Native American Wedding Dresses

Wedding Dresses | April 28 2010 | by Jenny | 2 Comments

In ancient times, many Native American women usually wore all kinds of skirts and leggings but there wasn’t a certain design, length, style or fabric for these skirts available for all the tribes existing then. To complement the skirt, some of the Indian women used to wear some sort of shirts that looked more like coats.

In other tribe cultures and custom wears, Native American women used to dress up with skirts and tunics or mantles, especially when they were in public or with one-piece dresses recalled as the “Cheyenne buckskin dress”.

Later in time, Indian women started to wear feather headdresses and woven blankets and embellish the garments with Native American designs, embroideries and beadworks. So, most of the post-colonial native dresses were ribbon shirts, woolen sweaters, beaded shirts and jackets, broad ribbon appliqué, satin shawls, jingle dresses, Seminole patchwork skirts, or Cherokee tear dresses.

Those of you who fancy any of these unique and traditional outfits can feel inspired in creating their own Native American wedding dress. These days, in modern American culture and customs, brides that are looking for a traditional look usually wear whit. But in Native American cultures brides-to-be can choose from various colorful wedding dresses.

In some of the Native American tribes, women who are about to get married are usually choosing a red or any other vibrant and bright rich colored wedding dress. Most tribal Native American brides don’t wear white because they consider it the color of mourning. That is white any different dynamic and high color is ore suitable for the happy and cheerful mood on a wedding day.

Most Native American wedding dresses are red, where red is considered to be the symbol of prosperity, joy of living, love, passion and good luck. There is also a tradition to wear a Native American wedding dress made from animal hides and leather. These dresses are afterwards beautifully decorated with all kinds of colored beads and intricate designs that contain beads. In cat, most of Native American wedding dresses made out from animal leather are adorned and embellished with various intricate patterns and designs sewed by the brides themselves. Brides from different American Native tribes must follow a certain tradition of wearing the same wedding dress that their mothers and grandmothers wore and then pass it on to further generations.

For the religious wedding ceremony brides were a specific dress named regalia. Many brides today are willing to escape from the classic elaborated white formal wedding dress and go with something more exciting, attractive, distinctive and cultural traditional. As red is actually the color of modernity in wedding dresses fashion, contemporary brides can easily wear an original or an imitation of a red Native American wedding dress.11


  1. Jen

    December 09, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Actually, you are wrong on several points. Marriage as European cultures know it wasn’t reconized by many tribes. We didn’t have dresses made for marriages until after contact. Red isn’t the color of prosperity. You seem to have that color mixed up with Eastern cultures. In addition, paint, shells, and porcupine quillwork were used before beads were introduced. All of these were applied BEFORE a dress was completed. Why would anyone of any culture wear an unfinished dress? For many tribes dresses weren’t passed on until the late 1800’s. Times were too turbulant to hold on to items like clothing. Regalia is actually a term used to refer to traditional clothing worn during Pow-Wows, cultural gatherings where Native Americans dance and sing. My mother has actually made several dresses for women of different tribes to be worn for their weddings. They now wear them to dance in at the aforementioned pow-wows. The dresses were made of either brain tanned buckskin, wool tradecloth, or cotton with satin applique.


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