Who walks on the aisle runner

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Who
The aisle runner is for the bride and the bridal party alone. Many times the center aisle in the church is blocked off, often by satin ribbon, to keep guests from walking down it. They are escorted from the outside of the two seating areas aside the aisle where the bridal party and bride will enter for the ceremony. Most times this aisle is decorated with ribbon and flowers along the pews, if the ceremony takes place in a church.

When
There are two different times that the aisle runner can be rolled down the aisle. It can be done before any guests arrive, if the center aisle is blocked off so that no one can walk on it. The satin ribbon, or whatever is being used to block the way, is removed just before the bridal party begins its procession. The second option is that designated individuals (usually ushers) roll it out as an announcement that the attendants are about to enter the area and the ceremony is about to begin.
History
Traditionally, a white aisle runner is used for a wedding, as it symbolizes a "pathway of purity." Historically, the first aisle runners were placed down as a protection for the bride and groom. It was believed that evil spirits lived under the church floor and that the aisle runner would protect the bride and groom as they walked down the aisle. Later, it was thought to merely create a clean area for the bride to walk upon. In early days, when roads were not paved, guests could track in a lot of dirt and mud.

Custom
It is customary to roll the aisle runner from the front (altar) of the church to the back, where the bride and her party will enter. If the runner is laid down in advance, it can be taped to the flooring so no one trips over the fabric or plastic. For more informal weddings, when the ceremony may not be held in a church, the aisle runner helps to define the entrance of the bride. However.  A flat surface such as plywood is best laid down beneath the aisle runner if the ceremony is outside.

New Trends
The traditional white aisle runner is still used most often in weddings. However, there are brightly colored runners that coordinate with the wedding palette.
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