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Getting a marriage licence in New Zealand

How to get a marriage licence if you are intending to marry in New Zealand

The following information is taken directly from the website for the department of Internal Affairs that administers births, deaths and marriages in New Zealand. It is straightforward and easy to understand and apply. Should you need any clarification on applying for a marriage or civil union licence please contact the department directly - details at the end of this article.

1. Who can get a marriage licence in NZ?

You can’t get married or have a civil union in NZ without a marriage licence. You need to arrange it at least 3 working days before you want to get married.

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.

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

2. What you need to do

Before you apply, you need to:

  • arrange for a marriage celebrant or choose a registry office to get married in
  • organise where you’ll get married. You can only get married in the place you’ve put on the marriage licence form, so include a back-up venue in case something goes wrong.

3. How to apply

Apply for a marriage licence online

You can apply online if you normally live in New Zealand, or will arrive in NZ more than 3 working days before you get married. You can apply up to 3 months before the day of your wedding ceremony.
A NZ marriage licence costs:

  • $150 if you’re getting married by a celebrant — the celebrant costs extra and you’ll pay them directly, or
  • $240 if you’re getting married at a registry office — this includes the ceremony.

Apply online

After submitting this online application, either you and/or your partner must come to your local Registrar of Marriages in person to:

  • sign the application in front of the Registrar
  • pay the marriage licence application fee – $150 if using a celebrant or $240 if getting married at a registry office

Once you and/or your partner have signed and paid, your licence will not be available to take with you immediately – it will take at least 3 working days to be issued.

4. When you get it

Your marriage licence will take at least 3 days to be issued.

You’ll be given or sent (if you’ve arranged this with the registrar) the licence, and two copies of the Copy of Particulars. Give all 3 of these documents to your celebrant before your wedding.

You’ll also be given a form for updating your details on the electoral roll.

It's possible to give notice at one registry office and collect your licence at another, but you need to allow a few extra days for this. Discuss this with the Registrar first.

5. What happens next

Your marriage licence is valid for 3 months from the date it's issued.

If you change your venue before the marriage takes place, you need to tell the registry office where you got your marriage licence.

Straight after the ceremony, your celebrant will ask you to sign two copies of the Copy of Particulars form — one for you to keep and one they'll send to Births, Deaths and Marriages so your marriage can be registered. You can order a marriage certificate from Birth, Deaths and Marriages after your marriage has been registered.

6.  Forms

The marriage licence form is officially called the notice of intended marriage or civil union form.

The link below will take you to a raft of forms from which to select the appropriate one to you.

Please note this information has been taken directly from the Department of Internal Affairs website relating to marriage in New Zealand. Contact details...

Freephone: 0800 22 52 52 (New Zealand only)
Phone: +64 4 463 9362
Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday 8am to 7pm, Friday 9am to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 2pm

Postal address: PO Box 10-526, Wellington 6143