What is the history behind using aisle runners, and do I have to use one?
In the days when roads were unpaved, wedding guests would arrive at the church and track in dirt or mud from the streets. It didn't seem right for the bride to drag the hem of her dress in the mud, so the aisle runner was first used to protect her gown. Today, most indoor locations don't suffer from guests tracking in dirt and mud, but many brides choose to use aisle runners anyway as they lend a "regal" touch to the ceremony, though they are completely optional.
While aisle runners can be nice for winter weddings, as they protect gowns, and at informal weddings, where they serve to define the aisle, they can also be a bit of a hazard: We've seen many a bride get tripped up by a poorly secured aisle runner. Keep in mind too that your photographer will be taking pictures from the back of the room, so one of the most prominent features in your ceremony photos could be the aisle runner that's been pulled askew by the processional! Another tip: Don't use a cloth or plastic aisle runner over fresh grass unless it is backed by plywood or something solid: Your and your maids' heels will go right through it into the soft ground beneath -- yuck.
Wedding Traditions & Wedding Customs