Since the dawn of superhero time, the good, the bad and the awesomely epic have all won the day with the help of a trusty crew of sidekicks to their name: D’Artagnan and his Musketeers, Robin Hood and his men in tights, Sheldon Cooper and his…er… C-Men. You’ve chosen your band of groomsmen, so it’s time to transform them into a well-oiled machine ready to keep things running smoothly on the day. It’ll be down to your safe-hands best man to keep the motley crew in order at the main event but it pays to have the nuts and bolts – and one loose screw – firmly prepared and clued-up on their duties before the big day arrives.
Usher Duties – Before the ceremony
First up on the agenda:
- Buttonholes and ‘order of service’ sheets need to be collected (usually from the bride’s home), ready for distribution at the wedding venue.
- Then it’s across to the flashy set of wheels ready and waiting to transport team groom to the ceremony, making sure you’re all firmly onsite at least half an hour before the ceremony begins.
- With plenty of time to spare before proceedings start, this gives the ushers plenty of time to get a heads-up on venue practicalities (parking arrangements, toilet facilities, emergency exits…), so they’re on hand to dish out advice to your guests as and when required.
Team Groom – During the ceremony
Groomsmen need to be in place outside the venue (generally stationed by the door) to:
- Meet and greet guests on arrival.
- Assist with any enquiries.
- Inform the arriving masses of any restrictions on flash photography, confetti etc.
- Collect and safely store any gifts that might have been brought to the ceremony.
- Hand out the ‘order of service’ sheets your pal collected earlier in the day.
Crowd control features highly in any usher’s duties, and at least one of your crew needs to take responsibility for directing guests to their seats as they file into the venue:
- General etiquette dictates the bride’s family and friends sit on the left, with the groom’s collective on the right.
- But if your level-headed groomsmen notice the pews filling up heavily in favour of one particular side, they can tactfully direct the crowds to fill the gaps.
It’s common to station a second usher mid-way down the aisle to help direct guests to the most convenient seats in the room:
- Mothers and babies to an aisle seat, or towards the back of the venue, where a quick escape can be made if necessary.
- Jolly old Aunty Ethel and her 3 foot wide sombrero where she won’t block other guests’ view.
- Elderly guests, or guests needing assistance, to seats where access may be easier.
The groomsmen need to ensure the best spots in the house (front rows) are reserved strictly for the bridal party and close family:
- Key VIPs – the groom’s parents, and most importantly the bride’s mother – should be personally escorted to their seats.
It’s also always worth keeping at least one usher shaped bod at the back of the room during the ceremony to direct any late arrivals to their seats.
Before the bridal party arrive:
One finely honed observer, preferably with nerves of steel, a keen eye and bold unblinking valour (or just a pal not too easily distracted) needs to keep an eye on the door, ready to give a heads up to the best man when the bride arrives.
Upon the bride’s arrival:
Tradition dictates the ushers join and escort the bridesmaids down the aisle.
During the ceremony:
With the service in full swing, groomsmen need to be aware, and help take care of any youngsters involved in the occasion (flower girls and page boys, and the one hapless pal who should know better).
Signed, sealed and delivered:
As the ceremony wraps up, etiquette dictates the boys escort the bridesmaids back down the aisle behind the newlyweds.
Groomsman Duties – After the ceremony
Time to round up the wandering masses (yes, we’re looking at you Ethel) for the traditional post-nuptial photo shoot, including:
- Assisting the photographer in arranging the confetti covered escapades.
- Gathering and directing guests for the formal group shots.
Does what it says on the tin, chaps. Team groom should be on hand to efficiently usher the guests from the ceremony to the wedding breakfast or reception venues if necessary.
Yes, really (but you might want to package this one under a more masculine header?). Before making their way to the follow-on venue the ushers should:
- Collect ‘order of service’ sheets
- Ensure the venue is left neat and tidy
- Collect flowers for transportation to the reception, if required
Team Groom – At the reception
With a well-heeled crowd ready to let their hair down and celebrate with the newlyweds, an usher’s duties extend to making sure everyone gets to, and – more importantly – has a cracking time at the reception. Duties include:
- Directing guests to the appropriate room on arrival.
- Helping party-goers find their designated tables.
- Keeping guests in fresh liquid supply.
- Hitting the floor with the rest of the bridal party as required during the first dance.
- Being ready and prepared with a list of local taxi firms should any guests need assistance arranging transport home.
And quite possibly the most crucial task of all…… a mass Team Groom free-for-all on the newlyweds’ trusty getaway vehicle to finish. Beautiful!