If you’ve ever been to a wedding, you have, without a doubt, noticed a pair of well-dressed, smiling greeters showing guests to their seats as they filed into the venue.
These people are called wedding ushers. While it may not look like it, they have one of the most important jobs at the wedding.
Having attended many weddings and served as an usher myself on several occasions, I can say with some authority that ushers do their best at all times to keep things running smoothly.
What Do Ushers Do at Weddings?
As their job title implies, an usher’s primary duty is to direct guests to their seats. It’s customary for ushers to offer their arms to female guests while their male companions follow behind.
Some wedding planners have begun doing things a little differently in recent times, with ushers taking less of a hands-on role and more of an organizational one. Still, they’re almost always expected to provide escort for elderly or esteemed guests.
Ushers take turns leading guests to their seats, starting at the front rows and working their way toward the back. If any stragglers happen to show up late, the ushers are there to intercept them and direct them to seats in the venue’s rear, where their entrance will cause less of a disruption.
Depending on the size of the wedding and the bride and groom’s wishes, ushers can also be tasked with various other responsibilities. Such responsibilities might include:
- Keeping a running headcount of the invited
- Distributing programs or wedding favors
- Closing the doors at the start of the ceremony for indoor weddings
- Other odd jobs and responsibilities
At your wedding, you can divide their duties however you wish.
Who Are the Ushers?
Ushers are members of the wedding party. They’re most often male friends or relatives of the bride or groom, though women can be and frequently are ushers too.
Since being an usher generally involves less responsibility than other assignments, it’s common for ushers to be quite a bit younger than the other wedding party members. It’s a role tailor-made for junior siblings, cousins, and nieces and nephews, as well as friends who aren’t part of the bride and groom’s respective entourages.
The ushers rarely take part in the ceremony itself. Even so, they carry out a crucial function, which is to direct wedding-goers to either side of the aisle based on their affiliation with the couple tying the knot.
In some cases, it may also fall within the usher’s spectrum of duties to make sure that all honored guests are present, accounted for, and comfortably seated before the matrimonial proceedings get underway.
What Do Ushers Do Once the Wedding Starts?
Unlike more prominent members of the wedding party like the bridesmaids and groomsmen, who remain standing throughout the ceremony, ushers take a seat themselves once the presiding official is ready to begin.
They then remain seated until the happy couple has formalized their union, at which point they’re usually the first to rise to open the venue’s doors and escort out guests in need of assistance.