Inside A Culturally Rich Native American Wedding Ceremony

Wedding ceremonies are a magical experience that can be conducted in many different varieties; we will be diving into what a Native American wedding ceremony looks like. For many people, if not most, a wedding ceremony just might be the most important event in their lives and for others, it could be the most memorable. Wedding ceremonies are certainly beautiful things; they can be tailored to your personal preferences to turn them into unique experiences through your vision.

Given this, there are many types of wedding ceremonies; some religious, some not. Some are more restrictive than others, and others are more lenient. Most people are familiar with what a traditional wedding ceremony looks like, and are likely able to conjure a painting in their mind of such an image. However, how much do you know about how a Native American wedding ceremony might look like? Today, we will explore and see just how different they are.

What Is A Native American Wedding Ceremony?

What Is A Native American Wedding Ceremony?

How are Native American wedding ceremonies different?

What Is A Native American Wedding Ceremony?

Native American wedding ceremonies actually differ greatly compared to more traditional ones. There are many different wedding types that all share strong similarities to a traditional one that we are very familiar with, but Native American wedding ceremonies are an exception. They are rich with culture, from history dating back many, many years.

To illustrate just how vastly different a Native American wedding ceremony can be, consider the fact that there were many Native American tribes throughout history. For example, the Cherokee, the Northern California tribes, Delaware, Algonquin, and much more. This is one aspect that distinguishes Native American wedding ceremonies from others; all the difference at a sub level. Let us take a look at a few examples of difference among these tribes.

Native American wedding ceremony tribe custom differences

What Is A Native American Wedding Ceremony?

Different tribes have different customs when it comes to wedding ceremonies. For instance, the Algonquin; which includes the Ottawa, the Chippewa, the Ojibwa, the Cree, the Montagnais, and more. In order for a couple from one of these tribes to have a wedding ceremony, the groom and bride must have sponsors that will play a pivotal role in the wedding ceremony. Sponsors are typically older, and respected people in the community. These sponsors commit to the bonding of the groom and bride, and essentially, pledge to help them for life.

Algonquin wedding ceremonies themselves are of course, conducted typically in the outdoors, though ceremonial huts were also an option. Most of us are familiar with kissing the bride as the last, closing action of a traditional wedding ceremony, but with the Algonquin, they smoke from a tobacco pipe after the marriage declaration.

The North Californian traditions had a unique spin on marriage, with having two separate statuses: a full marriage and a half marriage. For the Delaware tribe, marriages were said to be arranged. As you can see, there is more to a Native American wedding ceremony than most others with all of the differences in culture and traditions among the many tribes. 

Native American wedding general customs

What Is A Native American Wedding Ceremony?

You might be wondering what the general customs are, however; it has been established that different tribes had different customs, but there are also certain elements that they all share. The truth is that there is a lot of flexibility; there are Native American wedding ceremonies that are strictly traditional to their customs, and there are Native American wedding ceremonies that do actually mesh modern Western standards in. There are also strong parallels; like mentioned previously with the Algonquin, sponsors take the place of the ceremonial status that bridesmaids and groomsmen normally have.

The attire for both the couple and guests are traditional, which is universal for all tribes. A Native American wedding ceremony in the current age often mingle modern Western food for their ceremony, so there is some familiarity there; but there may not be familiarity with the fact that food is served at the ceremony typically. Next, you might be wondering about specific rituals that are unique to a Native American wedding ceremony. One such example of these rituals is called smudging, which is the act of setting flowers chosen specially for the ritual ablaze, which is said to cleanse the couple while the smoke carries their shared prayers up above to their beloved creator.

Another ritual you may not know about is the blanket ceremony; quilts or blankets that are uniquely handmade are worn by the couple getting married as a symbolic representation of coming together as one. You can expect music to be played live and that music can range from being loud and powerful, or very soft. Flutes, drums, rattles, and whistles are commonly present at these musical performances.


In closing

Native American history and culture is very rich, as we have just seen with how different a Native American wedding ceremony can be compared to other weddings. It is difficult to illustrate a picture without taking the many tribes into consideration. Even though they share many similarities, there are many differences as well, and we hope that it has been clarified. Normally, when learning about a unique wedding ceremony, religious or not, there are distinct differences and the story ends there. Here, we have many stories to tell, with all of the different tribes!

Have you ever attended a Native American wedding ceremony or will you be attending one shortly? Or perhaps you may need help planning one? Then you may want to consider Easy Event Planning for your wedding planning needs, where a Native American wedding ceremony can be planned fast and easily! There is a lot of possible customization to tailor your wedding to be the perfect one, unique to you and to family and friends. The surface has barely been scratched with how you could have your own, perfect wedding.

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