FAQ – NZ Weddings, Funerals, Baby Namings & Vow Renewals

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WEDDINGS

How far in advance do we need to contact you?

I suggest that you contact me as soon as you set a date. I am often booked 12 months in advance, especially during the summer. 

How much do you charge for a wedding ceremony?

I charge $600 for a wedding ceremony. If your ceremony is located in outer Auckland or elsewhere in New Zealand, there may be a small additional fee for travel costs. My fee is a reflection of the hours that I dedicate to each ceremony.

What is included in this fee?

  • Meetings to brainstorm ideas and plan the details of your ceremony (face-to-face in Auckland or by Skype). Following this, I’ll be available by phone and email to answer any questions you have, make changes to your ceremony and provide support throughout the wedding planning process
  • Extensive resource pack (including examples of vows, ring exchanges and readings, ideas for music and helpful information to guide you through the planning process)
  • Writing and planning your ceremony
  • A rehearsal of your ceremony at the venue
  • Use of my professional PA system
  • Delivery of your wedding ceremony on the big day
  • Lodgement of paperwork with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • A copy of your ceremony as a keepsake

When do I pay for your service?

A deposit is payable at our second meeting and the balance is due for payment one week before your wedding.

How do we apply for a marriage licence?

A marriage licence is only valid for three months from the date of issue. During that period, you are free to marry at the place specified on the marriage licence. An alternative place of marriage may be specified on the licence, for example, a backup ceremony venue for bad weather. You can find all the relevant information on getting a marriage licence here.

Is a wedding rehearsal necessary?

A rehearsal of the ceremony is recommended, as it is a good opportunity to ask any last-minute questions, confirm all the details. If you will be walking down the aisle to music during the ceremony, the rehearsal will allow you to practice this and get the timing right. A rehearsal helps everyone involved feel confident and relaxed about their role in the wedding ceremony.

How long will you be at the ceremony for?

I will arrive one hour before the ceremony begins and stay for a little while afterwards to wish the couple well.

What will you wear?

I have a selection of outfits that you can choose from. My preference is for muted tones that complement the bridal party colours and are different to what the mothers of the couple are wearing.

How long will the ceremony last?

A wedding ceremony usually lasts around 30 minutes, but this varies depending on the content you wish to include.

Where and when can we marry?

You can marry wherever and whenever you would like, but you will need to apply for a council permit if you are planning to hold your ceremony in a public space.

What if it rains on our wedding day?

Given that New Zealand weather can be fickle, it’s important to have an alternative venue if you are planning to hold the ceremony outdoors. Your alternative venue needs to be noted on your marriage application.

Can you conduct a religious ceremony?

The ceremonies I design are usually non-religious. However, we can include any religious wording, readings or prayers that you feel reflect your values and beliefs.

We live overseas but wish to be married in New Zealand. Can you perform a ceremony for us?

Yes, I have married many couples who live overseas. Our initial meetings are via Skype. Following this, we communicate by email, phone or additional Skype meetings. Sometimes I will meet the couple in person if they have a trip here prior to the wedding, but often we only meet in person at the rehearsal or even the wedding ceremony.

Can you assist with other aspects of planning our wedding?

Yes, I can recommend some fantastic venues, caterers, photographers, musicians and florists who I have previously worked with. I will also supply you with a resource pack that includes:

  • Ideas for vows, readings, poems and music
  • Helpful information and advice to guide you through the planning process (for example, tips on writing your vows)
  • Legal paperwork
  • Useful websites

 

FUNERALS

How much do you charge for a funeral ceremony?

I charge $500 for funeral ceremonies. If the ceremony is located in outer Auckland or elsewhere in New Zealand, there may be a small additional fee for travel costs. My fee is a reflection of the hours that I dedicate to each ceremony.

What is included in this fee?

  • Meeting with the family to plan the details of the ceremony (face-to-face in Auckland or by Skype). Following this, I’ll be available by phone and email to answer questions, make changes to the ceremony and provide support during the funeral planning process
  • Ideas for readings, poems and music
  • Writing the ceremony
  • Guidance and advice on writing the eulogy
  • Liaising with funeral directors, as required
  • Delivery of a personalised, memorable ceremony to honour the life of your loved one
  • A presentation copy of the ceremony for the family

How long will the ceremony last?

A funeral ceremony usually lasts around 30 minutes to an hour, but this varies depending on the content you wish to include.

Where can we conduct the funeral ceremony?

You can hold the funeral ceremony anywhere that has significance for your loved one. For instance, you can choose to have the ceremony at a crematorium, chapel, family home, RSA, yacht club, bowling club or community hall.

Can you conduct a religious ceremony?

The funeral ceremonies I design are usually non-religious. However, we can include any religious wording, readings, hymns or prayers that you feel reflect your loved one’s values and beliefs.

Is there a specific format that the funeral ceremony needs to follow?

No, the family is free to choose whatever format they would like.

How personal will the funeral service be?

The service will be completely personalised. You may choose music, poems and readings that reflect the life and character of your loved one. We can also include symbolic gestures, such as lighting a candle or releasing balloons, sky lanterns or doves. I will spend time with the family, where I will listen to your stories and learn about the life, beliefs and achievements of the person who has passed away so that I can understand the special place they held in the lives and hearts of their family and friends. Together, we will create a personalised ceremony that is unique and memorable to honour the life of your loved one.

Can we include family members or friends in the ceremony?

Yes, family and friends are encouraged to participate in the funeral ceremony through readings, poems or music if they wish.

Do we need the services of a funeral director as well as a celebrant?

Yes, I work closely with the funeral director. I will prepare and deliver the funeral service, while the funeral director takes care of the legalities and practical arrangements of the ceremony.

Do we need to use the celebrant recommended by the funeral director?

No, you may choose your own celebrant and then inform the funeral director who it will be.

 

BABY NAMINGS

How much do you charge for a baby naming ceremony?

I charge $250 for baby naming ceremonies. If the ceremony is located in outer Auckland or elsewhere in New Zealand, there may be a small additional fee for travel costs. My fee is a reflection of the hours that I dedicate to each ceremony.

What is included in this fee?

  • Meeting with the parents to brainstorm ideas and plan the details your ceremony (face-to-face in Auckland or by Skype). Following this, I’ll be available by phone and email to answer questions and make changes to the ceremony
  • Ideas for ceremony format, readings, poems and symbolic gestures
  • Writing your ceremony
  • Delivery of a personalised, memorable baby naming ceremony
  • A certificate for the parents and other special people as a keepsake

What does a naming ceremony involve?

There is no set format for a naming ceremony – it is completely up to you. Poems, readings and quotes of personal significance can be used throughout the ceremony. We often include a symbolic gesture, such as lighting a candle, planting a tree or releasing balloons or butterflies. A certificate is presented to the parents and other special people as a record of the occasion.

How long will the ceremony last?

A naming ceremony usually lasts around 20-30 minutes, but this varies depending on the content you wish to include.

Where can we hold a naming ceremony?

You can hold the ceremony wherever you would like. For instance, you can choose to have the ceremony at a family home, community hall, beach or park. You may need to apply for a council permit if you are planning to hold the naming ceremony in a public space.

Are naming ceremonies religious?

Naming ceremonies are not a baptism or christening, although many parents with religious beliefs still hold a naming ceremony to welcome their child into the family. A naming ceremony does not prevent the child from becoming baptised or christened later in their life.

Can we appoint godparents at a naming ceremony?

Yes, the parents may choose to ask other adults to play a supportive role in their child’s life. In a traditional baptism, they would be called godparents. Some people still use this title, while others prefer the title of guardian, mentor or supporter.

 

RENEWAL OF VOWS

How much do you charge for a renewal of vows ceremony?

I charge $250 for renewal of vows ceremonies. If your ceremony is located in outer Auckland or elsewhere in New Zealand, there may be a small additional fee for travel costs. My fee is a reflection of the hours that I dedicate to each ceremony.

What is included in this fee?

  • Meetings to brainstorm ideas and plan the details your ceremony (face-to-face in Auckland or by Skype). Following this, I’ll be available by phone and email to answer questions and make changes to the ceremony
  • Writing your ceremony
  • Delivery of a personalised, memorable renewal of vows ceremony
  • A copy of your ceremony as a keepsake

Is a renewal of vows a legal ceremony?

No, a renewal of vows is simply an opportunity to celebrate your love and commitment to one another.

What does a renewal of vows ceremony involve?

Your ceremony can be as formal, informal, traditional, simple or adventurous as you choose. Renewal of vows ceremonies often include readings, poems and symbolic gestures. Children, grandchildren, friends and the original wedding party are often included in the ceremony. 

How long will the ceremony last?

A renewal of vows ceremony usually lasts around 20-30 minutes, but this varies depending on the content you wish to include.

Where can we hold a renewal of vows ceremony?

You can hold the ceremony wherever you would like. For instance, you can choose to hold the ceremony in your home or garden or at a restaurant, beach or park. You may need to apply for a council permit if you are planning to hold your ceremony in a public space.