Wedding Customs

Courtship and Wedding Customs

While love and union are universal, Native American traditions and customs regarding courtship and marriage vary greatly across cultures.

Learn more about Native American traditional courtship and wedding traditions past and present. From the rugged landscapes of the Southwest to the lush forests of the Northeast, Native American tribes have developed their own unique practices to celebrate romantic unions and their rituals foster a deep respect for nature and ancestral connections.

Join us as we discover exciting courtship rituals that have been enjoyed by Native American communities for generations. From symbolic gift exchanges to dramatic dances that convey deep emotions, these rituals speak volumes about love, spirituality and community connection.

As we delve deeper, we will encounter the sacred ceremony that marks the blissful moment of marriage. Discover the deep symbolism embedded in each step, from soul purification rituals to solemn vows connecting two souls. Witness the incredible richness of the traditional outfits, decorated in vibrant colors and exotic flowers, reflecting the cultural pride and identity of each tribe.

We will focus on the diversity of Native American courtships and marriages, and acknowledge the many ways tribes honor their traditions. By gaining insight into these age-old practices, we foster an appreciation for the values ​​of unity, respect and cooperation that underpin Native American communities.

While we celebrate love stories and alliances that have stood the test of time, we also recognize the challenges Native American communities face in preserving their traditions. 


Article Index:

Cherokee Wedding Attire

For a Cherokee wedding, the bride wears a special style of dress called a “tear dress.” The groom wears a ribbon shirt and black slacks. They both wear moccasins. In lieu of rings, the bride and groom exchange gift baskets.

Cherokee Wedding Customs

Cherokee wedding customs dictated that relatives and friends follow as the couple entered the sacred council fire area. The bride wore a white dress and white moccasins, usually made from deer or elk skins. The groom wore a roe-colored ribbon shirt, black pants and moccasins.

How does the wedding vase ceremony go?


I am a non-denominational wedding minister in North
Carolina. I have a bridal couple that want to include the
wedding vase in their ceremony. Do you have the wording
that you can share for this ceremony? We would greatly
appreciate your help. Thank you.

–Submitted by Bonnie C.

Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Marriage Customs
Kaw Wedding Customs
Pueblo Wedding Vase Ceremony
Sacred Fire Wedding Ceremony
The Shawnee marriage dance
Third Native American tribe OKs same-sex marriage