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Customs and Traditions

All about Ushers

Hi guys,

My FI and I are currently working out the details of our wedding ceremony using the knot wedding guide (yeah, i know), and I realized I have NO CLUE what an usher is/does. I don't know why, but I'm thinking back to the weddings I've been two and i just don't remember there being ushers...or maybe there were and I didn't realize what they were doing.

Common sense/google tells me that an usher is there to seat guests (in particular VIP guests), but then of course when you google,  you get lists of all the bs "jobs" they're expected to do. So now I'm more confused, and my FI (who is Bengali) has no damn clue either.

So my question(s) are these : 

- Do ushers have to be men?
- Is an usher a separate role from your groomsmen, or can someone be both?
- Do you need an usher for all your guests, or just your VIPs? Do you need one at all?
- Is it more of an honor/ettiquete role (i.e. it's polite to have ushers for your guests) or a practical (i.e. helping more elderly/feeble guests to their chairs), or both?
- If you do, what is the ideal usher/guest ratio?
- Other than actual ushering, are there any actual responsibilities of the ushers? 
- I'm assuming I gift them? Or is coming more from the groom's side? 

I'm probably hugely misconstruing/over thinking this and projecting my general "aaah i have no idea what i'm doing and everyone is going to know" fears...but I need some hand holding. 

Thanks ladies! :)
Knottie18130740

Re: All about Ushers

  • Hi guys,


    My FI and I are currently working out the details of our wedding ceremony using the knot wedding guide (yeah, i know), and I realized I have NO CLUE what an usher is/does. I don't know why, but I'm thinking back to the weddings I've been two and i just don't remember there being ushers...or maybe there were and I didn't realize what they were doing.

    Common sense/google tells me that an usher is there to seat guests (in particular VIP guests), but then of course when you google,  you get lists of all the bs "jobs" they're expected to do. So now I'm more confused, and my FI (who is Bengali) has no damn clue either.

    So my question(s) are these : 

    - Do ushers have to be men?
    - Is an usher a separate role from your groomsmen, or can someone be both?
    - Do you need an usher for all your guests, or just your VIPs? Do you need one at all?
    - Is it more of an honor/ettiquete role (i.e. it's polite to have ushers for your guests) or a practical (i.e. helping more elderly/feeble guests to their chairs), or both?
    - If you do, what is the ideal usher/guest ratio?
    - Other than actual ushering, are there any actual responsibilities of the ushers? 
    - I'm assuming I gift them? Or is coming more from the groom's side? 

    I'm probably hugely misconstruing/over thinking this and projecting my general "aaah i have no idea what i'm doing and everyone is going to know" fears...but I need some hand holding. 

    Thanks ladies! :)
    In order: No, yes, no, yes.

    My brother was an usher, not a GM, because he's my brother. He seated the VIPs from my side in the reserved pews. DH's brother, who was a GM/usher, did the same for his VIP guests.

    It is an honour role. It is also a practical role. They get an gift and boutonniere.

    It's nice to have one for VIPs. It's not necessary to have all guests ushered to their seats.

    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • KGold80KGold80 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    Our ushers are not GM. We weren't going to have them initially, but then I realized that they could help avoid problems that may arise from having limited seating in our ceremony space. Too many empty chairs could mean running out of space or having to split couples. Two of FI's teenaged nephews will fill this role and we will be getting them gifts - probably either cash or gift cards because hey, they're teenagers and would probably prefer that to a boxed gift.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker


    image
  • mysticlmysticl member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    Hi guys,

    My FI and I are currently working out the details of our wedding ceremony using the knot wedding guide (yeah, i know), and I realized I have NO CLUE what an usher is/does. I don't know why, but I'm thinking back to the weddings I've been two and i just don't remember there being ushers...or maybe there were and I didn't realize what they were doing.

    Common sense/google tells me that an usher is there to seat guests (in particular VIP guests), but then of course when you google,  you get lists of all the bs "jobs" they're expected to do. So now I'm more confused, and my FI (who is Bengali) has no damn clue either.

    So my question(s) are these : 

    - Do ushers have to be men?  No, but I've never seen a female in this role.  Usually the usher seats the women and their dates follow behind.  
    - Is an usher a separate role from your groomsmen, or can someone be both?  They can be groomsmen but they don't have to be.  
    - Do you need an usher for all your guests, or just your VIPs? Do you need one at all? At the weddings I've been to that had ushers they seated everyone.  At the weddings that didn't have them people stood around for a few moments trying to figure out where they should sit.
    - Is it more of an honor/ettiquete role (i.e. it's polite to have ushers for your guests) or a practical (i.e. helping more elderly/feeble guests to their chairs), or both?  Both
    - If you do, what is the ideal usher/guest ratio? No idea.  We had 2 for about 80 people
    - Other than actual ushering, are there any actual responsibilities of the ushers?  
    They unroll the aisle runner if there is one.  
    - I'm assuming I gift them? Or is coming more from the groom's side? They should get a gift, whoever knows them best should pick it out.  They aren't automatically from the groom's side.  As for the boutonniere I would only do that if you are doing that for the men in the wedding party.  My husband and his best man were in uniform which meant no flowers so we didn't do them for the ring bearer or the ushers either.  

    I'm probably hugely misconstruing/over thinking this and projecting my general "aaah i have no idea what i'm doing and everyone is going to know" fears...but I need some hand holding. 

    Thanks ladies! :)

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited May 2014
    - Do ushers have to be men? No.
    - Is an usher a separate role from your groomsmen, or can someone be both? In my circle, the gm also serve as ushers. It's also appropriate to have groomsmen and separate ushers.
    - Do you need an usher for all your guests, or just your VIPs? Do you need one at all? Typically, ushers escort the female guests to their seats. Their husbands, S/Os, children walk behind - much the same way a maitre d' would seat customers at a restaurant. If you want to skip that custom, the ushers could escort the VIPs - grandparents, moms and then take their seats or return to line up with the wedding party, if they will be included in the processional.
    - Is it more of an honor/ettiquete role (i.e. it's polite to have ushers for your guests) or a practical (i.e. helping more elderly/feeble guests to their chairs), or both? It's more of an honor role, but it would be nice if the ushers helped anyone who needs it. 
    - If you do, what is the ideal usher/guest ratio? No specific ratio. There will be guests who prefer to seat themselves. The ones who would like to be seated will wait at the end of the aisle for an usher. The older ladies in my family consider it an honor to be seated.
    - Other than actual ushering, are there any actual responsibilities of the ushers? No, although sometimes they hand out programs and unroll the runner.
    - I'm assuming I gift them? Or is coming more from the groom's side? They should be treated as any other members of the wedding party. The gift should come from you if the usher is your friend or family member, from the groom if the usher is his friend or family member. 
                       
    Knottie18130740
  • This is super useful, thanks so much! We only have about 80 people  and other than my grandma no one in physical "need" of an escort or traditional enough to expect it.  So I can just ask my 19yo cousin to be an usher and call it a day and not over think it. Of course he'd get a gift from me and FI, and I'll ask him if he wants a boutoinnere (that is a tough word to spell!)

    Also - our venue is 2 floors with the ceremony on the lower floor and it's a (wide) spiral staircase down. The street level entrance has a beautiful vintage bar, and we were thinking of having the programs in a basket there (or on the piano, where the table cards would be). So people will come in, check their coats, take their programs if they want them, walk down the stairs, and be seated by the usher if they wish. Does that make sense, or would it make more sense to post the usher (or a 2nd greeter/usher) at the entrance? Everything's open visually so it's not like there's anywhere for people to get lost.
    MairePoppy
  • This is super useful, thanks so much! We only have about 80 people  and other than my grandma no one in physical "need" of an escort or traditional enough to expect it.  So I can just ask my 19yo cousin to be an usher and call it a day and not over think it. Of course he'd get a gift from me and FI, and I'll ask him if he wants a boutoinnere (that is a tough word to spell!)

    Also - our venue is 2 floors with the ceremony on the lower floor and it's a (wide) spiral staircase down. The street level entrance has a beautiful vintage bar, and we were thinking of having the programs in a basket there (or on the piano, where the table cards would be). So people will come in, check their coats, take their programs if they want them, walk down the stairs, and be seated by the usher if they wish. Does that make sense, or would it make more sense to post the usher (or a 2nd greeter/usher) at the entrance? Everything's open visually so it's not like there's anywhere for people to get lost.
    If people can see where they're supposed to go, you're probably fine, but it's not a bad idea to have a cat-herder upstairs to kind of move people along.
    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • My nephews who were 23 and 25 at the time and my 18 year old niece were my ushers. We several older guests and wanted them the option of being escorted down the isle. The main purpose was for my oldest nephew, the first grandchild, to escort my mom down the isle. We just had them wear their regular clothes and didn't consider them part of the wedding party.
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer

    - Do ushers have to be men? Nope
    - Is an usher a separate role from your groomsmen, or can someone be both? Either way
    - Do you need an usher for all your guests, or just your VIPs? Do you need one at all? You don't need one at all; if you have them, either/or
    - Is it more of an honor/ettiquete role (i.e. it's polite to have ushers for your guests) or a practical (i.e. helping more elderly/feeble guests to their chairs), or both? Both
    - If you do, what is the ideal usher/guest ratio? We had 3 ushers, 100 guests
    - Other than actual ushering, are there any actual responsibilities of the ushers? Tell guests which side is bride/groom, look cute, told people that programs were in the basket, 
    - I'm assuming I gift them? Or is coming more from the groom's side? I gifted ours since they were my relatives
     
    My 3 teen cousins acted as ushers.  Their main objective was to stand there looking like the adorable young men that they are, but they helped by escorting our grandmother and some of the older guests to their pews.  They were also the escorts for the MOB/MOG at the beginning of the ceremony.
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