Wedding ceremony – aisle decorations (Part One)

In general, aisle decorations are frequently added to a ceremony site to coordinate with the wedding style and also as a way of bringing color to a venue and in Part One of the Wedding Ceremony Aisle Decorations series I will discuss ideas ranging from simple to more elaborate designs.    I will offer suggestions ranging from traditional fabric aisle runners which are available in a variety of styles and colors to aisle runners.  I will also discuss the popular use of floral designs and candles to decorate the aisle of a ceremony site. 

Special Note:  Frequently at a wedding the center aisle of a ceremony site is reserved for only the bride and her attendants to walk down, sometimes the aisle will be roped off and the guests will be asked to use the side aisles to get to their seats and this is especially important when elaborate aisle decorations are used.


Aisle runners can serve a dual purpose for a wedding ceremony; the first practical reason is to protect the bride’s wedding dress from becoming soiled.  The second reason would be to incorporate design and sometimes color which can improve the aesthetics to a sometimes plain venues thus creating a beautiful and personalize style for a wedding ceremony site.

Special Note:  It is highly recommended that aisle runners be safely secured to avoid anyone from tripping.  Be sure to check with the wedding venue for advice on what type of method to use that would avoid any possible damage to the interior flooring or exterior ground. 

The most frequent used aisle decoration used for a wedding ceremony is an aisle runner and the common style being the use of a white material for a classic formal look.  Although inexpensive plastic white aisle runners are available, I would advise that when purchasing one it would be best to select one made of a heavier material aisle runner, sometimes ones are available with a non-slip backing.

A white material aisle runner is a great choice because it can be customized with a personal monogram and embellished with an edge of flower petals as shown in the photo below. 

An alternative material that is also a popular choice for an aisle runner is jute or burlap fabric which is often used for its durability.  This type of material would be great for a more informal outdoor wedding ceremony site such as a garden or on the beach. 

For a garden wedding the jute or burlap aisle runner
can be embellished with flower petals or leaves scattered along the edge.

For a beach wedding a jute or burlap aisle runner
can be accented with an assortment of seashells

A unique idea for an aisle runner would be a long rug such as the type used in the hallway of a home; this idea can be used for either an interior or exterior venue. 

In general, a long and narrow rug works best for a smaller wedding site with a shorter aisle length but additional rugs can also be used for longer aisles.

Special Note: These rugs can be a little pricey but a great advantage is that the rugs can be repurposed for use in the newlywed’s home after the wedding day! 


In recent years the use of flowers and greenery as an aisle decoration for a wedding ceremony has evolved from simple rose petals or leaves used to decorate the aisle runner to more elaborate styles involving beautiful floral petals arranged in an artistic way along the aisle to floral arrangements in large urns or floral arches to the use of potted plants and trees to decorate the aisle.

Perhaps the easiest use of floral petals or leaves would be to simply scatter them along the aisle runner, shown below is an example using leaves.

The next idea is to create an ombre effect by arranging floral petals in different shades of color ranging from light to dark.

In recent years a popular use of floral petals is an arrangement forming the initial of the bridal couple’s last name or a more intricate design creating a lovely pattern along the center aisle.  In the photos below, please also note the use of floral arrangements and floral arches which can also be used to decorate the start and/or end of an aisle as wedding ceremony decorations.   

Christine Bentley Photography

Potted floral arrangements or plants can be used for aisle decorations either for indoor or outdoor wedding ceremonies. Shown below are several examples using flowers placed in simple metal pails and boxwood plants placed in garden pots which would be perfect for a garden wedding ceremony, “seagrass” in a containers wrapped in burlap would be a great idea for a beach wedding ceremony.

Trees can also be used for aisle decorations either for indoor or outdoor wedding ceremonies. Shown below are several examples which feature trees of beautiful white flowers that would be a great idea for a spring or summer wedding ceremony and white bare branch trees which would look lovely at a winter wedding.

Special Note:  A great idea would to repurpose the potted plants or trees used at the wedding ceremony which can be later used at the home of the newlyweds as a sentimental reminder of their special day.  For the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton several English Maple trees were placed along the center aisle of Westminster Abbey for the wedding ceremony and then afterwards the trees were planted at the home of Prince Charles.  To view the photos of these trees before and after the ceremony, please click on the link to The Wedding Flowers of Prince William and Kate Middleton. 


For an indoor or outdoor evening ceremony candles used as aisle decoration can be beautiful and but would be especially lovely used to set a very romantic mood, shown below are several examples using glass cylinders, lanterns and tall candle holders decorated with floral arrangements.


Fabric draping for wedding aisle decorations can be used to create a lovely romantic style for a ceremony, shown below are several examples for both indoor and outdoor.

For additional ideas and suggestions, please click on Part Two of Wedding Ceremony Aisle Decorations which will focus on chair/pew decorations and more unique aisle decorations using items such as tree stumps, wine barrels and door panels.