Unconventional Ceremony Aisle Setups (and How to Walk Down Them)

We rounded up some wedding experts to offer you some fun alternatives, as well as some top tips for optimal foot traffic and ceremony flow.

wedding ceremony aisle
Photo: Megan & Kenneth

Mixing up the aisle setup for your wedding ceremony is a creative way to go beyond the traditional row seating, and it’s perfect for venues with tricky floor plans. But, before you proceed with extravagant seating charts, there are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to logistics. 

"Unconventional aisle setups are becoming more popular in the coming years for a few reasons, mainly because of the intimacy and closeness with the guests. In traditional ceremony seating, some guests may feel they are a mile away from the altar and miss each word of the couple’s vows. Some alternative ceremonies will feel more inclusive, cozy, and special.” —Katy Padilla, Scarlet Rose Events

“Choosing an unconventional aisle setup allows the couple to break tradition and aim to give their guests something more personalized and impactful than a traditional aisle. This alternative approach to a ceremony aisle can help reflect the couple's unique personality, creating a memorable and intimate experience for those attending.” —Mary Angelini, Key Moment Films

"I personally suggest sticking with one point of entrance, so when a photographer or video person captures the event, you will have a point of reference instead of hopping around.” —Jen Sulak, Weirdo Weddings

"If a couple is striving for a more intimate ceremony, consider it in the round. This setup is a wonderful way for all guests to see the couple equally. The circle can be full or partial, both leaving room for an aisle. If a partial circle, the aisle can be the divider between the halves. If a full circle, the couple may walk in a spiral-like walk around the circle till they reach the center altar. Another option is to have the seats set up around a square altar. This is an effortless way for the couple to still have an aisle down the middle with seats on each side but also seats on the sides of the altar to achieve that more close-knit style.” —Katy Padilla

“Spiral seating is a nod to the whimsical and innovative. Not only is it eye-catching and unique. It also makes for a dynamic drone shot by your photographer and videographer. To walk down this aisle, the bride can make her way through each row, slowly making her way to the center where the groom is waiting.” —Jacqueline Vizcaino, Tinted Events Design & Planning

"One example is when a couple had an outdoor evening ceremony. There was some concern about the bridal party being able to see and walk in the grass. The couple arranged clear dance tiles to form the aisle. Each tile was full of fairy lights, giving enough light to see and set the ambiance. This was the perfect way that provided a solution and elevated the wedding. The best way to walk down one of these aisle is slowly. Before the entrance procession, someone should do a final visual check to ensure no spills or debris on the aisle.” —Nichole Heid, Studio Nichole Photography

"I have a couple who met during Mardi Gras and opted for a flash mob aisle walk down, providing grand entertainment for the guests, the officiant, and themselves. We created a theatrical event to surprise and delight everyone, as no one other than the involved parties knew what would happen. The first 5 seconds of the aisle walk music was the traditional wedding song, then a full brass band popped out of the surrounding trees, and the wedding party busted out in a magnificent flash mob dance, New Orleans style, delighting all in attendance.” —Sarah Chianese, Mangia & Enjoy!

“Multiple converging aisles. We have this in one of our setups with a 360 platform in the middle of a large plaza. It allows for up to a 4 aisle setup with people coming from multiple directions at various lengths of travel. It can be one way to adapt to a bride who wants a very long walk while minimizing the impact on the timeline or where others in the wedding party are less able to travel for that distance (this can be an adaptation for children who can't focus for as long or might get scared).” —Vijay Goel, Bite Catering Couture

“I'm a lover of keeping things simple just as much as beautiful! So when I see a couple use an unconventional space like a ship in the harbor or a quirky pub sunporch, I like to see them leave enough space for everyone to stand and see them, but also room enough to walk and bring your dress, outfits, and ushers through. Whoever is walking you down the aisle will thank you for the simplicity as well. The great thing about your aisle design is reflecting on the path it took to find love and solidify your love!” —Jen Sulak

Above all else, make sure you’re communicating with your vendors throughout the planning process. The creatives will have the insight to help make your unconventional ceremony setup come true, so lean into their expertise to ensure you have the smoothest entrance and exit for your big day!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.