Anyone who’s a client of DPNAK has heard me firmly state how much I do not like an aisle runner. They are beautiful, but a logistical nightmare and often not one I can help much with. So, today, I want to talk FIRST about why I don’t recommend them and SECOND talk about some tips if you DO plan on using one.

Aisle Runner Tips

photo by Danielle Coons Photography
For the record, we totally agree with the guys face on the absolute left of this picture. Although he was probably just caught in the middle of a *sniff*.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Don’t Recommend Using An Aisle Runner

Before I go any further, I know there are some venues that require aisle runners (like certain churches) as well as some couples that REALLY, REALLY want them. That’s totally fine. Aisle runners are not the worst things in the entire world. But before you make a definite decision (if it’s up to you), I encourage you to read the following and make the decision that feels best to you. If you are going to be using an aisle runner, then definitely read the tips below on making it as smooth-sailing as possible.

01.Aisle runners are trip magnets.

If aisle runners were jokesters, their number one prank would be tripping people. As people are entering your ceremony, no matter where it is, they are very rarely looking at their feet. They’re often in newer or nicer shoes and there are a good handful of people that I guarantee will trip on your aisle runner if it is placed down as guests are entering.

(See below on how to avoid this)

02.Aisle runners are very difficult to place down straight and without wrinkling.

If your aisle runner is going to be rolled out for the Bridal Entrance (a very common practice), it’s likely done by two individuals (often groomsmen or ushers) and it always is much harder than they’re anticipating. Because they will be so concerned about it being straight, they will walk forward and look backwards causing it actually NOT to roll out straight and therefore wrinkle as they do try to straighten it back out.

(See below on some tips to the individuals who are given this task)

03.Aisle runners need to be cut and secured after placing.

Because your aisle runner has been rolled up for a while, as it’s unrolled and drawn to the back the ceremony aisle, it will eventually reach the end of the roll. At which point it may start to curl back, depending on the material. This means someone will need to be ready to very quickly cut and secure the runner before the bride and her escort step on to make an entrance. My personal record time is five seconds, with a good deal of practice and no tape being seen.

04.Aisle runners are a trap for heels.

If you’re walking on a softer surface (like carpet or grass), anyone who is wearing heels will very likely puncture the aisle runner as they walk down it. Even if the runner is only out for the bride, there will be little holes in it during the entire ceremony after she makes her entrance, if she’s wearing heels.

(See below on some tips to walk on them and best types to get)

05.Aisle runners can make a floor a LOT more slippery.

If you’re walking on a more slippery surface (like tile), the aisle runner will often increase the slip factor by about a thousand. Most relatively cheap ones do not have a backing and you and your guests will be in for a ride. Trust me when I say that you do not want to be walking down the aisle and worrying about falling. You should be focused on who you’re walking towards 98% and the other 2% checking out everyone who is looking at you with gigantic smiles on their faces.

If you do need (or still want) to use an aisle runner, here are some tips to help you out.

Opt for a good- to great-quality runner.

There are cheapy-cheap vinyl and thin paper ones out there that will be a bride’s (and planner’s) worst nightmare. If you do need to have one, invest a little more and opt for a heavy fabric aisle runner with a non-slip backing like this one.

Let whomever is rolling it out practice in advance.

Yes this may sound crazy, but the key in the aisle runner rolling out as best as possible is to keep the roll on the ground. If the roll starts to lift, you’ll immediately start to get crooked and wrinkled. Keep that roll on the ground and walk with a nice steady pace. Do not rush, it will only make it worse.

Have someone ready to secure it on the other end.

Once your aisle runner is rolled out, be sure to have someone on the other end with scissors (if it’s longer than the length of your aisle) and tape or pins to quickly secure it down before the Bridal Entrance. At the very least the tube needs to be removed.

Our secret tip: If the venue has doors, I will have the folks unrolling the runner pull it straight back and I’ll close the doors. With the doors closed, the team and I work our magic to cut and secure the runner, bring the bride and her escort into place and then magically open the doors to reveal them standing there. If the venue does not have doors, we recommend rolling it back as far as possible and leaving it until the bride enters. After the bride enters and the ceremony begins, someone can quietly and quickly “take care of business” while all eyes are up front.

I call this: Magic.

Have the aisle runner securely installed by a professional before the start of your ceremony.

Often times your florist can install a high-quality aisle runner for you. They will have it rolled out and secured so that the crooked factor goes away. That could mean that your guests will enter and take their seats from the outside aisles and the inner aisle will officially open with the seating of the parents or grandparents. What this means though is that there will be many feet walking on it (grandparents, parents, wedding party) before the Bridal Entrance.

Tell any ladies wearing heels to stay on the balls of their feet.

Yep, this one is intense, I know. If the ladies in your wedding party or family are wearing heels and need to walk on the runner, tell them to keep their weight in their toes vs. walking with their heels first. This should help in minimizing the holes and tears that heels inevitably cause.

Make sure the aisle runner is long enough.

If your aisle measures at 50′, please do not get a 50′ aisle runner. Always figure in extra to accommodate the extra space after the aisle that it will need to be secured on and extended to. This will obviously depend on your specific venue.

Ok, I really hope that helped in making your decision about whether or not to use an aisle runner – or helped with some tips if you are going to use one. Sound off in the comments on your thoughts about them. YAY or NAY?