What’s The Difference Between A Post Toast And Welcome Party? Southern Wedding Planners Explain

Champagne toasting celebration - stock photo

franckreporter/Getty Images

“A Southern wedding has its own particular set of traditions and etiquette rules,” writes author Elizabeth Passarella. If you’ve ever attended one, or especially if you’ve planned one, you know that to be true. Passarella humorously recounts telling her future in-laws from New York that their wedding reception would not include a sit-down dinner but would be buffet-style, like most Southern weddings. The Southern wedding quirks don’t stop with the Big Day, though. It’s common knowledge that the rehearsal happens the day before the wedding. That’s usually followed by a rehearsal dinner. But many Southern brides are either bucking the rehearsal dinner from the script entirely or tacking on an after-party to the night-before meal. That’s where our new creative wording come in: welcome party and post toast. Here, we’re breaking down what each of them mean, and how they differ, with the help of a few Southern wedding planners. 

Eva Clark, founder and creative director of Atlanta-based Eva Clark Events, discusses the meaning behind the expressions, which she often considers interchangeable.

“Broadly speaking, a ‘post toast’ is a Southern term for ‘welcome party.’ In other words, while planning weddings in other parts of the U.S. or Europe, this term is never used,” Clark says. “The essence of the name ‘post toast’ indicates that the rehearsal dinner, where toasts are traditionally given, is happening before this event.”

She’s not wrong, Southerners do love our jargon. From “huggers” to “druthers,” we certainly have a way with adding flair to our diction. 

For Julie Bunkley, owner and creative director of Invision Events, which label you use is largely dependent on the geographic location of the wedding in relation to family and friends, though she admits the words achieve the same goal. 

“The terms post toast and welcome party are terms that in essence accomplish the same thing, but used based on the style of wedding you are hosting,” says Bunkley. “We use welcome party when we are working with a destination wedding. This means everyone is traveling to a location to celebrate with you. The welcome party is often used in lieu of a rehearsal dinner and instead have a more casual gathering of everyone who is already in town.”

Thinking of these parties in terms of who is on the guest list for each of them is an easy way to decide which is more your speed. And if you’re a bride who doesn’t want the fuss of a formal rehearsal dinner, a welcome party might be your ticket to kicking off the wedding weekend on a more casual note that includes everyone. 

“The term post toast is used when a wedding is held local to the couple getting married and local to most of their guests,” says Bunkley. “It is usually a cocktail-style party that happens after the rehearsal dinner to give guests who are already local and probably not part of the rehearsal dinner a way to be included as well.” 

In the land of Mardi Gras, Derby day parties, and sip and sees, it’s no surprise that some Southern brides actually throw both a post toast and a welcome party. We just can’t resist a celebration. 

“Some Southerners would say that the welcome party is to be hosted on Thursday (or two days before the wedding), while the post toast is held the night before the wedding following the rehearsal dinner,” says Clark. “While designated guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner, all wedding guests are typically invited to the post toast.”

Whether your Southern wedding festivities begin with an intimate rehearsal dinner followed by a lively post toast or a welcome party that doesn’t require place cards, we’re willing to bet it will be a weekend to remember.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles