Usher or Groomsman? The Truth about Ushers

Depending on which wedding source you read, the terms “usher” and “groomsman” often may be used interchangeably. In fact, there is one primary distinction between the two roles.


The groomsman often stays with and supports the groom while the usher’s chief role is to facilitate the seating and flow of guests at the ceremony and reception sites. Ushers arrive approximately 45 minutes before the ceremony begins while the groomsmen have often been up and busy since the crack of dawn! Keeping this in mind, the groomsmen and ushers will often share and overlap in their duties.

The general rule of thumb is to have 1 usher for every 50 guests to maintain a smooth flow of traffic. While it is perfectly acceptable to have more ushers than this guideline dictates, you also don’t want the number of ushers to overwhelm your guests.

How many ushers will you have at your wedding? In the event that you have more than one usher, you may want to consider designating one to be the head usher. This lead usher will coordinate the proceedings with your team of ushers. He/she will ensure that everyone knows where guests should be seated and help to maintain the flow of guests.