Considering a Registry Ceremony? Here’s What You Need to Know

A registry ceremony is a way to get married in New Zealand with the least amount of stress and cost. One of two marriage ceremony options, the other being a personalised ceremony, it is also the least flexible option. A registry ceremony is right for you if you

  • Want the lowest cost option
  • Are happy not to choose a marriage celebrant or venue if you are within one hour's drive of the registry offices in Auckland CBD, Manukau, Wellington or Christchurch
  • Are happy to use standard wedding vows and ceremony format
  • Are happy to get married during business hours

Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to organise moving forward.

Getting Married in a Registry Ceremony

If you’ve decided to go ahead with a registry ceremony, there are a few things you’ll need to know and do first:

  • Decide upon a location for your ceremony
    Auckland, Manukau, Wellington and Christchurch are the only cities in which you can get married by a registrar in their registry office. In the past, couples outside of those four cities could marry at the local courthouse, that is no longer an option. If you are located outside of these cities, you will need to choose a local celebrant to meet you at a venue you both agree upon for a registry ceremony instead.
  • Apply for your marriage licence
    You can apply for a marriage licence either online or in-person at your local Registrar of Marriages. By filling out the Notice of Intended Marriage form, you are making a statutory declaration that you are both legally able to marry. It must be applied for at least three working days ahead of your ceremony and it is valid for three months. You will need to give information about the wedding date, venue, celebrant (if outside of the four main cities listed above), full names and contact details for you and your fiancé, and both sets of parents. If you have been married or in a civil union before, this must also be declared.
  • Bring two witnesses to the ceremony
    You are required to bring two people to witness your marriage. To meet the requirements, the witnesses must be able to understand what is happening during the ceremony, be certain they can identify both of the people getting married and believe that you are both freely giving your consent to get married.

Just like any marriage ceremony, the registry option does require you to book ahead. It’s important to note that it also occurs during registry office hours during weekdays. For further information on both a registry and personalised ceremony options, take a look through our articles on marriage celebrants and ceremonies.