When choosing the wedding party, the bride and groom tend to focus on bridesmaids and groomsmen -- the folks that will be standing at your side as you take your vows. But, in truth, they have it easy compared to the often overlooked role of the ushers.
I believe that ushers have the hardest job of anyone in the wedding party. You may think that they simply greet guests. But there is so much more that goes into ushering, which brides and grooms sometimes don't realize when they are selecting their ushers.
Yes, the first responsibility of ushers is to greet guests and direct them to their seats. But this seemingly simple task can be chaotic in reality. They have to remember which rows are reserved for family, and they may have to figure out who your Aunt Bertie is among a sea of unfamiliar faces to ensure that she gets a seat on the aisle for her reading. Or if most guests are transported on a shuttle from the hotel, the ushers will end up with a mass of people to seat all at once, with 10 minutes to go before the ceremony. Sometimes guests congregate outside the church, lost in conversation, and the ushers will have to ask them repeatedly to go inside to be seated so the ceremony can start on time.
The next responsibility of ushers is to lead the grandparents and parents to their seats immediately before the processional begins. This task means they have to remember where each set of grandparents and each set of parents sits.
In addition, if there is an aisle runner, it is the ushers who roll the runner down the aisle, as everyone looks on. Again, a seemingly simple task that can often be complicated by uncooperative runners that bunch up or stick.
Lastly, at the conclusion of the ceremony, the ushers are often called upon again to manage the crowd. Ushers may have to encourage lingering guests to exit the sanctuary so the bride and groom can take photos, or they may have to corral people onto awaiting shuttles.
Because of the big responsibility that comes with the role, choose your ushers wisely. You want responsible and conscientious friends or family members who understand the importance of the day and want it to go smoothly for you and your guests.
Make it easier on your ushers by including them at the rehearsal. Introduce them to any family members that will be getting special seating. At the rehearsal, your wedding coordinator can go over their responsibilities with them and explain proper ushering etiquette.
Finally, be sure to thank your ushers. If you're getting your groomsmen a gift, include your ushers. If your wedding party is being announced into the wedding reception, include your ushers. They are a big part of ensuring that your wedding day goes smoothly.