Sunday, 27 March 2016

How to get married in New Zealand at short notice - Last Minute Bride

Inspired while on holiday

The Last Minute Bride

How Can we get married in new Zealand at short notice?

New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world where you only need to be in the country for three days before you can become legally married, as long as all your paper work is in hand.

Over the past few years as one of the leading wedding celebrants and event manager specializing in destination marriage within the tourism industry, I have seen an increase in the number of calls I receive from couples who have felt inspired to tie the knot while they are on their travels in New Zealand.  I am not sure exactly what it is that brings them to this urgent decision and when I first speak with them the question always is "Can you marry us and soon?"  They are then quite surprised to hear me reply "yes as long as you have three day".  Its not ideal to rush into such an important decision quite so quickly but I have found that most couples who have made this decision haven't decided without some consideration or long engagement.  Occasionally its a very impromptu decision and as a professional celebrant I do feel the need to further question this desire a little before agreeing to officiate.

You will be quite amused by the great stories I have the pleasure to hear, last year I had a couple from the baby boomer era, they had booked a four day activity tour in the Abel Tasman staying at the Meadowbank Homestead in Awaroa, having been together for 12 years or so and married to different partners before, marriage hadn't really been on the top of their to do list.  However while enjoying their time away from the every day demands of life, they re-kindled their love and felt compelled. It was April fools day to add to the excitement and of course none of their family believed them when they posted their new relationship up on social media.  Another couple had met when they were five and after going in different directions found each other again and had bumbled along for over 20 years but something again inspired them to boldly enter my office and within the week on the 60th anniversary of their first meeting and on my 20th wedding anniversary they were married on a pretty beach sand spit near Motueka. (Please see feature here)

last minute weddings are not just for the more mature couples, we have seen an increase in younger people and recently a German couple contacted me with the same question.  Being away from home travelling and spending quality time with each other they realized that New Zealand was the place they wanted to escape from the tradition and expectation and really seize the moment for themselves.

Obviously you can worry about what the folks back home will say but that's why we encourage couples to engage in our photography or video package to capture those precious moments which obviously high light the desire in the couple to create an ever lasting memory they can share.  I find that these intimate weddings are very humbling as a celebrant, to be part of such a special moment in a couples life, its not about the glitz and glamour its about the moment, the flexibility, the freedom and actually the bank balance, as this kind of wedding can be a fraction of the price and combined with a honeymoon as a once in a life time experience with plenty of jingling change to put to the sight seeing and activities available while on your adventure.

For a true New Zealand wedding all elements can be bought into the experience and as the expert people on the ground we can very quickly advise and pull together something that expresses you as a couple but with the Kiwi twist. From hand made flowers or a silk option we can send to your home for lasting memories, the sound of local music or Maori Conch (Shell Horn) and obviously the true fresh local taste of a Kiwi picnic or Bar BQ, sourcing beautiful fresh local produce.


The advantage of a small boutique wedding is the possibility of location choice, here in the Nelson and Tasman Region we can pick and chose from three different National Parks and many more public and private locations with The Dream Maker contacts and Department of Conservation permit; The Abel Tasman, Nelson lakes and Kahurangi as well as other variations in the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough region, including Farewell Spit and D'urville Island.  The locations vary from mountain tops with panoramic views across other National Parks and vista across farm land, orchards and  hop fields and townships  drifting into stunning beaches and islands and the iconic Tasman waters, to name a few.
Photo by Sandra Johnson

Many options available to couples are also to combine the wedding day with an activity and we have been part of some incredible alternative weddings, from a day out Kayaking, a visit to a local Takaka Hill lime and crystal cave, even a Motueka skydive, so the sky really is your limit! and we are always excited about a challenge.


We can even take care of the witnesses and often at no extra charge to the couple depending on the location and time required. 

Once you have had your event the worry might kick in if you did it without informing your family and close friends, and I have heard stories of some people being quite offended and this is a real situation you need to think hard about before leaping into a decision, however we can advise on how to soften the blow and having a slide show or video can have the desired effect.  This can be launched at a party once you return, the bride and groom can also re-live their day by getting back into their wedding cloths they wore on the day, the flax or silk flower would have already arrived in the mail and the event can be recreated, giving you another chance to live the experience again with a toast of success and none of the stress!

I build quite an incredible bond with my couples in these very short encounters as their celebrant and adviser and its always a delight to keep in touch on social media and by e-mail. The reports are always how great the party was and thank you for the suggestions, photos or video.  What it boils down to is "what is it the couple want"? if they want to avoid, stress, over spending on things they are likely to regret or forget, the possibility of disappointment and a feeling of where did that day go then it is likely "The Last Minute Bride or Groom" is perfect for you. Don't take my word for it read the testimonials on my website

To conclude: Ten tips to how to get married in New Zealand.

  1. Yes you can get married quickly in New Zealand a minimum of three days is required if you have the required paper work, which can be planned for in advance, obviously if your decision is spontaneous you may need tome to gather up all the required paper work before a license is issued which could take more time.
  2. Find someone who can work on your behalf where you plan to get married they will save you time and stress and even potentially a little money.
  3. Consider going totally Kiwi and design your ring while in NZ as a lasting reminder of your day.
  4. You will need to complete the required legal documents 
  5. Statuary declaration  
  6. Consent is required by a couples parents if they are under 17 years old.
  7. Contact a Registered New Zealand Celebrant
  8. Find someone who can manage your location and event, someone who is well appointed, highly recommended by other couples and service providers and who hold the necessary documents and accolades.
  9. Set a budget and what is important to you as a lasting memory.
  10. However you are travelling plan at least your honeymoon night in a place that makes you feel great, romantic and offers you privacy to relax and enjoy your day at the end of the day with a glass on a terrace while the sun goes down.
For further information contact Terri and the Team or visit our website for further inspiration: or call 0064 (0)275268771

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