June 6, 2006. Written by Paula Jones
It’s an honour to be involved in a wedding, and being an usher is no exception! Everyone in the wedding party has an important role, not just the chief bridesmaid and the best man.
Traditionally, the groom chooses his ushers, as the bride-to-be chooses her bridesmaids, although nowadays such decisions are often made jointly by the couple. If a groom has no brothers, for instance, but the bride has several, then they might well expect to be asked. Traditionally too, the ushers are unmarried, though again people are increasingly doing their own thing. As a rule of thumb, a minimum of one usher per 50 guests is usually suggested. In the hierarchy of the wedding party, the ushers will be instructed by the best man on what needs to be done.
An usher’s duties on the wedding day are light, but he should always be available in any situations where assistance is required. This means anything from directing guests to their seats at the ceremony, helping wheelchair users to their place in the venue, and acting as a backup with all the important phone numbers handy just in case. An usher is a calm and polite helper who adds greatly to the smooth running of the day. The ushers also escort the bridesmaids during the course of the day, for example in the procession following the bride towards the altar.
Ushers are expected to attend the stag party, and maybe even help the best man with the planning. These days, the stag parties can involve anything at all, from skiing to an escapade in a foreign country, so it’s best to be prepared for the expense and any special arrangements the best man may have in mind.
If the ushers don’t know each other, it’s a good idea to arrange a get-together sometime before the wedding, at the latest – at the rehearsal dinner. It’s a good idea to set aside some time to discuss all the arrangements with the best man – it’s unlikely there will be a chance to do this on the stag night!
If possible, the ushers should meet the parents of both the bride and groom, and any other “key players”, before the wedding. If this is not possible to arrange during the wedding planning, then the best chance is at the rehearsal dinner.
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