Ushers often seem to get a bad rap. Often considered the red-headed stepchildren of the wedding party, it’s easy for them to miss out on the kudos they so rightly deserve! Let’s face it: it’s not always feasible to line up your brothers, cousins, best friends, and everyone in your fraternity alongside you without a ridiculously long ring around the pews. That said, some of your nearest and dearest should serve as ushers instead.
Getting your wedding party informed of their duties for the big day seems endless. From bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, grandparents, to the flower girl and ring bearer, it is easy to see why ushers can be the last to find out what their responsibility is for the day. And sometimes, the bride herself doesn’t even know exactly what to tell them. Alas, here is the breakdown of everything an usher is and what their role encompasses on the wedding day.
The crux of this position is to escort guests down the aisle as they arrive to the ceremony to their proper seating assignment, whether that’s various sides, or sectioned into family or friends. It is proper to offer an arm to the female attendees to guide them to their seat and allow their date or significant other to follow.
Ushers also need to become familiar with the ceremony venue. They may receive questions from guests as to the location of the restrooms or if there is a handicap accessible entrance.
Another crucial aspect of this position is assisting the members of the immediate family during the processional. For example, an usher may walk Grandma down the aisle to her appointed seat, all the while being followed by Grandpa. If the same usher is to escort multiple people, they should find their way back to the processional line by walking on the outer sides of the seating area instead of walking straight back down the aisle.
When planning, it is appropriate to allocate one usher for every 50 guests expected in attendance.
And even once the ceremony is over, an usher’s job is not quite done yet. Ushers are the perfect fit to welcome guests to the reception. They can hold the door for arriving guests, run out to cars to help women if it is raining, and assist the elderly up the elevator. It isn’t too lenient to say that they are the concierge to the guests.
Often times, it is important for the usher to familiarize himself with the reception venue. Now that the guests recognize that they are a person of knowledge, they may ask where the entrance can be found, where the restroom is located or if the tables are assigned. Being knowledgeable of these pieces of information can eliminate questions being asked of the bride and groom.
Some reception venues have doors that need to be opened for the bridal party to make their way through for the grand entrance. From a photo standpoint, it is best to have ushers provide this service. Typically, after this point, they can jump into guest mode and enjoy the rest of the day’s festivities.
Make sure you communicate with your ushers everything you expect and want them to take part in. While you’ll often be busy thinking of everything for the main party people, ushers often fall low on the priority list, leaving them in wedding purgatory of not quite knowing what to do. Therefore, let them know if you need their presence in the formal pictures, what events to expect them at (rehearsal, grooms dinner, bachelor party, reception, etc.). The more specific you are with what you need from them, the more seriously they will take their role. And just as you usually would gift your wedding party for their participation, don’t forget the guys seaming everything together! It doesn’t have to be the same thing, but a token of your appreciation will go a long way!
Standard protocol says that the ushers should wear something similar to the rest of the bridal party, namely the groomsmen, so everything is coordinated. However, no one says you have to be standard. With these guys, you can dare to get creative. Since they’re often the first people in the party that your guests will see, a little-added flare for them can often set the tone for fun or frill, depending on what you’re after! Splashy ties, or a pop-of-color vest are just two small ways to pack a big punch on your day!