Who chooses the ushers?
This is the groom’s job. Technically they are “the groom’s ushers”. In reality, most grooms will have to take their fiancee’s views into account when choosing the wedding ushers.
Asking someone to be an usher is a great way of making them feel included in the wedding, and gives important brothers, cousins and friends a role.
The standard rule of thumb is to have one usher per fifty guests, but you can never really have too many.
If the groom, best man and fathers of the bride and groom are wearing formal attire, it is common for the ushers to wear the same. If outfits are being hired, this means that every extra usher adds to the costs of the wedding.
What do they do?
Ushers help the wedding run smoothly by directing guests, dealing with any small issues that crop up, and generally helping out in any way they can. Tips for ushers:
- Stand outside the venue and greet guests on arrival.
- If there is a written order of service at the ceremony, hand them out as the guests arrive.
- Ask “bride or groom?” and direct guests to seats on the left or right side of the venue according to tradition (bride’s family and friends on the left, and groom’s on the right).
- If there is an imbalance in the seating and large areas are empty, direct people to the gaps.
- Make sure the front rows are reserved for the bridal party and close family.
- Have at least one usher at the back during the ceremony to direct late guests to any available seats.
- Know where the lavatories are, both at the ceremony venue and the reception, and direct people as required.
- If the ceremony and the reception are in different locations, be ready to give guests directions.
- Some guests will turn up to the reception bearing gifts or cards. Collect these and keep them somewhere safe.
- Help in directing people for any formal photos –
if you plan in advance with the photographer then whilst one group of people is being photographed (e.g. the bride and her family), you can be gathering together the next group (e.g. the groom and his family).
- Have a list of local taxi firms to hand, and help to arrange taxis at the end of the evening.
Of course, ushers need to be properly prepared! On the day, some grooms ask their best man to “manage” the ushers, leaving the groom to concentrate on the important business of getting married.