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   10 Things Your Ushers Should Know

10 Things Your Ushers Should Know

By Elizabeth Watts

Here’s everything your ushers need to know for the big day, from their job description to guest-seating etiquette. You might want to print this out and give a copy to each of your ushers.

  1. All ushers should be at the location about 45-60 minutes before the ceremony will begin. Upon their arrival, they should put on their boutonnieres if they haven’t already. Boutonnieres can be tricky to put on (especially for nervous fingers) so, it’s a good idea to have someone there to help them.
  2. Ushers should smile, be friendly, and greet the guests as they escort them to their seats.
  3. Traditionally, the usher offers his right arm to the woman (the oldest woman if a group or family is being escorted). Another option: the ushers can walk the guests to their seats rather than offering their arm.
  4. Family and friends of the bride are seated on the left side of the aisle (facing the altar) and the groom’s family and friends on the right. If one side of the church becomes more full than the other, the ushers should begin seating guests on the other side.
  5. Based on the guest list, you should have a good idea of how many to expect on both sides. If you know one side of the family will have more guests, then instruct your ushers ahead of time to “fill in” the more empty side.
  6. After all the guests are seated, the parents of the groom are seated. Sometimes the groom’s mother is escorted by the groom. Next the mother of the bride is escorted in, sometimes by the best man or the head usher.
  7. The first pews are reserved for immediate family of the bride and groom, and the parents sit in the front pew. Be sure to instruct the family and the ushers ahead of time on who should be sitting where, especially when it comes to divorced parents. If the parents are divorced, the father is seated in the row behind, or if the parents get along well they can be seated in the same pew.
  8. Once the groom and best man are in place at the altar the ceremony is ready to begin.
  9. After the ceremony is completed and the wedding party has recessed, two ushers will escort the mothers back down the aisle. Some mothers prefer to walk back with their husband - in this case, the usher will simply lead the couple out.
  10. Then, the ushers will help escort or direct the rest of the guests out of the church beginning with the front pews and working their way back.

Alternative: Some couples now go back down the aisle and release each pew after greeting their guests, in lieu of a receiving line.

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