The Definitive Guide to Usher Wedding Duties> Groom With Best Man And Groomsmen At Wedding[/caption]
Let’s face it – being an usher is an honor, but it can be hard to know exactly what’s expected. We’ve created the definitive guide, so you’ll know what to do.
It is among all things possible that you were asked to be an usher at your sister’s wedding for no better reason than to give you something to do. That’s a good thing. It is always nice to be included.
The person who asked you to fill this role may have thought it a meaningless position on which to expend a nice gesture.
In the words of a very famous “pretty woman,” BIG MISTAKE!
The job of the wedding usher is so much more than that. It is, arguably, the most important job in the entire affair.
Sure, the official says some words and signs some papers. But in most states, you don’t actually need a ceremony for that.
The best man has a role to play. But besides the toast, no one at the wedding will notice if he doesn’t even show up.
The wedding singer is extremely important. A bad one can really stink up the place. (For this reason, avoid wedding comedians at all costs.)
That £1000 wedding cake is rather important to be sure. But the one who baked it dropped it off early, and will not be at the event.
No. None of these functions and functionaries hold a candle to the humble usher, who is the first to arrive, and the last to leave.
If you are fortunate enough to have been asked to do the job, here is a bit about what they didn’t tell you, and everything you will need to know:
The First Impression
As an usher, you are the first person a guest sees when entering the venue. Before an usher directs a single person to an empty seat, an usher holds the door and welcomes guests into the building.
It is not a stretch to say that the valet service is a type of usher, or the parking attendant directing traffic. To usher is to guide, lead, or direct.
When people go to weddings, they are often unsure of what to do or where to go. As the usher, you are the one assigned to take charge of the guest so that from arrival to departure, they never have to wonder about anything.
That is just one reason why the usher is arguably the most important functionary. He is the first person the guest sees and the first experience of hospitality.
The guest may not remember the face of the sharply dressed person who took their coat and relieved them of their wet umbrella. But those first few moments set the tone for the rest of the event. One can never undo a first impression. Choose your ushers wisely.
How you fill your seats dictates how much chaos there will be throughout the ceremony, especially as people continue to enter.
Anyone performing before an audience wants to see a full room. If they can’t have that, they want it to have a full appearance. This is achieved by filling in the front and working toward the back.
The easiest way to achieve this is to rope off the rear seats which are to remain empty. This forces people to fill in the front of the room. As guests arrive, you can move the ropes back until no longer needed.
In a wedding, there are always special seating requirements:
- The parents of the bride and groom
- The extended family and closest friends
- Any dignitaries that may be present
Always check with the bride and groom about special guests to look out for, and preferred seating for those guests.
It is customary to seat the guests for the groom on one side, and guests for the bride on the other. But if it is clear that one side has far more guests than the other, it is up to you to avoid any awkwardness that may come from that by seating them more evenly throughout the room.
It is better to seat the groom’s guests on the bride’s side than to have one side full and one side empty.
Botch the job and there will be gaps in the seating. Those who arrive late will have trouble locating a seat. This is why one seats to the inside, leaving outer seats available for late comers.
It is unseemly to have guests stepping over people to get to a single seat in the middle of a row. That can become chaotic. And it is entirely on the usher to orchestrate it smoothly.
Beyond the Seating
In generic terms, an usher is any first-contact service representative. They are everyone from the ticket-takers at the movie theaters, to the ones who point you in the right direction at the ball game.
Centuries ago, they would have been the person who went before the king, or to announce the guests who entered the royal court. In other settings, they would have been the head of servants in a grand house. Wear your uniform proudly. There is more to the job than you thought.
Do you have any idea who rounds up the guests for those group photos at the wedding? You do. The usher coordinates with the photographer to gather the appropriate people for those posed photos.
Is that someone coughing in the ceremony or reception? It is the usher who discretely brings the glass of water.
The Real Job of an Usher
So in the final analysis, what is the real job of an usher? Let’s try to summarize:
- It is to look good because you are the first impression.
- Take charge of guests from the moment they arrive.
- Manage the seating and the doors to maintain order and appearances.
- Quietly attend to the needs of the guests so that their discomforts do not become disruptions.
- Answer questions and provide directions as needed.
- Corral and herd groups and individuals to special places and events as needed.
- To keep your head when all about you, are losing theirs, and blaming it on you.
No one else at the wedding has so much to do, and is as crucial to the experience as the usher.
For this reason, some prefer one usher to every 50 guests. Others assign ushers according to the number of tasks and stations needing to be filled.
Tradition has it as a job for males. It is past time for a new tradition. It is too important a role to be left only to men.
Now you’re ready to usher with the best of them. Go for it.