Just What Does an Usher Do at a Wedding?

The date is set, the venue is booked and you’ve chosen your ushers. But what exactly are their duties? Is it just a matter of looking smart in their suits? Fear not, for we have a guide on what to expect of your handsome helpers.

Before the wedding

Generally, ushers need to be available for any suit fittings. Usually, the groom pays for the ushers’ attire, but he may ask that the usher buys himself a specific shirt to wear on the day. Hair and make-up isn’t provided, so it’s up to the ushers to ensure they’re well presented on the day!

A couple of weeks before the wedding, the ushers should get a running order for the day along with a list of helpful contacts. If the ceremony is religious, you’ll more than likely have a rehearsal, which ushers should try to attend.

During the rehearsal the ushers need to take note of any guest who needs special treatment on the day, perhaps an elderly relative. They should have a clear idea that, traditionally, the bride’s friends and family sit on the left, and the groom’s on the right (but feel free to mix it up). If you’ve reserved seats for key family members, be sure to let the ushers know who those family members are and which seats are theirs.

A few days before the wedding the ushers collect their suits, and accessories if applicable.

On the wedding day

The ushers need to arrive at the ceremony approximately 30 to 40 minutes before it’s due to start. Typical duties assigned among the ushers include:

  • Car parking: Inform guests where they should park, both at the ceremony and reception if they’re in different locations.

  • Welcome: Greet guests when they arrive and hand each an order of service.

  • Escort: Escort any single females to their seats, and when the bride and the bridesmaids arrive, the chief usher should escort the bride’s mother to her seat.

  • Photos: Help to gather people for specific photographs.

  • Transition: After the ceremony, check guests know how to get to the reception and make sure no one is left behind.

  • Reception: Ushers may set up any hired garden games, hand around the guest book and advise guests where the seating plan is. One may act as toastmaster, announcing dinner, speeches, cake cutting and the first dance.

Above all, ushers are charming and helpful at all times. And gallant – keep an umbrella to hand to save ladies’ hats and hairdos from drizzle!

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