Interview with Shelly Huang: DIY Bride

When a friend requested that I pick up subway maps, for his friend who is soon to be married, I was intrigued. I love anything with a DIY touch, and Shelly Huang’s idea for her wedding makes me smile. I talked with her to learn more:


Jen Bokoff: Your idea of making 1000 paper cranes out of NYC Subway maps for wedding decorations is amazing. Where did it come from?

Shelly Huang: Our wedding theme is “Rustic City Love”, combining natural rustic elements that represents our laid-back style with our love for NYC, the wonderful city we fell in love in and now call home. The idea of 1000 paper cranes is a Japanese tradition that grants the bride & groom 1000 years of happiness, much like the cranes who mate for life and are said to live for 1000 years. I’ve always been deeply moved by this tradition and wanted to incorporate it into my wedding but for the longest time, I couldn’t find the linkage to the “city” part of the theme. Then one day I was riding the F train when I noticed a group of Japanese tourists intently studying a subway map. That’s when it hit me –  I would combine my wishes for my marriage along with my love for NYC in these subway map cranes!

JB: Are you going to make all 1000 cranes, or will you have help? And will they all look the same?

SH: Many of our family and friends have already offered to help collect maps and fold cranes! I’m so excited because it would be such a dream to be married under a canopy of cranes embodying the blessings and wishes of all your loved ones! We’re going to hold a paper crane folding party at one point with white wine and funny wedding movies. We’ll probably have to give people tutorials, but I’m not really interested in getting “perfect-looking” cranes so much as cranes folded with love.

JB: What will you do with all of the cranes after the wedding?

SH: That’s a good question! I really hadn’t thought that far, but maybe I’ll pass on the blessings and wishes to another bride. Or maybe the MTA might be interested in getting their subway maps back and would like to display these in the MTA museum! I guess I’ll cross that bridge after the wedding.

JB: Being a crafty bride is wonderfully ambitious! Do you regularly delve into creative projects?

SH: Both my mother and grandmother were very crafty ladies.  My grandma custom designed outfits for my barbies and my mother used to make me funky outfits with matching scrunchies and because of them, I’ve inherited a penchant for tinkering with DIY projects here and there. I’ve made many Halloween outfits, and I recently created a “will you be my bridesmaid” project with a hollowed out secret book filled with photos, color inspiration from paint chips, and paper dolls with the bridesmaids’ names on them.

JB: A little birdie told me you need some help. What can New Yorkers do to help see your wedding dream come to fruition?

SH: Well, my fiance told me to ask for donations so we can see our (not-so-cheap) NYC wedding come to fruition! But seriously, I think it would be amazing if people wanted to contribute to the cause of collecting subway maps, or even if you want to fold your wishes into subway map cranes and send them over! Also, if any crafty brides want to bounce off ideas, I’m always excited to make new friends!


If you live in the NYC area and can help contribute maps, or if you want to connect with Shelly, shoot her an email. Shelly will marry Brian Blitz on June 22, 2013 at The Foundry in Long Island City.

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