Woo hoo!! High fives all round your getting married, umm so now what? Well your going to have to get a marriage licence at some point and unless you’ve done this whole getting married thing before you probably don’t have any idea where to start. Hopefully this blog post will answer the numerous questions I get about how to apply for a marriage licence, like: Where to get one? How early to we need to get a licence? And where do we go?
How to marry in New Zealand
Firstly you need to fall in love, ask them to marry you and be accepted. Once you have both decided you want to do this thing called marriage you need to meet the following general conditions;
- You can’t already be married or in a civil union
- You have to be over the age of 18 (or 16 with your parents consent)
- You can’t be closely related by blood, marriage, civil union or adoption
Before the marriage you must;
- Choose a celebrant
- Decide where and when you want to get married
- Prove your identity to the celebrant
- Apply for and obtain a marriage licence
On the day the government needs;
- A marriage celebrant that identifies themself and the couple.
- For the couple to say the legal vows “I AB take you CD to be my legal wife/husband” or words to that effect
- Two witnesses
- The two marriage certificates to be signed by the couple, the two witnesses and the celebrant. One is returned by the celebrant to the government and one is kept by the couple
How to Apply for a Marriage Licence
Firstly you will need to fill out this Notice of Intended Marriage (BDM60) form if you normally live in New Zealand. One of you will then need to take it in to your local courthouse and sign it in front of the Registrar of Marriages and pay the fee.
The marriage licence will take between three to five working days to be processed and is valid for up to three months. Over summer this process can take longer so it is worth doing it as early as possible. It’s also worth noting that the courthouses shut down for the Christmas period too. Once processed your marriage licence is available for collection during normal opening hours.
Applying For a Marriage Licence from Overseas
If you both live outside New Zealand and will arrive in New Zealand and will arrive in the country less than three days before the date you want to marry, you may be able to complete most of the formalities before you arrive in New Zealand. You will need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage where Parties Ordinarily Reside outside New Zealand (BDM 58) form. You can complete everything on the form except the declaration and send (with payment, via a bank check) to the Registry Office at the courthouse, which is closest in New Zealand to where you will be married. When you arrive in the country, you then need to visit that office, sign the declaration before a Registrar of Marriage and collect the marriage licence.