• Your Celebrant must, by law, be appointed as a marriage celebrant by the Department of Internal Affairs via Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM). inorder to perform a wedding ceremony.
  • In New Zealand You can get married almost anywhere, so whether you want your ceremony to be traditional, simple, relaxed, casual,  elaborate, indoor, outdoor, at a hall or hotel, at the beach or in the bush, I can help make this happen.
  • Most importantly, I listen, and help create a bespoke ceremony that will reflect you as a couple, and as individuals. 
  • A Marriage is a legally recognised relationship between two people. Marriage is defined as “the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity”.
  • A Civil Union is a legally recognised relationship. It’s like a marriage and has the same rights and obligations under law. A couple can enter a civil union whether they’re the same or different sexes.
  • Both a marriage and a civil union can only legally come to an end when the Family Court issues a Dissolution (divorce) Order.

Before you get married, you need to apply for a marriage licence. This confirms it’s legal for you to marry.

What you need to know

  • You need to arrange your licence at least 3 working days before you get married.
  • It expires after 3 months.
  • If you’re using a celebrant, they have separate fees.
  • Only one of you needs to complete the application, but you need information about both of you.

Apply online

  • Anyone can apply online, whether you’re in New Zealand or not.  Simply search "NZ Marriage Licence" in your browser.

In New Zealand, you don’t usually have to do anything special if you want to change your name after you get married or have a civil union.


Name options after getting married

  • When you get married, you can:

  • keep your last name

  • take your husband, wife or partner’s last name

  • hyphenate or use a combination of both your last names with a space in between.

  • Example of combining names

  • If Alex Coleman married Jaime Eastwood, either or both people can use any of these combinations:

    • Coleman Eastwood

    • Coleman-Eastwood

    • Eastwood Coleman

    • Eastwood-Coleman


How to change your name

  • If you want to change your last name, you do not usually have to complete any forms or go through a process.

  • When you get married, you’ll be sent a form to update your details on the electoral roll. Otherwise, you can just start using your new last name.

  • Different organisations have different rules for proving identification (ID), but you can usually use your marriage certificate if you need proof to show you’ve taken your partner’s last name.

  • You can choose to legally change your name — it’s up to you.

  • Change your own name

Travelling overseas with your new name

  • The name on your passport and tickets must be the same as your officially registered name.

  • If you legally change your name, you’ll need to:

  • update your passport

  • book tickets using your new name.

  • Changing your name on your passport

  • If you do not legally change your name, you’ll need to:

  • book tickets using your old name so the name on the ticket matches your passport.

Changing your name on your driver licence

  • You do not have to update your driver licence if you change your name when you get married, even if you legally change your name.

  • Changing your name on your driver licence

Using your birth surname

  • If you want to add your birth surname as a middle name, you need to officially change your name by statutory declaration.

  • Change your own name

  • If you want to go back to using your birth surname, you usually do not need to apply for a name change — you can just start using your old name.

  • A funeral service or memorial is a vitally important event, not just for family and loved ones, but also for friends and members of the wider community, and whilst the service is a formal acknowledgement that someone has died, it is also a celebration of their life. 
  • Some people may not want an elaberate service, however it is also important to accept that certain rituals and symbolism are vital in life, especially for milestone events and during times of transition.  They can help with the acceptance and grieving process.
  • I will listen with empathy, to create a ceremony that will reflect both the deceased's, and your family’s wishes .  As an independent celebrant, I will work closely with your chosen funeral director to enhance the support and service we can jointly provide.

Placing ashes in a permanent location gives families a place to return to, reflect and remember their loved one, while the scattering of ashes generally has significance to the deceased, often reflecting a special place or activity. In either situation an independent celebrant can help create an appropriate ceremony for the occasion.

  • It is important to get permission from your local council before disposing of ashes on public property, or from the landowner if you want to scatter the ashes on private property.
  • Your local council can tell you where you can scatter ashes, on public land.
  • Examples of areas where your council may prohibit scattering ashes include:
  • the sea or other waterway (it is culturally inappropriate for Māori)
  • areas with cultural or heritage significance
  • public areas that are used by lots of people
  • Ashes from cremations are harmful to plant life, so if you plan to scatter ashes in a garden (and have permission to do so), try to keep them away from the plants.
  • Milestone events are worth celebrating, whether it’s a significant wedding anniversary, a Family Reunion, or maybe when, for various reasons, some special friends and family were unable to attend the original ceremony.
  • A vow renewal ceremony can be an opportunity to include promises to children.

For many, Naming ceremonies forem part of their believes, and  take place within organised religion.  For a lot of others, the ceremony conducted by an independent celebrant, is equally significant, as a child is celebrated and formally welcomed into the world, to their family, friends and their community. 

By engaging a Celebrants Aotearoa (CANZ) celebrant, you are gaining the assurance of employing a celebrant who belongs to the national professional body, a celebrant who has passed the association’s Code of Ethics and Professional Standards test, and a person who, more often than not, is committed to ongoing professional development with a strong network of fellow celebrants to call on if needed.

  • CANZ offers a robust complaints process in the unlikely event you should require it. Please note this process is applicable to members only. 
  • Complaints against a non-member marriage celebrant – see Births, Death and Marriages complaints procedure
  • Complaints against a non-member funeral celebrant – talk with the Funeral Director(s) you have been working with.