Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Who Walks on the Wedding Aisle Runner?

Filed under: Wedding Articles,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Are you up for a little aisle runner etiquette? An aisle runner adds a touch of class and sophistication to any wedding. Even in the most contemporary of weddings, some traditions continue to be followed. Traditions says the aisle runner is for the bride and the bridal party alone. Some even say the aisle runner – just like a red carpet – should be rolled out down the aisle just before the bride and her escort makes their way to the altar. You decide.

There are usually two different times that the aisle runner can be rolled down the aisle. It can be done before any guests arrive, provided the center aisle is blocked off so that no one else can walk on it. The ribbon blocking the middle aisle is removed just before the bride or the bridal party begins its procession. The guests are seated from the outside aisles. The second time is when the ushers roll it out as an announcement that the bridal party and the bride are about to enter the area and the ceremony is about to begin.

The use of an aisle runner originated out of superstition. It was used as a barrier, protecting the bride and groom from evil spirits that were believed to live under the church floor. Practically, the aisle runner provided a clean area for the bride to walk upon in early days, when roads were not paved, as guests could track in a lot of dirt and mud. Traditionally, a white aisle runner symbolizes a “pathway of purity” or walking on “holy ground”.

If you intend to have ushers seat guests at your wedding, the general rule-of-thumb is one usher for every fifty guests. If you’re inviting 100 people, you will have at least two ushers; for 200 people you will need four, etc. An usher’s responsibilities include seating guests, rolling out the aisle runner, and generally helping guests (“Where are the restrooms?” or “When does the bar open?” 😉 ).

If your wedding is an outdoor event here are some things to consider: Consider eliminating the aisle runner. Because of the softness and unevenness of the ground below the runner, placing a fabric or paper runner directly over the ground could be dangerous, and the runner may be torn and punctured by shoe heels. The last thing you need is a trip hazard! If the runner is not secured properly, it will start to be pulled out of place or blown out of place by a breeze during the processional. If it’s windy anchor it down to the ground.

Keep in mind too that your photographer will be taking pictures from the back of the area, so one of the most prominent features in your ceremony photos could be the aisle runner that’s been pulled askew by the processional. Never use a cloth or plastic aisle runner over fresh grass unless it is backed by plywood or something solid: Your heels will go right through it into the soft ground beneath.

Here’s an aisle runner alternative: Sprinkle rose petals on each side of the aisle or all over the aisle (a rose petal runner). Go floral. Flowers are common decorations for weddings. Using flowers at the sides of the aisle ensures your guests will only notice the beauty of the bridal aisle. Use low-to-the-ground floral arrangements like flower balls or small topiaries. Consider placing rocks in the bottom – if you use pots – so they don’t blow over.

aislerunnerYou can personalize the runner by having your name and date, family crest or monogram imprinted on the runner. For couples looking to add a meaningful twist, a scripture, personal quotation or message can also be imprinted. In addition to a personalizing the runner with names, the wedding date or a monogram, aisle runners are also available in different colors and with patterns imprinted on them. Do a Google search for “personalized aisle runners.”

aislerunnerIt your wedding is indoors, have the wedding coordinator at the venue tape the aisle runner down. The venue will most likely place double-stick tape on the bottom of the runner to keep it in place.

Having a beach wedding or a beach wedding theme? A wedding aisle runner is important to a beach wedding to help establish an aisle for the ceremony and visually delineate the ceremony area. Even an informal beach wedding can benefit by a wedding aisle runner since it adds a look of festive celebration to the event. Remember to have your aisle runner backed by plywood or something solid because sand will shift.

If you want to protect your shoes or wedding dress, an aisle runner is important for you and your wedding guests – either that or wear sandals and line the aisle with sea shells placed along the edges and sides of where the aisle runner would normally be. I perform beach weddings in Rocky Point, Mexico and do not recommend using an aisle runner but rather allow the sea shells to outline where the aisle runner should be. Others use sea glass, which often comes in pretty shades of blue, green, turquoise and white. However, make sure the pieces are pretty and have no rough edges.

If you use sea shells, be sure to use colors that are visible against the background color of the sand so you can see them in photos and guests can see the visual effect. Be careful to not put shells in the walkway of the bride. It is too easy to trip or snag dresses when the bride is walking up the aisle looking at her groom. Keep them on the sides. These are great inexpensive decorating options for the do it yourself bride.

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 455 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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  1. Whether walking down the aisle towards your new spouse, or making a grand entrance at your event, keep your aisle perfectly straight & secure, with the Original Aisle Runner Stakes.

    Add an air of celebration to your wedding march, & add interest to your wedding photographs, while protecting your dress, with our delicate Aisle Runner Stakes.

    Aisle Runner Stakes are available in clear OR a variety of beautiful colors; in plain OR with rhinestones OR pearls. Several lovely designs OR monograms. So many beautiful options! They can be used on any runner, whether fabric, vinyl, plain or decorated. No longer will you fear tripping, or that your runner will be caught in a breeze. A Perfect Aisle, every time!


    Comment by A Perfect Aisle — Thursday, July 17, 2014 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  2. I really agree to this statement of yours, “An aisle runner adds a touch of class and sophistication to any wedding.” A perfect aisle runner makes the wedding real classy and adds an extra status and glamor to the wedding


    Comment by IMA Trading — Monday, March 24, 2014 @ 12:33 am | Reply

  3. Great pictures – are you aware of rose petal aisle runners? I noticed you didn’t have any in your article. They are stunning custom aisle runners made out of high quality petals and it unravels in one piece so that it’s like you are walking on a bed of rose petals. Check them out at


    Comment by Tiffany — Friday, March 29, 2013 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

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