Tom and I both have a varied ethnic background, and we wanted to try to incorporate little bits of our heritages in our wedding. From our Italian rehearsal dinner followed with Norwegian dessert cookies, to the Irish soda bread being served on Sunday morning, we tried to add additional meaning to the food we chose to serve our guests. But I think the most obvious nod we gave to either of our ethnicity's was the paper crane display in our cocktail tent. And I've got the thumb calluses to prove it!
There are various interpretations of the significance of folding paper origami cranes in the Japanese culture, but they mostly come down to wishing good luck or happiness to either the person that folds the cranes, or the person that receives the cranes. These traditions have crept into American culture, and seeing paper cranes at weddings has become someone commonplace (or at least in the wedding blogoshpere).
I decided when we got engaged I wanted to try to fold as many cranes to hang from the ceiling of our cocktail tent at our wedding as I could. To be perfectly honest, I knew I would never get to 1,000, but I figured it was the thought that counted and it would also be a great way to inject color and whimsy into an otherwise plain tent. I looked up a few methods online, and got to folding. Since you need a square shape, I decided to go with 12 x 12 scrapbook paper in various shades of yellow, gray and teal instead of having to trim 8 x 11 construction paper. I also occasionally picked up wrapping paper that matched our color scheme and cut out my own squares. At the end of the year of folding, I ended up with 3 full garbage bags of cranes, which came out to be about 325 cranes.
My MOH and SIL-to-be spent and afternoon using large sewing needles to string up 2 - 4 cranes to bakers twine and affixed them to hangers to keep them in order. Then once the tent guys had the cocktail tent up, they helped me string them up on one long piece of heavy fishing line.
Lots of people took a few home after the wedding which was nice to see. They were certainly a labor of love, but I think they brought a big impact to an easily forgotten area of the wedding.
I love this shot at night with the tents all lit up...