Wedding Planning

Mother of all Aisle Runners: Part 1

Looking for Part 2?

By far the biggest project for our wedding was the aisle runner. Our wedding ceremony and reception were at the same venue, so guests had all day to check it out–and they did! Here’s how I did it.

But first, some background. My husband and I love board games. We started collecting when we moved in together back in the summer of 2014, and well here’s what it looks like now.

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He proposed to me over a board game, of course. We were playing The Game of Life (the very one pictured above, towards the top left corner) with his Best Man (who is SO not the mushy romantic type). It wasn’t going so well for me, Sam and Ron were halfway across the board with a few kids each and I was still stuck in college having lost a few turns and spun several ones. When I finally got to the STOP: Get Married spot, Sam got down on one knee, whipped out the ring and said “How about in real life, too?”

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So given our history of games, we decided to make our wedding theme “Fun & Games” with more of a family reunion meets tailgate feel than a traditional wedding reception. Our venue (Silver Hearth Lodge) is on top of a mountain with both outdoor and covered pavilion areas for guests to mingle. Our ceremony took place under the rod iron gazebo (that apparently was built in Egypt in the 1800s!).

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This picture is from Silver Hearth Lodge’s Facebook page, not from our wedding, to show you how it looks in its mostly raw beauty.

The aisle, while beautiful in its rustic charm isn’t quite fun enough for us. So I came up with quite the idea.

What if we had an aisle runner that looked like the path on The Game of Life?

So I designed it in illustrator, changing out the Life milestones with milestones from our relationship, ending in STOP: Get Married where I did just that. We stood where it says LOVE, right under the gazebo in the middle of the stop sign.

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To do this, though I had to whip out some high school geometry. Ok, actually I had to whip out google, because who has time for math when there’s a website to do it for you? The top of the gazebo is a circle, but since there’s six legs, for my purposes it’s a hexagon. The director at my venue told me it is 9.5′ at it’s widest (so point-to-point diameter of the hexagon). I whipped out this handy dandy hexagon calculator and it told me all the dimensions I needed to know. Then, with Sam’s help, I took over our living room and taped out the hexagon. Hard to see below, but right behind the aisle runner roll are two pieces of tape marking center, this is a crucial step!!

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When we taped this out, Sam said “this is our love hexagon” to which I responded “Yep, with six people” and he made the point that it was so complicated that we had to map it out.

Next, I used an octagon calculator to figure out the measurements I needed for the stop sign (because like hell am I going to paint this entire thing to have it end up with the wrong shaped stop sign). Ideally, I wanted each side of the octagon to be three feet wide, as that’s the width of my aisle runner that I picked up at Joann’s. Luckily, that ends up being about 7′3″ across, so fits smoothly in my 9.5′ area. The inside of the octagon is my end goal, there’s about 3″ of wiggle room at the closest points.

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Can you feel the love yet?

Next I cut two pieces off the aisle runner roll, one for each side of the octagon. I unrolled enough of a third piece for the center but did not cut it off the roll. This way, the transition from aisle runner into stop sign will be as seamless as possible. I pinned the pieces together and ran it through my sewing machine. I pressed open the seams [Note: if you attempt this at home, be sure your iron is on a fairly cool setting, this cheap aisle runner material melts easily!].

Then I stretched it out and centered it, with Sam’s help and taped it down.

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I love how the fabric is sheer enough to see through, that came in handy when I painted it. It’s almost impossible to find a plain aisle runner, but these flowers and hearts just look like texture so even thought they didn’t go away, I’m cool with it.

Next I cut out the octagon, painted the octagon, and then I marked where each “space” goes, and then I painted the rest! Full disclosure, this project is not for the faint of heart but was totally worth it.

Read on with Part 2!

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