A wedding usher can be a great addition to your wedding party. Read on to learn more about what wedding ushers do on the big day.
By Janina Villanueva
Photo by Darien Chui Photo
If you’re looking to involve more family or friends on your big day, wedding ushers would be a great addition to your wedding party. They are the first point of contact for your guests once they arrive at the ceremony location; so, naturally, wedding ushers should be charming, smart, and friendly, as they will be smiling and greeting every single guest.
Do you need one? The answer depends on your wedding size and formality. If you’re planning to have a high guest count, having a wedding usher will help keep things moving fast as his primary task is to direct guests to their respective seats. Über formal weddings also require a wedding usher to ease the day’s stress by guaranteeing a smooth flow of the wedding. Whether you have open seating or respective sides for your guests, it’s a nice touch to have someone who can answer any last-minute wedding guest questions before the ceremony starts.
The general rule is to have one wedding usher for every 50 guests. Even so, you may still want to have at least two ushers to keep each other company. Wedding ushers are often male, and because they have fewer tasks than the groomsmen, they are usually younger than the rest of the wedding party. Wedding ushers can be the couple’s younger siblings or close relatives. But, of course, this is entirely up to the wedding couple—you can choose both male and female ushers, and if you would rather leave these duties to someone older, then that works, too. Your wedding, your rules!
Here’s a quick rundown of duties that a wedding usher does:
Before the Wedding Day
Photo Credit // Chris Duggan Photo
Get an outfit for the wedding. Because a wedding usher is a wedding party member, he would wear something similar to what the groomsmen are wearing—so, a nice tux and formal black pants are an excellent way to go. He should also be given a boutonniere to wear on the wedding day so that he isn’t mistaken for a wedding guest.
Attend the wedding ceremony rehearsal. This is the perfect way to get acquainted with the rest of the wedding party, as well as the venue. The wedding usher should also be familiar with where the groom’s and bride’s parent's will be positioned, where the restrooms are located, and any specific requests that the couple has during their ceremony.
Find out from the wedding couple if there is any family tension. This is a tricky task, and is not just to gossip; however, since the main task of a wedding usher is to ensure a smooth flow of the wedding, he should at least have a background of who doesn’t sit with whom, such as estranged family members or divorced parents. The bride and groom should be able to plan and give the wedding usher instructions for these awkward situations so that they don’t offend or upset any of the wedding guests.
Likewise, ask the bride and groom if there are guests who are elderly or disabled that may need more assistance. The same thing goes if there are guests who are pregnant or new mothers. It’s best to know this beforehand so that the wedding usher can plan to save an aisle seat or end seat for easier access for these guests.
On the Wedding Day
Photo Credit // Darien Chui Photo
Man the doors and welcome guests with a smile as they enter the ceremony venue. Good manners and cleaning up nicely for the day is key.
Answer the guests’ questions—where the restroom is, where the coat check is located, where the guest book is placed, and where they can drop the cards. Since the bride and groom (and the rest of the wedding party) are most likely taking preparation photos, the wedding usher serves as a host during pre-ceremony.
Direct guests to their seats. Usually, the ceremony venue is filled from front to back, so the user directs them to the first open row. But, if the guest requests to be seated elsewhere, the usher should comply. He should also let guests know if there are any reserved seats, especially in the front, so that they can avoid them.
Be a gentleman and offer his arm to escort guests, especially the elderly, down the aisle.
Hand out the wedding ceremony programs, or put them on every seat before the guests’ arrival.
In some cases, the wedding ushers also help open the door to reveal the bride, right before she walks down the aisle.
Seat the guests who arrive late. He should guide them where to walk, which is around the side, and not through the middle of the aisle, especially once the ceremony has started.
At the reception, the wedding usher usually sits with his family or friends, and not at the head table—he also won’t be doing any speeches or dances—no more tasks required. So, once the reception starts, it’ll be the time to loosen up and celebrate.
Similar to a flower girl or ring bearer, the wedding usher is one of the very important, yet sometimes overlooked wedding roles. Wedding usher duties primarily consist of managing seating and ceremony logistics. Not only is including a wedding usher a great way to honor a close friend or family member on your special day but having an usher is very beneficial for the flow of your wedding.