Same-sex and LGBTQ couples are loving the choices they have when planning a rainbow wedding in New Zealand. Since 2014, same-sex couples have been able to marry, and we’re loving hearing about the many rainbow friendly weddings taking place! Just like any other wedding, there’s plenty to plan for, but a few key differences. Read our same-sex marriage guide below!

Ultimate Same-Sex Marriage Guide for New Zealand

Same-sex marriage ceremonies are mostly performed by marriage celebrants, rather than religious celebrants. That’s because many churches and other places of worship have decreed that they’ll only marry heterosexual couples. If you can find clergy who will marry you, awesome. Otherwise, you’ll need to select an independent marriage celebrant, and there are some excellent celebrants out there too! Some notable religious exceptions are St Ninian’s in Christchurch, St Andrew’s on the Terrace in Wellington and the Unitarian Church in Auckland, who joyfully welcome rainbow marriages.

With that being the main point of difference for same-sex weddings, many of the other planning considerations remain the same:

  • Clothing – you’ll still need to find your wedding dress (or dresses), or formal suit attire.
  • Hair and make-up.
  • Ceremony and reception venues – will one venue be fine, or would you prefer two different venues?
  • Catering – do you want finger food or a sit-down formal meal?
  • Photographer – be sure to view photos from other same-sex weddings they have attended and ask to speak to past clients.
  • Marriage license – you can apply in person at your local Registrar of Marriages, or online at least three days before your wedding day. Be sure to factor in snail mail delays if you are posting your application.
  • Marriage celebrant – most celebrants are happy to perform same-sex marriages, but it pays to check first.
  • Transport – even if you are using the same venue for the ceremony and reception, how will you travel there?
  • Flowers – are you choosing formal bouquets or boutonnières (flowers in a buttonhole), or simply needing floral displays at your venues?

Of course, if an elopement is more your style, why not consider ‘running away’ and having everything planned for you! Perfect for the busy couple who would rather concentrate on their big day, than all of the small details. Either way, you'll need three things for your marriage to be legally recognised in New Zealand; a marriage licence, a marriage celebrant and two witnesses. Find a marriage celebrant here.

For more great advice, we recommend checking out our Bridal Tips section for your upcoming wedding day!