The How To Win Over Your Wedding Guests OR What Wedding Guests Really Pay Attention To

The How To Win Over Your Guest OR What Wedding Guests Really Pay Attention To:

It’s your wedding, keep telling yourself that. And, it’s supposed to be your way,  but we’re not sugar-coating this, we’ve got the facts, weighed in the priorities and here they are to help you realign your budget accordingly.   Ready?  Here we go…

We realize the main purpose of weddings is to celebrate your nuptials, but time and time again we see plans changed, dreams modified to fit the guests. And that’s usually not coming cheap. We spend tens of thousands of dollars on flowers, decor, and a multi-course meal in order to give our guests an enjoyable experience—but how much of it do they really care about?

This is the question that a recent survey by WeddingWire asked and  we’ve got the answers for you!  Finally you can call your florist and choose a more popular flower with no points lost, just as easy on the eyes and easier on the checkbook.  Why?  Because when it comes to your big, special day, a whopping 60 percent of those surveyed said they pay the most attention to … wait for it … the bride’s dress during the ceremony.  Not the flowers.

So, “wow, that dress looks great on you” is number one! So choose flowers in season, no need to ship in that Corpse Flower from Indonesia or the Queen of the Night, Kadupul flower from Sri Lanka for your bouquet! Ask your florist for several options, look alikes, in your colors or color spray them. Those special, exotic flowers are actually at the bottom of the list and the least noticeable decor items at the reception. Number One at the reception, as they say, put your money where your mouth is, is your food.  You say you don’t care what your guests say? Alright then, for you,  we’ve included below a list of the Rarest Flowers in the World AND the Most Expensive Flowers in the World. We still say, “it’s your wedding, your way!”

Now back to your new list:  after your wedding dress, your entrance should be your next focus according to guests and then do not write those vows in a hurry or in a rush because that’s the third most popular item guests are there for and they’re going to listen to every word of it!  Third on the what guests want is of course the wedding itself.

Now we’ll touch on pet peeves according to guests and how to avoid them. I personally have a few others we go over with our couples.  Topping the pet peeves, no it’s not pets!  You know what’s coming: drunk people (hire a drink officer and tell them how you want it handled), next guests don’t want to be alone, they want to know other guests (review your single guests list, the plus one can solve this), then wrapping it up – you know this one too, it’s bad music or a DJ who thinks more of themselves than others. Get referrals, listen to the band, check on those referrals. I have two personal pet peeves for any reception, one is lines waiting for a drink at your bar.  Pick a signature wedding cocktail and have them on the bar for pickup, design an ice station with bottles and cans for pickup, get a good bartender who knows the drinks, not the neighbor next door or Aunt Lucy – we could be combining bad bartender with drunk guest all in one here! Second, more then adequate bathroom facilities, again, no lines, some guests just don’t have the holding pattern like a plane.  Be considerate and be sure supplies are more then adequate as well.

* Rarest Flowers in the World:
The ghost orchid, named due to its bizarre appearance, is one of the rarest flowers in the world.
Yellow And Purple Lady Slipper
Fire Lily
Middlemist Red
Franklin Tree Flower
Chocolate Cosmos
Jade Vine
Kadupul Flower
Corpse Flower – one of the most endangered in the world

* Seven of the Most Expensive Flowers in the World:
Kadupul flower: Priceless
Juliet Rose: £10 million
Shenzhen Nongke Orchid: £160,000
Orchids, lilies, moonflowers and a 100-year-old ficus: £80,000
Gold of Kinabalu Orchid: £3,800
Tulips: £3,600. …
Saffron crocus: £760-950 per pound

Thanks Wedding Wire for giving us some ideas on how to decrease guest attendance or beat out your sister’s wedding last year!

PJ, Wedding Road Warrior & Planner

#destinationweddingstravel #allweddingsallowed #allcouplesallowed #allbridesallowed #destinationdivaztravel #allgroupsallowed #thawyourbuns #givememyhygge #specialeventsbyPJ #wildsidedestinations



Vacations are Good For Business

It’s not just a rumour, vacations are good for business. Sure, if you’re lucky you can unplug on vacation, but do you worry about the sunami of emails waiting for you when you come home? We all need to not only increase our use of vacations, but we need to increase the the quality of vacation time. Immunize yourself against a toxic negative attitude. Set your out-of-office auto-reply past your return date, not to the first day you get home. Take a day to catch up, get organized, unpack. Don’t erode your vacation’s attitude and benefits the first day home and in the office.

You are at risk, stop being selfish, you deserve the benefits from your vacation from reaction time, creativity, and engagement. Foregoing that vacation in terms of health and spirit means impulsiveness, poor concentration, and negativity. You know this person, too, right?

Give your brain time to unpack, change gears a little at a time, hold on to that low blood pressure as long as possible. Use creative scheduling with breaks between to get up, roam, put off those extra long and brain sucking meetings. Bring a reminder of your vacation to work and put it on your desk or in plain view It might be a photo, shell, desk jellyfish paperweight, signature resort baseball cap, a talisman to reinforce your new memories and for other’s to comment on. Create the chance to share your vacation experiences in conversations.

Share your choice to take vacation in discussions with others who may have missed vacation. Encourage others you work with to take a vacation. Co-workers taking vacation time is a direct benefit to you as well. Noticed someone’s never on vacation, never out of the office? You know who I’m talking about. They’re on automatic suffer mode for the company. Your vacation is good for business and good for life. Vacations are an opportunity to add adrenalin, romance and creativity to your performance and well-being.

What’s your vacation balance? Are you a vacation violator? I dare you to pick up the phone and start planning a disconnected vacation, be honest about it.  Are their any stamps in your passport? What? You don’t have a passport? Step one: get your license to be free and apply for a passport so you can take the vacation, make changes in your lifestyle that include improving your performance, your relationships, your business!  After all, research has shown that vacations planned months in advance are restorative vs the stress of vacations booked last minute.

Vacations are good for you, your friends, your family, your team, your employees, the guy next door, the coworker in the next booth, the bartender, the cashier, your special group, everyone you come into contact with, speak to and have an impact or encounter with. You have a responsibility to reverse this disturbing trend, to shout out “I deserve my vacation!” To boldly go where many men/women only talk about going … on a real vacation! Preparing for vacation with a professional travel planner can be smooth and seamless, don’t stress yourself out trying to do it alone, don’t be defeated before you even pack.

WANTED: Vacation Dreamers, Kick-Butt Fun Travelers, Romantic Couples, Overworked  and Underloved Travelers, Adrenalin-Missing Travelers, License To Be Free Travelers, Real Vacation Travelers, Families  Who Need To Get Away, BFF’s, MIA Travelers (Missing In Action)

Pamela (PJ) Ott, Road Warrior, a little on the wild side, always on your side

7-Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Puerto Vallarta Vacations

Seven Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Visit to Puerto Vallarta Vacation!

From the moment you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll feel the difference! Something about the history, geography, culture, food and the people make a vacation here unique. From Luxury, All-Inclusive, boutique to mid-range places to stay. Mexico gives everyone something to fit their lifestyle, travel dreams, new experiences and comfort zone.

1. Have you heard of the Puebla Magico program? It means Magical Towns and they have 111 designated venues which meet the 150 item checklist dictated by the Ministry of Tourism. Things like:
. population between 20,000 and 150,000
. within two hours (200km) from a major tourism city
. citizens in the town know of there Magico designation
. architecture and history of Mexico reflect in the buildings
. keep and maintain traditions and festivities of the town
. maintain local handicrafts and significant production
. keep the traditional gastronomy of the region (yum, yum)
. and the list goes on!

2. Iconic Experiences
With the emphasis on connecting with the destination and culture, towns, cities and the 31 states, Puerto Vallarta doesn’t qualified as Magico, it’s a city, BUT surrounded by 7 Magical Towns that enhance your Vallarta experience! Jalisco, the state promotes 3 icons: Tequila (national drink, and town of Tequila), Charro (the horsemen, with Charro festivals/rodeos in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta and Mariachi (Western Mexico music).  TIP: Take the Jose Cuervo Train Experience to Tequila – unforgettable!

3. Cruisers to Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Magico at Terminal One with a Hacienda Tequila interactive production related to Tequila, Mining and Gastronomy, shopping, the largest aquarium in Latin America.  Will be open to all! Did you know that for 2017, some 145-150 cruise ships will dock for their 12-hour stop in Puerto Vallarta! (sailings out of LAX, 7-days)

4. “walking in my shoes”
“Walking in my shoes” means friendly visitors and conversations!  A walkable destination with the Malecon downtown’s oceanside boardwalk, a hive of activity day and night. Lined streets of shops, side-walk restaurants, bars and hotels and near the Los Puertos pier and beach stroll the Romantic Zone, Old Town. From native Huichol beading techniques at indigenous gallery Colectiva to ceviche dishes at La Cerveceria Union or seven four-ounce glasses of artesanal beer at Los Muertos Brewing.

5. Special Interest Hobbies and Travel
Puerto Vallarta is for special interest travel. Botanical gardens, a botonist, nature and photographer’s dream come true. Bird watching 200+species, adventure, adrenaline, ziplining, motorcycling, jeep safari, snorkeling, scuba, beaches, horseback riding, hiking, history, culture, architecture, art, golf, fishing, spas, oh my!

6. Creative Fresh Food
Enjoying the food in Puerto Vallarta includes fresh ingredients and star chefs, you can literally eat your way through Puerto Vallarta! See the tortilla’s made at the Tortilla Factory, eat stuffed avocado, tortilla soup, Aguachile Shrimp, ceviche, Mole Verde, Mussels Dona Concha, Veracruz-style Plantain Empanadas.  Stop in at Gaby’s for the ambiance!

7. Romance and Celebrations
Puerto Vallarta with cobblestone streets, colorful sunsets, dinner cruises and sail and show at Las Caletas (a great destination wedding or vow renewal option), romantic sunset cruises, couples’ massages, complimentary all-inclusive weddings, romantic beach dinners, honeymoon packages. We’ll arrange your Puerto Vallarta Proposal and you can put a ring on it then do some Tequila tasting!

Pamela (PJ) Ott, Travel & Wedding Planner, Road Warrior

-w/exerpts fr/Steve Gillick

Advice For Picking Your First Wedding Dance Song(s)

Advice for picking your Wedding First Dance Song!

You’ve enlisted a destination wedding expert recommended in The Official 2015-2016 Destination Weddings and Honeymoon Directory.  She’s confirmed your wedding dates and travel dates after you hopped around comparing destinations and then resorts. Your dream wedding is taking shape now with coordination being handled, guests confirmed with great group bonuses and you’re getting enough free rooms for everyone that’s coming to almost cover the cost of your room! Then, Ms. Pamela (PJ) asks you, “have you chosen your first dance song?”  … and your mind goes blank

This one task has an opinion from everyone.  Honestly, this is a very intimate, soul searching task for many.  Some songs are worn out, there are classics, there are romantic first dance songs.  Here’s my donation to all the couples who are engaged, even though they haven’t called me to do their wedding and honeymoon planning, YET. And don’t listen to those timelines that leave the honeymoon til a few months before the wedding, you’ll be settling for leftovers on what air and hotels are even available. ( Another priceless tip since I’m sure you’ll be calling for destination wedding expertise any day now, 503-630-5570.) Now, back to the task at hand, help is on the way.  Here is what I have on the subject to help, laugh about, or cry about:

. “the best 100 list”
. “50 most popular wedding first dance songs according to Huffington Post”
“50 classic first dance songs” from The Knot
. a “best 75 list”
. we found “18 first dance songs that haven’t been overdone,” THEN
. “80 first dance songs you haven’t heard of yet” OR
. “first dance songs country”
. “modern first dance songs”
. “unique first dance songs”
. “top 25 first dance wedding songs on YouTube”
, we found “Bride and Groom Perform Magic Trick during first dance video”
. “first dance songs that aren’t cheesy”
. “first dance songs that haven’t been done to death”
, “16 romantic songs that are actually cool”
. “first dance songs for your wedding that won’t make you cringe”
“10 untraditional wedding songs for the untraditional bride”
“20 best rock wedding first dance songs”

As I am quite complete on advice, for a balance, I will also refer to the following – we suggest one or more glasses of wine with this.
. “15 wedding songs to skip – wedding DO NOT play list” by the Knot
. “top 20 inappropriate wedding songs – never play these at a reception”
. “songs to not play at a wedding – top 53 song list 2017”
. “23 songs you need to drop from your wedding playlist”

Now I know there are ups and downs to planning a wedding and honestly, a destination wedding is the way to go for saving money, time and finding out who your friends really are! (I know this to be true) All-inclusive for your guests includes unlimited consumption of choice beverages in celebrating your big day so no additional costs. Yyour music choices you choose the essence of your celebration. It’s your choice, sometimes a battle of the minds. My personal recommendation is:  have a kick butt wedding and reception starting with “15 kick-ass songs for brides bopping,” or “in it for the long haul: 20 kickass songs about marriage!” It’s your wedding, it’s your style, it’s your music. Because establishing and renewing a relationship of trust in your destination wedding planning is our passion whether classical, romantic, kick butt or combination of!

WANTED: Kick-Butt Romantic and Fun Couples for Destination Weddings

Pamela (PJ) Ott
a little on the wild side, always on your side


Meet My Travel Friend: UNESCO!

I want to introduce you to a travel friend of mine: UNESCO. Many of you see SIX letters, but do you know who my friend UNESCO is? I want to introduce you to my friend, UNESCO’s family. You might know them by a different name, you might have been to their house, you might have taken photos on a trip with a group or a special someone.

You ask “who is this friend of yours that has slipped their way into my personal travel, my celebrations, my dance of life?” That last name does not ring a bell, they were not on my wedding guest list, I never saw them at the pool or the bar?

My UNESCO friend and family have weezled their way into millions of travelers vacations, family reunions, destination weddings and honeymoons, can you believe it? This takes photo-bomb to a Guinnes World of Records, I’d say. I’m pretty sure you’ve met someone in their family, maybe several have interrupted your travel plans, even taken you off the beaten path, offered you the long road home and detours from your original plans. Do you know who they are?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a huge family, Whoever heard of a family with 195 members and they live in 195 different countries?
I’m not kidding, talk about connections and friends in lots of places! The thing that is so amazing is what all those family members do for a living. They’re focused on five major agendas: education, natural sciences, social & human sciences, culture and communication & information.  Let me translate that: a friend to the earth, protector of cultures, protector of children, poverty and world literacy, sustainable developments and efforts, collaboration among countries for a better world and quality education.  The fostering of cultural peace and diversity.  They add the oooh and aahhh to your travel experiences and I bet you didn’t even know it! Think of the stories you tell your children, family and friends. They are what you travel to see, why you choose an island or country, the cultural and national world heritages and sites you take those Kodak moment photos with.  Let us add meaning to your travel getaways by planning and managing your experiences include things to see and do, ways to make a difference.  From a resolution in 1921, all travelers allowed!

Imagine, your getaway, your travel can contribute to peace, it can strengthen world-wide collaboration and human rights.  Did you ever consider your travel experience is actually increasing awareness for cultures, respect, justice and human rights?  You can be an ambassador of hope, in travel, where ever you go!  Here’s a few famous  folks, you might know, who’ve stood up and joined the UNESCO family:

  • Miguel Bose (Panamanian musician)
  • Laura Bush (former American first lady and literacy advocate)
  • Pierre Cardin (French fashion designer)
  • Celine Dion (Canadian singer)
  • Roger Federer (Swiss tennis player)
  • Angelina Jolie (American actress)
  • Nelson Mandela (former South African president and human rights activist)
  • Pele (Brazilian soccer player)
  • Michael Schumacher (German racing driver)

You can be a volunteer traveler, a way to explore the world in a meaninful way.  Leave more than you take

Respectfully compassionate about the people and nature of the world,  I dare you to click here:

Pamela (PJ) Ott, Destination and Travel Planning Expert

Hawaii Parks and Family Travel

It’s true, lounging on one of Hawaii’s beautiful beaches may be an ideal family vacation for some, but to really appreciate the different islands and their flavors, to keep everyone in the family interested and distracted, you can count on exploring the natural beauty of the Islands.

That means trails, gardens, national and state parks, scenic locations and sites found all over the islands. We know different travelers and different ages want different experiences. Connecting with nature above and beyond the beach makes Hawaii a great family travel destination. We know because we’ve done all different combinations of islands during 7 and 8 day, more or less getaways and no two islands are the same. And you can’t see everything on an island in one visit. Which is good because no two travelers are the same or have the same interests.

It’s a perfect destination when we infuse your hobbies, interests and activities within your travel plans. It’s not your neighbors vacation, not the mailman’s vacation, not your fellow office employees vacation. It’s about you, wanting to try something you haven’t tried, maybe rejuvenating, building sandcastles, learning to surf as a family, getting your hands on fresh pineapple and doing the hula, Here’s a few tips we’d like to share that you might have not known about, might have heard of, had forgotten or not though of. It might help you choose what island(s) will be your and members of your family’s perfect flavours!

If you’re thinking of doing a stay on Maui, you’ll need a vehicle to get around. Add Haleakala National Park to a day off the beach, how many days can you get sunburned anyway? We all know words fall short on enlightenment, the rebirth of a sunrise every morning and this is a bragging rights recommendation. The summit of Haleakala volcano, by drive ortake the family for the bike ride down from the summit. They’ll dress you warm and you peel off the clothes as is warms up going down. Enjoy the sites, you don’t have to do a 3am wakeup call for Tours to the sunrise-but you’ll never stop talking about it. Have you made it to the town of Hana? There’s more just beyond Hana, head to the town of Kipahulu for ocean vistas, but also culture sites and hiking trails through bamboo forests and awe-inspiring waterfalls. Toss a bag in the car with swimsuits and be prepared to take a dip almost anywhere on Maui! The drive down S. Kihei road has lots to see including beach stops like Kamaole Beach Park III where you can stop and snorkel on site. Up north in the Kaanapali area are the long stretches of beach. Different strokes for different folks.

With respect, Oahu is an island you should include. We say make it the second or third island and head straight back to the mainland from there. No car needed is great, the parking rates are outrageous, take the bus to explore, we’ll do your transfers to and from the airport. There’s Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head for a family hike, head up to the North Shore for a different Oahu with shaved ice, country markets, laid back and surfer beaches. Our top recommendation with everything going on in the world today, experience the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Rich in education and experiences of World War II’s Pacific War, stories and the kids will experience being on a battle ship. The collection of historic sites, museums, stories and displays are almost unbelievable and there are educational programs there, too. Reserve Passports to Pearl Harbor for everyone and take the tour to experience the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Battleship Missouri Memorial, and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. Watch a flick or two about Pearl Harbor before you go, here’s 29 Best World War II Movies: And here’s 10 Popular Pearl Harbor films, ranked worst to best:

You can brag about being on an island that is getting bigger while you were on it! The island of Hawaii offers you an active volcano hike! Get close to the Kilauea Lava flow for a once-in-a-lifetime family experience. What’s going on with the volcano at this very minute? Check it out: Did you know there are Lava Boat Tours? Imagine lava meeting ocean. With 333,086 acres of active volcanoes, craters, lava tubes, trails and rainforests, this park will keep everyone excited and entertained for days if you want to, definitely hours and we’ve got a few options for spending the night nearby. Stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center then take on Crater Rim Drive. This drive gets you the best views of the active summit caldera of Kilauea volcano and has scenic stops and trails along the way. The possibilities at the park are almost endless, with itineraries depending on how much time you have to explore. An easy adventure for your family that we suggest is the short tropical rainforest hike to Akaka Falls State Park. It’s easy hiking with views of two of the island’s most exquisite waterfalls. Akaka Falls (442 feet) and Kahuna Falls (100 feet) another million dollar backdrop view for fantastic family photos.

Add The Garden Island, Kauai as part of your Hawaii vacation and there’s the option of a “no hike,” but want those million dollar views at Kokee State Park. Another island that requires a vehicle (we’ll take care of that for you.) The Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon is a drive with roadside lookout stops. Bring a picnic basket for stops along Waimea Canyon Drive and Kokee Road. To name a few: Waimea Canyon Lookout, Puu Hinahina Lookout and Kalalau Lookout. The magnificent views are for the whole family and better yet, you can preplan making a stop at Kokee Natural History Museum to explore exhibits and shop for Kauai-made items.

Everyone has a different definition of the “Aloha Spirit” and there’s no better way to see and feel it than to do an island combo and infuse your taste and style.  Ask PJ about Destination Wedding planning in Hawaii, say “I Do” on one island and honeymoon on another!

Tell us about your tastes and style when you travel and see where that perfect destination or island may be!  Expressly for the love of Hawaii!

Ms. Pamela (PJ) Ott, Hawaii Island Expert

Coming: Hawaii Loves Destination Weddings

52 WAYS To Make A Toast, Part I

Ever wondered when you make a toast, what someone else would say in your shoes or if  you were somewhere else?  Really, would you know what to say, what to do and how to do it?  We decided to compare and search out some different toasting customs. Whether it’s a destination wedding,  New Year’s coming up, a dinner with new friends, a toast to a great business relationship.  Take a look at a few of these to spice up your tradition or better yet, for a special occasion, have several guests be responsible for adding some international toasts to your affair!

Get that bottle of champagne or sparkling wine on ice and read on!


A FEW HOUSEKEEPING NOTES: 1) learn and practice the “Bell to Bell” technique for toasting. The goal is to aim your wine glass bell (the big round part in the middle) to the bell of your partner’s wine glass.  On contact expect a long sustained “ding!” which critics of toasting will look around to see who knows how to truly grasp a toast and party. 2) toasts are not appropriate in Muslin societies, alcohol is forbidden and you don’t ask for it, 3) toasts are not common in Egypt.  4) there are no toasts in Pakastan,  5) NOTE OUR TIPS and ALERTS, they are important.  Now then, we’ll proceed then you may choose your favorite country to toast with!

Are you in Africa? Your toast should honor those around you, saying something simple that expands to include all guests, you are “extending your best wishes to …” If you are in South Africa, you raise your glasses and say “Cheers!” or, keeping it casual you may clink your glasses and say “Chin Chin.”

Are you in China? The first toast comes from the host. If its directed to you, your next move is to toast to your host. During the meal, toasting continues, be sure to touch below the rim showing respect and after the first glasses touch, tapping on the table for the following toasts along with “gan bei” or bottoms up and “kai Pay” – my favorite, drain your glass! It can be beer, wine or including business etiqette, Chinese white liquors. If you find three glasses when you sit that include a wine glass, a shot glass and other, use the third glass for your choice of drink and toast. The shot glass has a designation for ‘maotai or ‘wu-liang ye,’ a special liquor.  It is acceptable to toast with a soft drink, glass of juice, or mineral water. OUR  TIP: if you’re a ‘lou wai’ – foreigner, eat something beforehand in case your Chinese hosts test you with their alcohol ‘er gua toe’ [can you say airline fuel-clear, alcohol, potent!]

If you are in India, business meals with drinks served, your host may toast with a ‘cheers’ but toasting is not a normal custom.

If you are in Indonesia, about 90% are Muslins so alcohol won’t be served. But a host with Chinese Heritage may serve alcohol, but there’s no toasting tradition.

If you are in the Phillipines, formal toasts include a toast to Long Life, “Mabuhay!”

If you are in Japan, toasts are the start and finish of parties, drinking and dining gatherings. Usually the host handles this and there’s no obligation to toast in return. The first toast may be ‘Cheers’ or in Japanese ‘kampai’ and the honors go to the most senior hosting person.

If you are in Malaysia, toasts are allowed only if you are with Chinese or Indian hosts, then ‘Yam Sing’ may be said and everyone drinks at the same time.

If you are in Singapore, just toast with a ‘Cheers’.  Also ‘Yum seng’ is a Chinese toast you can learn which – another of my favorites, means “Finish drinking!” (my favorite as it means about the same as the “Finish drinking” toast!) Again, there’s no toasting tradition or protocol.

If you are in South Korea: “gonbae,” is your word which means “cheers!” If you hear the toast “wonshot” (one shot-just like it sounds), please empty your glasses in one drink!  Formal toasts usually come from the host and it’s good to offer to pay the bill, even though the host will usually decline the offer.  OUR  TIP ONE: use your right hand when you raise your glass. Bonus points: show extra respect toward the toaster and put your left hand under your right arm as though supporting it.  OUR TIP TWO: the minute your glass is drained, it is a cue to your host that you want a ‘refill.’  We love this show of respect and refill notion!

If you are in Taiwan, toasts usually go to an individual.  If you are the visitor, you may be toasted by every person at the table!  Again, right hand holds the glass with left hand supporting it, OUR TIP:  Hold your glass up and return it to the raised position after drinking.

If you are in Thailand, your popular toast is simply ‘Good Luck!’ or in Thai ‘Chai Yo!’

If you are in Vietnam, an occasion may begin with a toast of wine or champagne then finish with tea or coffee. “To your health!” is a typical toast. Allow the Vietnamese host to make this toast.  Also appropriate is that the highest-ranking Vietnamese at the table makes the toast even if the host for the evening is a foreign visitor.

If you are in Australia, a ‘Cheers!’ toast is popular and you should return the favor.

If you are in New Zealand, people like to wish each other good health, toasts are informal and to toast to a good business meeting or to imply that the All Blacks (the national rugby team) will win at their next outing.

If you are in the Dominican Republic toast “Salud,” is a common toast and means “health”

If you are in Puerto Rico, U.S., hosts usually offer a toast to the visitor at the first and last meal. Smile and stand with the others after the toast.

If you are in Belarus, please be gracious, learn a few toasts.  “Na zdo ro vie” (to your health) and an ancient Polish toast, “sto-lyat” (a hundred years) are worthy!

If you are in Czechoslavakia, a common toast is “Na zdravi!”(to your health), followed by each person clicking their glasses with everyone at the table. OUR  TIP:  make eye contact with each person you click glasses with, or you will be considered rude.

If you are in Slovak, the toast is “Na zdravie!”

If you are in Hungary and dining, men pour the wine.  OUR ALERT: it is considered unfeminine for women to pour wine. When toasting, make eye contact, raise your glass up to eye level, say “Egészségére!” (for your health), take a drink, make eye contact again, and then place the glass back down on the table. Usually the guest of honor proposes the first toast which generally salutes the health of the individuals present. At the end of the meal, someone toasts the hosts in appreciation of their hospitality. An empty glass is immediately refilled so if you do not want more to drink, leave your glass ½ full. BEER DRINKERS ALERT: never clink glasses if drinking beer.

If you are in Poland, you can expect frequent toasting throughout the meal. The host offers the first toast. OUR TIP ONE: Do not begin drinking until your host has proposed a toast to everyone at the table. If your host stands when proposing a toast, so should you. Also, toasts are only made with hard liquor (generally vodka). You should reciprocate with your own toast later in the meal. OUR TIP TWO: If you propose a toast it is important to maintain eye contact, also toast your hosts to the success of the business venture.  A safe, common toast is “Na zdrowia,” pronounced nah ZDRO-vee-ah (To your health). Expect small glasses so you can swallow in one gulp.

If you are in Russia, begin eating only after someone makes a toast. ALERT: even if there’s no alcohol on the table-nearly impossible- trust us, toasting is a very important part of dining. Toasting is common, the host starts and guests reply.   DO NOT drink til the first toast is offered.  Russians like to clink their glasses together after the toast. DO NOT clink your glass if your beverage is non-alcoholic. Not drinking in Russia is a huge handicap. It is the means of all communications and getting things done. You will have trouble winning trust if you do not get drunk with your hosts. It is considered the means of breaking down barriors and getting to know the real you.  Only the most Westernized circles is this compromised). It is unacceptable to refuse to drink unless you give a plausible excuse (health or religious reasons).  OUR TIP ONE: you may smile and pretend that you are drinking, to show you accept the toast and respect those around you.  OUR TIP TWO:  feel like you’re getting intoxicated? Avoid signing anything!

If you are in the Ukraine, frequent toasts add to a meal and everyone at the table will be expected to propose at least one toast during the meal. The first toast is always from the host, usually to everyone’s health (bud-mo!). The second toast usually welcomes the guest or guests of honor,  the third toast is the responsibilty of the guest. Appropriate toasts include: za vas! (here’s to you) and za-ho-spo-da-riv! (here’s to our hosts). OUR TIP: Don’t clink glasses during a toast if your beverage is nonalcoholic.

If you are in Austria,  the host of the meal or event will traditionally initiate the event with a toast. No one should raise a glass. The host will lift his or her glass, making eye contact with the most senior guest and say ‘Prost!’ The guest of honor should reply with a toast of thanks at the end of the meal or event.

If you are in Belgium, wait to see if the host toasts before lifting and drinking.  A guest of honor can also give a toast. Women may offer a toast and it’s polite to stand for a toast.  The Flemish raise glasses twice during a toast. The glass is initially raised during the toast and then at the completion of the toast. When you raise your glass, say “Sante” and to the host or person who buys the drinks.

If you are in the Netherlands, the host gives the first toast! An honored guest should return the toast later in the meal.  You can use the word ‘proost’ for cheers and look people in the eyes when you clink. If you’re in a small group, clinking glasses is fine, but not necessary. Proost is for beer and softdrinks.  Winer’s may say French Sante’ or just a friendly exchange of glances during a rise of the glass which is more important.  Feel free to repeat!

If you are in Finland, the host will usually propose a toast to the visitors and to the business relationship. This should be reciprocated with a toast led by the leader of the visiting group. After that, there is no particular protocol, although speeches might be made and further toasts offered.

If you are in France or want a french toast, “a vote santé” (to your health) or “Santé!” or “Tchin” (cheers) are usual toasts, glasses are usually raised and may be clinked before the first sip .

If you are in Germany, the host gives the first toast. An honored guest should return the toast later in the meal. The most common toast with wine is ‘Zum Wohl!’ (‘good health’), with beer is ‘Prost!’ (‘good health’).  OUR TIP ONE:  always touch all the glasses you can reach at your table when someone makes a toast. OUR TIP TWO: Making a toast is important and requires you to maintain direct eye contact from the time the glass is raised, until it is placed back on the table. If in a crowd being toasted, make eye contact with each individual around the table as you make the toast. This rule is really important to remember as you move west to east through Germany.

If you are in Greece, the host gives the first toast and an honored guest should return the toast later in the meal. A common toast is “stinygiasou” meaning ‘to your health’ in informal situations and “eis igían sas” at formal functions. Also “ya mas” meaning “to our health.” Include making a toast to your hosts to a successful business relationship.

If you are in Ireland, toasts are usually reserved for occasions among family or friends, weddings and birthdays, but you may expect an informal toast at a business meal. If you make a toast, keep it short.

If you are in Italy, the host gives the first toast! An honored guest  should return the toast later in the meal. Women may offer a toast, “Salute!” (to your health) is a common toast, or,  more informally, “cin-cin.”

If you are in Norway, expect the host to make a small speech then offer the first toast. Though not expected, it is appreciated if you toasted your host, especially if you are invited to a private home. Usually during a dinner party, there are many toasts throughout the evening and a large dinner party means speeches will take place throughout the evening. You will usually stand to make a toast.  On these occasions, the person seated to the left of the host will make a takk for maten (thank you for the food) speech.  OUR TIP:  If you find yourself seated to the left of the host in this situation, it is unlikely that they will expect you to know that you should make a toast to thank them for the food.  If it’s a business dinner, there may not be constant toasting. Use the Norwegian word “skol” for cheers.  FORMAL TIP: in a formal toast, look into the eyes of the person being toasted, give a slight nod, then ‘sal Skal.’  Before putting your glass down, meet the other person’s eyes and nod.  Women may offer toasts.  OUR TIP TWO:  Toasts are made with alcoholic beverages, NOT beer. When someone is being toasted, raise your glass, look at the person, take a sip, look at the person again, then return the glass to the table.  OUR TIP THREE: Women MUST put down their glasses first after a toast.

If you are in Portugal people usually toast to health, “Saude!” (pronounced sah-ood), or just say “Tchin tchin.”

If you are in Spain, the host gives the first toast, then honored guests should return the toast later in the meal.  A typical toast is “Salud,” (good health).  A woman can make a toast.

If you are in Sweden, a usual toast is ‘ skål’, pronounced ‘skoal.’  TIP ONE:  Do not consume your drink until the host or hostess has said ‘ skål ‘; only then, take your glass and raise it.  Always wait for the host to say ‘welcome’ before you sip your wine. A welcome toast will always be said with the wine, NOT with the aperitif.  Wait for the host or hostess to make the first toast; after that, you can propose one.  Maintain direct eye contact from the moment the glass is raised to the moment it is placed back down on the table. If many people are being toasted, make eye contact with each individual as you make the toast.   TIP TWO:  allow hosts and seniors in rank and age to toast first.  After making a toast, the men wait for the women to put their glasses down first. Do this immediately. It can be annoying for men to wait too long for women to put their glasses down. TIP THREE: Do not begin eating until the host has proceeded to do so.

If you are in Switzerland and you are proposing a toast, make sure everyone has been served a drink (whether it is wine or mineral water) then say, “Prost” (cheers, in German). If you are toasting in a German-speaking Switzerland say, “prost”; in French-speaking Switzerland say “votre santé” or simply “santé”;  in Italian-speaking Switzerland, “salute.”  After your host has proposed a toast, look directly at him or her and respond, preferably in the local language. Then, clink glasses with everyone at the table, or at least those within your reach. Only then may you take your first sip.

If you are in Israel, the toast “lechaim” (to life) is said whenever alcohol is served and only made at formal occasions or sometimes when a contract is signed. It is acceptable to just touch the glass to your lips if you don’t wish to drink the contents.

If you are in the United Arab Emirates, simple and informal toasts are easy, raise that glass and say “cheers,” if you’re in a more formal gathering with a speech, glasses are all be raised in a group response  saying “Cheers.”

If you are in Columbia, allow the host to be the first to make the toast; then you might wish to make one.

If you are in Belize, the first toast given during a dinner is normally offered at the beginning of the meal and traditionally by the host welcoming guests. Toasts offered by others start during the dessert course.

If you are in Costa Rica more often than not toasts are made! Traditionally, the host or hostess offers the first toast.  Around a table with friends, however, a guest can propose the first toast (and often does), usually as a way to thank the host for bringing everyone together. The “host toasts first” rule does still apply at receptions and other large functions (though the best man usually leads the toasting at a wedding reception).  Make sure that all glasses are filled before toasting.  The glasses don’t have to hold champagne or wine; nondrinkers may toast with water, juice, or a soft drink.  Ticos make toasts to their families mostly as the core of their daily lives. The first toast is traditionally by the host,  is normally offered at the beginning of the meal  welcoming guests. Toasts offered by others start during the dessert course.

If you are in Salvador, if  you propose a toast, people raise their glasses and say “Salud!” You should always offer your own toast and say that you are pleased to be in El Salvador after hearing so much about it and commend the people for treating you in such a family-like manner. Also at the beginning of a meal, someone says “Buen provecho!” (Enjoy your food!) This is a most common social toast, and while not said as a toast in a strict sense , it’s a must for anyone eating with Salvadorans.

If you are in Nicaragua, the host or hostess usually offer the first toast, but a guest can propose the first toast among a table of friends. The host toasts first” rule does apply at large functions or receptions. Make sure all glasses are filled before toasting including nondrinkers with water, juise or soft drink.

If you are in Guatemala, a standard toast is given by the host during the meal and means raising your glass and saying “Salud!” Always offer your own toast: say how pleased you are to be in Guatemala and commend everyone for treating you in such a family-like manner.

If you are in Panama, you can say “Salud!” (health) before a drink. but there’s no typical toast or protocol.

If you are in America, the Great, the United States,  as the guest of honor you are toasted and should reciprocate by giving a toast of thanks. A simple, informal toasts involves raising a glass and saying “Cheers.” At more formal gatherings, glasses are raised in response to a speech, and a group response is evoked.

If you are in Canada, a simple, informal toasts involve raising a glass and saying “Cheers.”  At more formal gatherings, the host gives the first toast,  glasses are raised in response to a speech, and a group response is evoked. The host normally offers first toast. Wait until everyone is served wine and a toast is proposed before drinking. It is acceptable for women to propose a toast.  Honored guests should return the toast later in the meal.  OUR TIP: If you are invited out to a pub in Canada, keep in mind that each person is expected to pay for a round of drinks. Neglecting your turn to pay for a round will create a bad impression.

If you are in Mexico, only men give toasts and the common toast is “Salud!” (for health) The most senior host or visitor usually initiates a toast.

If you are in Argentina and are toasted, return the favor.  In Argentina, ‘Salud!’ or ‘Cheers!’ are popular toasts.

If you are in Bolivia, the host makes the first toast so wait for a toast to be made before taking the first sip of your drink.  The common toast is “Salud!” When you lift your glass, be sure to look at the person being toasted.

If you are in Chili, wait for the first toast to be made before taking the first sip of your drink, this is done by the host. The common “Salud!” includes lifting your glass and looking at the person being toasted. If you are toasted, return the favor. In Chile, ‘Salud!’ or ‘Cheers!’ are popular.  Before taking the first sip of a drink, you say “salud,” which means “to your health,” and be sure to look your host in the eyes.  OUR BUSINESS TIP: If a formal business proposal is being discussed, be sure to toast to the success of the future deal, contract or agreement or to the person or company involved.

If you are in Ecuador, toasts are are usually unscripted, made standing up and are directed to visitors. Stand til all present have had a taste of wine and then the visitor will be expected to reciprocate.

If you are you in Peru, “salud” is said for a toast, and everyone lifts their glasses and drinks the first sip at the same time.  OUR TIP:  It is rude for a visitor to start drinking alone (for the first drink). Once a business deal has been achieved, the host may make a more formal toast. The guest may respond with a brief speech or may simply smile and thank the host.

If you are in Venezuala, wait for a toast to be made BEFORE taking the first sip of your drink. Venezuelans typically toast with the word ‘salud’ and the host makes the first toast. Toasts are common in Venezuela, and it’s not unusual for a host to offer a toast in honor of a visitor.  A toast of this kind should be acknowledged with a smile and a cheerful attitude.  OUR TIP: A visitor should be careful not to drink before the toast or while the toast is being offered, as this may be considered insulting.

Where in the world do you want to be for a toast to life? Wild Side Destinations & Destination is your specialist, your travel your way!

With a love of the bubbly, and some important TIPS, toasting and respect for other culture go hand in hand.  If in doubt, look it up, our meltdown here is a reference with customs forever changing!

Cheers, salud, salute, prost and a smile! by Pamela (PJ) Ott, Director of Romance

PS:  Yes, this is but Part I, stay tuned for more Celebrations and Toasting Tips!




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