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Understanding How to Use Aisle Runners at a Wedding

It's one of those moments when time seems to stand still. The first notes of the wedding march are heard. All eyes turn in anticipation. Then, the beaming bride begins her walk down the aisle—a vision in all her wedding finery. Although custom dictates that the bride is escorted down the aisle by her father, many modern brides are now accompanied by both parents. Formerly, too, the groom would simply await their approach at the end of the aisle. Today, he may come forward to meet them and symbolically take his bride's hand as her parents release her into his care.

For such a momentous part of the wedding ceremony, the aisle is beautifully decorated—often flanked by the loveliest flowers and adorned with fabric trimmings and ribbons. And on the aisle surface itself, a decorative runner spans the distance from entrance to altar, lining the bridal entourage's path.

Customized Aisle Runners Using Colors and Themes

Although most wedding aisle runners are white or ivory, don't let this limit you. They can also be customized to match the colors and theme of your wedding. For a nautical-themed wedding, for instance, your aisle runner may have hand-painted accents of seashells and starfishes, while for a garden wedding it may feature needlework of fluttering butterflies or beautiful roses. If your color scheme and/or wedding theme are quite unusual, work with your designer to find a unique pattern or hue that plays this up. A beaded or lace border, for example, may line a Victorian or vintage-inspired aisle runner; or a fabric in lovely pale lilac could be used for one at a lavender-themed wedding.

Make a Statement with Personalized Runners

Gone are the days of the standard red carpet lining the aisle at a wedding. Today, with the practice of using aisle runners, you have a choice! Not only can these be designed to suit your color motif or wedding theme, they can also be personalized. Thanks to the wonders of machine embroidery, hand painting, and appliqué techniques, you may put your personal touch on your runner incorporating the following:

1. your names or initials
2. a monogram of your initials
3. the date and location of the wedding
4. a pretty motif that matches with your wedding theme such as a butterfly, fleur de lis, or rose
5. a special symbol or family crest
6. a meaningful phrase or romantic quote

Aside from having these rendered in the colors and style of your wedding, embellish these personalized designs with touches of fine crystals and intricate beadwork for a truly special effect. On a practical note: Because of this additional customization, do determine how much lead-time will be needed to create your personalized aisle runner.

Consider the Ceremony Venue

Depending on the venue of your wedding ceremony, the materials and design of your aisle runner may vary. Outdoor venues, in particular, call for attention to such details as the surface of the ceremony area and the possibility of a strong breeze or even rain. Will theentourage be walking down the aisle on grass, cobblestones, or sand? Will potted flower arrangements or large seashells be needed to keep the aisle runner securely in place? Will an underlay of water-repellent carpet or other durable material be advisable so that the runner will remain serviceable even in a drizzle?

Take heart! Commercially-available aisle runners do come in materials and designs that take these into consideration. So you have a wide array of options to choose from, that are both beautiful and mishap-proof!

Then, there are the obvious practical considerations. Before committing to a runner design, be sure to acquire an accurate measurement of the aisle length and width. You wouldn't want your lovely aisle runner to look out of proportion or undersized for that grand bridal march!

Create a Unified Theme Across Wedding Elements

As with any wedding element, your aisle runner should ideally be one of the decorative pieces that carry your theme throughout the ceremony and on into the reception. Imagine having your color palette, wedding theme and even accents of the location reflected in everything from the bridal bouquet, entourage accessories, and ceremony decor—all the way to your table settings, wedding cake, and guest favors! So for a lavender-themed wedding, for instance, have your aisle runner made of lilac fabric, hand painted with lavender blooms. Then, come reception time, give your guests dainty favor bags embroidered with a sprig of lavender and filled with candy or lavender-scented potpourri. What a lovely coordinated look!

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