One of my favorite things about my wedding was making some of the small details myself, and my absolute favorites of these were the programs I designed and constructed (which I’ll post about in detail later) and the origami flowers I made for the tables and bouquets.

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Photo by Christina Foto

Origami, of course, is Japanese rather than Korean–although papercrafts, including paper folding, are also a big thing in the Land of the Morning Calm–so this project wasn’t part of my effort to make sure things Korean were well-represented at our celebration. Rather, it based on my desire to DIY my wedding flowers, the short shelf life of real flowers and my childhood memories of doing origami with my father.

So, here I present to you, how to make your own DIY origami flowers and DIY origami bouquets for your wedding!

First, supplies. You need square origami paper, pipe cleaners and floral tape. For centerpieces, you probably also need vases; for bouquets, you need cloth and a needle and thread. You also need at least a basic knack for working with your hands and some amount of patience. That’s it!

So, choose your paper. I ordered paper that was more or less in our wedding colors, turquoise and blue, but because of what was available in the packs, it actually ranged from dark yellow to red-orange and pale blue to turquoise to dark blue. We used this Tant paper–it’s thicker, which makes it easier to fold, and colored on both sides, which I liked.

lilies in vases
Photos by Christina Foto

I also decided my flowers would all be lilies. This was originally a concession to Mr. Kim’s weak origami skills, as I thought this would be a flower he could help with, but in the end I did almost everything myself and was glad I’d only chosen one because I became very very fast at making them. I used this site to learn; the instructions were clear, even if the site’s user experience is somewhat lackluster. Of course, there are countless types of origami flowers out there!

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Speedy fingers: On one boring, early-morning plane ride, I timed myself and made 12 origami lilies in about 57 minutes.

I folded a lot of lilies and got pretty fast at it, but I’m not gonna lie: This project takes some time, especially if you’re making origami centerpieces as well as bouquets. I like having something for my hands to do while Mr. Kim and I are watching a movie or TV show or while I listen to an audiobook or something… but if you tire of repetitive tasks, this might not be the project for you!

Pro tip: If you’re getting married far from where you live, like me, make the lilies far ahead of time, but don’t unfold the petals until you get to your destination; they fly much better that way. (See above photo.)

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Putting stems in my lilies.
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The thrift stores in my hometown had tons of vases like this for 25 cents each.

Okay, so you’ve folded your lilies. They’re nice, and the colors are pretty, but flowers need stems! I used this video tutorial to learn how to make them. When you use the floral tape, it’s especially important to pull the end of the tape gently and maintain tension because the pulling is what releases the glue; otherwise, it won’t stick. Your hands will (should) also get a little sticky during the process.

Once you have all your lilies made, you can make your centerpieces and/or bouquets. Centerpieces are easy; I bought a bunch of 25-cent vases from thrift stores and put about five flowers in each. (I originally wanted lusciously full vases at every table, but… time time time.) Of course, the number of lilies you need depends on the number of guests and tables you have; I think I had about 20 vases of about 5 lilies each, so that was about 100 for the centerpieces.

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Bouquets were more complicated. I used some of the colorful fabric I bought for the programs’ “binding” to cover the stems and make a kind of handle. First, I doubled all but one of the stems back up on themselves to make a shorter stem and wrapped those with the remaining stem to hold them in place. (Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of this.) Then, I cut appropriately sized pieces of cloth–one pattern for me, another for my bridesmaids–and wrapped the bunch of stems, making sure the edges were folded under. I sewed up the edge neatly but imperfectly–if you are a super perfectionist, probably don’t do this project!

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Bridesmaid’s bouquet–we put them in little vases after the ceremony. (Photo by Christina Foto)

In the end, making the origami flowers never became a burden to me, I loved the way they looked and I got tons of compliments from my guests, making this one of my most satisfying projects of all time.

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