Marriage1

Native American Wedding Bands
Native American Wedding Ceremony
Wonder Full Wedding Ceremonies

Native American Style Wedding Ceremony

Explanation of the Symbols Used

About this Ceremony: There are many different Native American Nations within Turtle Island, and each has a rich and varied set of cultural practices and traditions, as well as symbols and rituals. For a wedding specific to any one Nation, you should research the traditional wedding practices of that particular Nation. This ceremony blends common themes and symbols from a variety of traditions, into one which honors the many contributions made by Native Americans. It was the one that I was taught early in my training. It may be used by couples from different Nations, or for couples who wish for their ceremony to honor the Indigenous Peoples of the United States, and the spirituality that is expressly, and uniquely Native American.

The setting: The Native American Wedding Ceremony is one that takes place out of doors, with Father Sky as the roof of the most sacred of Cathedrals. With Mother Earth at your feet to hold you, and the Plant Nation and Mineral Nation to surround you and embrace you. With Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon as witness.

The Saging: The circle will undergo The Right of The Smudge by the Priest / Minister, Sacred Tobacco will be given to the Four Wind and to the Grandfathers and Grandmothers of the Plant Nation and Mineral Nation. This is a gift to them for allowing us to conduct our ceremony within their Abode.

The Medicine Circle: All of the guests will be invited into the Medicine Circle - the Sacred Medicine Wheel that is symbolic of Life and the connection and continuity of all living things. As they enter the Circle, they will undergo The Right of The Smudge (cleansed and purified), and symbolically enter into the womb. For when you leave the circle, you are reborn as a new entity. For you are a married person - not just to each other, but to the family and the community, and they to you.
For you have now become a Member of The Tiyospaye, The Extended Family

The Circle:
North: Elders
South: Young married couples & children
East: Young men
West: Veterans & warriors
There should be chairs for the elders who cannot stand.

Wedding party duties and set-up: The Wedding party & parents will be in the center of the Circle, and will undergo The Right of The Smudge. The Sisters (if the Mothers are unavailable) will carry the Wedding Baskets and Blanket Robes. The Robes are draped about the Bride and Groom at the start of the ceremony. The Sisters (if the Mothers are unavailable) will hand the Baskets to the Bride & Groom during the Basket Exchange which symbolizes the tangibles of how the couple will take care of each other during their Marriage. The families and the guests in the Circle will be invited to come up and give a personal Blessing to the Couple, anything from a hug and kiss to the reading of a poem, or whatever. Everything is appropriate. This allows the Community to become part of the Ceremony as well as symbolically welcoming the newly Married Couple into the Community.

The Wedding Blanket Robes can be obtained from Crazy Crow Trading Post.


The Wedding Blanket Robes: These are two Blanket Robes that could be of any color BUT white. However, they are usually blue. They represent each individual's alone-ness, their old ways of weakness, sorrow, failures, spiritual depression and social deprivation.

The Wedding Blanket can be obtained from M. Jo's Originals.


The Wedding Blanket (white): The Wedding Blanket is carried by sisters / siblings, and the tying of the Blanket symbolizes the Union of the two lives. The Words / Poem in the center is to be the Wedding Blessing. When the Ceremony ends, It will be folded and carried to a safe place by the Sisters (if the Mothers are unavailable).
It may not be touch by Mother Earth, Viewed by Father Sky or exposed to the light of Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun,
nor can it be opened by the Wedded Couple, UNTIL AFTER The Wedding Has Been Consummated.

The Wedding Baskets can be obtained from Altamont Trading.


The Wedding Baskets: Basically, the baskets can contain whatever is symbolically important to you. Baskets should be lined in cedar and covered with a red cloth. In many Nations, the women are sifters, growers and weavers, so their baskets are symbols of the gifts they bring to Marriage. Likewise, men are usually hunters, fisherman and warriors, so their basket items are symbolic of those gifts.

Bride's Basket:
2 ears of corn (corn is a symbol of fertility)
Cornmeal (Maize) (stands for our people’s identity.)
Other plant-foods such as:
beans, tobacco, peaches, grapes, strawberries, squash or gourds, pignons, wild “rice”, herbal tea leaves

Groom's Basket:
Beef Jerky (or dried meats)
Animal Hide
(Optional) Marriage Branch: Cedar branch with a fork, to be hung over the bed.

<

These Wedding Ringss can be obtained from Erick Begay (Boulder City, CO) Begay Indian Jewelry.


Wedding Ring: The First Nation did not smelt stone into metal for use in decorative objects in the early days. Thus, It is doubtful if our ancient ancestors used any type of metal jewelry in their Wedding Ceremonies, but the practice has found favor amongst the People today. For today, the Sacred Rite of Passage that transforms a man and woman into a Husband and Wife is marked by the exchange of these circles of gold, Platinum or silver. For These are the symbol of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and no end, no one giver and no one receiver. For each have become the giver and each have become a receiver. May these symbols always remind you of the vows you have made and show others the unity of your loving relationship.

The Wedding Bowl, Engagement Vase and Wedding Vase can be obtained from
Maria Sefranek (Phoenix,AZ) of MKS Gifts / Esquire Marquis Originals.


Wedding Bowl: Water in a bowl: Water is Mother Earth's Blood and is used as a symbol of purification and cleansing.
The Bride and Groom have a ceremonial washing of hands to wash away past wrong doings and memories of past loves.


Engagement Vase: Similar to the traditional Native American Wedding Vases, the Engagement Vase symbolizes the coming together of those engaged. In the traditional Wedding Vase there is a bridge between the two spouts. In the Engagement Vases the spout have yet to be joined, and they are of unequal sizes, but they are growing towards one another. This is called an Engagement Vase because it signifies the two different people that have come together to pledge their lives to shortly follow one Path along The Medicine Wheel. The two spouts are different sizes to represent the difference within the two that are to walk as one one..


Wedding Vase: A vase with two necks and spouts (joined by a bridge), each symbolizing one of the couple that is so soon be married and the unity that is to be theirs as they follow their Earth Walk together.


Appropriate Music: Ask someone to play an Indian Love Flute. Legend says that this flute, which is carved out of cedar wood, holds the power of attraction and was first used to enhance courtship.

This aromatic eastern red cedar flute was created for Al Edwards (aka Wamduskasapa), a Columbia, MO resident of Dakota Sioux heritage. This Flute was handcrafted by John Ellis of Turtle Mound Flutes following the Sioux Traditions. The Flute body has a very interesting color split that leaves the top half a lighter blond color and the bottom half the more common reddish tone. The Raven Fetish with forward stretching wings is carved from South American cocobolo. The very symbolic Raven with a man's reflection image is burned below the nest area, and a Raven in flight appears at the foot of this flute. The flying Raven is embelished by the addition of a pink coral inlayed sun and a turquoise inlayed stream. The lace holding the fetish to the nest is cut from black-dyed deerskin.

Wedding Ceremony

INTRODUCTION BY OFFICIANT
Welcomes the guests, and explains the symbols (above).

WATER

A Bowl of Water is Blessed by the Priest
The Bride and Groom wash their hands to purify their lives from all that was in the past.

SAGING

The Right of The Smudge is given to all of the Guests, and the Wedding Party.

EXCHANGE OF BASKETS

The Mother of the Groom, or a Sister if she isn't available, will bring to the Groom the Grooms Basket and a Blanket Robe. The Mother of the Bride, or a Sister if she isn't available, will bring to the Bride, the Brides Basket, and another Blanket Robe. These two Blanket Robes could be of any color, But White, they were usually blue. They represented each individual's aloneness, their old ways of weakness, sorrow, failures, spiritual depression and social deprivation.

(Officiant To Bride): "(Brides Name), what do you provide for this union of Marriage?"
The Mother of the Bride, or a Sister if she isn't available, will hand the Bride the Bride's basket.
Bride:
"I provide these things to my Husband and home. They are The Symbol that I will care for you and love you always."

(Officiant To Groom): "(Grooms Name), what do you provide for this union of Marriage?"
The Mother of the Groom, or a Sister if she isn't available, will hand the Groom the Groom's basket.
Groom:
"I provide these things to my Wife. They are The Symbol that I will provide love, and protection to our family always."

(Officiant To The Bride and Groom): "You may exchange baskets."
After the exchange The Bride and Groom set their baskets in front of them, and hold hands.

READING OF BLESSING
(*more blessing options at the end of this text*)

1. Dakota Wedding Prayer..
Tunkasina (Grandfather Sun), you are giving us life again. For many days we were lonesome for you.
Earth was cold and the winds were strong. But now we hear songs.
Your children are singing, and we are happy.
They are singing, and we are lighthearted.
It is the time for your children to find happiness with each other. it is the time to build nests.
It is the time for pairing. It is the time for flying and It is the time of the Eagle.
In the early morning we see this, and we hear it under Grandmother Moon.
Tunkasina, there is no bird without a song. No creature without a call. No man without a skill.
And into the bird you have put the song, and into the creature you have put the call, and into the man you have put the skill.
You are good. Tunkasina, all your creatures need a partner.
You made us that way. Each wing needs a mate. You made it that way
Each feather needs its likeness For It is that way.
In secret we carry a feather. It is close to our heart.
In secret there is its likeness. It is close to another's heart.
On a spring day your promise will be kept.
The two will meet, and your life will start anew, in them.
Your song will be in them. Your happiness will come to them.
They will praise you.
He Hecetu. (For that is the way.)
Aho

2. Native American Blessing..
Above you are the stars, below you are the stones.
As time does pass, remember:
Like a star should your love be constant.
Like a stone should your love be firm.
Be close, yet not too close.
Possess one another, yet be understanding.
Have patience with the other; for storms will come, but they will go quickly.
Be free in the giving of affection and warmth.
Make love often, and be sensuous to one another.
Have no fear, and let not the ways nor the words of the unenlightened give you unease.
For the Great Spirit is with you, For now and always.
Aho

COMMUNITY BLESSINGS

Personal Blessings by Family and Wedding Guests
(May be written and read or spoken from the heart by close relatives
or from anyone in circle who wishes to share.)

TRADITIONAL VOWS (if desired)

Bride and Groom each repeat after Officiant:
"I, (NAME,) take you (NAME,) as my (wife / husband). I do solemnly avow my
love for you. I will comfort you, keep you, love you, defend you in sickness or
in health, in riches or poverty, in sorrow or joy, seeking only to be with
you until death parts us. All these things I pledge upon my honor."

WEDDING VASE

Officiant: "The wedding vase has two spouts coming from the same vessel.
As individuals, you bring together different strengths
and you come from different families and backgrounds (or different Nations).
You have had different experiences.
The two spouts of the wedding vase represent each of you as individuals.
As husband and wife, you will continue to be individuals, yet you will always drink from the same vessel of life.
The common vessel represents all that you will share together."

Bride and Groom each drink from the Wedding Vase separately - and then as one.

WEDDING BLANKET

The Sisters (if the Mothers are unavailable) wrap the wedding blanket around Bride & Groom.
There should be an opening left so that others can see the couple while they exchange rings.

RING BLESSING

Officiant: "The Circle has no beginning and has no end,
and so in the long and sacred tradition of The Marriage,
The rings have come to symbolize eternal love and endless union of body,
of mind, and of the spirit.
Aho!"

EXCHANGE of RINGS

Bride and Groom each say to each other, while exchanging rings:
"This ring is a symbol of my love and faithfulness,
and with all that I am, and all that I have,
I honor you, and pledge to you my love and life."

PRONOUNCEMENT

Officiant: "Father Sky and Mother Earth, creator and nurturer of all life, we give heartfelt thanks for the moment that brought
(NAME and NAME) together into the Holy State of Marriage
Aho!"


Officiant: "Now as you (NAME,) and you (NAME,) have consented together in matrimony and have pledged your faith to each other by the giving and the receiving of these rings before your family and Community; according to the powers invested in me by the State of (Your State,) I NOW PRONOUNCE THAT YOU ARE HUSBAND AND WIFE. You may seal your union with a kiss.."

Officiant walks Bride & Groom to a blanket spread on the ground.
Officiant unties the Wedding Blanket that is around them.
Sisters will fold the blanket and put it in a safe place.

OPTIONAL:
MARRIAGE BRANCH and THE 7 DANCES


(Groom): "This Marriage branch is a symbol of our love for each other, and for our lives becoming as one."
"Bride & Groom will notch the branch while Best Man gently shakes the turtle rattle.

The drums begin and guests dance around the couple 7 times placing gifts on the blanket before them.

The Wedding Blanket is folded and tied by Bride & Groom and taken on the Honeymoon.
It may not be touch by Mother Earth, Viewed by Father Sky or exposed to the light of Grandmother Moon or Grandfather Sun
nor can it be opened by the Wedded Couple, UNTIL AFTER The Wedding Has Been Consummated.

End Of The Ceremony

Alternative Readings

Apache Wedding Blessing..
Now you will feel no rain, for you will be shelter to each other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you.
Soon you will go to your resting place, to enter into the days of your togetherness.
May your days be good and long upon the earth.

Alternate Apache Blessing..
Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the
journey ahead and through all the years,
May happiness be your companion and
your days together be good and long upon the earth.

Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and
remind yourselves often of what brought you together.
Give the highest priority to the tenderness,
gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.
When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship,
as they threaten all relationships at one time or another,
remember to focus on what is right between you,
not only the part which seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the storms when
clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives - remembering that
even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there.
And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your
life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Aztec Indian Wedding Poem..
I know not whether thou has been absent:
I lie down with thee, I rise up with thee,
In my dreams thou art with me.
If my eardrums tremble in my ears,
I know it is thou moving within my heart.

Cherokee Blessing..
God in heaven above,
Please protect the ones we love.
We honor all that you created
As we pledge our hearts and lives together.
We honor Mother Earth --
And ask for our Marriage to be abundant,
And to grow stronger through the seasons
We honor fire --
And ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts.
We honor wind --
And ask that we sail through life safely and calm as in our father's arms.
We honor water --
To clean and soothe our relationship that it may never thirst for love.
With all the forces of the universe you created,
We pray for harmony and true happiness
As we forever grow young together.
Aho

Cherokee Wedding Prayer..
God in heaven above
please protect the ones we love.
We honor all you created as we pledge
our hearts and lives together.
We honor mother-earth
- and ask for our Marriage to be abundant
and grow stronger through the seasons;
We honor fire and ask that our union be warm
and glowing with love in our hearts;
We honor wind and ask we sail though life
safe and calm as in our father's arms;
We honor water to clean and soothe our relationship
- that it may never thirsts for love;
With all the forces of the universe you created,
we pray for harmony and true happiness as we forever grow young together.
Aho

Alternate Cherokee Wedding Prayer..
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now you will feel no more loneliness,
For each of you will be a constant companion to the other.
Go now to your dwelling place, To enter your days of togetherness.
Aho

Traditional Wedding Prayer of the Great Plains Indian..
0 Morning Star!
When you look down upon us, give us peace and refreshing sleep.
Great Spirit!
Bless our children, friends, and visitors through a happy life.
May our trails lie straight and level before us.
Let us live to be old.
We are all your children and ask these things with good hearts.
Aho

Inuit Wedding Vow..
You are my husband / wife
My feet shall run because of you.
My feet dance because of you.
My eyes see because of you.
My mind thinks because of you.
And I shall love because of you.


free counters

Copyright © 2005-2017
Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute the documents of this Web Page
Under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3
As long as credit is given to this Web Page and its Owner, this information may be disseminated...