American Indian Wedding Traditions

Navajo wedding vase

Published July 21, 2018

Native American wedding ceremonies are commonly full of rich customs and traditions making these ceremonies differ greatly from conventional modern European and American weddings. So, whether you’re planning to have a classic, fully traditional American Indian wedding ceremony or maybe looking to add some particular elements from those ceremonies into your own celebration as a type of a nod to your heritage, make sure you check out the following customs and traditions provided by dating website from which you can choose.

Natural rituals

Smudging: Traditionally done by igniting dried sage or any other flowers used for rituals, this Native American wedding ceremony is supposed to cleanse the couple and carry their prayers and wishes to the Creator.

The wedding vase: A Native American vase with two handles which is filled with ritualistic water or tea. Then, each fiancé takes a sip from one side of the wedding vase before they finally lift it together and both drink from it. If they are able to accomplish this procedure without spilling the liquid, it is considered to be a good omen for their relationship and future life.

Blanket ceremony: Most Native American tribes tend to perform their own versions of the blanket ceremony in order to honor the couple in love. For wedding occasions, handmade blankets are usually wrapped around the couple representing the symbol of the new life the step into. Some couples then keep this blanket at the foot of their bed to remind themselves of their commitment to one another.

Couples get dressed in tribal regalia

While most couples will often wed in conventional wedding dresses and suits, some might choose to wed in traditional Native American attire. For example, Cherokee brides may wear a tear dress, made of soft fabric, while their grooms will be dressed in classic ribbon shirts. In this way, red is a common color for American Indian wedding dresses and white is usually avoided by brides, as it is a color of mourning.

Exchange of food

This tradition cuts across many Native American tribes as food offerings are meant to be symbolic for the couple’s commitment. A Cherokee groom will give his brides a cut of deer meat demonstrating that he will be a good hunter and provider for his family. And a bride may offer corn or some fry bread to promise that she’ll be a good farmer and homemaker. Nowadays some modern couples might adapt such exchanges to fit their own relationship dynamics.

The wedding food might mingle with Western fare

Certain traditional indigenous foods may also be included in the Native American wedding ceremonies. With that being said, you might expect 10 different types of venison, stews, beans, corn, and, of course, fry bread, which is usually a fried dough. In some American Indian tribes, there is a strict order regarding the eating prioritizing tribe’s elders first, then the couple, and guests.


Native American wedding colors

The Native American wedding dress traditionally features 4 colors. Each of them is related to the cardinal direction – black (north), blue (south), white (east), and yellow (west). Jewelry is made mainly of silver and has a protecting purpose against all the evil things the couple is likely to face in their life.

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  1. Rebecca Salas 2 years ago
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