Ushers are the Groom’s; “boys,” “lads,” “close mates”. So close they are like family, so why not include them in your wedding party. Assisting the groom where he needs. Wearing the coordinating colours of ties, bow ties, handkerchiefs, waistcoats and maybe even socks to match the Bridesmaid’s dresses, bouquets and colour theme throughout the wedding. How much you want your ushers involved in the wedding can be a long thought process. There are a few variables to consider while you are making decisions like that and of course, I’m here to help you think these ideas through so you can make the best possible choice for your wedding.
In today’s weddings we don’t let “Bridal party participants” get away with so little. Ushers have many jobs at a wedding, I’m going to give you my top ten.
Top 10 Jobs for Ushers at your Wedding:
1. Escorts guests to seats: We all know this one. It’s the most common and socially used purpose for ushers. Actually, it’s so well used and known, most of us didn’t even know there were other purposes ushers could manage on the wedding day. Generally, they would stand inside the door to where the ceremony is and when people come in an usher would lead them to the side of the room for men or women, depending on how religious you want your ceremony to be. Along side this they may usher relatives to their reserved seats, that you have planned out for them. If you do want to keep certain people separate, the ushers can easily manage the task!
2. Escorts guests from the car to the ceremony: This is a sweet one isn’t it? It’s like a valet for humans or guests. Especially with with older relatives and guests who could really use an arm from the car to the synagogue. You can still have a set of ushers at the door and they can essentially pass from one usher to another to escort guests to their seats. This is a wonderful way to make your guests feel important especially if it is a particularly hot day or long walk.
3. The TISCH! This is one for just the men, sorry ladies. This is your mini pre wedding party only men allowed, so hey lets do what we want! Quite often the best man will delegate to your ushers; uh-oh now you know you’re in trouble; one to bring the bridge rolls, one for all snacks, one for just the whisky, one for all other alcohol, as lets face it this is the opportunity to get wasted, I mean happy. Lets just let the boys get on with it.
4. Reduce distractions for latecomers: It happens, people have their own lives that involve complications too, delayed babysitters, parking struggles, car issues…anything can make guests late to weddings, more often than not, its unavoidable. So without thinking too badly of your ‘always late friends or relatives’ just be prepared for it and plan for it to be managed in a seamless manner. This is where your usher comes in. It may be the case of a bit of liaising with the wedding planner to chose the suitable moment for them to slip in. All you need to know is they have it covered. You can rest assured if this moment does occur your trusty usher can spare the guest’s embarrassment and enter along side them to show them quietly to their seats. You can even keep one usher close to or at the main door of the Synagogue, in case the latecomers happen to show up at a really pivotal moment in the ceremony (think bride walking down the aisle) so he can have them wait at the side.
5. Hand Kippot and Order of service to guests on arrival: Programs are so detailed and elaborate these days. The variety of ideas and creativity found in the booklets today, especially for a Jewish wedding are amazing. If you are going to take the time to make the Pinteresty programs that are so popular today, then why not hand them out individually? Your friendly smiling usher will look like he’s giving an extra special gift to your guests when he hands them that sweet program you worked hours on making perfect! You can also ensure that everyone receives one. Depending on how creative you want to be, its a nice keep sake for the guests
6. Leading guests to the reception while everyone in the wedding party takes pictures: This can be a tricky time at a wedding, but with a little bit of forethought and a few great ushers, you can make your guests feel loved and appreciated and not ousted from the family photos. Ushers can help walk guests in the direction of the reception or even back to their vehicles if the reception is off-site. Guests like to feel loved and appreciated for their time and gifts and having people “assigned” to them makes them feel good. It’s not necessary, of course, but if you have the extra ushers it’s a great way to handle the traffic out of the ceremony toward the reception.
7. Chair arranging: A completely acceptable job for your ushers is moving chairs or even other manual labor type jobs that need to be done on the day. Most of the time this is something already taken care of, but just in case you need it or it comes up in your planning for the day, know that it’s a good place to use the ushers in a couple of extra jobs.
8. Show guests to the cloakrooms: I’m sure you will have adorable signs pointing to all the various important parts of the room, but ushers are really great to have for those people that forget signs are a thing. They can point people in the right direction or just walk them out quietly if the moment warrants. You can even have ushers tell people when they come in that if they need anything or have any questions to look for those dressed like the ushers. Of course, if you decide to go this route, then make sure your ushers really know the lay of the land when it comes to your venues.
9. Handle the ‘over indulging” people: One of my biggest hopes for your wedding is that you don’t have ruined by guests who can’t handle their booze. Sometimes it’s innocent and the family member is just getting out for a little fun and takes it too far and sometimes it’s an already anticipated drunk uncle who always gets too wild, but no matter the case, someone to run interference for you if they are getting unruly during speeches or the first dance is a good idea. Ushers can just escort them outside for a little air or at the very least walk them in a different direction from the activity they are going to ruin.
10. Collecting wedding gifts: There are always those guests that haven’t looked at the gorgeous gift list you spent hours and hours deciding on what you should and shouldn’t have listed. Finally, you have perfected your list and have everything from those matching his n’ hers slippers to lots and lots of wine glasses because all of a sudden you only drink from wine glasses and why not it’s your list! Sending it out in anticipation for the list to decrease as all your chosen items are being bought…exciting isn’t it! But, alas…there are those guests that have not even given your list a second thought as they know in their head they only want to give you what THEY want to give. Whether it be something really special, such as, personalised towels or engraved candle sticks, or even a glass fruit bowl. Some don’t even go that far they just give a cheque….don’t grumble, this can be very exciting if it goes towards your honeymoon fund or new home furniture. Sadly though, they are not the gifts on your list, not the latest high-tech sound bar for the high-tech TV you placed on your list, or those really trendy, must-have chopping boards. Whatever these guests chose to gift you, they are greatly appreciated and we have just the usher to take the gifts off their hands and kindly place in your bridal suite. How lovely!
Now that you know all the jobs you CAN have your ushers do, you just need to decide WHICH jobs you actually want and need them to do. They can’t be in all places at all times so having a good idea on the number you need will help you decide who to ask and which kinds of ushers to look for to help out on your wedding day.
In case you are struggling with who to ask…check this out:
The 3 different kinds of ushers you can have at your wedding:
Family: There are generally family members who are not close to the bride or groom and so it’s odd to have them in the bridal party. BUT they are family and you know they will be around forever. Sometimes they are young or just live far away so you don’t see them very often. No matter the circumstances, often cousins, uncles and/or nephews who are too old to be ring bearers make great ushers.
Friends just like brothers: These are the main guys you know and love. They are the ones you trust to help maintain peace should people get too intoxicated or just act foolishly. Of course, these men do not have to actually be big or tough to be like a bouncer in a club, but they need to, at least, be the kind of men who will not shy away from conflict if there is an issue that needs to be resolved. Also has enough maturity to handle situations appropriately.
Women who don’t want the responsibility of being a bridesmaid: These days it’s pretty common and completely socially acceptable to have female ushers now. They can be family members who aren’t as close to you or filled in with friends if you are having a family-only bridal procession.
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