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When you're looking for ways to include family members beyond adding them to your wedding party, selecting them as ushers is often a great choice. The only question? What exactly an usher does! Before you ask someone to be an usher at your ceremony, our experts break down the duties and responsibilities of a wedding usher so you can make sure they're up for the job.
Ushers are usually male friends or relatives of the bride or groom, in their late teens up to the couple's peers, though you can definitely tap a female friend or your favorite uncle to carry out the duties, instead. Make sure to pick someone who is outgoing and friendly, as ushers get a lot of face time with guests — meaning it isn't the right job for someone who's on the shy side.
Ushers' biggest jobs are to direct and seat guests at the ceremony. At a more formal celebration, they will escort guests to their seats, offering an arm to female guests (especially those that are arriving alone) and leading male guests or couples to the next available seat. Ask if they are guests of the bride or the groom (if the couple will be having their own guests sit on their respective side) or, if seating is open, ask if the guests have a preference of which side they sit on. In a less formal setting, ushers will inform guests which side of the aisle to sit on, and if any rows are reserved. They're also the ones to make sure guests walk around the outside of the rows instead of down your aisle carefully covered with petals!
If ushers aren't escorting guests to their seats but merely offering guidance (for example, letting guests know that the first two rows are reserved for family), they may also hand out ceremony programs as guests arrive. Otherwise, another attendant should be assigned with the task.
Depending on an usher's relationship with the couple, they may also escort family members such as grandparents to their seats, either before the ceremony begins or as part of the processional. Ushers may also be asked to remain at the back of the venue during the ceremony to seat any guests who arrive once the ceremony has begun.
The most important thing for an usher to do is to pay close attention during the rehearsal and ask questions if there is something that is unclear. Make sure you know exactly how the couple and their wedding planner would like guests to be seated so you can perform your duties fully on the big day!