The role of your best man (or woman) and your ushers
Selecting your best man is usually quite straightforward – usually a best friend (note that ‘best women’ are also becoming more and more popular) or a brother (or sister) will step up to the role. The duties of a best ‘person’ are straightforward enough; they will usually be the lead organiser of the stag do and will then be by the groom’s side on the morning of and at the beginning of the ceremony. Typically, they perform the role of making sure the groom is relaxed and has everything he needs to look and feel his best. Traditionally they will also hold on to the rings until the wedding official is ready for the exchange of rings part of the ceremony. And then of course there is the oft-eagerly-awaited ‘best man’s’ speech, which is often considered the most risqué part of the day (though it’s important here to get the balance right).
Ushers are also important, and it is key to consider exactly what role you want them to play and so that the wedding day goes without a hitch. Think also about the number – make sure you have an appropriate ratio of ushers to wedding guests! Do also take the time to brief them properly so that they have a good understanding of the running order of the day as well as the wedding venue itself and are equipped to answer your guests’ questions (this is very worthwhile, as it saves everyone thinking that they need to ask the bride and groom if they have a query!). Ushers should also have a clear list of tasks expected of them on the day, the day before (to help with any last-minute arrangements) and the day after (such as ensuring wedding presents and cards are delivered safely to the happy couple)!
So, what sort of jobs should you give your ushers?
This will very much depend on their personalities (and willingness and their general ability to assist you…), but the type of duties could include the following:
- Your ushers will be the first point of contact outside the church/ ceremonial function room – they need to be friendly and welcoming, hand out orders of service and ask people to take their seats on the appropriate side of the church or room, if desired. You might not want your guests to sit on different sides; it is of course entirely up to you!
- After the ceremony it is always helpful for ushers to do a quick check of the church or function room to see if anyone has left anything behind and take it with them to the wedding reception. If there are people doing readings during the service, then these guests should be invited to sit near the front to save any awkward moving about or quiet moments during the service.
- When the photos are taking place, some of your ushers could assist the photographer with locating the different guests needed for the various photos.
- At the drinks reception they can be on hand to check everything is going smoothly – really, they just need to check that any hiccups – or trickier guests – are dealt with quickly. Do the guests know where to put their coats, any gifts, etc.?
- At key times during the day, your ushers will need to direct people. If you decide to have a toastmaster, then the main announcements will be taken care of but, if you don’t want to have that level of formality, you need to ask your ushers to perform this role between them. For example, they will need to let the other guests (especially those lingering at the bar) that the first dance is taking place, or that the cutting of the cake is about to happen.
- Your usher team could also help out with the playing of the music at key moments –when you enter and leave the ceremony perhaps or, if you are having a band, help them with any equipment that needs bringing in and taking out at the end of the night.
- Finally, your ushers could make sure all is well at the end of the evening – you might think about giving them each a master list of emergency numbers and taxi firms etc. just to make their job a little easier.
Asking certain friends and family members to help this very important day of your life to go as smoothly as possible is well worthwhile – just choose them wisely and brief them well!
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