1000 Origami Cranes

I got married on September 26 and had the idea that I should fold 1000 origami cranes to use as a backdrop to our ceremony and pictures.

The legend goes that the bride has to fold all 1000 of them to show the patience and commitment that a successful marriage requires. Cranes mate for life and are fabled to live for 1000 years. If the bride folds 1000 for her wedding she is granted one wish.

When I told my then fiancé about my idea, all he said was “that’s a lot…” I was undeterred by his lack of enthusiasm and started folding.  Note the tally sheet in the bottom of the pic!


So at the time I had 4 months until the wedding. Despite my full time job, I decided this was no problem! I began folding in all of my free time. My sister in law volunteered to help. Then she got another sister in law involved. A college friend also started folding too.


I went on a business trip In July and even folded at the airport! I did the initial folds so they wouldn’t get crushed in my bag, then finished the final folds when I got home! At this point I was starting to feel like even with my volunteers, I might not be able to finish.


I texted some local friends and planned an origami party at my house. I cooked dinner, served wine, supplied plenty of paper, and taught everyone how to fold. We ended up doing it again a few weeks later.  Roger, Claudia, and Amy showed up. We had a blast!!!


Finally all of the cranes were finished! The cranes filled a giant lawn sized trash bag to the brim. I was planning to string them all up and hang them at the wedding. I looked at this huge bag and felt overwhelmed. Not using them wasn’t an option after all of the time and effort of my friends. I dumped the bag onto a queen sized bed:


I started stinging on cotton thread. Each crane was separated by two beads to space them out. Each string was approximately 7 feet long. This actually went really fast compared to the folding.  Will (fiancé) and his sister both helped and we made pretty quick work of stringing them up. Here is a pic of them hanging in my closet… if you look closely you can see the beads between each crane:


Then I started thinking about how we were going to hang them. We were getting married in a banquet room of a historic hotel and they did not allow anything to be attached to the walls or ceiling…. Not even command strips! We had purchased a simple arch from a craft store but couldn’t think of how to attach the strings to create a “wall” of cranes. At this point I turned the rest of the project over to my fiancé and asked him to please make it happen. 🙂

So the day if the wedding, while I was sipping memosas and getting my nails done, my fiancé and best man constructed the arch, fully adorned with the cranes!!!! It was BEAUTIFUL!!! They did a wonderful job! As you can see, they used PVC pipe inserted through the arch to hold them all.


After the ceremony the best man rallied a group of guys and they moved the whole thing across the hall to the reception room.

At the end of the party, we cut down strings of cranes and gave them away to guests as they were leaving. I love the idea of people hanging them I their homes or on their Christmas trees.

I snapped this picture at a friend’s house:


Our wedding wasn’t elaborate and we didn’t kill our budget, but it was beautiful and I will never forget it. Not only because of the cranes, but because so many of our friends and families travelled from all over the country to be there together with us. Everyone got along, had fun, and several made side trips to local attractions over the remainder of the weekend.

Now that it’s all over I miss making the cranes. The repetition and enjoyment of seeing how all of the different paper patterns turned out in the form of a crane was fun and relaxing. Of course, I could keep on making them but seems pointless if they aren’t going to be used in any specific way. However, if there are any brides-to-be out there who need help with their cranes, email me and I would be happy to help!!


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