Over two-thirds of all weddings take place in the late spring and summer months, meaning wedding season is HERE! If you have been asked to be an usher at the wedding of a friend, we would like to congratulate you! It may feel like a simple role, but doing your job well can make a significant difference in the overall feel of the day for both the couple and the guests.
It is an honor to be asked to take any part in a wedding, even if it is not the most visible role, so take it seriously. Truth be told, ushering is one of the most practical and important roles, so take it as a compliment, too.
Ask and Listen
The responsibilities and expectations of an usher will be different at each wedding, so the best way to ensure you will do carry out your duties well is to simply ask the couple what they expect. Communication is essential. Find out when the rehearsal is and if you are expected to attend.
Everyone who has a role in the wedding should understand and execute their part well, so ask lots of questions and pay attention to the answers. Write down specific instructions on seating and dismissing guests, and any other expectations. Ask what your duties are after the ceremony as well as before.
Set an alarm as a reminder of when to show up for the wedding, which generally is one to two hours before the ceremony begins. Check your wedding attire to ensure that it is clean and unwrinkled. When you dress, make sure that your shirt is well tucked in and that you look neat and groomed.
Mind Your Manners
You will likely be the first face people see as a true representative of the wedding, so your manner may determine how guests feel as they arrive. Stand tall and straighten your posture. Smile warmly and greet graciously. Escort regally and guide confidently.
You will most likely be responsible for playing the part of a host, taking coats and directing traffic, too. Learn the layout of the ceremony site, and assist where you can.
Escort Like a Pro
When escorting a couple of single lady, offer your right arm to the woman and allow the gentleman to follow behind. When ushering a group of women, offer your right arm to the eldest member of the group, or, if they all appear to be in the same age group, to the one closest to you.
When escorting single men or a group of men, do not offer your arm. Instead, simply request that they follow you to their seats. Before the ceremony begins, you will usher guests down the center aisle, but guests who arrive after the ceremony has begun should be instructed to use the side aisles.
Offer your arm at a 90 degree angle, and neither saunter nor speed-walk down the aisle. Move at a natural speed and with a dignified gait. Offer pleasantries as you walk, and though there is no need to whisper, do keep your voice low.
Find out ahead of time what to do for handicapped or elderly guests, new mothers, or awkward family dynamics.
After guests are released following the ceremony, your job is usually done unless otherwise specified, but do not simply assume that you have no more duties. As with everything else, ask, ask, ask! If they are, take off your jacket, loosen your tie, and celebrate – you have successfully completed the job of ushering a wedding!