Gift Idea: Money Cranes

When I got the invite for the wedding I attended this weekend, it included a request from the couple – who have lived together for a while – that guests forego the usual wedding gifts and instead donate to a charity that’s very close to their hearts (Raise the Roof, who support a South African orphanage). What an awesome thing to do. And it’s not just my friends, more and more couples (including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) have been making the same request recently. I think it’s such a wonderful way to spread the love of your wedding day that little bit further and to raise awareness of a cause amongst your guests. There’s just one little problem. For me, arriving at an event empty-handed feels weird. And there’s something a little impersonal about making an online donation or just turning up with cash inside a card. I wanted to make the couple feel special, to know  that they are special to me.

So I came up with something really fun to do with the cash. First, I turned it into origami cranes (often used for weddings since cranes symbolise loyalty, and the tradition of folding 1,000 paper cranes is supposed to represent the time, patience and understanding required for a successful marriage). Then I placed these inside a cute little birdhouse, and wrapped that up to give to Kate and Jim.

Now I have to warn you, folding these cranes… was not fun. It’s fiddly and frustrating work, and I definitely wouldn’t have had the patience to make more than the two cranes that I did. But if you’re willing to brave it, here’s some advice.

  • To make an origami crane, you need to work with a square. If you’re using dollar bills, you can use this tutorial to get that square, but if you’re using British currency, you have to fold the notes in half and then fold a small tuck along the bottom to get the square, which makes the rest of the work more difficult, but it can be done. Don’t panic if it seems like it’s going wrong – keep going!
  • Make sure you use fresh, crisp notes, otherwise it simply will not work.
  • To help with the folds, I used a pair of scissors to press down on each one and also sometimes to make corners properly. Again, I couldn’t have done this otherwise.
  • There are a couple of different ways to make a crane – this is the tutorial I found had the best method for these materials.

Have you had the same dilemma? What creative ways have you used to gift money at a wedding (or other occasion)?

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