Honor Your Heritage With These Native American Ceremony Readings and Blessings

Consider including these Native American prayers, blessings and readings in your nuptials.
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
by
Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Senior Editor, Weddings
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah has a passion for DE&I and plays an integral role in ensuring The Knot content highlights all voices and all love stories.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated Sep 17, 2021

The actual wedding ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day. After all, it's the reason you gathered in the first place. However, deciding exactly how the ceremony will take shape can be difficult. From what wedding vows you'll exchange to who will officiate the event, there are numerous decisions to make across the course of planning your nuptials. One such wedding-planning decision is what readings you and your partner may choose to include in your ceremony. Ceremony readings are a great spot to honor your religion or heritage, or even pay homage to a favorite poet or author. For to-be-weds who are members of Native American tribes or descended from Indigenous American Indian groups, consider honoring your heritage by including traditional Native American readings in your ceremony. While every tribe has its own passages that are packed with meaning and the below excerpts are beautiful options you can include in, or even adapt for, your wedding ceremony.

At the end of the day, your wedding ceremony should reflect you and your partner, and your shared journey. Choose a wedding reading that speaks to you and feels appropriate for your ceremony. Once you've settled on which readings to include in your day, you'll also have to decide who will offer these blessings or readings. Your wedding officiant could be tasked with this, but tapping a close loved one for the job is also a meaningful gesture.

Navajo Wedding Blessing

Chikeeh Talker, wedding planner and owner of One Love at a Time Events, shares the below Navajo blessing.

Now you have lit a fire and that fire should not go out. The two of you now have a fire that represents love, understanding and a philosophy of life. It will give you heat, food, warmth, and happiness. This new fire represents a new beginning – a new life and a new family. The fire should keep burning; you should stay together. You have lit the fire for life, until old age separates you.

Cherokee Prayer

This traditional wedding prayer is often included in Cherokee wedding ceremonies.

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 that we sail through life safe 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 as we grow forever young together. Amen.

Apache Wedding Reading

Here is a traditional Indian wedding blessing that many members of the Apache tribe will incorporate into their wedding ceremonies.

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 a 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.

Apache Wedding Prayer

This traditional Apache wedding blessing is a great choice if you're looking for a Native American wedding blessing that speaks to unity and coming together with your partner in marriage.

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 there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Shoshone Wedding Blessing

Fair is the white star of twilight, and the sky clearer
at the day's end, but she is fairer, and she is dearer
She, my heart's friend.
Fair is the white star of twilight, and the moon roving
to the sky's end; but she is fairer, better worth loving
She, my heart's friend.

Lakota Sioux Great Spirit Prayer

This Native American wedding prayer to the Great Spirit dates back to the 1800s from the Lakota Sioux tribe.

Oh, Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world.
Hear me! I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
ever hold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.

Help me remain calm and strong in the
face of all that comes towards me.
Help me find compassion without
empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy: myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.

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