Frequently Asked Questions


How can I access all the legal information I need to know about getting married or having a Civil Union in N.Z?

NZ Births Deaths and Marriages (BDM) offer a comprehensive information service with everything you need to know.

Since November 2018, most couples are now able to complete their application for a Marriage Licence online. Go to 

Apart from your personal information – mother’s maiden name etc, you will also need:

  • The address of your ceremony venue (and also the address of a 2nd venue option in case of rain)
  • My full name (as celebrant) – ‘Peta Elaine Hardley’
  • Date of your divorce, if either of you have been previously married or in a civil union
  • The BDM fee, which  is currently $150.00
  • At the end of your online application, you can even request and pay for a Marriage Certificate, which will be sent to you after the wedding…. How convenient is that!
  • You can then request the marriage licence to be emailed to yourself or to me. Done!

If you are still in doubt about anything,  call Births Deaths and Marriages office on 0800 22 52 52 (NZ only), +64 9 339 0852 (outside NZ)……. or else just call me.

It is your responsibility to arrange the marriage/civil union licence from BDM and to get the papers to me, usually via email and preferably a few days prior to the ceremony.

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What are your fees to perform a ceremony and do you need a deposit?

I charge $600 (GST inc) for personalised ceremonies within a 20 km radius of my home in Kumeu. Travel outside of the Auckland area can be negotiated. There may be a small additional fee for travel costs depending on venue location or if a rehearsal is required.

My fee includes my time to meet with you to plan your wedding or ceremony the way you want it, access to some resources (readings and vows), the ceremony design, and of course officiating on the day. I take quite a lot of time in creating individualised and personalised ceremonies. Each one is different and unique.

A deposit of $300 (non refundable) will secure your booking on your chosen date. The balance can be paid anytime prior to the ceremony.

The use of my home, ‘Casabella’ as your fabulous ceremony venue starts from just $500. Please ring or email to discuss your needs. (For more info and photos, see the ‘Casabella as a venue‘ page)

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Can we meet you first to see if you are the right celebrant for us?

Yes of course. It is important that you feel your celebrant is the right ‘fit’. The video of the home page might be helpful. Just ring and have a chat to ‘size me up’ or alternately, I offer a brief obligation free first meeting via Skype/Facebook.

If you decide to employ my services I will have a longer meeting with you to discuss all your specific details. This is usually at my Kumeu home, but can be a video chat if it’s easier for you.
Following payment of the deposit to secure the date, I provide you with access to my resources (readings/vows) and I commence work on your ceremony. I then like to stay in touch with you, and am happy for you to ring me at any stage. We will then touch base again at least a week prior to the big day to confirm the arrangements and make any final detail changes.

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Do you only do non religious ceremonies?

Being a civil or ‘secular’ celebrant, the ceremonies I design, tend to be non religious. However, I’m aware that ceremonies need to include the right words for you and your guests. If you wish, you are welcome to include any religious wording, readings or prayers that you feel reflects your values or beliefs. Some couples will ask to start the ceremony with a simple “We are gathered here today in the sight of God and loved ones…” Other couples ask for more, but for many couples, they request a non religious ceremony.

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Can we write our own vows?

Yes and No. There’s a legal requirement in New Zealand that requires couples getting married to say the following or similar words: ‘I ………(name*) take you ……… (name*) to be my wife/husband/partner’

Or for a civil union: ‘I ………(name*) freely enter into a civil union with you (name*)’

Prior to or following this, you can say whatever’s in your heart, whether it’s romantic or hilarious. I strongly encourage couples to consider writing their own vows. If you find it difficult to find the right words, I have a selection of tastefully worded vows to choose from, or you can do what many couples do, and do a bit of ‘cut and paste’.

* Provided your full names (as they appear on your Marriage licence) are said at some point in the ceremony, you can use just your first names during your vows if you wish.

Don’t worry about forgetting your vows on the day. Your vows can be printed out, I can prompt you if needed, or you can opt to ‘repeat after me’.

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How long are you at the ceremony?

I arrive approx half hour before the ceremony and stay if required for any photos.
I do like to take a photo for my own record and place on my blog (with your permission).
I leave soon after the ceremony and prior to the reception. Don’t worry, you won’t have to feed me.

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Can children, family members or pets be included in the ceremony?

Absolutely! I encourage full participation of children, and suggest friends or family do a reading or poem. A beloved pet can be definitely be included (if the venue is happy for them to be there)

Did you know that providing children are old enough to know what they are signing, (that’s suggested to be around 8 years old), they can even be witnesses to a marriage or civil union? How rad is that!

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Any other questions?

Just contact me. I’ll be happy to help.

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