Ushers

Ushers are selected by the groom and are part of the bridal procession.

They escort guests as they arrive and exit the ceremony, and like the bridesmaids, should show concern for the guests. Allow one usher per 40 guests as a rule. Groomsmen provide their clothing, either purchased or rented. The number of ushers need only match the number of bridesmaids should you plan to have them walk together in the recessional.

Before the Ceremony:

Be at the ceremony site 45 minutes to an hour beforehand, unless it is a small ceremony of less than 50 guests, when a half-hour in advance is fine.

Any candles needing to be lit should be lit just before the guests start arriving, beginning with altar candles (if applicable).

Ushering Before the Ceremony:

As guests arrive, the usher asks each lady “Are you a friend or a relative?” He then asks “Of the bride or groom?” Then he offers his right arm to the lady, holding his hand loosely across his chest and ushers them to the proper place. If a gentleman accompanies her, the usher asks the gentleman to follow them.

A gentleman alone is rarely ushered to a seat, but should be directed to the proper row.

An usher is never stiff in manner, he smiles and chats with the guests as he ushers them, then pauses for a moment at the end of the row while the guests are being seated.

If two or more women arrive together, the usher offers his arm to the eldest or nearest and asks the others to follow behind.

If anyone refuses to take the usher’s arm after obviously being offered it, the usher should ignore the whole matter and just ask her to follow. The person may simply be embarrassed or there could be other reasons.

If a person refuses to be ushered, but wishes to find his or her own seat, that is permissible, provided he or she does not choose the seats reserved for relatives. The usher should ensure that this does not happen by directing this person to the proper area.

The Ceremony:

Grandparents are ushered in before mothers.

The groom’s mother is ushered to the first row on the right, the groom’s father following.

The bride’s mother is ushered to the first row on the left. No guests are ushered in after she is seated. Latecomers may use the side aisles and be directed by the ushers.

Following the second solo, the white runner is to be laid along the aisle if it hasn’t already been done so, if it is to be used at all.

The head usher signals the singer (s)/musician (s).

Ushers go down the centre aisle in pairs or single file and take their places.

After the introductory melody of the wedding march, or bride entrance music, the first bridesmaid proceeds down the aisle.

After the Ceremony:

Immediately after the recessional, the parents of the bride and groom are escorted to the rear of the ceremony site. One usher offers his arm to the bride’s mother, while her father or escort follows behind.

Another usher doing the same follows with the groom’s parents.

As soon as the bride and groom’s parents have been ushered out, two ushers come forward and indicate, row by row, that the guests may leave.