As the season of weddings is upon us, many will be called upon to propose a toast. Toasting is an ancient tradition, dating back to Greek and Roman times when both sought to reassure their drinking brethren the wine wasn’t poisoned. Wine back then was also less than Chateau Mouton Rothschild, and charred bread was floated on top to somehow straighten it out.

The custom persisted throughout the Middle Ages (the Anglo Saxon “Waes hael!” or “your health!” gave us “wassail”) where it devolved into little more than a drinking game, and guests were required to empty their glass during the toast or face severe social penalties.

In addition to toasting the people present, by the 1700s it became trendy to drink to the health of those not present, especially beautiful women. Any woman thus honored became “the toast of the town.” To not toast someone was considered the height of rudeness, as if no one present was considered worthy to drink to and taken as a serious affront. Since the entire glass had to be drained, it wasn’t uncommon for guests to eventually fall to the floor.

Today, the practice is much more civilized, since only a sip is necessary, and Americans do not toast to a roster of reasons. It’s customary, however, to toast a guest of honor and, certainly, a bride and groom, for which one must be prepared.

For a birthday, “You make Age jealous, Time furious, and the rest of us envious” will suffice for either gender. And for a wedding, “To better men.” The groom will think it a compliment. No one will know it’s sympathy for the bride.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate.  She can be reached at

For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow

And so say all of us. Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr. celebrated his 99th in style with a surprise reception at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette’s Ernest Gaines Center. The august gentleman was born in 1918 and went on to have a stellar career in the military counterintelligence corps and the law, not the least of which was presiding on the bench for more than 30 years. Among the nearly 100 guests wishing Saloom many happy returns of the day was wife Yvonne, Stuart and Ann Clark, first cousins Connie and Francis Boustany, Jim Prince and wife Nancy Van Eaton Prince, and Kaliste Saloom III. The documentary film "Judge Kaliste J. Saloom Jr., A Lafayette Legend" will be endowed to UL-Lafayette Dupré Library's Louisiana Special Collections Section.

You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You

Betrothed couple Daniel Munn and Taylor Dugas were honored by family and friends at a party hosted by Joe and Nannette Heggie. “Sinatra-style stuff and Jackie O dress” the invitation read, and they did, no one more so than the hostess, who sported the perfect flip. Adding to the romance was beautiful weather, a view of the Vermilion and singer Spencer Racca, while wishing the couple well were father of the bride Matt Dugas, mother of the bride Kris Rougeou, groom’s parents William and Nancie Munn, Randall Mann, Mark Juengling and Kay Nelson, of Lake Charles. The couple will be married next November at St. John’s Cathedral in the bride’s hometown of Lafayette, after which they will reside in Madisonville where the New Orleans groom is employed by FedEx. And while there isn’t much that can upstage a New Orleans man, that vintage Fleetwood Cadillac parked in front came pretty close.

Whiskey for the Men, Beer for the Horses

Let’s just say we loved the welcome Champagne 'n' shots from the back of a pickup. Friends of Music Acadiana debuted their new-and-improved gala fundraiser, “Boots, Bayous & Bluegrass” at The Warehouse. Featuring The Angelle Aces and their cousins, Vermilion Express, both student bands from University of Louisiana Lafayette, there was western-style barbecue on the buffet, a specialty drink at the bar — Stoli Blueberry, Blue Curaçao, lemonade and Sprite served in a boot — and bandanna and black tablecloths, where guests could mull over the silent auction. “With TOPS being cut, the organization has helped tremendously,” said Jonathan Kulp, director of the School of Music and Performing Arts. “Every dollar goes directly to a student.” Helping out that evening were Reba-clad Jeanie Rush, bad hombres Gordon Brooks and Dr. Ronnie Daigle, and Shawn Roy, who gave a not-too-shabby cowboy yell. The event was dedicated to the late Beth Guilbeaux.

Ladies Who Lunch

Acadiana Outreach debuted its “Ladies Who Lunch” at City Club, a fundraiser to benefit Lafayette’s homeless women and children. “It’s a project of our leadership council,” said Jill Meaux, director of Acadiana Outreach. “We plan to make it an annual thing, so sign up next year.” Sponsored in part by Paul’s Jewelry and Republic Beverage, there was chicken breast, Abita-simmered shrimp and Gouda-smoked grits, all to the tune of George Graham’s talk about Acadiana and Creole cooking. Looking good were Leah Sullivan, Angela Cole, auction-interested Rebecca Taylor and Sharon Moss, who’d already had considerable excitement that morning concerning Carlton, her cat. You’ll have to ask her.