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Wedding in New Zealand

If you're dreaming of planning an unforgettable wedding ceremony and seeking an extraordinary and vibrant destination that offers ample opportunities for your honeymoon, consider New Zealand. It promises breathtaking scenery and a straightforward bureaucratic process.

In this article, we will answer the following questions:

  • Why have your wedding in New Zealand?

  • Where to get married in New Zealand?

  • What documents are required for official marriage registration in New Zealand?

  • What is the procedure for preparing an official wedding ceremony?

  • What to consider when planning a wedding in New Zealand?

So, let's start with the first question:


Why have your wedding in New Zealand?

New Zealand is an exotic country in the South Pacific that amazingly combines everything a traveler seeks on its compact territory. There are chic deserted beaches with white and black sand, lakes of unreal colors, mountains with snow-capped peaks, fabulous forests, picturesque waterfalls, amazing geysers, endless fields planted with vineyards and lavender, flowering meadows and sultry desert dunes. And in any of these places your wedding ceremony can take place. Let's take a closer look at the available options.


Where to get married in New Zealand?

Beach. If you dream of saying the cherished "yes" to your loved one against the backdrop of the ocean, then one of the beaches in the Auckland region, for example, Tawharanui, on Waiheke IslandCoromandel Peninsula or in the Bay of Islands, for example, Rarawa Beach or Uretiti can be an ideal place. In this case, it is better to organize the wedding in the local summer, i.e. from November to March. The air temperature will be around +25°C. The beaches are free, accessible and deserted - an ideal combination for an intimate ceremony with a minimal budget.

Mountains:

Fans of the "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy will surely remember the breathtaking views of New Zealand's snow-capped mountains against the backdrop of the blue sky. These are the Southern Alps. Their ridge stretches along the entire South Island of New Zealand. The most ideal place to organize a wedding ceremony in the mountains is Queenstown. It perfectly combines all the benefits of civilization and magnificent nature. In addition, Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world and your experience there can be as extreme as you want it to be. For a ceremony in the mountains, you will need a helicopter to reach one of such beautiful places as Coromandel Peak, Remarkables, The Ledge.


Another wonderful mountain destination is the Taranaki region (North Island, near Wellington). Stunning photos with the snow-capped peak of the volcano reflected in the lake can also be taken on the plain (minus the helicopter). And nearby there is the mysterious Goblin Forest and the picturesque Te Rewa Rewa bridge, which also offers views of Mount Taranaki.


In general, for a beautiful mountain ceremony, you need snow, which means that you are advised to come to New Zealand from May to September. The temperature in the mountains will be below zero and the bride will definitely need a fur coat. Of course, in summer, the mountains and the views from the peaks look amazing, so there is still plenty of room for maneuver.

Waterfalls:

New Zealand has a vast number of diverse waterfalls, but most of them are difficult to access, and the approaches to the most powerful ones - the Huka Falls - are always full of tourists. If you want to have a wedding ceremony against the backdrop of cascading water and virgin forest, we recommend the following destinations:


  1. The 55-meter Bridal Veil Falls. It is located on the North Island, a 50-minute drive from the city of Hamilton, near the black sand beach Raglan, which creates additional opportunities for a photo shoot on the ocean shore. From the car park to the waterfalls, you will have to walk just 10 minutes along a gravel path. This trek is not very popular, which means that there is a high probability that you will not be disturbed by strangers during the ceremony.

  2. Owharoa Falls are also located on the North Island, a two-hour drive from Auckland in the picturesque Karangahake Gorge. They are easily accessible from the road, and there is a beautiful hotel nearby where you can stay for a night or two and have a reception for guests. Your wedding album will be full of wonderful photos against the backdrop of waterfalls, mountains, and also the ocean, because from Owharoa Falls to the white sand beach Waihi (Waihi) it is only a 20-minute drive.

  3. Milford Sound fiord on the South Island is an absolutely gorgeous place filled with a thousand waterfalls. However, it should be borne in mind that countless streams of water are formed here as a result of heavy rains, which are in themselves undesirable during a wedding ceremony. But even in sunny weather Milford is insanely beautiful: mountains, fiord, forest. Here you can organize a magnificent helicopter ceremony or a wedding on a yacht.

Lakes:

New Zealand has 3,820 lakes, and they are all completely different. Today we will tell you about the five most beautiful of them. Each lake on this list can be the perfect place for your wedding ceremony.

  1. The color of the water in Lake Pukaki is an amazing combination of all shades of blue - from milky blue to cornflower blue. Much depends on the lighting, but in any case, the entire color gamut can only be captured by the retina of the eye. The snow cap of the highest New Zealand peak - Mount Cook - is reflected in this stunning water, and in the summer, pink and blue lupins bloom on the shores of the lake. An incredibly beautiful backdrop for wedding photos!

  2. Lake Tekapo is located an hour's drive from Lake Pukaki and rivals it in the richness of the color of the water. On the shore of Tekapo stands the Church of the Good Shepherd - an original place for atmospheric wedding photos. In December and January, you can see whole fields of blooming lupins next to Tekapo. Just imagine yourself in a foam of pink and blue inflorescences against the backdrop of a turquoise lake!

  3. A Maori legend has it that Lake Wakatipu is a sleeping giant. The water level in the lake periodically changes, as if from a heartbeat, and from above the lake resembles a person sleeping on their side. Wakatipu is surrounded by picturesque mountains, and on its shores lies the city of Queenstown. It opens up the widest possibilities for organizing a wedding ceremony for every taste and budget.

  4. In the center of the North Island lies Lake Taupo, the largest freshwater reservoir in all of Australasia! Its area is 616 sq. km. It will not be difficult to find a beautiful secluded spot here with a view of the volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park. There is also such a romantic place here as Honeymoon Bay. You can get here either by yacht or by seaplane.

  5. A beautiful Maori legend is associated with Lake Rotorua about the girl Hinemoa and the young man Tutanekai. They fell passionately in love with each other, but could not be together, since the daughter of the Hinemoa leader was betrothed to the leader of a neighboring tribe. Tutanekai's ivi (tribe) lived on Mokoia Island, which to this day is located in the center of Lake Rotorua. One night Hinemoa heard the call of Tutanekai's flute and swam to the island. Loving hearts met, the young people got married and gave birth to 14 children. All Maori living today on the shores of Lake Rotorua consider themselves descendants of this beautiful couple, about whom the most famous love song of the Maori people - Pokarekare ana - is composed. Having a wedding on the shores of Lake Rotorua, you will be blessed on behalf of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. In addition, there are many vibrant geothermal parks in the Rotorua area where you can take unique wedding photos against the backdrop of otherworldly landscapes.

Wineries:

New Zealand is one of the New World wine countries, known for the world's best Sauvignon Blanc. This is a white wine variety that is particularly successful in the Marlborough region on the north of the South Island. There are so many wineries here that you are sure to find one that is unique and special to you. For starters, we recommend checking out the Hans Herzog Estate website. It is a very cozy place, filled with the scent of white roses, which bloom everywhere here.


Also included in the list of wine regions in New Zealand are:

  • Hawkes Bay with its capital in the stylish art deco city of Napier. This is the east coast of the North Island, where people are the first in the world to see the sunrise. The oldest wineries in the region - Mission Estate and Church Road - are exquisite places to hold a unique wedding ceremony.

  • The Otago region centered in the already known to us city of Queenstown. In these places they make excellent Pinot Noir, and there are no fewer wineries here than in Marlborough. You can start your search for the ideal one with the Amisfield winery, located near Lake Hayes.

  • Auckland and Waiheke Island will be the most budgetary option, as you will not have to fly or drive anywhere else. Waiheke Island is full of wineries, and you can also ride a cool zip line here. An hour's drive north of Auckland is Gibbs Farm - a surreal place where you can take masterpiece photos.


A winery as a venue for a wedding ceremony is good because it will be not only beautiful but also convenient: a meal in a good restaurant with fine wine, as well as a gazebo in case of rain, are guaranteed to you. In addition, it will be easy to arrange a reception for a large number of guests here.

Gardens and parks: This option is ideal for flower lovers and those who prefer relative comfort. Without leaving Auckland, where your international flight will likely land, you can find at least two good options:


  1. Albert Park is the oldest park in the city with sprawling trees that seem to have become the prototypes of the trees from "Avatar", views of the Sky Tower and the openwork clock tower of the University of Auckland.

  2. The Botanical Gardens, filled with flowering plants all year round..

Beyond the country's largest metropolis, you can find a huge number of parks, both urban and not, but I would especially like to highlight two of them:

  1. The lavender farm in the town of Wanaka, located on the shores of the lake of the same name. Lavender blooms in January and is an absolutely breathtaking sight. It's a shame that your wedding photos and videos won't be able to convey the wonderful aroma that will envelop your memories.

  2. Queens Park in Invercargill, New Zealand's southernmost city. The park's landscaping is amazing: fountains, trimmed trees, ponds, wooden sculptures, gazebos and secluded rotundas - everything is beautiful here.

Filming locations of the epic "The Lord of the Rings". New Zealand has become almost entirely a filming location for the famous film, but the most scenes were shot in Tongariro National Park (Mordor), near Wellington (Rivendell), in the Queenstown area (Gondor) and, of course, in Hobbiton (Shire). If you are a true fan of "The Lord of the Rings", your wedding simply must take place in Hobbiton! It will be original, bright, and unique. You can put on elf ears or hobbit paws, and then have a pint of beer at the famous Green Dragon pub.

Wedding in New Zealand. Tours to New Zealand. Guide in New Zealand.

We hope you have already compiled your shortlist to help you choose the perfect wedding venue in New Zealand. Now it's time to move on to the bureaucratic issues.


List of documents required for official registration of marriage in New Zealand:

Thankfully, this list is quite short:

  1. Passports of the groom and bride

  2. Birth certificates with translation into English

  3. Certificates of previous marriages and divorces, if any, with translation into English

Based on these documents, you must fill out the Notice of intended marriage where both parties ordinarily resident outside New Zealand (BDM58) form, which must be sent without signatures by email with a copy of the documents listed above to your celebrant - an official government representative who will register your marriage.

Procedure for preparing an official wedding ceremony:

First of all, we recommend that you find a wedding coordinator who will help you with all issues, from choosing a venue for the ceremony to a wedding cake. And we have good news for you: you have already found him! The JustGoThere agency, represented by its director Valeria Smith, will be happy to organize for you a wedding on the other side of the world, which you have always dreamed of.


After choosing the venue for the ceremony, we will find you a worthy celebrant. They will send copies of your documents to the New Zealand Ministry of Internal Affairs, whose office you will need to visit in person with the originals of the above documents at least three days before the wedding date to sign the documents and obtain a Marriage License. A photo of this permit must be sent by email to the celebrant on the same day, and the original must be given to him or her on the day of the wedding.


After the official ceremony, which will take 15-20 minutes, the celebrant will send the wedding documents to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which will issue a Marriage Certificate within 3-5 days. In order for the marriage to be recognized in your home country, it will be necessary to affix an apostille. This procedure will take at least a week. If you have already left New Zealand during this time, your wedding coordinator will send the document by courier to your home address.


So, let's summarize the procedure:

  1. Choose a wedding coordinator.

  2. Choose a wedding venue.

  3. Choose a celebrant.

  4. Fill out the BDM58 form without signing it and send it to the wedding coordinator along with copies of the documents listed above.

  5. Arrive in New Zealand at least three days before the scheduled wedding date.

  6. Visit the nearest Ministry of Internal Affairs office, which has been agreed upon in advance with the wedding coordinator. Have the originals and translations of the documents listed above with you.

  7. Get a Marriage License.

  8. Send a photo of the Permit to the wedding coordinator immediately, and give the original to the celebrant on the day of the wedding.

  9. Get married. HURRAY!

  10. The coordinator receives the original of your marriage certificate, arranges an apostille, and sends this document by courier to your home address. The entire mailing procedure may take up to 1 month.

  11. Translate the Marriage Certificate into your native language and have the translation certified by the seal of a translation bureau.

Easy peasy, as the New Zealanders say.

What to consider when organizing a wedding in New Zealand?

For a wedding to go perfectly, you need to think through every detail. Agree? Then let's get to work! In the very first letter, your wedding coordinator will ask you questions that you should think about in advance:

  1. Your dates of stay in New Zealand

  2. In which city/place do you want to hold the ceremony?

  3. Desired ceremony date

  4. Should it be an official or symbolic ceremony?

  5. Do you speak English or do you need an interpreter/Russian-speaking celebrant?

  6. Will there be guests or just the bride and groom? If there will be guests, how many people?

  7. Do you need to organize only the ceremony or + a tour of the country?

  8. It is important to understand your wishes regarding a hairdresser, makeup artist, flowers, a wedding arch, a car, music, a cake, a wedding dinner. It is better to find a photo of the desired hairstyle and flowers on the Internet and send it to the coordinator.

  9. Do you need only a photographer or a videographer too?

Your answers to these questions, as you understand, will greatly affect the project budget. 

We hope this article has helped you answer the basic questions about organizing your wedding in New Zealand. And, undoubtedly, you have a lot of new ones :-) Contact us! We are always in touch and happy to help you.


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