Registry weddings are one of the two ceremony options you have when marrying in New Zealand. July 2019 saw the end of non-DIA registry offices offering ceremony services. Now only the Internal Affairs offices in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington and Christchurch will provide registry weddings. We’ve put together a list of many of the frequently asked questions and answers to help you understand the new changes.

All Your FAQs Answered About Registry Weddings

Here are the most common FAQs about the changes to registry weddings:

  • What are the differences between a registry style and a personalised wedding ceremony? For an in-depth explanation, read our article. In short, though, a personalised ceremony lets you write your own vows, decide when and where the ceremony will occur, choose a celebrant of your choice and have more say in what happens during the ceremony. A registry office ceremony occurs at a registry office or agreed location during business hours, has set vows and takes around 30 minutes.
  • How much does a registry wedding cost? Currently, the cost is $240, of which $150 is payable when you apply for your wedding licence and $90 for the celebrant unless you are marrying at a registry office when you pay $240 upfront.
  • Can I write my own vows? No, a registry style wedding has set vows.
  • When can I marry at a registry office? Monday to Friday during working hours are the only times a registry wedding can occur unless agreed otherwise by a celebrant not working at a registry office.
  • How many guests can I have at a registry wedding? This is set by the venue space, so at a DIA office, the maximum is 15 guests.
  • Where is my local registry office? Only DIA offices in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington and Christchurch offer onsite registry weddings. Outside of these cities, you will work with a local celebrant to decide upon a venue.
  • Can same-sex couples marry in a registry style ceremony? Yes, as long as both parties are legally able to marry.
  • Can I choose my celebrant? If you are marrying in a registry office, no. If you are outside of the four cities, yes you can choose your own celebrant. The celebrant though, must be a member of CANZ and have VCANZ endorsement.
  • How do I apply for a registry style wedding? The process of application is the same. You apply for a marriage licence online or at your local registry office. In the notice of intended marriage document, you state whether you are having a registry or personalised ceremony and then pay the appropriate fee. For more information about both registry and personalised wedding ceremonies, remember to take a look through our Marriage Celebrant advice in our Bridal Tips section on My Wedding Guide

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