Ask the Wedding Expert

Q: My fiancé already has seven groomsmen, but would like to include three more friends in the wedding party.  I suggested having them as ushers, but I wonder how ushers fit in.  Do they need to wear a tux?  Are they included in the rehearsal (and dinner)? What about the wedding pictures?  If they aren’t, how do you tell them what their responsibilities will be? –Donna N, via email

A: I had a similar situation at my own wedding. We decided to have six maids and six groomsmen, but my fiancé (now husband) had two close friends who he wanted to be in the wedding, too. So we made them ushers. My fiancé explained to his friends that he could only have six groomsmen at the altar (I let him blame that on me), but that he couldn’t imagine getting married without them in his bridal party. Would they mind greatly if they were ushers?

Of course, they said they’d be happy to do it. (And, let’s face it—most men see being a groomsman as both an honor and a chore, so they got off easy.)

On the day of the wedding, they wore the same tux as the rest of the groomsmen, which really made them feel included in the wedding party. They were listed on the program, too. During the ceremony, we gave them prominent duties like laying out the aisle runner (very dramatic!) and walking our mothers down the aisle. They were not in every one of the “bridal party” pictures, but they were in all of the men-only pictures and all of the very large group pictures.

In your case, a third usher could be tasked with rounding up the crowd for the rice-throwing send-off, passing out the programs, or acting as a point person for emergencies. Trust me—as the wedding approaches, there will be more than enough work to go around, so don’t worry about not having enough for them to do.

And yes, we did invite our ushers to the rehearsal dinner. I firmly believe that any time you ask a friend to take on responsibilities for your wedding, it’s a courtesy to include them in the festivities as well.

Thanks for the question, and good luck with the rest of your planning!

Donna Garlough
Weddings Editor