Wedding Pages: Cranes

Why cranes? Well, cranes are an important symbol in several Asian cultures. In China and Japan, cranes are a symbol of longevity and good fortune because they live a long time. They're also a symbol of fidelity since they mate for life.

In Japan, there's a tradition where a bride folds 1001 cranes for her wedding. This tradition is also practiced in Hawai'i. Many brides display the cranes at their reception, sometimes hung from the ceiling as if a huge flock of cranes came to visit for the occasion.

When I was younger, I heard of this tradition and thought it was beautiful. When we first got engaged I started folding cranes. I don't know the exact number of cranes we had at our wedding, but my best guess is about 1400 of various sizes, colors, and patterns. To answer the most common questions, I take about 3-5 minutes to fold each crane and typically I fold them while watching TV (tells you how much TV I've watched in the last year). I folded about 1000 of them myself, and I've received 100 from my dad, 50 from aunt Ersensen, and 30 from cousin Andrea and aunt Sangugu.

I used them as decorative elements at our reception- garlands, centerpieces, placecard holders. . . . stay tuned to this channel for pictures.

In addition, we asked our friends and family to fold a crane for us in commemoration of our wedding. The crane can be folded of any kind or size of paper, and you can write wishes on the inside or the outside if you would like. Go here for directions on how to fold paper cranes (NB: you don't need to 'inflate' your crane since you'll have to fold it flat to send to us). We sent instructions and origami paper with the invitations too. We displayed them on a special 'crane tree' at our reception.

After our wedding, any cranes not kept by us or our guests as souvenirs will go to the Thousand Cranes Peace Network. Their goal is to have a million cranes by the year 2000. Please go to their site for more information about their activities. You can also visit the Sadako Peace Project to read the moving story of Sadako, a little girl whose life and death inspired people all over the world to fold cranes for peace.

Some crane-related pictures:


A decorative fan that we received as a Christmas present this year. It has a staggering 8 foot wingspan and hangs above our bed. There are 100 cranes painted on it.

tiny cranes

Some cranes that I folded out of mint wrappers at my cousin Jen's wedding. A little hard to believe the scale, that's a dinner roll there and the cranes are sitting on butter pats. Really.

You can also view the PDF file that we used to print the origami directions.

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last updated: 5/19/99