The Legal Bits...
Here is a basic checklist of those things you need to do, with me (or if you're crazy, another Celebrant) prior to getting hitched...
Make sure you, or your partner are not already married!
Sometimes it helps if you're in love, but in a lot of cases this does not appear to be a pre-requisite i.e. shotgun wedding, unplanned pregnancy, political move to ensure peace with another clan or country
A 'Notice of Intent' must be completed; this can be downloaded from the Dept of Internal Affairs' website, but must be signed by one of the couple, in person at DIA's offices
This form takes 3-7 working days to be processed so it pays to get it in early to avoid disappointment. An absolute minimum of three working days is required.
A License has a shelf-life of 3mths from date of issue, so plan accordingly
On the form you must notify where you intend to get married. "John's Place", or "Queen St", or "Lake Wanaka" are not suitable, it needs to be more specific, i.e., "133 Queen St, CHCH", or "south-side of Lake Wanaka, near the white house with the green roof". If there is no discernible landmark to go from, GPS coordinates may well be required.
If you are marrying on water, GPS coordinates are required. This is because I am only allowed to perform my ceremonial duties, within NZ-Territorial Waters. If you wish to be married abroad, you will need an approved Celebrant from that country.
It would pay to check with local bodies and/or property owners before carrying out a full-blown wedding on their grounds or in public places, especially if nudie-rudie ceremonies
If the address changes you must notify the DIA - note it must be within the timeframes above, and not on weekends. The form allows you to nominate a secondary/backup location e.g. in case of rain, earthquake, military coup, or alien invasion which makes it impossible to remain at the first-listed site
You cannot be married twice, which has nothing to do with bigamy or other favoured pastimes. Simply put, it means you cannot be married in one country, and then come back to NZ (or vice-versa) and be married again.
You don't have to be a Kiwi to be married here. It seems all manner of foreigners are seeking out NZ's clean, green, and cheap-booze culture to get hitched
As a Celebrant I must carry out the ceremony and not be a guide or overseer to someone else, such as on a Marae by an elder, or other spiritual/heritage leader who is not approved by the DIA.
I can, as I see fit, or as you request, say anything as part of the ceremony proper. Of course I will discuss this with you as a matter of principal, and tailor it to suit the day, I'm nothing if proper and professional as the situation calls for *ahem*
Further to this, you are both legally required to utter the following; "I, Willy Wonker, take thee, Megan Fox to be my legal wife" (and vice-versa). There is no need for me to go all Hollywood and then request for people to step up and proclaim their love for either of you, however, if you want me to say this and take the risk, I'm more than happy to.
After all of this both of you must sign the paperwork (given to you by the DIA, and I recommend pass this to me when we first meet) in your maiden names, and the witness/es must also sign. There is no age limit to being a witness, however the person must be of sane mind and actually be able to understand legally what occurred. So dementia patients, toddlers, nor animals best be avoided
If a translator is present as a requirement then they must sign the form as the witness.
The paperwork must be sent back to the DIA within 10 working days — it might be in your interest to pass this to me as drinks await, guests, dreaded in-laws, and a honeymoon to a God-forsken place where it rains all year round.
On the back of this paperwork there is an order form to attain a copy of your Marriage License which doubles as a very classy bookmark
Me? I must re-pledge my allegiance to the regime annually, so if you're using me, it might pay to remind me to see if I'm 'up to date'.
Cash...discuss this early, otherwise my invoice to further my daughter's higher education may shock.
Have fun...well, have fun on the day, it may well go down hill from there.