How long does the process of obtaining a marriage license take?
It normally takes three working days to obtain your marriage license. One of the marriage parties must sign the application in person, before the Registrar of Marriages. In order to get a license, you will need to complete an Application for Notice of Intended Marriage application form which is available at any Registrar of Marriage office, or can be downloaded at bdm.govt.nz.
Residents of New Zealand require the BDM60 form, and overseas residents should ask for BDM58.
If you are converting a Civil Union to a Marriage you will need the BDM59 form.
If either of you have been married or in a civil union before, and the marriage or civil union has been dissolved, you will be asked to produce evidence of the dissolution (e.g. Divorce/Dissolution Order) when you give notice to the Registrar. If your previous spouse or partner has died you do not have to produce evidence of their death, but you will have to give the date of death on the Notice of Intended Marriage.
Those under 17 years of age require parents’ permission.
The marriage licence is valid for three months from the date of issue.
A marriage licence costs NZ$122.60 payable on application to the Registrar.
Find out more about the process and legal requirements of obtaining a marriage licence – bdm.govt.nz.
When and how do we apply for a Marriage License?
You will need to get a marriage license from a Registrar of Marriages – To apply for a marriage license one of the parties to the marriage must fill out the appropriate form.
If you live in New Zealand or will be in New Zealand at least three days before you intend to be married (either the bride or groom, or both) complete the Notice of Intended Marriage (BDM 60) form. You cannot complete the form online, as either the bride or the groom must complete a statutory declaration (part of the form).
How do we make the Statutory Declaration?
As part of completing the application form for a marriage license, you will need to make a statutory declaration. Either you or your partner will need to make a formal statutory declaration that there is no lawful impediment to the marriage (i.e. no legal reason that you cannot both be married), that the details provided are true, that the bride and groom are not within the “prohibited degrees of relationship,” and that consent has been given (where relevant).
If you live in New Zealand, one of you must make this declaration in the presence of a Registrar of Marriages.
Will our marriage license be valid internationally?
All Commonwealth countries are required to accept a New Zealand Marriage Certificate as a valid legal document. Other nations require an additional ‘authentication certificate’ which may be obtained on application to the Authentication Department in Wellington (after the marriage).
How long does a normal wedding service take?
There is no right or wrong answer, but for most people it is between 15 and 20 minutes.
It depends on whether you include readings, songs/music or poetry. You may also choose to include rituals that can take more time. The wedding ceremony must be witnessed by two people.
Can we get married wherever we choose?
On your marriage license application you must specify no more than two venues (usually a first choice plus a back-up option in case of bad weather) and the wedding ceremony must be conducted at one of these places if it is being conducted by a registered celebrant.
If you choose an overseas place to be married, NZ registered celebrants can, with special permissions, conduct weddings in the Cook Islands, otherwise you would have to make arrangements as given on the BDM website including making a declaration of no impediment
Should we write our own vows and do we have to memorize them?
This is your choice entirely, I can help you write personal vows to each other, or there are pre-written vows widely available online, that you can look at to get ideas. You may simply prefer to write your own. You do not have to memorize the vows – you can read them to each other if you wish, or I can lead you through them, a section at a time and you repeat the words to each other.
There is a legal requirement to include certain words for example – I (first names surname) take you first names surname to be my legally married / husband / wife / partner.
Your vows are the most important part of your wedding ceremony – even more important than the signing of the register (which is the legal bit).
The vows are the promises you make to each other – the way you articulate your commitment and your life going forward. When you say your vows, speak to your partner, look them in the eye and speak only to them. Don’t worry about the people watching! I will pronounce everything loudly and clearly, so your guests can hear while you are making your promises to your partner.