How to Be a Good Usher at Social Events

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Galas, theater shows, festivals and wedding ceremonies often use ushers to help keep the affairs running smoothly. Both volunteer and paid ushers use important management skills, including a polite and courteous demeanor, to help keep guests comfortable and happy. Because guest safety is also important, good ushers learn rules and guidelines for these social events.

  • Wear the attire provided by your boss or that you are requested to wear. If you are ushering a formal event such as a ball or a wedding ceremony, you may need to rent a tuxedo. If you are ushering something less formal, you might need to wear a suit of your own. You may also have another uniform to help designate you as an usher. If you do not receive specific usher attire, ask what you should wear and follow instructions.

  • Attend organizational meetings so you understand your responsibilities. Become familiar with the areas in which you will usher -- seating in an auditorium, for example. Know exactly how you will be helping guests. If you will be seating guests according to a seating arrangement, learn the arrangement and the process of seating.

  • Review any safety rules and regulations so you can make sure that guests abide by them. Learn the fire codes so you can politely enforce them with guests.

  • Arrive before guests -- approximately one hour before or at the time your boss designates.

  • Stand at the door and greet guests with a friendly smile and a few words of welcome.

  • Seat the guests according to a seating arrangement or take their tickets, if applicable. If seating is without arrangement, simply escort the guests to a seat. If you are seating a couple, offer your arm to the woman; the man will follow behind. Offer your arm to the oldest woman in a group of women; the younger women will follow behind. If all women seem of similar age, offer your arm to the woman closest to you. With a single man or group of men, the man or men will walk beside you or behind you.Simply walk to them to the seats.

  • Seat guests of honor last. The head usher often seats guests of honor: the mothers of the groom and bride, for example.

  • Light altar candles, if necessary and applicable.

  • Return to your position by the door after seating everyone. Stay out of the way, but be ready to provide assistance in whatever way necessary. If the event is a wedding, politely divert any latecomers to a vestibule or balcony after seating the mother of the bride.

  • Help guests depart from their seats in an orderly fashion after the event ends, such as row by row.

  • Extinguish candles, if applicable.

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