Jo Smith VCANZ ~ Celebrant
Authentic, personalised marriages and funerals
Kia ora koutou, hello everyone... ko Jo Smith toku ingoa.
Aotearoa New Zealand is gender neutral and culturally diverse. Anyone can marry here. Te reo Maori and tikanga are part of our language and cultural values alongside those of European Pakeha and Pacifica peoples.
As a fulltime celebrant, I've married 100's of couples, straight or rainbow, from young to senior couples; first, second, even third time around. Funerals are humbling and privileged, many my best work.
I could be the right celebrant for you, offering an authentic and memorable experience from the heart - be it a blend of cultures, secular, spiritual or faith based.
Your ceremony should resonate with you and be engaging, letting those stories, smiles, laughter, tears and truths reveal themselves.
My style is warm, inclusive and gracious drawing on training, skills as an accomplished speaker, a sense-of-humour, life and travel. I endeavour to be a lighthouse for your pathway.
Hawkes Bay is home base and I'm happy to travel throughout NZ.
My role on Celebrants Aotearoa National Executive includes responsibility for social media and marketing.
Enjoy my colourful gallery.
Nga mihi nui
Validated member Celebrants Aotearoa NZ
Cert. Celebrant Studies AUT
Cert. Funeral Proficiency AUT
ASB ATCL LDI
Hawke's Bay based
Available throughout New Zealand
'tailor made' and my most popular
Your love story told. An original fully personalised wedding ceremony designed exclusively for you.
A simple wedding ceremony where you can choose your own vows and ring pledge.
From 'I do' to 'let's dance'
MC & Celebrant Package
Two-in-one package - your ‘go to’ celebrant and master of ceremony.
Time To Plan!
Lots of couples say ‘we don’t know where to start’. My experience and help will put you at ease and get you started.
I provide several documents to help you gather ideas and information. From this I write your ceremony draft that you can edit.
You now apply for a marriage licence online https://www.govt.nz/browse/family-and-whanau/getting-married/get-a-marriage-licence/. It costs $150 NZD and takes 3 working days to process. It will be emailed back to you and is valid for 3 months. It’s possible to apply from overseas. Please bring your Marriage Licence to your rehearsal.
Ideal to get everyone in your bridal party on board. This is when we go through the choreography, technicals and ‘getting married’ bit. Rehearsals are fun.
On the day
I arrive an hour prior and check everything’s in place and systems are working. I meet the bridal party and make sure you are relaxed and ready for your perfect day. After meeting with the groomsmen, we move into position and the ceremony starts. After the pronouncement we sign licence documents then I present you to your guests. While you're popping the bubbles I quietly sit with the documentation ensuring it’s accurate. I will seek you out, give you your licence, say thank you, get a great photo with you and then say goodbye.
Destination Wedding Ceremony and Planning Service
Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
My specialist service is ideal for a small wedding that may be just the two of you or include up to 10 guests.
It includes recommended: venues, accommodation, transport, photographer, flower, makeup and hair needs, two witnesses, Champagne and canapés, my marriage celebrant service, applying for a Marriage Licence and anything else you may need.
I will be your person on-the-ground with extensive networks acquired over many years within the wine, hospitality and wedding industries.
I offer a well organised, personal and genuine experience for your intimate wedding. Check out my contact page and we can begin this adventure together.
Jo has enormous integrity and maturity. She is gracious and brings with her warmth, kindliness, style and a sense of occasion. Jo has 'mana' and is a highly skilled communicator who can think on her feet and manage the unexpected with alacrity. She has a great sense of humour and propriety. Most of all she celebrates and respects the diversity of humanity.
Sophie & MJ
We can’t thank you enough for doing such an incredible job! You were amazing and we were lucky enough to have come across you. You helped make the day so special for us. Thank you! We are totally exhausted but feeling good! Thanks Jo, you are such a beautiful person with such a kind soul.
Sarah & Rob
Thank you so much for the beautiful service you designed and delivered for our wedding. We feel that it reflected our values, priorities and lives perfectly. Thanks also for you card and service booklet, which are great keepsakes to have. Many thanks.
Jeff & Claire
Words cannot express how grateful we are to you for what you offered us before and on our wedding day. The ceremony totally reflected us as a couple and our hope and dreams for the future. Our guests said this to us too, which was just great to hear. Thank you very much, it was just wonderful.
Mandy & Dion
We have just arrived home from our honeymoon and I wanted write to you to say a huge thank you for helping make our wedding service so special. You are a true professional, and we were in such great hands with you. We both loved our wedding ceremony, and we have had many comments on how beautiful and meaningful it was. There were a lot of tissues out! Thank you so much for making it so personal and special for us, the children and our families.
Craig & Aroha
Craig and I just wanted to thank you once again for sharing our special day with us on Sunday. We feel so lucky that we found you. The ceremony you conducted captured the essence of what we really wanted to celebrate, our love for each other and our love for our family and friends. We truly had a wonderful day and everyone agrees that you conducted a fabulous ceremony. Thank you for putting so much effort in to making it a perfect day.
Christine & Elizabeth
What an absolutely awesome day. From our first connection with you we knew something special would happen - it certainly did! Your wisdom, energy and warmth was just so beautiful to be part of. Thank you so much for creating a magnificent experience for all who attended the day. So many comments, so many heart felt tears. Just beautiful. Thank you! You're an amazing woman.
Mark & Steve
You did an absolutely amazing job. We just wish to thank you for everything you did to make our wedding day so special for not only us, but our family and friends. Your authenticity and caring nature shone through and has made it a day we will remember for the rest of our lives. We're both highly appreciative and thank you most sincerely. We've a great number of guests who commented on the ceremony and you. They loved you and felt you made it the best wedding a lot of people had been to. We cannot thank you enough for giving us a marriage ceremony that we wanted and more. Thanks again.
Anke & Rachel
We want to express our deepest and heartfelt thanks for making our amazing day even more so amazing. Anke and I have felt really at ease with you throughout our whole preparation and on the day your professionalism and warmth made the ceremony the highlight of the day for us. During the evening we received many compliments about the ceremony and many people asked my mother if you were related to us as your stories and words really came from someone who knew us well. To be quite honest there are not enough words to express our thanks.
Alex & Stephan
We can't thank you enough for creating such a wonderful and special ceremony. Everything was perfect. We're grateful for your guidance and support during our preparation and ceremony. We couldn't have been happier.
Brian & Alison
We felt our day was packed with Love, Laughter and Surprises. Brian and I were so happy with the way everything turned out and a lot of that is thanks to you. The day was just magical and our friends are still blown away about the surprise wedding.
Craig & Julian
Many people have commented that it was the best wedding ceremony they had attended. Thank you for guiding us on this journey. The ceremony was moving and is a strong, vivid memory.
Jill & Neil
Thank you so much for playing a big part on the night. The element of surprise on everyone's faces, when they thought they were there to celebrate my 50th, but to witness Neil and my marriage. Thank you so much. We are all still talking about it.
Are there any restrictions on getting married in NZ?
No there are not! You can get married on any day of the week at any time. You both must be over 16 years old and eligible to marry (ie.you're not 1st cousins or brother and sister et al). It will of course also depend on the availability of your location and your celebrant.
How long will our ceremony take?
About 20 to 30 minutes depending on complexity. It is progressive and goes very fast, you'll be amazed!
Do we have to have God or religious content?
Only if you want to include it, it's not a legal requirement. I'm an Independent Celebrant and not affiliated to a specific religion or organisation.
What is the legal stuff we have to do?
1. Apply for a marriage license - you can do this online: https://marriages.services.govt.nz/
2. Your ceremony requires you to state your full legal name, and then you both need to say a few words to legalise your marriage. I'll take you through it all!
Do we have to change our names?
No, you don't. There is no legal requirement for you to change your name. It is entirely over to you what you'd like to be called once you are married.
How do we go about getting a marriage licence?
You can apply online: https://marriages.services.govt.nz/. Choose which application best suits your situation. It costs $150 NZD and takes 3 working days to process. Once issued, a marriage license is valid for 3 months. Please note your celebrant's fee is additional.
Should we apply for a marriage certificate?
Yes. The marriage certificate is proof that your marriage is registered in the NZ Marriage records. It will be an essential piece of information to provide in the future where proof of your marriage is required.
How can we work with you in advance?
Easy! Email, Facetime & Skype are all great tools, and we can use them to achieve a great ceremony for you. No need to worry if you live outside of Hawke's Bay.
How far in advance should we book our celebrant?
Book early and secure your time and date at least 6 to 12 months ahead. Planning your information needs to be 3 months prior.
What can go wrong?
On your wedding day you can't control the weather, or glitches with your sound system! If you have great people around you, who are all doing their job, it will all roll out seamlessly!