Who can witness a marriage in New Zealand?
Often, the little things can cause the most stress or get overlooked when planning your wedding day. One of those things can be your formal Witnesses. Whilst all your guests are actually witnessing your marriage, you will need a couple of witnesses to sign your copy of particulars (BDM45) at the marriage ceremony. As your celebrant, I will sort all your legal paperwork out for you.
Here is your guide to find out the FAQ and all you need to know about choosing the perfect people to witness your marriage to the love of your life. It might come as a surprise to hear that anyone can be a formal witness to your marriage. The only criteria are that you need two witnesses to understand what’s happening during the ceremony. They must formally identify both of you and be satisfied that you consent to the marriage. You do not need to have known the witness for any specific length of time. Witnesses can be strangers, family members or lifelong friends. If you need them to witness your marriage, I have friends and family on stand-by. An easy option when planning your elopement or intimate marriage ceremony.
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Your witnesses do not have to provide me with identification on the day. I will ask you beforehand their names to know who to call at the signing moment in the ceremony.
The New Zealand Marriage act 1955 states that your chosen witness must be physically present. Along with you and me at your chosen venue for the solemnisation of your marriage to take place. You might like to choose your children to witness your marriage; that is fine as long as they understand what is happening during the ceremony. They must identify that both of you are happy with the commitment of marriage you are entering into and can demonstrate this in court if required.
If your witness speaks a different language to you, you’ll need an interpreter. The interpreter has to sign a declaration (BDM 35T) before the ceremony starts to say they’ll interpret what you say accurately. I will have the papers to sign and talk to them before your ceremony.
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As I promised, I have answered your questions about who can be a witness at your marriage ceremony. Feel free to get in touch if you have any other questions whilst planning your perfect wedding day.
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