Wedding Q & A – When Are Aisle Runners Used in a Wedding?

bride's processional with her father, entering wedding ceremony walking on a traditional white aisle runner Photo credit: Childers Photography

Q. – When is an aisle runner used?

A. – The use of aisle runners at wedding ceremonies originated centuries ago.

The three main reasons for their use were:

1) Out of superstition – it provides a barrier between the bride and any evil spirits that may come up from below the ground

2) The bride was considered “royalty” and an aisle runner prevents her from having to walk directly on the ground

3) Cleanliness – since roads were unpaved and guests would track in dirt and mud an aisle runner kept the bride from dragging the hem of her gown and her train through the dirt

These days it is done out of tradition. When asked to imagine a bride walking down the aisle, most people imagine her walking on a white aisle runner.

bride and groom's wedding ceremony recessional walking on a traditional white aisle runner Photo credit: Faye Sommer Photography

When is the aisle runner put in place?

A wedding aisle runner is most commonly put in place after the mothers of the bride and the groom have entered, and before the ceremony processional (when the bridal party enters).

groomemen putting wedding ceremony aisle runner in place Photo credit: Shiloh Photography

It is secured at the front of the aisle with pins and tape so it can be easily unrolled, then, once completely unrolled, is secured at the back so it won’t roll back up which helps prevent anyone from tripping.

Sometimes couples prefer to have the aisle runner already in place before the start of the ceremony.

In this case, the center aisle is blocked with ribbon preventing guests from walking on the runner, and guests are seated from the outside aisles (not the center aisle). The ribbon is removed right before the moms are escorted in.

There are many options for aisle runner styles. The most common and economical are made from a durable heavy-weight plastic or rayon. You can find these in the wedding section of some craft stores or in a floral supply store. You can also get them from your florist.

You may also want to read: Alternatives to the White Aisle Runner

Aisle runners can also be personalized, with your names, monogram, or a romantic saying. They can even coordinate with your wedding colors or season.

wedding ceremony aisle runner with fall leaf pattern Photo credit: Faye Sommer Photography

Be extra careful when using an aisle runner for an outdoor wedding ceremony. Since ground is rarely smooth and level (even the best manicured lawns will have some minor bumps and soft spots. May not be easily seen, but easy to find with your foot and potentially wobble, trip, or sprain an ankle).

For an outdoor ceremony, either omit the use of an aisle runner for safety’s sake, or choose one that is more durable such as a carpet runner (can be found in different colors and patterns), or heavy fabric such as burlap.

Make sure to get the length of the aisle before purchasing an aisle runner. They come in 25′ increments, starting at 25′ long and going up to 150′ or more.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Want fun ideas for your wedding? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net, 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

9 Things You Must Consider For A Joyous Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

outdoor wedding cermony

I love an outdoor ceremony.

Lush green settings, fragrant flowers, the sounds of birds chirping. And considering the popularity of outdoor wedding venues, it’s obvious that many brides and grooms do too.

But not every outdoor location was designed with the needs of a wedding ceremony in mind, which causes it’s own set of issues that have to be planned for to ensure the enjoyment, ease, and comfort of everyone involved.

Make sure everyone has the best experience by checking out these 9 tips for a joyous outside wedding celebration.

1. Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy (But Not When It’s In My Eyes).

wedding ceremony at sunset

There’s nothing like sitting outdoors, the sun beautifully shining, witnessing a loved ones wedding vows.

Unless the sun is shining directly into your guests’ eyes, making them squint, or having to close their eyes. You know they won’t be thinking happy thoughts for you and your fiancé while their eyes are closed and watering.

Also, you don’t want the sun to be in your or your fiance’s eyes either. How can you exchange vows and say “I do,” if you can’t clearly and comfortably see your fiancé (or have him/her see you)?

How to avoid this? Easy.

Go out to your ceremony site at a similar time of day as well as time of year to see where the sun will be at in the sky. That way you can decide what will be the best placement and orientation for seating.

Sometimes changing the angle that the seats will be facing isn’t a good option. If that’s the case consider providing programs or hand-held fans that guests can also use to shield their eyes, provide inexpensive sunglasses, or getting a tent.

2. “I Think Truth Has No Temperature.” (quote by Cameron Diaz)

blue fans for guests to use at a wedding ceremony on a hot day
Photo credit: joshuaraineyphotography / 123RF Stock Photo

Truth may not have a temperature, but your outdoor ceremony will. The question is, how comfortable will that temperature be?

Ok. You’re probably not planning on an outdoor ceremony in December. But considering the potential temperature (and humidity) is important to everyone’s comfort.

June is often comfortable, but it can be humid. October is often warm enough for short sleeves or a light sweater, but is can turn cold.

Doesn’t mean you can’t have your ceremony outside. Just be sure to provide means to provide comfort for your guests. Maybe a fan or an outdoor heater. Bottled water on hot, humid days, and hot chocolate for when it’s cold. Cheap, pashmina wraps for the ladies (Google “cheap pashmina wraps” and you will find lots of sources).

3. “Love Is Like The Wind. You Can’t See It But You Can Feel It.” (Quote by Nicholas Sparks).

The temperature isn’t the only type of weather that can affect your wedding. Even though you may not be able to see the wind, everyone can see the problems it can cause.

Altar arrangements get blown about. Unity candles won’t stay lit. Aisle runners won’t stay in place. Your beautiful up-do can come undone in the wind. Candelabras can topple over.

Some easy remedies include:

  • Securing the base of tall candelabras or other tall decorative pieces.
  • Incorporating a sand ceremony or other unity candle alternative.
  • Placing décor such as pretty containers of flowers along edge of an aisle runner to keep it from blowing up (and becoming a walking hazard).

4. The (Six-Legged) Uninvited Guests

Outside means nature, and nature means bugs. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony chances are there will be pesky bugs. Avoid swatting at mosquitos while you’re saying your “I dos” with these tips.

Outside means nature, and nature means bugs. Especially if you’re in a wooded area or near standing water. They’re also attracted to perfumes with a floral or fruity fragrance.

There may be just a few pesky bugs, or there may be a lot. But they will be there. And they will be distracting and unpleasant for everyone – your guests and you.

Avoid swatting at mosquitos while you’re saying your “I dos.”

Set off bug bombs. Burn citronella candles. Spray for bugs beforehand.

Provide insect repellant (Burt’s Bees makes a nice herbal based repellant). Have a basket with individual insect repellant wipes on hand for your guests. (Google “individual bug repellent wipes in bulk”).

Decorate with flowers and other florals that are a natural insect repellant, such as sprigs of rosemary, lavender, mint, and thyme.

Sunshine, Rain, and Your Wedding Day

5. Can You Hear Me Now?

Your guests want to hear your vows. I mean, how can you expect them to be engaged and enjoy being there for you if they’re struggling to hear what’s going on?

If they can’t hear, they’re going to be thinking (or worse, whispering) “what’d she say?” “What part are they up to?” “How much longer?” “I can’t hear a thing!”, instead of “Oh, I’m so happy for them,” and “Their vows are so beautiful,” while dabbing tears from the corners of their eyes.

Many indoor ceremony venues have a sound/PA system. Others venues were built with beautiful acoustics.

However, that’s not the case outside.

Unless the size of your guest list is relatively small, consider renting a microphone and speaker.

6. These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (But How Far Is That Walk?)

walking to remote wedding location
Photo credit: arinahabich / 123RF Stock Photo

Chances are your beautiful outdoor ceremony site is remote and secluded.

This may sound romantic, and is probably part of the charm that made you choose that site. But it may prove tricky for some to actually get to. Or awkward for those ladies wearing heels. (Help avoid this by clearly indicating on your invitations of the outdoor nuances of your ceremony so your guests can choose proper footwear).

Think about how far is the distance between parking and the actual site? Are there long meandering paths? Uneven terrain? Trails through tall grass? Rocky walkways?

If that’s the case, it is likely that it will take more effort on everyone’s part to actually get to the ceremony site.

Is there a closer access road for your elderly guests?

If possible, arrange to have golf carts or a shuttle available to help get guests as close as possible. Designate a few hearty bodied gentlemen to help those who may need assistance.

For the ladies in heels, provide plastic heel protectors, such as The Solemates, Heels Above. or Grass Walkers. They keep high heels from sinking into the ground. Makes it easier for them, and protects their shows at the same time.

7. Baby, You Can Drive My Car (But Where Will It Be Parked?)

Again, chances are your beautiful outdoor ceremony site is remote and secluded.

So, where will your guests have to park?

Is there a nearby parking lot? A parking lot that’s a 5 minute walk from your ceremony site? Or is parking more scattered?

You will need to be more creative with the parking situation if yours is not a traditional ceremony site. Parking may be off the street, in a field, or down a gravel lane. Will it be easy for your guests to see their way to find their cars at the end of your event?

8. It’s All About Location, Location, Location. Unless It Isn’t Easy To Find Your Ceremony Site.

wooden sign pointing towards a wedding ceremony
Photo credit: chrishumphreys / 123RF Stock Photo

I don’t mean finding the address, that’s the easy part (especially the help of a GPS). I’m talking about them finding your ceremony site once they get out of their car.

It may be obvious to you as to how to get to your ceremony site, but if there are other paths that lead elsewhere, your guests can become confused or lost.

Reaching some remote outdoor ceremony sites isn’t always obvious. Do we take that close by path on the right, or do we have to walk down that lane?

Make it foolproof with some simple signage. Providing a sign that states, “Ceremony this way” with an arrow pointing the way works wonders.

9. Extra! Extra! (Fees, That Is).

Perhaps the cost to use your outdoor wedding ceremony location is minimal (particularly so for private homes or sites that are open to the public, like parks or arboretums).

However, with some non-typical ceremony sites come additional planning and fees.

  • If it’s harder for your vendors to access, will extra delivery fees be incurred?
  • Outdoor sites may not have restrooms nearby. For the comfort of your guests, will you need to provide port-a-potties?
  • Will you need valet parking if the nearest parking area is a good distance away?
  • The outdoors doesn’t come with electrical outlets. Will you need to provide generators?

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Looking for fun ideas or assistance with your wedding plans? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net, 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Dog of Honor? – Including Your Dogs in Your Wedding Ceremony

Tips for including your dog in your wedding ceremony. The bride and her dog. Photo credit: Tammy Pressnell

Well, after 23 years of planning weddings, Weddings From The Heart experienced a first.

Earlier this month was the first time that one of my couples included their dogs in their wedding ceremony.

And things could not have gone smoother!

Their dogs, Molly and Kava, were the sweetest, most well behaved pups ever! (Molly even gave me doggie kisses!)

Tips When Including Your Four-Legged Family Members

Our pets are our family, so for many people it makes sense to include them in their big day.

The following are some tips to help make things go smooth for everyone involved.

1. Before you start in on planning for including your pet, make sure your ceremony and reception venues permit pets.

Confirm that pets are welcome. The last thing you want is to arrive on your wedding day only to find that your dogs can’t be there.

Let the folks at the venues know in what capacity your pet will play. Will they just be present for the ceremony? At the ceremony and reception? On a leash or free range?

2. Consider your pet’s personality.

Are they shy? Social? Vocal? Quiet?

Are your pups comfortable around a large group of people? You don’t want them to be overwhelmed.

Does your pet have good “doggie manners”? Your wedding day is not the time or place for friendly little Fido to be greeting people by jumping on them, or begging for food.

Does a little hunter come out in them at the sight of a squirrel, or will they ignore it?

3. Are any of your key people (parents, wedding party members, photographer) allergic to dogs?

If so, are there precautions they can take that will alleviate their allergy symptoms without leaving them drowsy?

4. Are any of your key people afraid of dogs?

Discuss with them what you have in mind for including your dogs and see if that may be acceptable to them. Or consider limiting your dogs’ participation to ceremony only, on leashes.

5. Consider the role you want your pet to play.

Are they merely guests of honor or will they play a more active role such as being the ring bearer?

Have them practice at the rehearsal too.

6. Have a designated handler for the wedding day.

You’re going to be busy with everything else going on to have to be the one to feed, walk, or clean up after your pets when “nature calls.” Also they can keep an eye on your four-legged babies in case some chocolate cake or wedding favors accidently gets dropped on the floor (don’t want them getting into that and getting sick – or worse!)

7. Do you want your pet to wear a special little outfit?

Make sure your pet in comfortable wearing a little doggie tux or hat. (As handsome as my dog would look with a hat, he’d paw it off the second it was placed on his head). You don’t want them to be tugging at it trying to get it off during your vows.

Keep it simple. A little bow tie or flower attached to it’s collar will look adorable!

8. Have some familiar items on hand.

Unless you typically have a hundred or so people around, your pooch is going to be out of his element. Bring along a favorite toy, dog bed, and treats. Your pet will be in an unfamiliar environment (different location, different people), so having some familiar items on hand can make things more comforting for your pet.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For more wedding planning tips contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net, 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Sologamy (or Self Marriage): Positive Life Choice or Utter Nonsense?

Sologamy (or Self Marriage): Positive Life Choice or Utter Nonsense? |  With this new trend, one person, usually a woman, marries herself in a wedding ceremony, with the white dress bridal bouquet and reception. What do you think of this trend?

Ok. There’s a new trend making its way around that I just don’t get.

This trend is people, usually women, are marrying themselves. Yes, you read that right. They are getting married… to themselves. Wearing a white dress, carrying a bouquet and having a reception.

There is even a word for this – sologomy.

Depending on which article you happen to read on the subject, this is either an empowering act – celebrating their independent status, while dispelling the stigma of being unmarried when you reach “a certain age”, or just a sad and bitter feminist who’s tired of always being asked why she isn’t married.

Yes – believing that your life is enough even if you aren’t part of a couple is a positive emotional way to be. Being single isn’t bad, and no one should ever be made to feel any less because they are single.

But does there really need to be a ceremony to proclaim that they are “enough” even though they aren’t in a romantic relationship with another person? Isn’t their belief that they don’t have to be part of a couple sufficient?

Why can’t people just live their lives without having to prove something to others that probably doesn’t need proving at all?

Maybe I’m wrong on this, so a little enlightening is welcome.

Do you know someone who has married themselves, or considered it? What do you think?

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Need help with your wedding plans? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

5 Quotes about Love and Marriage

Love Marriage Romance Hearts
Romantic Red Hearts

Although much has been said on the topics of love and marriage, sometimes nothing sums it up so succinctly than a good quote.

Short, sweet, and to the point, here are five lovely quotes that you can use on your wedding invitations or ceremony programs, include in readings, signage at your reception, or just as inspiration.

Love with Red Heart
Love with Red Heart

1. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tze

2. “Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.” ~ Franz Schubert

3. “A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in individuals and in the way they express their love.” ~ Pearl S. Buck

4. “Men always want to be a woman’s first love and women want to be a man’s last romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde

5. “A successful marriage is an edifice that must be built every day.” ~ Andre Maurois

Heart with Arrow
Hearts with Arrow

Be sure to share with us in the comments below other quotes on love and marriage that you particularly love.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Need inspiration or ideas for your wedding? Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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Sunshine, Rain, and Your Wedding Day

lightning

Sitting here in my family room listening to the rain. Not a relaxing patter on the window. It is thundering and coming down hard.

I mean HARD!

So hard, that even with a rain coat and umbrella you’d get drenched.

The sun was shining not just 20 minutes ago! It was nice enough to do a little yard work, or sit outside and have lunch.

But now we’ve got a thunderstorm.

“Why in the world is she talking about the weather?” you’re probably thinking.

From weddings held at parks and shelter houses, to backyards, and venues with lovely outdoor settings – outdoor weddings are on the rise. And with outdoor weddings, you’ve got to contend with the weather.

In a perfect world, it would never rain (and the wind would only be a comfortable breeze) on your wedding day.

In the real world, Mother Nature may have other ideas. And it’s not just rain. There may be wind storms, an unusual cold front, or high humidity or a heat wave.

Sun

You can’t really combat this (the weather is going to be what it is), but you can plan ahead in case the weather isn’t cooperative. What if you have rain on your wedding day (or other inclement weather)?

Have a “Plan B” for your wedding with an alternate indoor (or appropriately sheltered/air conditioned/heated) site, and discuss this with your wedding coordinator, as other set-up logistics will be affected. Inform your venue manager and other vendors of your “Plan B,” and let them know who the person is who will designate if “Plan B” has to be put in place.

rainy wedding ceremony at seashore

Some things to take into consideration:

1) Your other vendors needs
• How long does your florist need to set up? Is she decorating an arch and placing lots of flowers along the sides of the aisle, or does she just have to set down a couple floral arrangements?
• Your photographer, videographer, dj, musicians all have equipment that cannot get wet.

2) The comfort of your guests.
• Will there be high humidity, compounded by guests having to sit in the sun?
• Even if the rain has stopped, has the ground been left so slick and muddy that it is unsafe to walk on?

3) The proximity of the site for “Plan B” from your original site
• Is it close enough to be able to direct guests to the “building on the right” instead of the “clearing on the left?”
• Or will your guests have to drive to a second location?

Most of the time plans go as intended, and here’s hoping that you have beautiful weather on your wedding day. But, have a solid “Plan B” in place, and remember, you’re marrying the love of your life, and celebrating this with your closest friends and family!

Just Married Rain

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

For more wedding planning tips and ideas, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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A Fun New (Old) Approach for Your Wedding Processional

wedding ceremony aisle ready for processional

What’s an easy way to set the tone and mood of your wedding?

Make an entrance, of course! Your wedding processional, where the wedding party and the happy couple enter at the beginning of the ceremony, is the official start of your wedding, and is full of drama and anticipation.

Unless you’re having an extremely casual wedding, having everyone just sort of walk in is anti-climactic. (And who wants to start off that day like that?)

Walking to the pace of a slower tempoed song, such as Wagner’s Bridal Chorus (aka Here Comes the Bride), or Canon in D is more solemn and traditional.

Walk This Way – Alternatives to Traditional Processional Songs

These days, it’s not uncommon for couples to choose more current songs to walk down the aisle to, such as “Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran or “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri.

Other couples are taking it up still another notch. They’ve got to come in somehow, right? So to get the energy going, and expressing a light-hearted and whimsical tone, they’re dancing up the aisle.

Hundreds of years ago, the wedding ceremony was preceded by dancing to the ceremony locale. This represented the celebration of the joy of life. Through the years the dancing evolved into the modern processional.

Go back to the wedding ceremony roots and dance in.

Check out this fun wedding, featuring Bruno Mars and “Marry Me.”

“Well I know this little chapel on the boulevard we can go”

Love the song (yeah, I’m a Bruno fan). But really LOVE the energy of this processional. You can already feel the joy through the computer screen. Can you imagine how the guests were feeling experiencing this in person?

What do you think of the dancing wedding processional? Would you consider this type of entrance for your wedding ceremony?

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

If you’re looking for fun ideas, or need help with your wedding plans contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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Photo credit: The Flower Studio in Austin, TX via photopin