Aisle Runner Etiquette

Picture of Wedding Aisle Runner

Aisle Runner Question

 Q: When is the Aisle Runner unrolled? Just before the bride’s entrance or before the entire wedding party enters? Please let me know as soon as possible – our wedding is two weeks away! Thanks for your help

~  Rene


That’s an excellent question and shows that you are really thinking ahead to every last and specific detail! So many brides fail to think out this level of fine detail, and then find themselves in chaos at the very last moment on the wedding day!

Traditionally, and according to proper wedding etiquette, the aisle runner is unrolled just before the start of the ceremony. It is an indicator that the processional is about to begin.

The bride, as well as her attendants, take their walk on the runner. Practically speaking, this makes the most sense so as not to interrupt the ‘flow’ of the processional, as someone would have to pause to unroll the runner right before the bride’s entrance.

Just as an aside, you might like to know the reason behind the tradition of using an aisle runner. In ancient times it was believed that evil spirits lurked beneath the floor boards of the church but that a runner placed upon the floor for the couple to walk on would protect them from those spirits. Additionally, a white runner symbolizes a pathway of purity.

Keep in mind that these days, not everyone adheres to the traditional approach of rolling out the aisle runner right before the wedding ceremony is to begin. Aisle runners have become quite elaborate in many cases, as weddings become more and more extravagant.  Some couples also opt to have the edges of their aisle runner adorned with layers of rose petals (particularly at more lavish weddings). So in these situations, the aisle runner becomes an intrinsic part of the wedding decor, and really has to be set up well in advance of the ceremony, along with all the other decor. But if a traditional approach is what you are after, roll it out just before the bride enters as a signal that someone very important is about to make her entrance.

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3 thoughts on “Aisle Runner Etiquette

  1. The Aisle Company says:

    Great article explaining the etiquette of unrolling the aisle runner! Please share with your readers this resource for aisle runners:

  2. Joan Ritola-Demmon says:

    What is the title of those who unroll the aisle runner?

    1. Editorial Team says:

      This is often done by the ushers at the wedding.

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