Bridal Club Magazine
New Zealand Weddings - What Are The Legal Requirements For Marriage?
Have you ever wondered what the legal requirements are for
marriage in New Zealand and how you actually go about obtaining a
marriage license? We give you some straightforward answers to some
commonly asked questions, plus a reminder list of organisations to
contact to give change of name details to once you have
What can stop us from getting
Any New Zealander sixteen years of age and over may marry.
However, if you are under the age of twenty you will require the
formal consent of your parent/s or guardian/s. There are
restrictions to whom you can legally marry, for example - close
family members are not permitted to marry. Refer to the Intention
to Marry form that must be filled out prior to obtaining your
marriage license to see a list of these restrictions.
What if I have been married
You will need proof in the form of a court document that has
legally dissolved your former marriage.
Why do I need witnesses?
The ceremony must be held with at least two witnesses who will
sign the legally binding marriage certificate. This is usually the
Best Man and Matron/Maid of Honour however it is not necessary that
the bridal couple know them. The only requirement is that they need
to be old enough to know what the implications are of the task they
Where can I get married?
You are entitled to marry anywhere and anytime that is agreed upon
by you, your fiancé and the celebrant. If it is a public place, you
may need to get permission by the local council. It is necessary to
state on your marriage license exactly where you plan to hold the
ceremony and give a second option - just in case it rains if you
have planned an outdoors ceremony. If for some reason, your
location changes after you get your marriage license - you will
need to have it amended by a Registrar of Marriages before your
wedding takes place.
What if we want to get married at a registry
Registry weddings are a basic legal ceremony that takes in the
Registrars office during working hours. If you do not have at least
two witnesses with you, court employees can stand in for them. The
fee for a Registry Office wedding is NZ $120.00. This also includes
the Registrar's fee and the cost of the marriage license. If you
are planning to re-celebrate your ceremony in a church or other
venue at a later date - you must present the Certificate of
Marriage to your celebrant to avoid having it recorded as another
So how and when do I get a marriage
- Firstly, you need to have made a decision about who is
going to perform your wedding ceremony whether a registry wedding,
at a church or elsewhere. If you haven't done this already, you can
find a list of names of registered celebrants by looking in your
local telephone directory under the Justice Department. Ministers
can be contacted the church of your choice and if you are looking
to be married by an independent celebrant- check our wedding
services directory for one in your area.
- You also need to know where your ceremony is going to be.
Traditionally, weddings are held in the bride's hometown when her
parents are the hosts. However, it is perfectly acceptable to have
the ceremony in a wide variety of places, the only limit is your
- The marriage license is issued by any Registrar of Births, Deaths and
Marriages Office and must be obtained before your wedding takes
place. Here you are required to fill out a (BDM60) Notice of
Intended Marriage Form available either at the office, or by
phoning 0800 22 52 52. Alternatively you can download it from the
Births, Deaths and Marriages website. Your completed form will need
to be returned with the NZ$80.00 fee and any other documents that
may be required such as a marriage dissolution form. This will need
to be done in person by at least one of you, so that the statutory
declaration can be signed in the presence of the Registrar. The
license will then be issued within three days of this process and
is valid for three months from that date providing it is carried
out at the stated time, date, location and by the celebrant you
When do we get the Certificate of Marriage?
Your celebrant will have two copies of this, which will be signed
by both of you at your ceremony, along with your two witnesses. At
the end of the ceremony, the celebrant will give you one copy, and
keep the other copy for the Births, Deaths and Marriages office.
You may also be required to sign a book recording the event at the
church. Extra copies of your marriage certificate can be obtained
through the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. It will need
to be shown when changing name details on your bank accounts,
We have prepared a basic handy reminder list of people and
organisations you will need to consider contacting to change your
- Inland Revenue
- Work and Income NZ - To stop or alter details for benefits
- Land and Transport Office - Department of Motorvehicles -
Drivers license and car registration
- NZ Post - change of address and to hold your mail while on
- Power/Gas company
- Telecom or other phone service provider
- Department of Internal Affairs - passports
- Electoral Roll - This is usually automatically done when you
change details through NZ Post
- Private Financial Institutions
- Insurance Companies
- Medical Organisations
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