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The legalities of Marrying in New Zealand: How to Apply for a Marriage Licence

It’s all very exciting planning your wedding, but without following the legalities of marrying in New Zealand, you’ll end up with a brilliant party and no spouse! NZ’s legal marriage requirements are fairly simple, the key element being to arrange a marriage licence between 3 days and 3 months in advance; and registering the marriage after the ceremony.
If you’re reading this, you obviously like to be well organised and prepared, so pick up the ultimate bundle before you go – combining undoubtedly the best wedding planner with our beloved I still do wedding anniversary book.

Who can get married in New Zealand?

Anyone can marry in New Zealand as long as they’re not:

· already married or in a civil union (unless you’re changing your relationship with the same person)
· under 16 (and you need the consent of a Family Court judge if you’re under 18)
· closely related by birth, marriage or adoption.

Of course, same-sex couples also marry in New Zealand, and we provide a wedding destination for lesbian and gay couples who can’t marry at home.

There are two ways to get married in New Zealand, of which you must decide on prior to applying for your marriage certificate. – either getting married at a registry office, or at a specified venue of your choice.
1. Get married at a registry office ($240)
A registry office wedding:
· takes place in normal office hours
· isn’t open to the public – you’ll need to bring 2 witnesses
· uses standard wedding vows – you can not write your own vows

2. Get married by an approved marriage celebrant ($150 + independent celebrant’s fee)
An approved, registered celebrant can marry you:
· at the time and location of your choice, anywhere in New Zealand (this is not the case in many other countries, including the UK)
· with two witnesses present
· using your own vows – although you must say “I [name] take you [name] to be my legal [wife or husband].”

So, because it’s important to specify when and where you are getting married, you can only apply for your marriage licence in New Zealand once you have arranged for a marriage celebrant or chose a registry office to get married in, and organised where you will get married. Note, you can only get married at the venue you write on the marriage licence application form, so you may wish to include a back-up wedding venue.
N.B. If you have been married and divorced previously, you’ll also need a copy of the marriage dissolution order.

Applying for a New Zealand Marriage Licence

There are different ways to apply for your Marriage Licence depending on whether you live in New Zealand or overseas, so follow either a) or b)

a) Get a marriage licence if you live in New Zealand

Important notes:

· You can be legally married without a marriage licence.
· You can apply for your marriage licence online. The requirements remain the same as in person – you can apply between 3 days and 3 months of your wedding. Apply online at https://marriages.services.govt.nz – you can get the licence emailed to either yourself or your celebrant, and you can also get it couriered to one of you.

· If you are having a civil union, or if you or your partner is aged 16-17, you must still use a paper form and apply in person – Print & complete a notice of intended marriage application form (linked)

· Only one of you needs to attend to apply – take the notice to your local Registrar of Marriages in person so they can witness you signing the declaration
· If you’ve been married before, bring a copy of your dissolution of marriage order.
· Find your local Registrar of Marriages by calling 0800 22 52 52 (or +64 4 463 9362 from overseas).

The Costs of applying for a Marriage Licence (pay online or when you hand in your form):
· $240 if you’re getting married at a registry office (including the ceremony), or
· $150 if you’re getting married by a celebrant (the celebrant costs extra – you’ll pay them directly).
· $26.50 for a marriage certificate
Your licence will take at least 3 working days to be issued.  It is valid for 3 months. Therefore, you must apply between 3 months and 3 days of your wedding. If your wedding is postponed, you must re-apply.

b) Getting a marriage licence if you both live outside NZ

If you’re coming to NZ to get married, you need to organise a marriage licence before you get here, so apply online or fill out a paper form and apply at least 3 days before your wedding day.

If you would like to fill out a paper form, see below:
1.    Complete a notice of intended marriage where parties are ordinarily resident outside New Zealand form 
2.    Don’t sign the declaration.
3.    Send it, with your payment, to the registry office closest to where you plan to get married. It costs:

· NZ$240 if you’re getting married at a registry office (including the ceremony), or
· NZ$150 if you’re getting married by a celebrant (the celebrant costs extra – you’ll pay them directly).

4.    When you arrive in NZ, visit the office to sign the declaration and pick up your marriage licence.
OR: You can also take your completed form to a commonwealth representative in your country (eg a high commissioner or ambassador) and sign the declaration in front of them before you post it. New Zealand representatives overseas 

Receiving your Marriage Licence and getting married in New Zealand

Your marriage licence will be issued after 3 days, and you will be sent the licence and two copies of the Copy of Particulars, all of which are to be given to your celebrant. If for any reason you change your venue before the wedding, you must tell the registry office at which you got the marriage licence.

Following the Wedding: register your marriage

After the ceremony, your celebrant will get you to sign two copies of a form – one for you to keep and one which they will send to Births, Deaths and Marriages to register your marriage.

Civil Union

The process for getting a civil union is the same as for getting married, but the forms are different and you cannot apply online. You’ll still need to:
· go to a registry office or find a celebrant
· get a licence
· have your civil union registered by your celebrant.
Civil union forms and information
Change your civil union to a marriage or your marriage to a civil union
If you’re already in a civil union (that’s recognised in New Zealand) and would like to change it to a marriage, or vice versa, you need to follow all the steps above – but you’ll complete a different form when you apply for your licence. You’ll also need to provide evidence of your current relationship. The usual marriage and civil union fees and processes will apply.
Forms:
·Change a civil union to a marriage form (PDF 266kb) 
·Change a marriage to a civil union form (PDF 228kb) 

Changing your name after your wedding:

In New Zealand, once you are legally married, you can also legally use the name of your spouse. You don’t have to do anything particular to register your new married name, but you are likely to need a copy of your Marriage Certificate to change your name at banks and government agencies. Be careful when booking your honeymoon and any future international travel, because though your legal name will be both your maiden, and married name, you can only travel on the name recorded in your passport.
To change your name to your married name on your drivers licence or passport, you will have to apply for a new licence or new passport with the marriage certificate.

Head to  wedding planning for more advice and inspiration!

What foods should you avoid when pregnant?

What foods should you avoid when pregnant?

Please say my brunch benedict with smoked salmon is still on the menu…?

Heartbreakingly, no. On the 20th of September I said goodbye to anything involving raw, unpasteurised egg, raw or smoked fish, and rare meat, and began to scrutinise everything else.

Pregnancy food restrictions are to avoid listeria, toxoplasmosis, salmonella, mercury poisoning from fish or other food-borne bacteria that could be harmful, or even deadly, to your baby. As well as avoiding foods, getting proper nutrition is important for a healthy pregnancy, and your body requires an additional dose of certain vitamins at this time, so you should be taking a prenatal/folic acid and getting as many nutritious foods as you can.

I hope you find this article useful – Please have a look at made with love – pregnancy journal before you go xx

Cheese, glorious cheese

While soft-cheeses are warned against by some, though others say they’re fine if made using pasteurised milk (a legal requirement in New Zealand).

Either way, it is safe to eat soft cheese when pregnant once it is cooked thoroughly, until steaming hot all the way through. Your Hell Pizza Pandemonium with camembert is cravings approved.

Eggs benny with hollandaise, soft boiled eggs, mayonnaise

As you may know, eggs can contain salmonella, a major cause of food poisoning. Raw egg doesn’t just hide in cookie dough though, it’s the backbone of most delicious creamy sauces: hollandaise, aioli, homemade mayonnaise and more.

However, while hollandaise which has been sitting at room temperature all day at your fave cafe might be a risk to avoid (the late, great Anthony Bourdain’s warning against Hollandaise in Kitchen Confidential has stuck with me for life – though I’ve only adhered since pregnancy):

Not for me. Bacteria love hollandaise. And nobody I know has ever made hollandaise to order. Any place that makes hollandaise should throw it out about every hour and make a fresh batch, otherwise it can hurt you. And how long has that Canadian bacon been festering in the walk-in? Remember, brunch is only served once a week – on the weekends. Cooks hate brunch. Brunch is punishment block for the B-Team cooks, or where the farm team of recent dishwashers learn their chops.

If I’ve just terrified you away from your favourite weekend pasttime, let me pepper this with a dose of reality – when I told my midwife how much I missed eggs benedict, she actually told me to have it. Let’s be realistic – hundreds, if not thousands, of women are eating eggs benny all over the world at this very moment with absolutely no idea they are pregnant, and they’re all doing just fine.

Best before or use by dates? For once, I’m taking heed.

I always thought those dates were more a guideline than a rule, yes, even foods that have a ‘use by’ date are subjected to a sniff test, but during pregnancy, I discovered, these are dates to be stuck to, even the ‘best before’s’. Dairy products, especially, I was warned about early on in my pregnancy, even when pasteurised, so eat or drink within the dates, and use within a few days of opening.

But fish is so good for you, what could possibly be bad?

Fish is SO good for you, and there are so many delicious fishy dishes which will provide amazing nutrition to your baby, but there are also a few you should probably avoid for the 40 or so weeks of pregnancy. Raw seafood, oysters and sushi aren’t considered safe due to the possibility of food poisoning, whereas other certain fish (including shark, marlin, southern blue fin tuna, orange roughy and swordfish) contain high amounts of mercury – which pregnant women shouldn’t eat in large amounts. Fortunately, most other seafood is wonderful, and fully cooked salmon, snapper and shrimp make excellent low-mercury choices.

You may have heard that all shellfish is off the menu, but that’s not the case – prawns, for example, are a perfect pregnancy food, so long as they’re cooked.

Pregnant women can’t eat sushi?

There is nothing wrong with sushi per-se, and freshly made sushi with cooked ingredients such as chicken, salmon or prawns is still a great choice. However, cooked rice can can become contaminated with listeria during the handling process, and pre-made sushi is not always stored at correct temperatures. Because rice has such a huge surface area (every grain of rice being exposed), it’s also the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Put simply, eaten fresh, sushi is fine, but you shouldn’t eat anything cooked that’s been sitting around all day, rice in particular.

Deli meats and pate?

Deli meats and pate pose another risk to listeria. Another reason to avoid eating pate is that it often contains liver, which you shouldn’t eat in pregnancy. Organ meat, including liver contains high levels of retinol, a type of vitamin A. Too much retinol in pregnancy may be harmful to your unborn baby (if you use high-grade anti-ageing skincare, double-check the ingredients for retinol/vitamin A). Some say that the deli meat ban is a myth, though  Ministry of Primary Industries Food Safety in Pregnancy booklet still excludes them.

In general, other meat is fine, but you should use a meat thermometer. The USFDA suggests cooking beef steaks and roasts, and lamb chops and roasts to at least an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of food-borne illness, while pork or any ground meat needs to be cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

What else is off the menu?

There’s a few more surprising foods to avoid while pregnant, including hummus/tahini, soft serve or homemade ice-cream, pre-made desserts including cream or custard, and even fruit, vegetables and salad, which may not have been properly washed, and are therefore subject to bacteria, and sprouts may harbour bacteria in the seeds, so they’re off limits too!

You’ve probably also stopped drinking alcohol already, but did you know that you may need to reduce your caffeine intake too (sorry!). Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg per day, which is about 2–3 cups of coffee. High caffeine intake during pregnancy can limit fetal growth and cause low birth weight (I’m sad too!)

As a general rule, if in doubt, wash properly, cook thoroughly, and ask your GP or midwife for any further guidance. Still need help finding your midwife or LMC? Read this and don’t forget to enjoy What foods should you eat when pregnant?

I hope you found this article useful – Please have a look at made with love – pregnancy journal before you go xx

My Pregnancy Journal: I just found out I’m pregnant! Now what?

I’m 29, I don’t use contraception, and I have regular sex with my husband… yet I just found out I’m pregnant and I’ve never felt so unprepared or surprised.

To give you a little more perspective, I’ve had hypothalamic amenorrhea for around four years, rendering me infertile. I had my first period in February, and just a few irregular ones in the seven months since. We (mostly I) thought becoming pregnant was going to be a journey frought with difficulty and challenges. That’s not to say it still won’t be, but I have just found out I’m pregnant, I have no idea how many weeks I am (irregular periods, and all that), and all I can think is “Now What?”

First, I’ll tell the story of how I found out I’m pregnant. Settle in with a cuppa, or, if you’re not interested, scroll to the end to find out what I’m doing next…

Hmm… what if I’m pregnant?

On Tuesday 18 September, actually my late Dad’s birthday (HBD), I was killing time at the gym while the friend I was staying with went to a meeting. I’m pretty familiar with most gym equipment, yet discovered that what looks like a 15lb weighted medicine ball, designed for ball slams or Russian twists (I promise, this becomes relevant….) was actually a 15lb torture device. It only took one ball slam to discover the key difference. I slammed the ball into the ground with all my might, and as I was about to squat, pick up and repeat, it defied gravity and returned skywards with all its might, and hit me right in the swede (video of another making this mistake).

I stumbled around in shock, certain my head had exploded, my jaw was broken and my ear was spurting blood… but no, I just looked clumsy and confused. Still certain I was about to die, I found a gym instructor (where was she when I needed her?!) and sat down with an ice-pack.

Friend returned, I left with tears – mostly of shame – still welling up, and spent the day feeling totally useless.

Exhausted. Dehibilitatingly Weak. Totally depleted and even sad to be feeling so drained.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Somehow, I still felt like a few wines – eek – which we enjoyed with pizza and The Bachelor. The next day, I was the same, I just couldn’t get off the couch. I flew back to Auckland and cried the whole flight (okay, the whole 45 minute flight), and told my sister as much when she picked me up. She demanded I go to the doctor the next day. I did, and I was  diagnosed with post-concussion trauma syndrome, referred to the concussion clinic, and sent off for a couple of blood tests.

On the way to get the blood tests (again, my sister demanded we go immediately) I started digging around in the glove box and centre console, wondering if somewhere in the car I still had my old monthly hormone blood test request forms. I did, so I thought I’d get them done at the same time. It had been months since I’d last checked, and I hadn’t had a period in 6 weeks, so I was hoping I hadn’t relapsed into hypothalamic amenorrhea. The blood tests came in by email at 11:30pm but by this time, I think I’d started to wonder ‘Holy sh*t what if I’m pregnant… could I be… omg omg omg’ and didn’t dare look at them just incase… I’d save them until I could go straight to the doctor with them.

Holy sh*t, what if I actually am pregnant?

At 7:30 am that resolve had run out, and I opened the email and started to analyse… estradiol, luteinising hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone…!?! Analytics turned to googling, and that turned to hurriedly dressing and driving up to the local medical centre. They weren’t open til 8, so I diverted to the supermarket to kill time and see if they sold pregnancy tests (I’ve never bought one!). I toyed with buying one and using it in the mall, but determined to wait until the doctor’s opened, as I knew I’d have questions anyway.

When I was finally greeted by the nurse, I shoved my phone displaying the results into her hand ‘What does this mean..?!’ She gazed at them as puzzingly as I had. ‘I’m just making sure I’m not (under muffled breath) pregnant…, she continued to gaze, ‘Shall I take a test just incase..?’. I did. She came out with a smile ‘It’s positive!’ Taken aback, I responded ‘Does that mean… shall we do another one to be sure..?’.

Apparently, we didn’t have to. It was very, very sure ‘Probably 5+ weeks, it came up straight away.’  

My next thought was “When and how will I tell my husband?!” He works internationally and was due to return home two days later on the Sunday. This put me in a really tricky position, should I tell him on the phone, or wait for him to get home? I decided on the latter. I really wanted to share the news and be able to see his reaction, and I knew he’d appreciate that too. I’ll share the story (and video) of telling my husband I’m pregnant soon – you won’t believe his reaction!

I’m pregnant, now what?

Well… next I began to mentally count the drinks I’d had over the past 5 weeks – we’d just returned from a month’s holiday in Boston, New York, DC and Miami. Cocktails were involved. My birthday was a week ago, I’d celebrated with espresso martinis for brunch and a night out. What else had I done wrong? Put simply, I had no idea.

I started reading and absorbing all advice I possibly could, with a view to share it with you, so hear goes…

Pregnancy 101, First things first:

I downloaded the pregnancy version of the period app I’d been using – Ovia – which has been amazing (it tells you which fruit or vegetable your baby takes a likeness to each week). I’ve since also downloaded Web MD Pregnancy and what is now my favourite – for the most incredible 3D images, Pregnancy +, as well as subscribing to What to Expect and reading their forums.

The most immediate pregnancy advice I followed was to buy prenatal vitamins, folic acid and Vitamin E cream, the latter for vanity, not health. I scoured the internet to find out what I should (or should not) be eating when pregnant, and talked to my GP later that week, where she informed me how to find a midwife ASAP, referred me for a dating scan and sent me off for HCG blood tests.

I also started both writing down my own thoughts and feelings in a diary, but also set about designing and creating a pregnancy journal (my business is a journal company) which is about to be launched, so subscribe to find out exactly when it lands!

Next, see What foods should I avoid when pregnant? or head to the pregnancy blog to read the latest article or story I’ve shared. I’d also love to hear from you – if you have a story to submit, or just a comment to share, let me know.