Legal Requirements for Marriages

Once you have decided that you wish to be married, there are some legal issues to be aware of and to follow.


Application for Marriage Licence.

Before you complete the Notice of Intended Marriage form, you will need to know

1. who the person is who will conduct your ceremony.

Check that the person who you wish to perform your wedding ceremony is a registered a marriage celebrant. This can be done by contacting the Department of Internal Affairs - Births, Deaths and Marriages. Click here to go to their website.

2. the address where your wedding will take place

The ceremony must take place at the venue stated on the licence. You can provide two options – one may be in the event of inclement weather.

For a copy of the form, phone the Office of Births Deaths and Marriages at the Department of Internal Affairs toll-free on 0800-22-52-52. They can send a form to you. Alternatively you can click here to download a copy of the form. A summary of all the legal requirements are outlined.   

Allow at least three working days for your application to be processed.  Once the licence is issued, it is valid for 90 days. Ceremonies may take place at any time, on any day, but only at the location specified on the Marriage Licence.

You may wish to have another person (not a marriage celebrant) take part in the wedding, but a registered celebrant must lead the part of the service where the bride and groom exchange the following words: "I .... take you .... to be my legal wife/husband" (or words to similar effect). This means your vows can be in words that you choose, as long as the intent is clear.

You will receive two copies of the certificate which the celebrant will lead you in signing as part of the wedding service. One will be given to you, and one will be returned to the Department of Internal Affairs.

Think about who you will need to advise that you have married, and perhaps changed your surname.

You will not automatically be sent a marriage certificate. These need to be applied for. Click here for an application form or you can complete the reverse side of your copy of the Notice of Intended Marriage form which we will give you after your wedding.