The #1 reason is that folding 1000 paper cranes is supposed to grant you one wish.
They are given as wedding gifts, left at shrines (I saw lots of them when I was in Japan), and the story a lot of people know is also the little girl, Sadako, who was folding 1000 paper cranes after the bomb hit Hiroshima. Today, the peace park that is in Hiroshima is filled with paper cranes from various schools and individuals.
Source: Andrew Dunn, Wikimedia Commons, via Origami Fun!
I've heard multiple different stories, besides the wish, of why the bride folds the cranes. But my favourite for why a couple folds cranes is basically that if you can survive, with patience and dignity, the folding of 1000 paper cranes with one person, that means that you're pretty well set for life (doesn't hurt that you can wish on them when they're done)!
So, that's hopefully what we'll do!
Image source: Omiyage Blogs
The cranes can be colourful, fill in spaces, and just in general look awesome. They also kind of look like flowers.
I am definitely mashing together a couple different of "themes" as it were, anyway. I want fairy tale, but I also want to involve the influence Japan has had over my life.
Source: Cake Opera Co.
(Our cake isn't going to have cranes on it, though that's cool, too. I really like the chandelier.)
Either way, I think it will be a good tradition to incorporate into our wedding.
What influences have you included in your wedding, or are planning on including in it?
Let me know in the comments!