The legalities of Marrying in New Zealand

Well Travelled Bride How to legally get married in New Zealand.jpg

how to get married in
New Zealand

For New Zealander's getting married in the 'land of the long white cloud' its a relatively easy process to make it all official, and something which your celebrant can easily take care of for you. For those however coming from abroad there are a few more steps involved, don't be put off thought as compared to many European countries making it offical in NZ is a breeze! Like always we suggest for those up for the adventure of doing it legit - be well-prepared, do you research and have fun with it. We have created a step-by-step guide for foreigners choosing to marry to New Zealand...


Anyone can marry in New Zealand, as long as you’re not:

  • already married or in a civil union, unless you’re changing your relationship with the same person

  • under 16 — and if you’re 16 or 17, you need your parents’ consent

  • closely related by birth, marriage or adoption — the full list of people you can’t marry is on the back of the marriage licence form.

Both different sex and same sex marriages are legal in New Zealand.


There are 2 ways to get married or have a civil union in NZ:

In a registry office

Registry office ceremonies:

  • are held during normal office hours

  • use standard vows, and you can’t customise the ceremony.

Registry office weddings

By a registered marriage celebrant

You can choose:

  • when and where you'll get married (you can legally marry you at any location)

  • to write your own vows

  • a religious or independent celebrant (different and same sex marriages

See our suggestion of celebrants in Lake Wanaka


A person intending to get married in New Zealand must fill out a Notice of Intended Marriage, before a New Zealand Registrar of Marriages, and complete a statutory declaration that the personal details provided are true and there is no lawful impediment to the marriage. This can be done at a Births, Deaths and Marriages Office (external link) and a fee is paid at this time.

Marriage usually takes place no sooner than three days after completing the Notice of Intended Marriage.


You have to arrange a marriage licence at least 3 working days before you want to get married. Its valid for three months so we recommend doing this two months out if you live internationally. You can order your Marriage licence online at:

If you're being married by a celebrant, you'll need their name and the location and approximate date of the wedding when you apply. You are legally required to state 2 locations, for wet and fine weather. If you live internationally you can submit your application by post or email, you will need to enter on the form the day you will arrive in Lake Wanaka to collect the documentation from. The nearest collection point is the Queenstown District Court, Queenstown is also where you'll most likely fly into. 


When you arrive to New Zealand you will need to carry out the following at the Queenstown District Court: 

- One of you is required to sign the BDM 58 in front of the Registrar

- The license fee of NZ $122.60 is paid by you to the Registrar

- You will then be given the Particulars of Marriage documents that you sign on the day of your Marriage along with the license authorisation for your Celebrant.

-  Always check that your names and all the information is spelt correctly.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have any questions about the process we suggest getting in touch with one of our recommended celebrants. These are guidelines are standard processes and we strongly recommend double checking the process with your countries offices as every country has a slightly different process.