Ever found yourself wondering ‘what does a wedding usher do?’ Does your usher simply show people to their seats at your reception? Or are they involved in the organization of wedding photos too? Let’s walk you through the usher duties checklist.
What is an usher?
An usher is someone who is tasked with the role of showing wedding guests their seats for the ceremony at the wedding venue. Traditionally an usher in a wedding is a male, usually a male relative or a friend of the bride or groom, however, there can definitely be female ushers too.
Wedding ushers can be role given to younger family members. There is less responsibility in the role than best man or groomsmen or bridesmaid.
Do you need wedding ushers?
You don’t need to have wedding ushers on your big day, especially for a casual wedding. However, ushers can help the ceremony run more smoothly. They help by guiding and seating guests, especially if there are reserved seats or distinct separate sides of seating.
If you don’t want a wedding day usher, wedding signs could be used instead of the role of usher and the other parts of the role could be picked up by the groomsmen and bridesmaids.
Responsibilities of the usher
For you to be able to choose and then instruct your wedding usher, you’ll need to specifically nail down their different duties. The main role of wedding ushers is to guide guests to their seats, but these duties can be extended.
Their duties on the day of the wedding could include:
- Help guests from their cars to the wedding site or ceremony venue, and show guests where they can park their cars – A friendly and polite usher sets the right tone for the wedding.
- Escort drunk guests away from the reception – Nothing worse than a drunken guest spoiling the wedding! An usher can calmly guide them away from the wedding reception.
- Walk guests to their seats for the ceremony. An usher escorts guests to their seats and can offer an arm to guests arriving alone.
- Direct guests to areas where they can sit for the ceremony. They’ll need to know which seats are reserved for immediate family and which seats are free, or if there are different sides for the groom’s guests or bride’s guests.
- Stand at the back of the venue during the ceremony to show any late arrivals where they can sit.
- Hand out Order of Service sheets to guests. – This can be done at the same time as escorting the guests to their seats.
- Walk the Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom to their seats.
- Help arrange chairs for the wedding ceremony.
- Assist with testing of the sound system.
- Direct guests to their positions for wedding photos.
- Show guests where the toilets and coat check areas are, or where they can put their wedding gifts.
- Provide water to guests or wedding party members who may need it.
Are ushers part of the wedding party?
The usher is a part of a wedding party, though it’s one of the wedding party’s lesser roles. An usher is great for a friend or family member who wants to be involved but doesn’t want a big responsibility.
The duties you could ask your chosen usher to fulfill can also depend on how formal your wedding is.
What should ushers wear?
The ushers wear attire that fits with the rest of the wedding party. They can be matched to fit the attire of the groomsmen or be dressed differently but using the color themes of the wedding. If your wedding party is wearing corsages and boutonnieres, these can be provided to the ushers too.
How many ushers should you have?
There is no set number of ushers you should have, though for larger weddings you’ll likely have more than for smaller weddings where there are fewer guests to seat. For a large wedding, you will have a few ushers. As a general rule of thumb, one usher per 40-50 guests is a good ratio.
Where does the wedding usher sit?
The wedding usher can sit alongside the guests at the wedding ceremony. They can also stand at the back of the ceremony to show late guests where to sit.
They can sit with the guests or with the bridal party at the reception. It is up to you.
What makes a great wedding usher?
Like everyone at the wedding party, the usher will be under scrutiny. The way they look and behave will be noticed. That makes it important to choose the right person and detail your expectations of them. Some of the things you need to think about are:
- Clothing – are you providing a suit or dress to match the wedding party?
- Preparation – like other wedding party members, your usher will likely face many hours between meals. Make sure you have food and drink provided for them before your ceremony begins
- Manners – a more formal wedding will see your usher guide guests to the available seats. To do this in a formal manner, they will need to offer the guest their right arm, which is held stiff and bent at the elbow.
- Family Tension – it is a wise idea to talk with them about any family issues, such as divorced parents or estranged family members. By giving them a heads up, you avoid any awkwardness when guests are finding their seats
Once your usher makes it to your reception, their duties are traditionally finished. As a result, they get to enjoy the rest of the time with your other guests helping to celebrate your marriage and the wedding festivities!