Arguably one of the most important roles, you might still be asking yourself; what does an usher do at a wedding?
The bride and groom are the most important people on the big day, but the usher has a particularly big job of making sure the whole affair runs smoothly from start to finish. As part of your usher duties, your job will be everything from making sure everybody gets sat down in the right places to ensuring the groom looks sharp & at his best, the role is crucial for the perfect day!
Understandably, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, so we’ve taken the pressure off by putting together a summary of usher responsibilities for you!
Do you Need Ushers at a Wedding?
As we all know, weddings can be expensive occasions, where costs increase for each guest that’s added to the list; But exactly what does an usher do at a wedding, you may ask. This might leave you wondering whether it’s important or not to have an usher altogether. However, no matter how many guests you’re going to invite, you’re still going to need someone reliable who will help make the day run smoothly. This is where the usher comes in!
Who Chooses the Usher?
As per tradition, the usher is chosen by the bride and groom, with input welcomed from the groom’s best man. The usher is often a brother, close friend or relative of the bride or groom, as having someone familiar on-side will help keep the soon-to-be-married couple at ease on the day. This ensures that the person taking on usher duties is reliable and trustworthy.
How Many Ushers at the Wedding?
Depending on how many guests you have scheduled to turn up on the day, the number of ushers you have on the day is entirely up to the bride and groom. As your main usher responsibilities revolve around keeping the whole day running according to plan, more ushers means more help at hand. There isn’t a set rule when it comes to choosing, so we would recommend having 1 usher for every 50 guests. You may want to opt for more ushers as well if the bride or groom has multiple brothers or cousins who are willing to pitch in.
Before the Big Day
Being an usher is a job for the big day, but there’s a few important pre-wedding tasks that you can take on beforehand. After all, aside from looking after the guests and families of the couple, you will want to make sure that the groom-to-be doesn’t get too stressed out!
Help Plan the Stag Do
Even though this is a job traditionally on the best man duties list, it’s a big one! That’s why it could be a great idea to extend a helping hand to the best man and offer to help arrange stag do activities and any other details that need ironing out. If he’s really stuck for ideas, check out some of the most popular stag do locations to give yourselves a head-start.
Offer Last Minute Assistance
If you’re staying with the groom on the night before the ceremony, this is the perfect time to help out with any last-minute tasks, requests or simply honest advice. Nerves are going to be running high, so one of the most important things to do on the day before is to make sure the groom keeps his cool and, most importantly, enjoys himself!
Get to Know your Usher Duties
You may already have a good idea on what the role of an usher is, but there’s no harm in nailing down what exactly it is that’s expected of you on the big day. To make sure it all stays fresh in your mind, go over the main roles and usher responsibilities with the groom and clarify anything you may be unsure of. After all, the last thing either of the couple wants is to have to take matters into their own hands!
On the Day
Finally, the big day has arrived! After weeks and months of preparation, you’re finally ready to take on your usher duties! This should go without saying, but make sure everyone gets plenty of sleep the night before and that you’re up early with plenty of time to get ready.
Prepare with the Groom and Best Man
Whether you’ve stayed over with the groom or not, it’s traditional for the groom, best man and usher to get ready together on the morning of the celebrations.
Arrive Early at the Venue
As one of the main usher responsibilities is to make sure guests make their way to their seats promptly, you’ll need to get to the venue early on the day before everyone else does. We would argue that the sooner you arrive the better, as it gives you time to sort out any extra preparation. And if you’re nervous, this will give you time to chill out before the ceremony.
What Does an Usher Do?
Now we get to the important stuff! Consider this as your usher duties checklist and make things easier for yourself by following along step-by-step. By this point, you should be at the venue and ready to start admitting guests. For this, it is best to position yourself near the main entrance to begin with, making yourself visible to anyone who may need your assistance.
Help Guests with Parking
Of course, you’re going to have a lot of guests turn up in cars on the day. Although the venue will have been chosen to suit the number of guests expected, the last thing anybody wants is chaos in the car park before the ceremony has even started! This should be easy enough, as you’ll only have vehicles coming in rather than exiting.
Give Out Orders of Service
Now that the guests have all parked up at the venue, bring yourself to the entrance and greet arriving guests with a summary of the day’s events and times. This is a small leaflet that provides an overview of the order of service for a wedding, so it’s important that most (if not all) guests get one. That being said, as well as focusing on getting the guests into the venue in a timely manner, make sure there’s enough wedding order of service cards to go around for each guest.
Escort Mothers of the Bride & Groom
By now, most if not all guests have been admitted to the venue. Two of the most important guests, however, are the mothers of the bride and groom. It is your main usher duties to escort them to their seats (this could be a specific seat or designated area) and make sure that they’re comfortable.
Direct Late Guests to Seats
Hopefully all the guests due to arrive on the big day get there in time. However, things don’t always go according to plan! If you’ve received news that a guest (or guests) are going to be arriving late, it would be a good idea to make sure there are seats available for them. It is possible that you will get some unexpected late arrivals, so plan for this scenario by staying near the entrance to the ceremony room. This way, you’ll be able to get them sat down without causing too much of a disturbance.
Escort Bridesmaids out of the Service
By this time, the bride and groom will have officially tied the knot! Hooray! The next thing on your list of usher responsibilities is to escort the bridesmaids out of the ceremony. This is a traditional role at the end of the proceedings, and it would be wise for the bride-and-groom to assign roles appropriately; nobody likes a surprise awkward encounter!
Direct Guests to the Reception
Once the main part of the day is all wrapped up, it’s time to get the party started at the reception. As an usher, directing guests from the ceremony to the reception will be much easier for you if the two events are going to be hosted at the same place or nearby.
Bring Guests to the Photographer
Being the most important day of the bride and groom’s lives, the photographer is there to capture those special memories for both the newlyweds and their guests. As part of your role of an usher, you can help everybody out by directing guests to the photographer throughout the reception. The guests will be sure to thank you and it makes life much easier for the photographer too!
Direct Guests to Wedding Breakfast Seats
Known as the Wedding breakfast, this is the post-ceremonial meal that usually kicks off shortly after the newly-married couple have had their first dance. Once you’ve got notification that the food is ready to be served, this would be an ideal time to start rounding guests up and show them where they’ll be sitting. For this part of the process, we would recommend focusing on the VIPs first, being the bride and groom’s immediate family.
Look Out for Drunk Wedding Guests
Arguably, no reception is complete without at least one overly-intoxicated guest! Even though you’re also a guest and are allowed to have fun too, it is crucial that you don’t let any rowdy punters spoil the occasion. Keep an eye out for anybody who’s had a little bit too much, offer to arrange taxis for drunk wedding guests and don’t drink too much yourself!
Socialise with Guests at the Reception
Now that most of the hard work is done, this is the time to get socialising with the guests and enjoy yourself! However, as we’ve mentioned above, try not to go overboard with the drinks! Getting around the venue and saying hello to everyone is a great part of getting into your usher responsibilities. This is perfect for those ushers that consider themselves to be social butterflies!
Help Guests with Booking Taxis
When couples tie the knot, they bring in guests from all over the country and, sometimes, from all over the world. This is why it’s important that you offer help and assistance to out-of-town guests who may not be familiar with the surrounding area. Towards the end of the night, make yourself visible to guests and offer to ring taxis and offer directions to them. This also ensures that guests aren’t lingering at the venue at the end of the night.
Cleaning Up & Returning Suits
Congratulations, you’ve made it this far under the weight of your usher duties! After the events of the day have come to an end, there are a couple of tasks you can help the newlyweds with before you retire! A lesser known role of an usher is to give the groom a helping hand in taking down decorations and doing a general clean-up at the venue. When it comes to returning hired suits, it would be appreciated if you offered to set some time aside to take them back.
Need Any More Help?
We know that taking on usher duties and bridal party roles is tough, so we’ve tried to take out some of the hard work for you with our wedding journey series. If you’re planning way ahead of time, why not look into organising a fantastic stag do for you and all the lads?