Marriage is a public declaration of your commitment to share your lives together.  My services are available to couples of any sexual orientation.  I offer a personalized ceremony which reflects your values and your hopes for your future together. 

One couple said:

Right from the start, Ruth was a wonderful person to work with. Nothing was too hard – she took everything in her stride (including the last minute changes to our bi-cultural ceremony!). She provided us with lots of ideas that we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, and helped us create a ceremony that was unique and special. She was also very well-organised, which meant we could be at ease on the day. It was an absolute pleasure to have Ruth officiate our ceremony and we would recommend her to anyone seeking a celebrant. – Rosalee & Pubudu
RosaleeandPubudu312 (Small)

Rosalee & Pubudu’s wedding – photo by Johanna Macdonald photography

Some things we will talk about during the planning process are:
• The story of your relationship
• Why you have chosen to have a marriage ceremony
• What commitment means to you
• What you value and love in each other
• Your hopes and dreams
• Whether there are any traditions, spiritual or cultural practices you want to incorporate
• Any particular actions or symbols you’d like to include
Guidelines to formalities for Marriage
No marriage celebrant may solemnise a marriage until they have received a marriage licence authorising the particular marriage.
Decide on the time and place of Marriage

You can get married at any place and at any time of any day that you and the celebrant agree on.  The Christchurch City Council offers a number of wedding locations  The charge for most outdoor locations is about $50 ($61.30 for the Botanic Gardens).   Phone the Council on  03 941 8888 to check availability and cost.  If you are planning an outdoor marriage it is recommended that you select an alternative indoor venue (in case of bad weather) and nominate both on your Notice of Intended Marriage.

Same Sex Marriages
Same sex couples can legally be married in New Zealand.  If you are already in a civil union you may change this 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.

Marriage Licence
One of the couple must go to the office of the Registrar of Marriages (Dept of Internal Affairs, BNZ Centre, Level 1, 120 Hereford Street) and fill in a Notice of Intended Marriage.  For this you will need to have the full names of the parents of both parties.  You will be required to sign a statutory declaration that you are legally free to marry.  If you are under eighteen years of age you will need the written consent of your parents or guardian.  If you have been married before you will need to produce documentary evidence of the dissolution of any previous marriage.  No one under the age of sixteen years can be married.  The fee for a marriage licence is $150.00.

It takes three days for a licence to be issued.  The marriage licence and other records must then be collected so that the marriage celebrant named on the licence has the documentation in adequate time before the marriage.  The licence is valid for three months.

Place of Marriage
A marriage can  be conducted only at the place described on the marriage licence.  When for some reason it is desired to change the venue after the licence is issued, the person who made the declaration on the Notice of Intended Marriage must inform the Registrar who issued the licence, in person, and have the licence amended prior to the ceremony.  This will generally attract a fee for the new documentation to be issued.

Where the nominated celebrant cannot officiate at a marriage, any other celebrant may officiate.

Marriage Ceremony
The marriage must be performed in the presence of the celebrant and at least two witnesses who must be old enough to understand the importance of the part they are taking.

The marriage ceremony may take such form as is agreed between the Celebrant and the Parties to the Marriage.  During the ceremony the bride and groom must say the following or similar words to each other:  “I ………(full name) take you ……… (full name) to be my legal wife/husband.”  The wording for same sex couples is yet to be announced.

If you have questions about the formalities of marriage you can phone Births, Deaths and Marriages on 0800 225 252.

You’re welcome to contact me at


Published on 11 March 2018 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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