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Dress Up Your Aisles
All of the planning is almost done. You've got your dress, your wedding party's attire, your menu, and reception décor all planned. Now it's just a matter of waltzing yourself down that aisle and tying the knot with that great-looking guy at the end of it. But wait a minute! Have you taken a long, hard look at that path you'll be walking down before you say "I do?" Whether you're getting married outdoors, in an indoor venue, or an outdoor one, aisle décor is important and sometimes overlooked in the hoopla of the rest of the planning.
Is aisle décor really necessary, you ask? Well, if you're getting married in a church, some churches don't even allow it. However, if you've checked with your church or chapel and read their regulations and they have no rules against it, aisle décor is a beautiful addition to your wedding and can really dress up an otherwise not very attractive chapel or sanctuary. The purpose of beautiful aisle décor is not to detract from you, the bride, but to draw the eye to the front of the venue where all the action will be taking place. Let's face it, you didn't spend all those hundreds of dollars on that gorgeous dress for no one to look at it, did you?
Pew Bows and Pew Clips
Back in the day, aisle décor was limited to a couple of bows attached to the end of the two front pews to designate reserved seating for the bride and groom's immediate family members. However, aisle décor has come a long way from those days, thank goodness! There are several different ways to beautify your aisle, some expensive, some not, however, both can be dramatic and eye-catching.
Aisle décor can still be something you attach to the end of the pews if you're in a church, or to the last chair at the end of each row if you are using a different kind of venue. Inexpensive pew clips can be purchased which can be slipped over chair backs or pews without causing damage to the surface or marring it with messy tape. The clips can then be used to hold everything from swags of tulle to bouquets. Unfortunately, sometimes it's difficult to find a pew clip that will fit your particular seating. Then ribbon loops can be substituted if your arrangements or décor are not so heavy they can't be supported by ribbon.
Free Standing Aisle Décor
You may have a very fussy venue who doesn't want ANYTHING attached to their seating at all. Before you get in a huff and think you're going to have to deal with plain and ugly, think again! There are many beautiful, free-standing ways to decorate the aisle that will not cause any damage to the floor or furnishings. One quick and easy, yet stunning way to draw the eye of your guests down the aisle is with tall cylinder vases places periodically along the aisle. Add a handful of loose flowers or petals, fill with water, place a floating candle on top, and the effect is magical! If real candles are not allowed, fill your cylinder vases with decorative stones and place an LED light on top.
Columns are another option. Plaster columns are available in all different shapes and sizes and can be spaced periodically along the aisle and draped with fabric and/or have an arrangement placed on top of each one. While we're talking about fabric draping, you need to realize that if you are going to drape fabric down the inner sides of the aisle, you are going to have to seat guests from the OUTSIDES of the aisles. Just something to think about when you are considering the logistics of seating guests!
Rose Petals for Aisle Décor
Almost everyone loves the look of rose petals scattered down the aisle or lining either side of the aisle. However, practicality needs to kick in at some point! To get the look that most brides love, it literally takes thousands of petals. Real rose petals can mount up quickly to the tune of about $100 per 1000. Your best bet if you are not stuck on only live flowers for décor is to go with silk. Not only do they look realistic from afar, but they are easier to clean up, don't stain or stick to the floor and can be reused or resold to another bride afterward. Plus, they come in an array of colors. And really, your guests are not going to be crawling down your aisle on their hands and knees to see if your rose petals are real or artificial!
Another thing to consider, whether petals are real or silk is wind. If your wedding is outdoors, your carefully scattered row of petals will take flight and end up all over your venue, and your décor may end up looking like a thrown-together mess! Many brides are opting to create edge runners from strips of landscaping fabric and painstakingly gluing petals onto the fabric to create the look of scattered rose petals without the danger of the wind taking them EVERYWHERE! Other brides are creating entire runners with rose petals, covering an entire runner with petals. The effect is stunning! Just a word of caution, you will spend a huge amount of your budget on silk petals if you opt to do this, not to mention loads of time, so not really a good option for brides with 75–100 foot long aisles!
Shepherd's Hooks for Aisle Décor
Shepherd's hooks are very popular for rustic weddings and can stick straight in the ground for outdoor weddings or can be purchased with stands for an indoor venue. There are endless things you can hang from them, everything from Mason jars to pomanders. You can dress them down to look rustic with handfuls of raffia tied in a bow or dress them up by spraying them white or silver and adding beautiful ribbon streamers. Another plus is after the wedding, you can use them in your yard, re-gift them at Christmas to the gardeners in your family, or resell them on the bridal classifieds!
If you manage to snag a deal on the shepherd's hooks that stick into the ground and your venue is indoors, don't despair! You can easily find plastic containers and spray them with metallic spray paint or faux stone spray paint to dress them up. Then just fill them with sand and push the hooks down into the sand. Cover the surface of the sand with a layer of decorative stones or rocks from the dollar store, and you have beautiful free-standing aisle décor!
Unusual Containers and Décor for the Aisles
Budget brides are getting more and more creative in their choices for aisle décor. Besides Mason jars, metal sap buckets are extremely popular to hold flowers or pomanders. Some brides are opting for clusters of tree branches to decorate their aisles which can look really stunning for winter wedding décor if the branches are spray painted white or silver and then sprinkled with glitter. Again, check with your venue on the use of glitter. Some venues absolutely forbid it!
Paper parasols lining the aisles are another different, quick, and fun way to decorate as well as paper lanterns, either lying along the aisle or hanging off of each chair along the ends of the aisles. Small paper lanterns for this purpose can be picked up inexpensively at the dollar store.
Although aisle runners aren't absolutely necessary, they do tend to focus the eye on the area where the action will be taking place. Be careful when choosing your aisle runner. Some poor quality runners will snag a heel in a heartbeat and ruin your graceful float down the aisle, so if you plan on using one, invest a little more in one of a better quality. They actually can be purchased in colors now, so if your heart is set on a red or royal blue one, you can definitely find them.
You can also create your own monogram, take it to a copy store and have them enlarge it to 36 x 36 and paint the design onto the runner. It's not too difficult for anyone with a steady hand or a little extra time and really creates a huge visual impact. Later you can cut the section with your monogram off of the runner and make it into a banner to decorate your new home together! Some brides with a forest or rustic theme are even using a solid moss or burlap for their aisle runner.
So Many Choices for Aisle Décor!
Whatever you choose for your aisle décor, try to coordinate it with the rest of your décor, even if your ceremony and reception are at two separate venues. That way, your planner or an industrious friend can move the décor to your reception area, and you can double the usage, not to mention stretch your precious wedding budget a little bit further! Keep in mind, too, that if your aisle décor is over the top elaborate, it may distract your guests' eyes from the main attractions and stars of the show, you and your groom, so try to keep it beautiful, but in good taste.
© 2012 DIYweddingplanner
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on October 05, 2013:
Thanks, Cathywraps! I've got more ideas to post since I wrote this...stay tuned!
cathyswraps on October 04, 2013:
You've done a great job explaining and showing creative options for decorating wedding aisles. I found it useful and imagine brides will too!
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on July 20, 2012:
Thanks, Cristale, me too! It was the old pew bows taped to the aisles when I got married!
Cristale Adams on July 20, 2012:
This makes me want a re-do of my wedding ceremony. Beautiful hub!