Everyone has seen a whimsical origami crane, but the crane is just the tip of the origami iceberg. A vast variety of flowers, butterflies, swans, doves, wildlife, hearts, and more can be created with origami art.

Origami Paper Origins

Anyone who has ever made a paper airplane and sent it soaring across a room has practiced the art of origami. Origami is the act of folding paper into decorative, and sometimes functional, shapes.

Antiquities made of paper had little chance of survival over the centuries, so no one knows for sure when origami began. But since early times, people with artistic gifts have turned the most basic discoveries into stimulating art, and origami figures crafted from simple paper squares have delighted mankind throughout history.

Incorporating origami into wedding day décor is one way to whittle the decoration costs down to size while creating something personal and unique for reception tables.

Traditional Japanese origami paper, called “washi,” is a soft, textured paper, and “chiyogami” is washi paper that has been printed with design. But special paper is not necessary to create magical shapes. Origami can be created from all kinds of paper, including wrapping paper, newspaper, printer paper, onionskin, and even cellophane paper and Post-it® notes. Some papers, however, may be harder to work with. Thicker paper is more unforgiving, and mistakes may mean starting over.

Wedding Décor With Origami

The Bridal Association of America lists the average cost of wedding reception centerpieces at nearly $1,300. That far exceeds the cost of purchasing enough paper to create many unique origami centerpieces.

Centerpieces can be simple or complex. Here are some ideas:

  • flower pots filled with origami flowers

  • origami greenery with origami butterflies attached to     flexible wires

  • cascades of origami roses on small risers

  • origami swans, ducks or cranes amidst curvy streams of     silver and blue glitter

  • origami tulips in glass vases

  • a single large origami swan on a mirror or silver tray

  • origami peacocks mounted on real twigs

  • origami angels with wispy clouds of angora at their     feet

Ribbons, bows, raffia, and other accents can be added to any origami centerpiece, and origami place cards can enhance the table decor even further.

Origami Paper Flowers and More

The beauty of origami is that it doesn’t have to be created in one long, continuous effort. For example, a beautiful swan is made from about 400 small, individually folded pieces that are then enmeshed to create the swan shape. Folding a supply of little papers is something that can be done while watching TV, during a long drive, or while sitting on the porch enjoying the sunset.

Everyone can help create origami figures, and it’s a great way to involve friends and family in the wedding process. Some figures are so simple and quick that school children can make them, while others require plenty of practice to be perfect.

Instructions are available in books and on websites like the Origami Resource Center, a site that provides a wealth of information as well as free instructions for many origami designs. Video tutorials, created by origami enthusiasts, can also be found on YouTube™, and some craft stores offer origami classes.

Professional origami artists are available for hire, but due to the labor-intensive nature of creating unique designs, hiring someone to create the pieces will increase costs substantially. Fortunately, contracting for origami art is not necessary for anyone who has patience, time and paper.

Wedding Theme Decorations

Origami can be adapted to accent any chosen wedding theme. And in addition to centerpieces and place cards, it can be used for favors, as accents for the buffet, cake and guest book tables, and as hanging décor. Small paper kits that make boats or other easy designs can also be provided to children to keep them occupied and happy during the reception.

Wedding table décor may be the only origami touch chosen for the reception or it can be the focal point of a larger theme.

Origami design choices are many. Color combinations are endless. Brides and grooms who choose origami table décor save money, add intrigue, and when using recycled paper, befriend the environment. It’s a winning wedding combination.