", "Skoal", "Bottom's up"
  • Esperanto: "Je via sano!" (To your health)
  • Estonian: "Terviseks" (For the health)
  • Filipino: "Mabuhay" (To life)
  • Finnish: "Kippis", or "Hölökyn kölökyn" (in Savonian dialects)
  • French: "Tchin Tchin" (onomatopoeic for clinking of glasses) or "Santé" (Health) or "cul sec" (literally "dry bottom", to drink the whole glass in one go)
  • Galician: "Saude" (Good health)
  • Georgian: "გაუმარჯოს!" (Gaumarjos!, Victory!)
  • German: "Prost", "Prosit" - from Latin prosit (May it be good (i.e., for you)) or "Zum Wohl" (To health)
  • Greek: "Εις υγείαν" (ees eegiyan), "στην υγειά σου/μας", "γειά" (For health) or "Εβίβα" (eviva, from Italian evviva, "Long life!")
  • Hebrew: "לחיים" ("L'Chayyim") (To life, traditional Jewish toast)
  • Hungarian: "Egészségünkre" (For our health), more commonly "Egészségedre" (ɛgeːʃːeːgɛdrɛ)(To your health!!) "Fenékig" (literally "To the bottom", similar to "bottom's up" in English)
  • Icelandic: "Skál" (literally bowl - refers to older drinking vessels)
  • Irish: "Sláinte" (Health)
  • Italian: "Cin Cin" (onomatopoeic for clinking of glasses) or "Salute" (Health)
  • Japanese: "乾杯" (kanpai, literally "Dry the glass", similar to "bottoms up" in English)
  • Korean: "건배" (gunbae, literally "Dry the glass", similar to "bottoms up" in English)
  • Latvian: "Priekā" (To joy)
  • Lithuanian: "Į sveikatą" (To health)
  • Macedonian: "На здравје" (na zdravje, To health)
  • Maltese: "Saħħa" (Health)
  • Manx Gaelic: "Sláinte" (Health)
  • Maori (NZ): "Mauri ora" (To life)
  • Marathi: "Chang Bhala" (May it be good)
  • Mexican Spanish: "Salud" (To health) or "Saludcita" (To health, diminutive)
  • Norwegian: "Skål" (literally bowl - refers to older drinking vessels)
  • Persian: "نوش" (Nūsh, from Middle Persian anosh, Immortality, or Persian verb nushidæn = "To drink")
  • Polish: "Na zdrowie" (To health)
  • Portuguese: "Tchim-Tchim" (onomatopoeic for clinking of glasses) or "Saúde" (Health)
  • Romanian: "Noroc" (Good luck) or "Sănătate" (Health)
  • Russian: "Ваше здоровье!" (Vashe zdorov'ye, For your health)
  • Scottish Gaelic: "Slàinte mhath" (Good health)
  • Serbian: "Nazdravlje" (For health) or "Živeli" (Live!)
  • Slovak: "Na zdravie" (To health)
  • Slovene: "Na zdravje" (To health)
  • Spanish/Castilian: "¡Chinchín!" (onomatopoeic for clinking of glasses) or "¡Salud!" (Health)
  • Swedish: "Skål" (literally bowl - refers to older drinking vessels); Gutår (Good year) - old fashioned, still used in formal settings
  • Swiss German: "Proscht" (as in German "Prost") or as diminutive form "Pröschtli"
  • Thai: "ชัยโย" (chai-yo!, literally Hurrah!) or "ชนแก้ว" (chon-kaew, literally Let us toast) or "หมดแก้ว" (mod-kaew, literally Bottoms up)
  • Turkish: "Şerefe" (To honor)
  • Ukrainian: "За здоров'я" or "Ваше здоров'я" (Za zdorovya, To health, or Vashe zdorovya, To your heath) or "Будьмо" (Budmo, Let us be)
  • Vietnamese: "Yô" ((Take) in)
  • Welsh: "iechyd Dda" (Good health)

By the Way...
Did you know that It's All in the Details is a series? You can check out other posts about the little details that make your day special here

Have you thought about incorporating traditions and rituals from your family's cultural heritage? Check out another Wediquette series, Across the Board. Click on the Weddings tab at the top of the page, then scroll down. Don't see what you're looking for? Leave a request and let me know! Maybe I'll write about it next! 

Wediquette is on Pinterest! Click here for lots of visual information and (p)inspiration! 

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you learned something new about Champagne flutes, Champagne toasts, and toasts in general! 

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