Unrolling the Good News

Being an “ambience guy” I always stress to my brides that we want to enhance a church to look more special for your wedding than it does for typical Sunday services. How can that be done other than two arrangements of flowers flanking the altar?

Remember not just the Alamo…but The Aisle!

Nothing says “wedding” to me more than aisle decorations and at the top of the list would be an aisle runner.

aisle runner

For decades aisle runners were de rigueur for weddings. I haven’t seen many pictures leading up to the 90’s that didn’t have one.

Do you know the history of how they came to be?

It is a tradition that was started with practicality and transcended into one of beauty and symbolism. In the days of no screens on the windows of churches, birds would nest in the rafters above the pews. Members of the royal family were kept in a holding room at the back and were last to enter the church. When they made their appearance, of course, everyone stood up. (Sound familiar?)

Aisle Runner

Though the aisle got a good scrubbing on Sunday mornings, there was no protection for the royal robes and trains from last minute pigeon droppings. Solution? They would lay a narrow carpet just ahead of them. The unrolling of the runner indicated that someone of rank and importance was about to process down the aisle.

aisle runner

I have loved incorporating them into my weddings and am frustrated that some churches have forbidden them in recent years. The problems cited are usually:

  • “The paper or plastic ones rustle, slide or come unfastened from the steps.” (Solution: only use a fabric runner and secure it with 3” pins in carpet or double stick carpet tape if on hard floors.

  • Side bar: If they are allowed and carpet tape is used…be sure and take some “Goo-be- Gone” just in case the adhesive leaves a sticky stripe.

  • “The excess runner on a cardboard tube at the back of the church creates a ‘hurdle’ to step over.” (Solution: Fasten your runner at the BACK pew, secure a ribbon as a “gate” across the aisle and roll the runner TOWARD the altar.)

  • Side bar: This method also guarantees that the runner is straight and tight. No wiggles or buckles. And I think it is a “Wow” look when the guests arrive.

  • “People will trip over them.” (Solution: That is really easy. People don’t walk ACROSS aisle runners. They walk ON them in the direction they are laid.)

  • “Our insurance won’t cover accidents caused by them.” (Solution: Ask to see that clause. I have never had a church be able to show me that in writing. If they can’t/won’t produce it, offer to take out a rider on your homeowners that will cover it. It is very inexpensive.)

Some of the most beautiful weddings I have planned in the past few years have included runners that feature the couple’s monogram done in crystals right in the center. After the wedding, I have the monogram portion framed and the couple hangs it over a fireplace, in a stairwell or a hallway.

Aisle Runner

The good news I wanted to unroll today is I now have swatches of an exciting all glitter fabric that is an option for runners in the coming months. I can’t wait to use it. Additionally, it comes in patterns, i.e. lattice, paisley, honeycomb, damask, as well. I think for a true candlelight wedding, it would be stunning.

aisle runner swatch

An entrance on such a runner would eclipse any “Red Carpet” moment you could ever imagine!

MJN