Wedding Planning In New Zealand

The Wedding Planning in New Zealand article contains tips for planning your own wedding in New  Zealand, from legal celebrants to choosing a wedding season.

There are over 20,000 marriages registered to New Zealand residents each year, and a growing number are organised by professional wedding planners. How can a blushing bride plan her own wedding without turning into a Bridezilla?

Once the initial excitement of announcing an engagement has past, the reality of planning the big day sets in. Wedding planning in New Zealand can get stressful: mothers and mothers-in-law will be full of many ideas, and the growing number of wedding planners making themselves available can make the prospect of taking on this project alone a little scary.

However, it is possible to plan your own wedding day and make it the most memorable and unique day of your dreams, with these simple tips.

Making It Legal

There are certain things you must do to get married in New Zealand:

  • Decide when and where you want to get married, as this needs to be recorded on the application for a marriage licence
  • Choose a registered marriage celebrant or minister
  • Apply for a marriage licence through the Department of Internal Affairs

Give Yourself Enough Time

A year is a good length of time to allow yourself to plan your wedding. It also makes it easy to check out wedding venues and photo locations as you can see what they will look like at the same time of year.

This timeframe is not always possible, but remember the less time you have to organise everything the more pressure you are putting on yourself. Set a wedding budget so you can keep an eye on how you are going along the way.


You have control of who you ask to help you out, but there is no point pushing yourself to the brink when you have many family members and friends who will be more than happy to help.

Even small jobs like contacting celebrants, florists, reception venues and photographers to get details of their services and fees. Then, you and your partner can sit down with all the information and make the final decision.

Keep A Diary/Notebook For Ideas

Note down all important dates in your diary like dress fittings, confirmation dates for reception, and other services. Also note the date when invitations will need to be sent.

Research lots of different ideas. Look at wedding websites and magazines, and pick and choose the ideas you like and merge them to create your own special day. Do you want an indoor wedding or a garden wedding, 50 guests or 150 guests, classic cars or matching mopeds? Things likes dresses, flowers, rings, receptions, cars, suits are all extras that a couple chooses to have or not. Decide early what you want and go out and get it.

Go Surfing

There are so many different wedding planning websites offering online planners to help you tick off all the little jobs. They also have directories of service providers nationwide:

  • Bride & Groom Magazine Offers the NZ Bride loads of useful advice and options, and a free B & G club, which offers access to free planning tools.
  • NZ Wedding Planner Has links to personal wedding homepages and several wedding directories to help you get input from others on planning your wedding.
  • New Zealand Weddings Offersadvice on budgets to flowers to stationery and styling.  There is also a section specifically for the groom.

Plan Your Season

The bulk of weddings in New Zealand are held between September and March. Thus if you have a winter wedding, you may be able to get a cheaper rate on the reception or the photographer, as they will be pleased to have the business in the off season. Also, there is more chance of being able to have your first choices.

While the weather may not be at its best, you can have some great photos with snow or umbrellas with a winter wedding. Also your guests will dress appropriately and will plan to be warm (everyone has been to a summer wedding and seen the guest freezing in their beautiful sleeveless dresses!).

Remember that things can and will go wrong on your wedding day. While it is a very special day but don’t lose sight of the point of the day – commitment between two people, and the beginning of a new stage in your life. All the frills in the world will not change this – so enjoy the day, plan as well as you can, and leave the rest up to fate.