Photo: Brandon Kidd
Every aspect of wedding planning is important, but choosing who to have in your wedding is especially so.
If you’re like most couples, it’s just not feasible to ask everyone that’s near and dear to your heart to be a bridesmaid or a groomsman.
Good news — here’s another way to show some love to those super special people that don’t make it into your official bridal party … ask them to be an usher or usherette.
Not entirely sure what ushers do?
Think it’s an outdated tradition?
Here are five reasons you still need ushers in 2023:
What Does a Wedding Usher Do?
An usher’s main job is to seat guests during the wedding ceremony. Ushers also hand out programs and direct loved ones to important locations within the venue, such as the restrooms and coat check.
Ushers are not part of the wedding party. They don’t wear the same dresses or suits as the members of the wedding party. They won’t stand beside you when you say your wedding vows, and they won’t be in your official bridal party wedding photos (though it is a nice idea to include them in some extended group photos).
Your ushers will do their usher duties throughout your ceremony, and once the ceremony ends, their job is done. It may be a smaller role than that of a groomsman or bridesmaid, but it’s still an important one.
Some couples choose not to have ushers, relying on their wedding party to do what ushers do. But designating specific ushers and usherettes can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.
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Reason 1: Someone Needs to Greet Your Guests!
Photo: Jennifer Bueno
The most important wedding usher duties are to greet guests and guide guests to their seats at your wedding ceremony.
Regardless of the size of your wedding venue, it’s customary to have your ushers stand at the back of the wedding aisle. From there, they can walk guests down or around the center aisle and direct them to an open row.
If you’re having a small, informal wedding, we recommend having at least one usher to direct guests to either side of the aisle.
Reason 2: Some of Your Guests Might Need Escorting to Their Seats
Having ushers to escort guests to their seats is more than just a wedding day formality — it’s a way to ensure that all of your guests get to their seats safely.
Elderly family members and disabled guests will certainly appreciate having a steady hand to help guide them to their seats at your ceremony venue. But if you’re getting married on unsteady terrain (grass, sand, etc.), any guest that arrives in heels will surely appreciate the extra assistance too!
Whether your ushers escort some guests or all guests to their seats, they should always escort VIP guests, such as your grandparents, to their seats in the first or second row.
Reason 3: Ushers/Usherettes Can Help Balance Each Side of the Aisle
It’s tradition that immediate families sit on “their” side of the aisle. But if one of you has a much bigger family than the other, the wedding venue can easily look lopsided and unbalanced.
If you have guests that you both know equally, let your ushers make the call as to which side of the aisle to seat them on. That way, if an usher sees one side filling up more heavily with wedding guests than the other, they can help to create a more even split so that both sides of the aisle look equally as full.
Reason 4: Ushers Keep Reserved Seats on Reserve
Photo: Kelsie Low
No matter how many rows you reserve for immediate family, it’s easy for guests to overlook those “reserved” signs, especially if they’re distracted by their phones, by other guests, or by your gorgeous ceremony flowers and decorations!
By walking guests to their seats, your ushers can ensure that your front rows remain reserved for VIPs and close family members. Not only can ushers make sure that your neighbors, friends, and coworkers don’t accidentally snag seats reserved for family, they can also make sure that your venue fills up from front to back.
This is just as important as creating some balance on either side of the aisle.
Without ushers to show guests what row to sit in, some guests might opt for an aisle seat in the back row rather than taking a middle seat in the center of the gallery. Sometimes, guests prefer the back row because they want the best view of the bride walking down the aisle. Sometimes they just want to be the first ones to leave so that they’re first in line at the bar when cocktail hour starts!
Reason 5: You’ll Want Someone to Seat Late Arrivals
Traffic, a broken zipper on a dress, a tardy babysitter … there are all sorts of reasons why people are late to weddings.
And without ushers at your ceremony, those late arrivals can disrupt your processional or create a distraction during your vow or ring exchange. The last thing you want is to hear people apologizing over "Here Comes the Bride" as they scooch down the row to their seats.
Ushers can escort late arrivals to their seats via a route around the aisle so they don’t interrupt your ceremony or get in the way of your photographer or videographer.
Who Should You Ask to be an Usher/Usherette?
Ushers and usherettes can be guys or girls of almost any age. But because the job bears some level of responsibility, it’s best to choose people who are least in their late teens or older.
Ushers and the usherettes can be teenage siblings, cousins, aunts, or uncles. They can also be close friends that couldn’t make the commitment to be in your wedding party. They can be neighbors, close coworkers, longtime family friends, or any person you can rely on to help make your day run smoothly.
Ushers and usherettes can be anyone that’s important to you and that you want to give a special role to on your big day.
How Many Wedding Ushers Do You Need?
The bigger the guest list for your big day, the more ushers you need. The general rule of thumb is to have one usher for every 50 guests.
The more guests you invite, the more opportunities you have to bestow this honor upon friends and loved ones!
Whether you have one usher or ten usherettes at your ceremony, there are many reasons why you should choose ushers for your 2023 wedding.
Whether you’re having a formal wedding or a casual celebration, it’s always a good idea to have ushers and/or usherettes on hand.
Just be sure to choose people that you trust to get the job done. The role of an usher might not be the biggest job, but it is an important one!