What Do Ushers Do at a Wedding? – The Ultimate Guide

Ushers are responsible for helping guests find their seats, handing out programs, and assisting with other small wedding-related tasks before and during the ceremony.

From how many are needed at a wedding to what they wear, we will provide you with the answers to all of your questions about their duties!

Do You Need Ushers At A Wedding?

Weddings do not always employ them – it is typically reserved for larger weddings.

If you have a large wedding with many guests arriving simultaneously, if the venue is large and you might get lost in the hallways, and if the seating arrangements for the ceremony are complicated, having ushers will be invaluable.

Smaller weddings (say, below 100 guests) can efficiently function without them.


How Can Guests spot an Usher?

Ushers should always welcome arriving guests right away so they know right from the beginning who everyone is.

Depending on the dress code, they would typically wear formal attire and some type of identifiers such as a boutonniere, a different tie or bowtie to distinguish them from the groomsmen, or a different color vest.

Doing so will help guests who arrive to spot them and know they are involved in the wedding party and that they are part of the event.

What Do Ushers Do At A Wedding? 

While the primary duty of an usher during a wedding is to direct and seat guests, they also have a few other required tasks to help make the wedding run smoothly.

Usher Duties Checklist

  • Arrive early, about an hour before the ceremony.
  • Greet guests as they arrive.
  • Hand out programs.
  • Direct guests to the bride’s and groom’s side of the aisle (if designated)
  • Take special care of elderly guests or guests with disabilities.
  • Usher guests who have designated seating arrangements to their reserved seats.
  • Pull the “runner” down the aisle (unless it’s pre-installed from the get-go).
  • Help late-comers to find seats.
  • Help mothers with babies and strollers to find easy access seats and an escape area should the baby start to cry.
  • Direct guests to restrooms as needed.
  • Help bride & groom with any tasks if no one else in the wedding party is available.
  • Help direct guests after the ceremony to pre-arranged transportation (i.e., if the ceremony is at church).
  • Help direct guests to the reception space next to the ceremony room if the entire wedding is at the same venue.
  • Inspect the room immediately‌ ‌after‌ ‌the‌ ‌ceremony‌ ‌to‌ ‌see‌ ‌if‌ ‌there‌ ‌are‌ ‌any‌ ‌items‌ ‌left‌ ‌behind.

What Do Ushers Wear At Weddings?

Due to their status as wedding party members in the broader sense, they should wear the same attire as the groomsmen.

To distinguish them visually from the groomsmen, you can make their boutonnieres a little different and straightforward. 

It is also possible for them to wear their own attire since their duties entail only in conjunction with the ceremony. 

Here, too, make a distinction with a boutonniere by distinguishing them from other guests.

Do Ushers Walk Down The Aisle?

By the strict meaning of the word in the Cambridge Dictionary, an usher is, quote: ” a man who shows people where they should sit, especially at a formal event such as a wedding or at a theatre or cinema.”

In other words, ushers do not walk down the aisle. And again, they may still help late arriving guests to their seats while the ceremony is already in full swing.

If they walk down the aisle, it’s technically not as a part of their job but rather because he has been asked by the bride & groom to do so for them.

Are Ushers Considered Part Of The Wedding Party?

In the broadest sense, they may be considered members of the wedding party.

They ‌play‌ ‌an‌ ‌important‌ ‌role‌ ‌in getting the procession started and have various duties to assist guests during the ceremony if they require‌ ‌assistance.

But more specifically, an usher does not play an indispensable role in a wedding and, therefore may not be considered part of the “traditional” wedding party.

The Maid or Matron of Honor, Bridesmaids, Best Man, Groomsmen, Flower Girl, and Ring Bearer typically fill these roles.

Can You Have Female Ushers At Your Wedding?

Traditionally they are male. Female ushers are just starting to become a more popular option or out of pure lack of male candidates.

If you don’t have any male cousins or friends or family members that would work out, there is no reason why you cannot have female ushers.

As long as they are happy with their role, eager, and obliging to deal with guests, it really doesn’t matter what gender they are.

What Do Female Ushers Wear At Weddings?

It depends on your dress code at your wedding and the consistency of your “wedding party look” that you want to achieve.

As with the attire for male ushers trying to match the groomsmen’s outfits, female ushers should probably match the same style and color as the bridesmaids to complement the wedding party.

Alternatively, a simple black dress is always a classy option for females if the males wear tuxedos. Or navy blue or whatever color the tuxedos are.

And again, they may also choose to wear the same suit as male ushers, depending on what is most appropriate for their personal style.

Is An Usher The Same As A Groomsman?

Ushers and groomsmen have different roles during a wedding, and they are not the same.

Groomsmen are involved in the wedding preparation process starting months before the wedding, while ushers are typically engaged on a much smaller scale, limited to the ceremony on the day of the wedding.

Nonetheless, the terms become interchangeable if there are no ushers available.

Groomsmen can fill in the role until it’s time to walk down the aisle. This is totally okay since usually, by the time the processional starts, the ushers have mostly finished their duties.

Do Ushers Go To The Rehearsal?

The rehearsal is an essential part of the wedding to practice the ceremony.

Especially for larger weddings that have assigned seating, programs to be handed out, possibly designated sides of the aisle, and overall greater formality, ushers should attend the rehearsal to be as prepared as possible for the wedding.

During the rehearsal, they can learn where to position themselves, figure out shortcuts on the grounds, and learn the venue’s layout so they can direct guests with more confidence.

ushers handing out programs

How Many Ushers Are Too Many?

If your wedding is large, one usher per 50 guests would be helpful, but this becomes less practical the smaller or more intimate the wedding.

A large portion of your guests will know the drill and is quite capable of seating themselves without their help.

Too many ushers may look unnecessary. I have done weddings with 200 guests without any ushers.

Do You Invite Ushers To The Rehearsal Dinner?

Anyone‌ ‌who attends the wedding rehearsal and their ‌immediate‌ ‌family should get an invitation to the rehearsal dinner.

In other words, yes, the ushers should be invited to the rehearsal dinner.

They may already be a close relative of yours, and you would have invited them anyhow.

Do The Ushers Sit At The Head Table?

The head table at a wedding is normally assigned to the closest members of the wedding party.

And here again, it comes to the definition of who you consider to be your wedding party.

Strictly speaking, it would include the Maid or Matron of Honor, the Best Man, the Bridesmaids, and the Groomsmen.

If there is enough space at the table, you could add both the Bride and Groom’s parents.

Ushers typically have no additional duties after the ceremony and become part of the regular crowd.

They would be seated at a table with everyone else who is invited to the wedding. Still, consider seating them at a table close to your head table.

Do Ushers Wear Boutonnieres?

Ushers should be outfitted with boutonnieres if you are also providing them for the groomsmen.

Wearing a boutonniere will give everyone involved in the ceremony a uniform look and helps guests to distinguish the wedding party from all the regular guests.

Ask your florist to craft the ushers’ boutonnieres a little modified so that they can be differentiated from the groomsmen.

ushers - boutonniere

Do You Include Ushers In Your Wedding Party Photo Session?

You can choose or not.  Ushers usually don’t appear in the “formal photos” unless they are siblings of the bride and groom.

If you do not want to include them in your formal photo session, then take candid shots of/with them before the ceremony begins or during a reception break.

Or have them pose together at the end of the night with everyone else.

Do You Give Gifts To The Ushers The Same Way You Do To Groomsmen?

You want to show your appreciation for the ushers working on your big day, so you want to acknowledge their help with a small gift.

While ushers and groomsmen share some similarities, you don’t have to give them the same type of gift.

It’s a good idea to thank them early on in the process so you get this step out of the way.

Final Thoughts

If you’re able to afford ushers for your wedding, take advantage of their assistance.

They will help you make the day run smoothly and ensure that everything is in order as guests arrive at the ceremony.

Scroll to Top