Celebrant Questions

Real Weddings
tips, tricks & info
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 Some of the best wedding photographers and planners in New Zealand. The Journal is Lost in Love’s way to share the tips, tricks & stories to help you elope in nz in style

We are lost in love

Just a few things before you say I do…

A celebrant is an important part of the getting married process, as this is the person who is holding your ceremony, so it pays to understand the ins and outs of how a celebrant works.  We sat down and chatted with local wedding celebrant Sarah Noble about all things ceremony- so that you can have your wedding celebrant questions answered….

queenstown elopement lost in love celebrant questions
Do you need a celebrant to Elope in New Zealand?

If you want to be legally married in NZ then you need a celebrant to make it all official. You will also need to apply for a marriage licence, that the celebrant signs and submits on your behalf.

Can a celebrant customize our elopement and make it unique?

Absolutely…this is the part of my job that I love. Getting to find out information about the couple’s hopes for their elopement, the tone/style they would like for their day and also find out about them as individuals and as a couple and hearing their ‘love story’. I then take all of that information and use it to write a ceremony just for them. The more information I get the better – the more I can personalise it!

I gather it via written questions or a chat or video call.

Some people though choose an elopement because they want something very simple and straightforward with no fuss. Sometimes people have busy lives and just want to turn up and enjoy the moment and be married. That’s also fine…I have lots of nice things to say about love and marriage so they will still have a great ceremony.

Do you need witnesses to elope?

There must be two witnesses present at your ceremony to make it legal. 

They can be friends or family members – children can be witnesses as long as they are old enough to understand what they are witnessing – it could be two passing strangers!

Often at elopements, we use the photographer, and heli pilot, I can also arrange for a witness or two to come along if you want to keep things super low-key.

lost in love elopement services queenstown celebrant questions
What are the minimum requirements that we need in order to legally be married in NZ?

Getting married in NZ is very easy and straightforward.

You need to have your marriage licence. Unless it’s an emergency you must allow 3 days minimum for the marriage licence to be granted.

  • A celebrant.
  • 2 witnesses.

You need to answer a simple question or, make a statement that you take that person to be your legal partner. Legally, the celebrant must use both your full names at some point in the ceremony.

Do we need to have vows?

You don’t need to write your own vows or share anything personal if you choose not to. You just need the minimum legal wording that can be spoken – or asked – by your celebrant.

For lots of people though the chance to share something personal with your partner at that moment on your wedding day is often the thing that means the most and moves your partner the most. 

Your celebrant would be happy to help you write some personal words or at least point you in the right direction.

It’s so beautiful seeing the reaction to a partner’s words when they are spoken.

What are your top tips for writing vows?

Don’t sweat them! I often just say imagine that you are standing there with your person, the person you know and love more than anyone else in the world, what would you want to say to them on that special day at that moment.

There is nothing right or wrong, no expectations and no one judging them. Just talk from their heart to the other person.

Tell them why you love them, why you want to be with them, and what you hope for in your life together.

People’s vows’ vary so much. They are all special. If you are having guests at your elopement I often ask to check people’s personal vows to make sure that both partners are on the same page in terms of length and style. Sometimes if one person writes something much longer or much more heartfelt than the other I just like to ask if they are both happy with that. 

I often suggest keeping personal vows as a surprise for each other on the day.

queenstown elopement wedding vows lost in love
Do we need to meet in person first or can we use a video call?

You don’t need to meet your celebrant prior to them marrying you. 

Many couples don’t live in Queenstown or even New Zealand for that matter, or they may fly in close to the date of their wedding so meeting in person isn’t an option, a video call is awesome. It lets us have a virtual face-to-face meeting, that way when we turn up on the day we feel like we have already met and have a feel for each other.

That helps to calm any nerves that people have, and there are usually a few butterflies no matter how long people have known each other and no matter how relaxed they think they are about getting married.

How do we apply for a Marriage License?

Online via 

You will be asked:

How long does it take to get a Marriage License?

The maximum time out from your wedding you can apply for is 90 days, the minimum unless there is an emergency is 3 days.

Can we incorporate other traditions into our wedding ceremony?

Incorporating traditions into your ceremony is such an amazing way to personalise your ceremony and make it memorable.

queenstown elopement celebrant questions lost in love
How long will our elopement ceremony be?

Between 7 and 27 minutes…

Will we do a dress rehearsal before the day?

If you are having a wedding with a bridal party or family members or friends involved in the ceremony I definitely recommend a rehearsal. It doesn’t need to be a dress rehearsal. It is helpful to let people know what to expect, where to stand and what their roles are. 

Many celebrants have come from other areas of the wedding industry and are passionate about the creation of a special wedding day, so they then become celebrants in order to help craft what could be considered the most important part of the day – the ceremony itself. Celebrants are experts at creating the most intimate setting, one which reminds you of why you are marrying the person before you – sometimes in front of many other witnesses. Celebrants are also experts at knowing how to work a crowd and making sure everyone is where they are meant to be and feeling at ease, which is a skill worth celebrating.

When you book your elopement package with Lost in love you will be able to choose a special celebrant to officiate your wedding and take care of all the details for you so you are able to relax on your wedding day! If you have more celebrant questions that you want to be answered, just email us at info@lostinlove.co.nz.

Huge thanks to Sarah for her wisdom and experience in explaining the celebrants’ role in creating your dream ceremony! 

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Being based in Queenstown, New Zealand - one of the world's most stunning wedding destinations - we have seen our fair share of elopements, therefore we have put our collective wisdom together to create The Ultimate Queenstown Elopement Guide

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