New Zealand’s stunning landscape of primeval forests, snow-capped alpine mountains and sweeping beaches offers couples an exciting destination wedding adventure.
New Zealand is a perfectly unique destination to get married abroad. The legal requirements for getting married in New Zealand are relatively straightforward. You can apply from overseas (online or by mail) or when you arrive in New Zealand.
In New Zealand, you can marry at a time and location of your choice. However, the person who officiates your wedding must be an approved Marriage Celebrant.
You are required to confirm your Marriage Celebrant and agree on a time and place before applying for your Marriage Licence.
If you choose to get married at a registry office, your wedding will need to take place in normal office hours and you will be married by a Registrar of Marriages — you don’t need to find your own celebrant. You can book your wedding time when you apply for your Marriage Licence.
You need to apply for your marriage licence at least three days before you want to get married. The Marriage Licence is valid for 3 months.
You can apply online for a Marriage Licence if you normally live in New Zealand, or will arrive in New Zealand more than three working days before you get married.
Alternatively, you can complete the the Notice of Intended Marriage form when you arrive in New Zealand (after the three day residency period), or mail it from overseas together with an international bank draft in New Zealand dollars to pay the fee to the registry office closest to where you plan to get married.
When you arrive in New Zealand, you must appear in person before a Registrar to sign the Statutory Declaration that both you and your partner are free to marry or enter into a civil union with each other and that all the details supplied on the form are correct.
You can book a time online to go into a registry office and sign the form if you live in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington or Christchurch.
It will take at least three days for your Marriage Licence to be issued, so make sure to get your application in on time.
You’ll be given or sent the licence, and two copies of the Copy of Particulars. Give all these documents to your celebrant before your wedding.
Only those persons appointed by the Registrar-General as Marriage and/or Civil Union Celebrants can perform weddings or civil unions in New Zealand.
You can order your Marriage Certificate by phone: within NZ – 0800 225 252, from overseas – (+64) 4 463 9362. You can pay over the phone by credit or debit card. You’ll get your certificate by mail or by email after about 8 working days.
Some faiths may require additional documents for a religious service, whether held inside a church or elsewhere. You may want to check this with your wedding co-ordinator or local minister.
For instance, couples of the Roman Catholic faith should allow at least six months before the planned wedding date in order to process all the necessary paperwork (certificates of baptism, dispensations, statements of freedom to marry, etc.).
You should make contact with the priest whom you want to have officiate at your wedding as soon as possible. He will help you complete the necessary paperwork and provide part of your marriage preparation instruction.
The wedding ceremony of a Roman Catholic must take place in a Catholic Church.
European Union citizens (except the United Kingdom and Ireland) may need to have their Registered Marriage Certificate apostilled (or authenticated).
This does not apply to citizens of United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Citizens of Asian countries, South and Central America should check with their Civil Registrar/Marriage Officer as to whether an Apostille is required for your country.
• Marriage Licence for Registry Office ceremony – NZD$240 (includes the Marriage Licence and civil ceremony)
• Marriage Licence for Celebrant ceremony – NZD$150 (plus whatever the Celebrant charges)
• Marriage Certificate – NZD$33.
Same sex marriages are legal in New Zealand. Marriages performed in New Zealand are internationally recognised and legally binding.
Many hotels offer comprehensive assistance to couples planning their destination wedding in New Zealand.
Find the perfect wedding venue at 100% Pure New Zealand – NZ's official tourism website.
Further information: You may apply for a marriage licence online at the New Zealand Government website. If you and your partner usually reside outside of NZ, you will need to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage form for non-New Zealand residents.
To find a local Registrar of Marriages, call 0800 22 52 52 or +64 4 463 9362 from overseas. A wedding planner can help you find a Celebrant or you can locate a celebrant online at the NZ Government Department of Internal Affairs interactive website.
Latest update: How to get married in New Zealand: 18 November, 2018
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