Sarah & Joe’s church wedding with 1,000 cranes

Posted by

The offbeat bride: Sarah, Preschool Teacher

Her offbeat partner: Joe, Graduate Student

Date and location of wedding: Hometown church in Midwest City, OK — August 4, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding was an offbeat lite, kid-friendly Oklahoma church wedding that looked and felt like a school Open House. We didn't want to spend a ton of money, but I also wanted it to be a big, colorful, fun day for all the people who came to support our journey into marriage.



The most exciting (and daunting) aspect of our wedding was our 1,000 paper cranes. I lived in Japan when I was a little girl, and Joe's studies are in Eastern culture and classics. Having hundreds of these delicate, lucky birds at our wedding meant a lot to us. We reached out to friends and family to help us hit 1,000 for the big day, and the week before the wedding our final tally was close to 1,200 from all over the country: my grandfather in Idaho, my university friends from Iowa and Illinois, one of Joe's local groomsmen, and many more.



We scrapped doing favors and encouraged guests to take cranes home after the reception. We just did candy and cake for our food option, and my dad threw a huge cookout after-party at my house that evening. We didn't do a garter, flower toss, or even a dance floor! We just wanted it to be like a party we would actually throw: tons of cake, good music, and a chance to chat and mingle. We did a scrapbook for a guestbook, complete with lots of crayons and stickers.


Tell us about the ceremony: I was raised Methodist, and the church we were married in was the Methodist church in which I had grown up. The bulk of our ceremony was the recitation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (“Love is patient, love is kind…”) by our officiant.


Our biggest challenge: Getting our cranes done was a challenge, but stringing them all up and then getting them to the church without getting them tangled all to bits? That required a miracle, and a miracle we received. My bridesmaids spent the week stringing hundreds of cranes, and our friends and family kicked it into high gear the night of the rehearsal. Joe's cousins even showed up early the next morning to finish hanging them all over the room.


Another big challenge was the flowers. We made our own bouquets, and the day before the ceremony when we went to get fresh flowers, the colors they had a few days earlier that we planned to use were gone! My dad was fast on his feet and ran us across town to a supermarket that had beautiful daisies with green centers and creamy carnations, which matched our colors.


My favorite moment: The way everyone came together to help us throughout the whole wedding process still gives me goosebumps. The wedding was amazing, but it was a bigger animal than I ever expected. It wasn't just one day, one couple; it was all the hours leading up to it, all the people cheering for us as we went. I will never forget how loved I felt during the whole experience.



Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Besides all the DIY work, the temperature was a concern. We got married at the peak of summer in the middle of the day: it was probably 104 outside. Thankfully, all the rooms inside the church were cool, and our wedding coordinator made plenty of fresh lemonade when our punch ran low. Many of our out-of-town northern friends and family probably thought we were nuts for having the wedding in the summer.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I had to learn to just calm down and enjoy it. I stressed a lot about the details of the wedding, but what I remember most now is all the people involved in making our great day a reality. I love the candy bowls, the scrapbook guestbook, and the wedding dress — but what I love more are my mother who was so proud of the great deal she got on those bowls, my friend who gracefully made do when the supplies ran low at the scrapbook table, and my maid of honor who held my hands when my sash got tied.


Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

Offbeat Wed Vendor

This page features vendors from our curated Offbeat Wed Vendor Directory. They're awesome and we love them. If you're a vendor let's get you in here!

Meet our fave wedding vendors

Comments on Sarah & Joe’s church wedding with 1,000 cranes

  1. I So Love a true Feel Good Wedding 😉 I wish the both of you many Happy everlasting Years!!

  2. Hello fellow Okie bride!!!!

    Your wedding looks so fabulous! And I just love, love, love your black bow tights!

  3. Beautiful & sweet wedding!

    I love your scrapbook guest book idea! How did you get your guests to go forth and be creative? Did you have a sign? Instructions in the program?

    • At first I was worried that only my most artsy friends would do the scrapbook, but I was so excited to find that nearly everyone did one!

      My trick was, I asked a friend and her boyfriend a few months earlier if they could be in charge of the scrapbook area (just to ask guests to do a page, show them where to put completed pages, etc.) and I left one or two examples nearby. I also made sure to put the scrapbooking table at the entrance of the reception hall, so people had to pass by it. It seemed to work like a charm!

      • Thank you! I have stolen said great idea and am now running like hell with it!

  4. Father of the bride here, I want to add one vendor……
    The cakes and the flowers on the alter were purchased at our local Buy For Less grocery store. Outstanding prices and great service.

  5. What a fresh color palette, that popping green, the flowers – and those cranes, perfect!

  6. It’s a very nice wedding. With the photo, we watch all the joy and the magic moment.
    Congrats and thank you for this beautiful pics!

    See you

Comments are closed.