Legally Speaking

It’s not the most romantic part of your wedding, but getting the paperwork sorted is the most important. Because you’re not really married if it’s not legal. In New Zealand there are two ways to get married or have a civil union:

Registry ceremonies
Although registry offi ces have not been available for ceremonies in New Zealand since 2019, registry ceremonies remain a popular option.
They must be held on a weekday and not on a public holiday, and have a set cost ($240 in total) and standard vows.
Step 1: Decide where to get married in New Zealand. You’ll need to arrange the celebrant and venue, and remember guests are limited to 20 people.
Step 2: Apply for a marriage licence at least three working days before the ceremony, to confirm that it’s legal for you to marry.
Step 3: Arrange witnesses - you’ll need to bring two to the ceremony.
Step 4: Get married. Registry ceremonies follow a script and you must use standard vows. Your celebrant will give you a “Copy of particulars of marriage”, and will register your marriage with the government.

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.

Tying the know overseas
Most overseas marriages are valid in New Zealand.
Check with the country’s offi cials to see if you need to do anything there. Your marriage will be registered in the country where it takes place, so you don’t need to register it here.