No one expects the groom to go through his big day single-handedly. In an important supporting role are the best man and all the ushers. But what exactly are their duties?
There are no lies on the wedding day. This is the most important date of your life. Make sure you're up early and the tail is thick. Many grooms spend the night before the wedding with their best man and ushers. They may even stay behind to make sure their groomsmen don't accidentally oversleep.
Sometimes the bride's family will host a pre-wedding dinner where everyone (bride, groom, parents, next of kin, best man, and chief bridesmaid) will spend the evening together. This is a great opportunity for everyone to complete their final plans and wedding day duties.
On the morning of the wedding, it is the best man's responsibility to get him and his groom there on time. The groom is sure to be nervous - and probably shaking like a leaf. The "Bestie" is his right-hand man. He must keep him calm, ease any last-minute nerves, and make sure his wedding suite is present and correct. The one item he couldn't forget was the ring.
Getting to the wedding venue is never an easy task. Whether it's a church in a remote village, a registry office in a big city, or a Caribbean beach, there's always a winding journey. A smart groom will calculate the travel time and triple it; just to be safe.
Plan to arrive at the venue at least an hour and a half before all other guests. You will have time to address any last-minute questions and then enjoy a pre-wedding drink with the ushers.
In recent years, this has become a wedding tradition. The groom, best man and ushers all meet at a bar near the wedding venue to celebrate the groom's final moments as a single man. Besides, you can't expect to get married on an empty stomach, right?
The ushers' duties
The pre-wedding drinks are also an opportunity to run through all the ushers' duties. You will need at least two ushers to handle the parking lot of the wedding venue. There should be two ushers at the entrance of the wedding venue to give service orders and meet guests.
The remaining ushers should be inside the venue, directing or escorting guests to their seats. They will ensure that front-row seats are reserved for family members, bridesmaids, and close friends. Typically, the bride's family and guests are on the left and the groom is on the right. At most weddings, the bride will invite more guests than the groom because the bride's father is the host. As the venue begins to fill up, you will usually find the right side (groom's side) emptier than the left. Since many of the guests are friends of the bride and groom, the ushers can keep things balanced by having them sit next to the groom.
At very formal weddings, the ushers may escort single female guests to their seats. Unless the guests are elderly, this may seem overly chivalrous.
An usher should be responsible for signaling to you and your groomsmen before the bride arrives at the entrance to the venue.
An usher should remain at the back of the venue, near the door, in case you are late.
An usher should remain in the back after the service to check for any missing property.
During the Ceremony
The groom and groomsmen will wait at the front of the wedding venue, near the altar or the registration desk. They are not required to stand at all times. Once all the guests have arrived at the venue, they can take the weight off their feet - as long as one of the ushers tells them when the bride is approaching so that they can stand before the bride enters the venue.
Of all the wedding nightmare scenarios, the most frequent scene in movies and TV shows is the lost ring. The last thing you want the best man to do is to look around in his pockets for it. Guests will start giggling and you will start panicking. So make sure you keep it in your pocket jewelry box.
Signing the Registry
For the marriage to be legal, the bride and groom must sign the registry. At the registry office, this is done in front of all the guests. In the church, it is done at the front, behind the altar, or in a separate room next to it. Two witnesses must also sign - usually the parents of each family.
After the wedding
At the end of the ceremony, the entire wedding party will walk out of the venue, led by the newlyweds, of course. Sometimes the best man is required to accompany the chief bridesmaid.
Once outside, the photographer will need to take some pictures. The best man should help gather all the relatives and ushers.
To the reception
The journey between the wedding venue and the reception is meant to be winding. Guests may have to travel through winding country roads or busy city streets. That's why the best man and ushers must help guide them.
While one usher stays behind the wedding venue, if there are any laggards, others can post themselves at key junctions along the route to the reception. Standing at the curb in their suits and buttonholes, they will serve as effective human signposts.
Upon arrival at the reception, several ushers should also help guests park. By this stage, the champagne will be flowing, so everyone will want to get out of their cars as soon as possible.