No matter how excited or cool, calm, and collected the groom may say he is, he’ll undoubtedly be a little nervous and will need the moral support of his nearest and dearest friends. Whether you’re family or lifelong friends, if you’re chosen to be one of your mate’s groomsmen you’ve been honoured with a big responsibility. We’re here to help you suss your usher duties.
If you’ve been chosen as the best man, read up on your best man duties.
General Usher Duties
As an usher, you’ll generally be asked to ensure everyone is getting along both in the run up to the big day and on the wedding day itself. You may find that your skills are especially needed if your fellow ushers don’t know each other. Both the best man and the groom will appreciate any help they can get in getting the group together and ensuring that everyone is comfortable around one another. It’s a good idea to set aside some time to discuss this with the best man and the groom; it’s also a nice idea to plan a get-together before the stag do.
Usher Duties Before the Wedding
Unlike the best man, you won’t have a laundry list of tasks to complete ahead of the big day, but you should be available in any situations where assistance is required. Although it’s traditionally the best man who’ll sort the stag do, you might want to be on hand to help out with securing bookings, putting a deposit down on whatever activity you decide to do, and generally making sure the lads have a great time.
Usher Duties During the Wedding Ceremony
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The perfect usher is ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice, putting his friends’ happiness above his own on their wedding day. The perfect usher is a calm and polite helper who enhances the smooth running of the day. On the big day, your duties will include anything from directing guests to their seats at the ceremony, to helping wheelchair bound guests find their place in the venue, to acting as a back up for storing important phone numbers of suppliers and key wedding party members.
On the morning of the wedding, ushers will most likely have their transport already arranged by the groom, or travel to the ceremony together with the groom and best man. As an usher you should ensure you arrive no less than half an hour before the ceremony, ideally well before any early guests. You may at this time collect your buttonhole, order of service sheets, seating plans, etc., and discuss any issues.
You’ll probably be asked to:
- Escort guests from their cars to the venue; knowing what British weather is like, we suggest you have a brolly to hand.
- Assist with getting guests’ cars parked—you won’t be a valet, but you should have a general knowledge of where guests can and can’t park their cars.
- You should know the parking arrangements around the venue, the location of the toilets, any alternative exits, and any other practical and useful information.
- Help direct guests to which side of the venue they should sit, although this is a more traditional role and more modern ceremonies encourage all of the guests to sit together.
- Assist with directing guests to their seats (perhaps seating mothers with babies in the aisle seats. and being aware of any elderly guests who may need additional assistance).
- Inform the arriving guests not to use flash photography, or that confetti is not allowed in particular areas of the venue.
- Escorting both the mother-of-the-bride and the mother-of-the-groom to their seats.
- Stand at the entrance of the venue handing out Order of Service sheets (if these can’t be found on everyone’s seats)
- At least one usher may remain at the back of the venue, greeting latecomers and helping them find a seat without too much disruption.
- Traditionally, the ushers then join the bridal party to escort the bridesmaids after the bride makes her entrance—this may not be the case if the bride prefers the bridesmaids to walk behind her alone.
- Ushers, with the help of the bridesmaids, may also help to look after any other attendants, especially the young flower girls and page boys. (It’s a good idea to make sure the parents of the youngest bridal party members are seated near the front of the ceremony venue, just in case.)
- At the end of the ceremony, the ushers may traditionally escort the bridesmaids at the recessional, following the newlyweds.
Usher Duties After the Wedding Ceremony
Featured above: Ana and Kevin’s Romantic Italian Castle Wedding in Tuscany
- The ushers may be expected to help the photographer arrange the guests for the confetti shot, and then for the formal pictures.
- Informs guests where to gather for photos after the ceremony.
- They may also help with directing the guests to the wedding breakfast or reception venue.
- Be available to the best man and the groom in case they need to lend a hand with anything else.
Usher Duties During the Wedding Reception
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- If getting to the reception room requires any directions (for example, at a large hotel), the ushers may direct the guests to the appropriate room upon arrival.
- Ushers may be required to make a wedding speech
- If they are paired up with bridesmaids, they may be expected to join the newlyweds together on the floor at some point during the first dance.
- The ushers may also give instructions to other guests about where to leave the wedding gifts and cards, direct guests to cloakrooms and toilets, and remind them to take their belongings with them at the end of the evening.
- Tactfully handle intoxicated guests at the reception so they do not cause unnecessary upset.
- Ensure that no guests attempt to drive who are under the influence; have a list of cab companies ready to taxi guests home if need be.
What the Groom Should Know about Ushers
When choosing your ushers, it’s important to be selective. Remember: your ushers will be there to support and assist you, so choose friends or family who you know are reliable and willing to get the job done.
Finally, it’s customary to give ushers a gift when asking them to be a member of your wedding party. Here are four of our favourite gifts that are perfect for your groomsmen:
1) A “For My Groomsman” Gift Box
Featured above: “For My Groomsman” Premium Gift Box featuring Metallic Gold Sunglasses, Gold Nautical Anchor Bottle Opener, Flask, Mixed Metallics Jumbo Party Tissue Confetti in White, Gold, Silver, and Black, and a bottle of beer with a Personalised, Metallic Gold Foil Label
2) & 3) Personalised Pocket Watch and Vintage Hip Flask
4) Personalised Sports Bag
For more on ushers, check out our article, What Do Ushers Wear?