Getting married in New Zealand

Not the most romantic part, the paperwork is however the most important of the wedding... because you’re not really married if it’s not legal. There are two ways to get married or have a civil union in New Zealand:

By a registered marriage celebrant
You can choose:
When and where you’ll get married.
To write your own vows.
A religious or independent celebrant.
To find a celebrant visit (only registered celebrants can perform weddings or civil unions in New Zealand). You will need to arrange your celebrant before you can get a marriage licence. The cost varies.

In a registry office
Registry office ceremonies: are held during normal office hours, use standard vows - you can’t customise the ceremony. The number of guests will depend on the size of the office you’re getting married in  you will need to bring at least two witnesses. It costs $240 to get married at a registry office, including the cost of the marriage licence. If you’re getting married at a registry office, you will be married by a registrar of marriages; you don’t need to find a celebrant, but if you want to, they’ll cost another $150.

You have to arrange a marriage licence at least three working days before you want to get married. If you’re being married by a celebrant, you’ll need their name, and the location and approximate date of the wedding when you apply.

Your celebrant or the registry office will register your marriage and give you a ‘copy of particulars of marriage’.

If you need to show anyone legal proof of your marriage, you can order a marriage certificate. It costs $33 to have one sent to you, and it will show your full names, your dates and places of birth, your occupations, your home address when you got married, parents’ full names, the date and place you were married.

If you want to change your last name after you’re married, you don’t have to do anything special, but places like banks or government agencies might ask to see a copy of the marriage certificate. (Source: New Zealand Government)

Getting married overseas is not really a possibility for the foreseeable future. But if you’re considering this, most overseas marriages are valid in New Zealand. Check with the country’s officials if you need to do anything there. Your marriage will be registered in the country where it takes place - you don’t need to register it here.

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