• Jodie Stuart

What you need to know to legally get married in New Zealand


First up you will need to find a registered marriage celebrant. In New Zealand there are two kinds of celebrants:

  1. Organisational Celebrants, who are affiliated with an organisation such as a church.

  2. Independent Celebrants, who are able to marry you anywhere else in New Zealand, such as a mountain top or at an independent wedding venue.

There are lots of great Independent Celebrants featured in this magazine, on the NZ Pride Wedding Expo website and on the Queenstown Wedding Association website. Alternatively, you can check out

Marriage Licence

Next up you will need to get a marriage licence. A marriage licence takes 3-5 working days to be issued and will set you back $150. It will be valid for three-month from when it is issued.

Your celebrant can help guide you through this process. In the meantime though you can find all the information you need at

Marriage Certificate

You will need to get a marriage certificate to have your marriage legally recognised overseas, to apply for a passport in your new name, or to change your details at the bank etc. You will be able to order a marriage certificate at the same time as your marriage licence for an extra $33.


During your wedding ceremony there are only two legal requirements:

  1. You both state that you take each other to be legally married. You must say something along the lines of “I {XXX} take you {XXX} to be my husband/wife”.

  2. You have two witnesses at your ceremony who can sign the legal paper work straight after your ceremony. If you are going to elope and you aren’t planning on having any guests that is ok - our fabulous local helicopter pilots, photographers and talented wedding planners are always more than happy to step in and be a witness for you.

For more information touch base with an NZ celebrant or wedding planner today!

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