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Personalised ceremonies

You can have a personalised ceremony at any time, date and place you want. You write your own vows. It costs $150 for the marriage licence, plus the amount the celebrant charges for the ceremony.

You choose the location of your ceremony. You can have it on any day of the week, including weekends and public holidays, and at any time you wish.

As well as writing your own vows, you can also have readings and other elements or activities that are meaningful to you as a couple. Your celebrant will take your needs, wishes and culture into account.

  1. 1

    Choose a venue

    You need to know your venue when you apply for a marriage licence.

    If you have a back-up venue, you need to include that in your licence application too, because you can only get married at a location you’ve put in the application.

    Virtual weddings

    Under the Marriage Act, a marriage can’t occur virtually — you cannot use video conferencing software, like Zoom, and the couple, celebrant and witnesses must be physically present in the same place.

  2. 2

    Find a celebrant

    You need to find a celebrant in your area. Contact them to confirm details, including their fee.

  3. 3

    Apply for a marriage licence

    You have to get a marriage licence at least 3 working days before the ceremony. It costs $150.

  4. 4

    Arrange witnesses

    You need to bring 2 witnesses to the ceremony.

    Who can be a witness

    Your 2 witnesses must understand what’s happening during the ceremony. They must be able to clearly identify both of you and be satisfied you both consent to the marriage.


    • don’t need to have known you for any specific length of time and
    • can be children of any age, as long as they understand the nature of the ceremony and are able to demonstrate that understanding in court if required.

    If the witnesses speak a different language to you, you’ll need an interpreter. The interpreter has to sign a declaration before the ceremony to say they’ll interpret what you say accurately.

  5. 5

    Get married

    Your celebrant will give you a “copy of particulars of marriage”. This is not the same as a marriage certificate.

    They’ll use another “copy of particulars of marriage” to register your marriage with the New Zealand government.

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