Aisle Runners have been used from the beginning of time and are steeped in folklore and mythology.
Long ago, when streets were unpaved and muddy, guests would arrive tracking dirt and mud into the church. Not wanting the bride to drag her hem along the grime, an aisle runner was laid down the pathway to the altar.
According to a Spiritual Myth, it was believed that evil spirits lurked beneath the earth’s surface. Fearing these spirits would rise up through the floor boards of the church, an aisle runner was placed upon the floor for the couple to walk on protecting them from those spirits. The white runner symbolized a pathway of purity.
Recently I was asked to explain the proper protocol for rolling out an aisle runner. Depending on the type and purpose of your aisle runner, the protocol will vary.
If you have chosen a custom hand painted aisle runner as part of your ceremony décor, your intention is to draw attention to the path you will walk down to take your vows. It is the focal point of your entrance, and should be unrolled and put in place after the floral decor is complete.
I recommend that you rope off your center aisle with beautiful satin ribbon or chiffon fabric and instruct your ushers to seat guests from the side aisles. After all, the center aisle should be sacrosanct for the bridal party only. Make sure your wedding photographer takes an image of it and don't forget to assign someone to roll it up and remove it. You want to make sure it gets safely delivered back to you.
A simple runner requires less organization. It should be placed in front of the ceremony site and should remain unrolled until all the close family members have been ushered to their seats. Once the mother of the bride has been escorted to her seat, no other guests may be seated using the center aisle. The runner should then be unrolled by an assigned ushers or groomsmen as an indication that the ceremony is about to begin. When the aisle runner has been unrolled to the entrance way, this could be the cue for the entrance music to begin.