Walking down a prettily decorated path flanked by your loved ones on a journey to your beloved is probably the most dramatic element of the wedding day. And that powerful impact isn't all for you. "Keep in mind that the aisle is often the first impression of the wedding and sets the tone for the rest of the celebration," says Megan Velez of Destination Weddings Travel Group. So here are our favorite tips for making your wedding ceremony aisle fresh and personalized.
Revamp the Runner
A white bolt of fabric with scattered rose petals sure is pretty, but it's been done a million times before. Get creative with patterns and materials, like Moroccan rugs or cool carpeting, says Fabrice Orlando of Cocoon Events Group. If you want something very personal, Audrey Isaac of 100Candles.com suggests using a runner that has a favorite quote or the wedding date embroidered on it. Velez recommends using palm leaves, river rocks, or wood slabs if you're aiming for a natural and organic look. "Consider sourcing local elements to pay homage to the region," she says. "Beach ceremony aisles can feature foraged shells and driftwood, while garden pairs well with local florals."
Light It Up
Accessorizing the runway can come in many forms as well. Candles are always a good bet, but make it your own with specific vessels. "Classic glass cylinders are always elegant while mason jars are the perfect rustic touch. Lanterns are also very romantic and are well suited for a garden wedding," Isaac says. If your wedding is skewing more modern, wax pillars with LED lights are a great option. And they don't require any dangerous open flames.
Greenery is Your Friend
"If marrying outside, trees can actually be your best accessories, with the help of hanging decor," Orlando says. Alternatively, if your ceremony is inside, you can give the aura of being outdoors with plenty of greenery or even a full floral wall to give the appearance of being in a forest — something Orlando has helped to create. And consider bringing inspiration from the current season in as well. Velez says fall is the perfect for lining the aisle with potted mums or pumpkins, whereas branches or lush fabrics complement a winter scheme.
Consider the Overall Setup
A few steps beyond the walkway itself, Velez encourages couples not to forget the other aesthetic elements of the ceremony, like the chair formation, which can give the scene some dynamic energy. What's more, the ceremony space itself should be separate from other parts of the celebration. "It's imperative to set up different spaces for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception," Orlando adds. "The rule of thumb is that they should be separated, so [guests] still get to enjoy the surprise of walking into a different space and experiencing a new look."
Check with the Venue
Finally, let your creativity flow, but always run your plan by the venue ahead of time. Velez warns that there can be certain restrictions that you may not foresee. Also, the venue may be hosting another wedding after yours, so any complicated design details may need extra time for setup or breakdown.