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
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.
Ushers should smile, be friendly, and
greet the guests as they escort them to their seats.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Once the groom and best man are in place
at the altar the ceremony is ready to begin.
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.
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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