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Getting married?

Posted in: Weddings & Civil Unions
By Jacqui Stanford - 2nd July 2013

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Jeff Montgomery
The Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages is getting everything ready for the first same-sex weddings in New Zealand on 19 August.

We had a chat with Registrar-General Jeff Montgomery who has plenty of advice to make sure your day goes smoothly, especially if you want to get married on the 19th!

New ‘intention to marry’ forms will be released on the week of 12 August. The earliest these can be lodged at a Births, Deaths and Marriages office is Friday 16 August –and one member of the couple must do this. Marriage certificates can be picked up three days after they are lodged – so if you want to get married on 19 August, you need to lodge your form on Friday 16 August.

Montgomery says it could be a busy weekend for his staff. “We’re not sure what the volumes will be like, of people coming in on that Friday. But we’ll be all ready to go.”

He continues: “People can either have a registry wedding, in which case the first registry weddings will be queuing up at nine o’clock on the Monday morning, or they may go off and have their own private ceremony somewhere else on the Monday. Or, the certificate lasts for three months, so they may choose to have a wedding closer to Christmas.”

Montgomery says when the civil union laws came in there were a small number of people who wanted their certificates on the first day they were available and to have their union straight away.

“We’re expecting that a lot of the demand will be from people like myself who are in a civil union and want to change it to a marriage. There will be a lot of people who want to do that quite quickly. But I think a lot of people who are having a marriage for the first time, who are having a ceremony for the first time, will probably want to wait and have it at the venue of their choice, in the weekend, and things like that.

“I don’t think there will be a huge rush. But there will be some who will want to do it on the first day. And we will be accommodating them.”

Montgomery reiterates that licences can’t be issued until three days after the application is lodged. “There has to be a three day gap. So no one can come in on the Monday morning and get a licence and be married on Monday, that’s not possible.”

Getting married on the 19th of August? Here is what you need to do:

  • Pick up your new notification of intention of marriage form during the week of 12 August.
  • Complete the form.
  • One member of the couple must go in to a Registry Office to sign the statutory declaration on Friday 16 August.
  • Your marriage licence and associated documents will be ready for collection on Monday 19 August, at 9AM.
  •  Get married! (By an approved marriage celebrant or a Registrar of Marriages)

Not in a rush? Here’s what you need to do:

  • Pick up your new notification of intention of marriage form from a Registry Office and complete it.
  • One member of the couple must go in to a Registry Office to sign the statutory declaration THREE DAYS before you want to pick it up.
  • Your marriage licence and associated documents will be ready for collection THREE DAYS later.
  • Get married! (By an approved marriage celebrant or a Registrar of Marriages)

Planning to ‘upgrade’ from a civil union to a marriage? Here’s what you need to do:

As a couple in a civil union who wish to continue in a relationship with each other, you may change the form of your relationship to a marriage without having to formally dissolve your civil union. You will be required to produce evidence of your current civil union when you complete a ‘Notice of Intended Marriage, change of relationship from civil union’ form and pay the fee.

If I live in another country, what do I have to do to get married in New Zealand?

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If you are applying for the marriage licence from outside of New Zealand, the only difference is in regards to the form you complete (i.e. BDM 58: ‘Notice of Intended Marriage where both parties ordinarily resident outside New Zealand.’ It is anticipated that from the week of 12 August there will be a new, updated version of this form, in preparation for 19 August).

If you are overseas, the statutory declaration may be signed by a Commonwealth Representative, and then sent to the Registry Office in New Zealand closest to where you will be married. This notice should arrive at least a week before you intend to get married.

Alternatively, you can complete everything on the form except the declaration and send it (with payment) to the Registry Office in New Zealand closest to where you will be married. When you arrive in New Zealand, you then need to visit that office, sign the declaration and collect the marriage licence.

Or, you can travel to New Zealand, pay the fee and fill out the form here in front of a local Registrar and then three days later a marriage licence and associated documentation would be ready for collection and a marriage can take place.

The recognition of your New Zealand marriage is subject to the laws of your home country.

What does it cost?

The fee for a marriage licence or to give notice of a change of relationship is the same - $122.60 if using an approved marriage celebrant, or $173.70 if having a Registry Office ceremony.


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Jacqui Stanford - 2nd July 2013