Honor Your Heritage With These Native American Wedding Blessings and Readings

Consider including these Native American wedding prayers, blessings and readings in your ceremony.
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 Feb 08, 2024

Meaningful readings are a great way to honor your religion or heritage during the wedding ceremony. For to-be-weds who are members of Native American tribes or descended from Indigenous American Indian groups, you may consider honoring your heritage with the inclusion of a Native American wedding blessing.

When working through all the details of your ceremony, from readings to wedding vows, it's a good idea to partner with a professional wedding officiant so you can lean on their knowledge and expertise. To learn more about Native American blessings specifically, we spoke with expert wedding officiant Charlotte, owner of The Vow Keeper in California. The officiant's husband is Cherokee, but she is well versed in a myriad of Native American wedding traditions. Before even selecting a specific Native American blessing or prayer, Charlotte emphasizes that the "most important factor is to understand and honor what the Native American culture is all about. To be aware of nature and the surrounding elements, and how to honor and be respectful of the Native traditions, caring for the earth and the elements of the earth." Charlotte adds that true Native American wedding ceremonies are "usually performed by a Shaman or Tribe Elder." She, on the other hand, often adapts Native American ceremonies to "best represent and reflect the couple."

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. The options below are beautiful options you can consider if you want to pay homage to your Native American roots as part of your ceremony.

Native American Wedding Readings in This Story: Apache Blessing | Apache Reading | Navajo Blessing | Cherokee Blessing | Lakota Sioux Prayer | Shoshone Blessing | Pueblo Indian Reading | Seven Directions Blessing | Smudge Blessing | Elements Blessing

Apache Wedding Blessing

The Apache wedding blessing, also known as the Apache wedding prayer or poem, is well-known, but the origins of it are disputed. While there are differing opinions about whether the Apache wedding prayer is authentic and traditional, it is still worth looking to as inspiration to adapt into a modern wedding ceremony. The blessing speaks to beautiful themes of 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.

Apache Wedding Reading

Similar to the previous blessing, the Apache wedding reading also has a disputed history. However, if you, your partner, and your officiant feel connected to the themes of beauty, strength and togetherness discussed in the Apache wedding reading, it may be worth considering for your wedding ceremony.

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.

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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.

Chikeeh Talker, wedding planner and owner of One Love at a Time Events, shares the below Navajo blessing. This Navajo wedding ceremony blessing focuses on the symbolism of fire as it relates to a relationship and the passion therein.

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 Wedding Blessing

The Cherokee wedding prayer focuses on the elements (earth, wind, fire, water) and calls on those elements to bless and protect a couple's marriage.

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.

Lakota Sioux Wedding Prayer

This Native American wedding prayer to the Great Spirit is said to date back to the 1800s from the Lakota Sioux tribe. The Lakota Sioux wedding blessing is beautifully descriptive and talks about the ups and downs, hardships and joys, of relationships.

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.

Shoshone Wedding Blessing

If you're looking for a wedding blessing that talks about the star and the sky, this Shoshone wedding reading may be worth considering.

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.

Pueblo Indian Wedding Reading

This Native American wedding blessing is one that Charlotte The Vow Keeper has included in past wedding ceremonies. The reading paints a picture of a couple's journey and captures the listener with the descriptive narrative it weaves.

Before we met, you and I were halves unjoined except in the wide rivers of our minds. We were each other's distant shore, the opposite wings of a bird, the other half of a seashell. We did not know the other then, did not know our determination to keep alive the cry of one riverbank to the other. We were apart, yet connected in our ignorance of each other, like two apples sharing a common tree. Remember? I knew you existed long before you understood my desire to join my freedom to yours. Our paths collided long enough for our indecision to be swallowed up by the greater need of love. When you came to me, the sun surged towards the earth and moon escaped from darkness to bless the union of two spirits, so alike that the creator had designed them for life's endless circle. Beloved partner, keeper of my heart's odd secrets, clothed in summer blossoms so the icy hand of winter never touches us. I thank your patience. Our joining is like a tree to earth, a cloud to sky and even more. We are the reason the world can laugh on its battlefields and rise from the ashes of its selfishness to hear me say, in this time, this place, this way I loved you best of all.

Native American Seven Directions Blessing

This is another reading that Charlotte The Vow Keeper has included in wedding ceremonies in the past. The blessing honors the sacred seven directions which include the four cardinal directions (North, South, East, West), Mother Earth, Father Sky and oneself.

Creator, giver of all life, Bless with your goodness [name] and [name] who come now to join in marriage. Grant that they give their sacred words to each other in the strength of your love. Enable them to grow in love and peace with you and with one another for all their days.

Oh Great Spirit bring the Blessings of the East, the Spirit of Mother Hawk

Bring the blessings of the South, the Spirit of Coyote

Bring the blessings of the West, the Spirit of Mother

Bear Bring the blessings of the North, The Spirit of White Buffalo

Bring the blessings of Mother Earth and Father Sky, and Creator of our souls within.

Native American Smudge Blessing

Charlotte The Vow Keeper includes smudge blessings in many of her wedding ceremonies and has paired the smudging tradition with this Native American wedding blessing in the past.

May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.

May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be. May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly. May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed. May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.

May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants And may that same smoke carry our prayers spiraling to the heavens.

In honor of this couple, I cleanse them of all negativity. I banish away all those who would harm them and I send away all negative thoughts.

Let this couple be filled with love and light from this day forward.

Native American Marriage Blessing Honoring the Elements

This Native American wedding blessing that Charlotte The Vow Keeper has included in ceremonies in the past honors the four elements: earth, wind, fire, water.

Great Spirit 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 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 and true happiness as we forever grow young together. Amen.

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