The Apache wedding ceremony is "traditionalesque", writes Rebecca Mead, a staff writer at the New Yorker.
That is, the Indian wedding prayer or blessing was written by Albert Maltz, a Hollywood screenwriter. It appears in the 1950 film adaptation of the novel Broken Arrow.
Neither prayer nor blessing has any known connection to the Apache, or any other Native American group traditions.
It's popular and very commonly repeated on untold numbers of televised shows to do with marriage rituals.
A traditional Apache bride, as in the photo from the National Archives and Records Administration, shows a girl who is marriageable. That is, she is open to the "solicitations of the young warriors," writes Cremony in 1862.
All members of the community are invited to a feast and dance to publicize that the girl is marriageable. It's on these occasions that she is dressed in an outfit that includes small bells hung on her skirt and buckskin robe and the sides of her moccasin boots. And she has bling - shiny bits are positioned over her outfit.
There is a protracted ritual of flirting, courting and marriage. The ritual, however, did not include at that time in history an officiate. Rather it was between the warrior and the girl.
"Marrying in front of the lodge where my family has welcomed guests for two decades was a dream come true. Thank you for every wonderful thing you did to make our ceremony a wonder for us, our family and guests!" Delia and Trevor, Oswego, NY
The film's poem is romantic, however, and if you choose to use it here's a copy of a version of it.
Apache Wedding Ceremony Prayer or Blessing
May the sun bring you new happiness by day;
May the moon softly restore you by night;
May the rain wash away your worries
And the breeze blow new strength into your being,
And all the days of your life
May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty.
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.
"Now there is no rain." as the first line. "Now, forever, forever, there is no loneliness." as the final line, are of the original poem from a Western novel Blood Brother by Elliott Arnold.
In the screenplay for Broken Arrow, the film text begins, "Now you will feel no rain." And the final line is, "And may your days be good and long upon the earth."
If you or your partner are big fans of the film Broken Arrow, by all means use the poem in your adaptation of the Apache wedding ceremony.
It can be recited during your ceremony. It can be printed on a program or fan. It can be printed on ribbon to mark the V.I.P. seating area in the ceremony space. It can be printed on ribbons used to accessorize the bride's bouquet. It can be printed on the fireproof candle wrappers used during the marriage rituals and re-purposed for the reception.
A number of versions of the Apache wedding ceremony prayer and blessing have popped up since 1950. If you go with it, enjoy creating your own personalization.
I invite you to contact me to discuss your vision and how we might work together. As an experienced officiant I am flexible and can offer personalized suggestions that specifically reflect each of you during your marriage rituals.