1000 paper cranes

Depicted as strong yet graceful, the crane is a traditional symbol of love in Japan.  Since the elegant bird mates for life, it is a popular animal motif in weddings.  It is commonly imprinted on wedding invitations and embroidered onto the marriage kimono or obi to represent honour, fidelity and harmony.

Japanese lore claims the crane is one of three holy creatures that can live for 1,000 years. After folding 1,000 origami paper cranes, one for each year of its life, the majestic "bird of happiness" is able to carry that person's prayers to heaven.  Senbazuru has been an integral part of the culture for centuries, with the first instructional book, How to Fold 1,000 Cranes, released in 1797.

Although the crane is one of the easiest origami projects to learn, folding 1,000 miniature paper birds is a true labour of love.  The duty of making the birds was initially assigned to the father of the bride, who presented the bundle of cranes to the couple during the marriage ceremony.  In time, it became the responsibility of the bride as a way to develop her patience and demonstrate her commitment to the marriage.  Today, entire families gather to help assemble the birds, offering prayers and blessings as they work to impart even more good fortune on the couple's future.

Haili spent many, many hours, along with her good friends, making 1000 beautiful and bright paper cranes that were strung from the Heart Strings Hire and Style arbor and provided a stunning backdrop for the ceremony.

This was indeed a beautiful wedding, not just because of the incredible backdrop and the drop dead gorgeous bride and groom, but because the love was felt by everyone there.  Haili and Ben wrote their own vows, Haili's god daughter (and junior bridesmaid) read All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulgham and good friend Carla shared Every Time I Say I Love You after the signing.

Every time I say I love you
I'm really trying to say
So much more than those three little words;
I'm trying to express so many wonderful feelings about you.
I'm trying to say that you mean more to me than anyone else in the world.
I'm trying to let you know that I adore you and that I cherish the time we spend together.
I'm trying to explain that I want you and that I need you
And that I get lost in wonderful thoughts every time I think about you.
And each time I whisper 'I love you'
I'm trying to remind you that you're the nicest thing that has ever happened to me.

As an officer with the Australian Air Force, Ben had arranged his friends and work colleagues to form a guard of honour as he and Haili walked back out the aisle.  It was an amazing conclusion to the ceremony with the men in full military uniform, complete with swords, that made an arch to welcome the new Mr and Mrs Chaffey.

Congratulations Haili and Ben.  I wish you and your family lifelong love and happiness.

Images from the ceremony are by Natalija Brunovs of We are all Stardust.  It was my first time working with Natalija after admiring her work for many years.  Please make sure you head to her blogpost to see all the images from the day and for vendors involved in Haili and Ben's South Perth foreshore reception.  It was a pleasure hanging out with Sarah from Heart String Hire and Style before the ceremony.  Sarah not only provided the furniture and styling but went above and beyond with husband Brent to make sure those 1000 paper cranes would go nowhere in the Fremantle Doctor. Haili's dress was from Through the White Door, bridsmaids dresses from Flannel and Morrison, Ben and the groomsmen were outfitted by Rhodes and Beckett, blooms by Lime Flowers (the flowers were incredible by the way, great job)  , makeup by Lisa Chester, hair by Jen Troy, transport by Belle Classic Limousines, Haili's henna by Desert Shadow, and live music at the ceremony by Dave Paddon of Big Horn Productions.