A thousand cranes

Origami paper cranes - etsy.com

Origami paper cranes for escort cards or place cards – etsy.com

Ancient Japanese traditions believe that folding 1000 paper cranes will make your wishes come true. A thousand paper cranes are traditionally given as a wedding gift, to wish a thousand years of happiness and prosperity upon the couple. It is said that cranes mate for life and work together to build their nest, making them the perfect symbol for a long and happy life together.

Although there seem to be many different interpretations of the tradition of folding a thousand crane, one of the most popular seems to be that the bride folds 1000 cranes before her wedding, to be rewarded by a good and happy marriage. The groom then folds the 1001st one – now what do you make of that?

How to fold and hang origami cranes

Below is a simple video tutorial showing you how to fold a paper crane from a square sheet of paper. You will need to either use traditional ‘washi’ origami paper, or thin coloured paper – card will be too thick.

One of the most common ways of hanging a large number of paper cranes is to create a ‘Senbazuru’ by threading them onto thin cotton, using little beads to stop them sliding down. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Wedding seating plans and escort cards

Whether you fold half a dozen or the full one thousand cranes, you can choose the paper to match your colour scheme perfectly, making them a fantastic accessory for your wedding seating plan. Here are a few examples:

  • This seating plan uses this Senbazuru style, with the cranes widely spaced and a sheet added on for each table.
  • This one threads rainbow cranes interspersed with guest’s names, with the threads tied top to bottom of a DIY picture frame.
  • These escort cards have a hand folded crane on each, with a blank space for each guest’s name.
  • This escort card display is beautifully laid out, with its rainbow colours making the escort card table so bright and cheerful.

Table names and numbers

In keeping with the meaning of 1000 cranes, you could name your tables after all the things you wish from your marriage – happiness, love, health and good luck for example. However, any choice of table name or number will work well with this theme, as elegance and simplicity of the origami cranes make the perfect embellishment for your chosen table names or numbers.

Table décor

Origami paper cranes

Origami paper cranes – etsy.com

Colour coordinated Senbazuru hanging cranes can be a stunning addition to your table décor – although you will need quite a few! You can also use your cranes to hold guest’s name cards, or as favours wishing your guests good luck and happiness.

Why not set the dinner guests a challenge, placing origami paper and instructions for folding cranes on the tables, so that they can add to your thousand good wishes?

Other origami

You don’t have stick just to cranes, of course!

It is easy to find many origami instructions on the internet, but some are rather complex for a beginner, especially one with a wedding to organise! Easy patterns that you could use include the Iris flower and the Mecho design of butterfly. Many craft shops will sell a wide range of origami paper, allowing you to coordinate your designs with your wedding colour scheme. See our article about origami wedding accessories for many more great origami inspired ideas.

And finally, don’t forget to look at our Japanese paper crane inspired Pinterest board for more ideas on how to incorporate 1000 paper cranes into your wedding seating plan!

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A little bit about Adam, founder of TopTablePlanner...

Adam has been working in the wedding industry since 2006. After discovering that arranging the seating is one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, he launched TopTablePlanner in 2007. See his Google+ profile.