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The Role of Ushers

What are Wedding Ushers? How Many Do You Need?


Groomsman pinning corsage
Julia Wheeler and Veronika Laws/Digital Vision/Getty Images

What’s an Usher?

No, not the R&B singer Usher – but wedding ushers! They’re the first smiling face your guests will see. Ushers help greet guests, distribute programs, and escort people to their seats. They may also help prepare the ceremony location, such as arranging chairs or testing the sound system, or any of those other essential last minute tasks that you really don’t need to be doing in your wedding gown

What’s the Difference Between Groomsmen and Ushers?

At some weddings, there might not be any difference between the two. But when differentiated, the groomsmen are typically people who have a closer relationship to the couple than the ushers have. Ushers are sometimes not included in pre-wedding events (such as the bachelor party) and may be dressed differently than the groomsmen. Both ushers and groomsmen should be given boutonnieres to help guests identify them.

Do You Need Ushers?

Certainly the duties of ushers are important, but some couples ask the groomsmen to fulfill this role instead. At very casual weddings, guests might find their seats by themselves. But especially if groomsmen and other members of the wedding party will be occupied with getting dressed and/or taking photographs before the ceremony, it’s helpful to have some ushers who can direct people to restrooms, assist handicapped persons, and answer questions. I especially recommend ushers if you need to keep divorced guests separate from each other, or anticipate any other seating conflicts.

How Many Ushers Should You Have?

The general rule is one usher for every 50 guests. I suggest that for small weddings, you have still have 2 so that they can keep each other company.

Who Should You Ask to Be an Usher at Your Wedding?

Traditionally ushers are men, but if you’re having a modern wedding there’s no reason to let the boys hog the limelight at the ceremony doors! Choose family friends, cousins and other relatives, or other people you are close to. Make sure they are people persons who feel at ease talking to strangers and will be glad to be helpful.

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