Post # 1
I am very confused on the difference between groomsmen and ushers. Are they the same thing or are they different? I was under the assumption that ushers was just an older term for groomsmen but now I’m not so sure. What is the difference? If so, what are the duties of each and do you really need both? We just have groomsmen.
Post # 3
In the United Kingdom, the groom’s party consists of the Best Man, and Ushers. The Ushers, aside from supporting the groom, also escort guests to their seats, perhaps hand out programmes, or boutonierres for men who are part of the wedding, but arrive at the ceremony without them, these kinds of things.
In the United States, the groom’s party consists of the Best Man, and Groomsmen, and in large weddings, also Ushers. Groomsmen basically stand beside the groom during the ceremony, and not much else. Ushers, as above. In smaller weddings (or rather, some would argue, normal sized weddings) the groomsmen fulfill the role of Ushers, but are still called Groomsmen, as Usher, in the US, tends to indicate that one isn’t a Groomsmen, but only an Usher.
In Canada, we use the terms Groomsmen and Ushers interchangeably, in general. Sometimes Groomsmen refers to the entire groom’s party, Best Man included. One normally asks a man to be a groomsman, to avoid potential confusion or insult, due to the American convention of separating the roles.
Post # 4
@Duncan Thanks so much for the thorough explanation! It definitely cleared up much confusion!
Post # 5
@alevesque2000: FI was an usher at his sister’s wedding. The way FBIL arranged it was that because FSIL didn’t want to have a large wedding party (she had a friend, myself, and a cousin as her bridesmaids) he asked people he would have liked to be one of his groomsmen to be an usher. FI basically saw everyone in his family to their seats and then sat with them during the ceremony. He was introduced at the reception, wore a tux (although slightly different from the groomsmen) and for all intents and purposes was treated like the groomsman.
Post # 6
@alevesque2000: From my understanding:
Groomsmen stand at the front during the ceremony, next to the Best Man.
Ushers do not stand at the front during the ceremony. They greet people at the door, hand out programs etc. Ushers may dress the same as the groomsmen, but usually not. Also, female ushers are common these days.
At least in the US, usher is an old word for groomsman. If you look at Emily Post’s 1922 guide to etiquette (in this link), you will see that there are no groomsmen; and the ushers stand up the front like groomsmen these days. http://www.bartleby.com/95/21.html