Some brides wouldn't consider being married without an aisle cloth. Others don't want one and won't consider it. Here are some thoughts about how they came to be and today's versions to help a bride decide.
The custom originated in medieval times when royalty would enter cathedrals for worship services. With birds in the rafters of churches and peasants' muddy shoes, the aisles were usually a mess. The aisle cloth was a necessity to keep the trains of the gowns of the ladies of the court clean as they walked to the seats in the front of the church. It was a practical solution to a problem.
Over the years, the aisle cloth has come to signify that someone special is coming. It remains one of the universal customs of society and has been adapted by Hollywood at the Oscar awards. In fact, the phrase "appearing on the red carpet" lets us know that a celebrity is due to appear. With our society's emphasis on brides as "queen for the day", the tradition has remained.
The aisle runner is usually installed by the florist and is not unrolled until after the bride's mother has been seated and processional is about to begin. While the majority of them are white fabric, some florists do have colored runners available to match wedding colors. If you plan to use one, consider using fabric and not a paper version that can be easily torn by high heels, slides easily on some floors and carpets and can be noisy as the wedding party walks to the altar.