Marriage celebrants must pay to be registered

marriage celebrants

Marriage celebrants, will now have to pay $220.00 to be registered.

(Note: This post has been updated to correct some errors.)

They will also have to pay an annual fee of $60.00 to renew their registration.

Ministers of recognised religions are exempt.

Up until now the cost of registering is covered by couples when they pay their marriage-licence fee.

But the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery, said since marriage celebrants are providing a professional service they should pay their own fees.

There are 10,000 registered marriage celebrants

  • The 75% who are from religious bodies conduct 26% of the 20,000 marriages and civil unions that take place each year.
  • The 24% who are independent marriage celebrants conducted 52% of the services.
  • The the remaining services are held at registry offices.

Too many independent marriage celebrants
The department also wants to cut down on the number of independent celebrants who conduct one or less marriages a year.

Montgomery said about half of the nearly 2500 independent celebrants fall into this category

He said couples often complained there were too many listed on the department’s website who simply were not available.

However an independent celebrant, Bill Logan, said some people just wanted to perform a few marriages for people they knew and loved.

“Some kind of licence which authorises them to do a few ceremonies, would be perfectly adequate, but it’s not necessary for them to pay $60 a year,” he said.

Who ends up paying?
Montgomery said  marriage celebrants can either recoup the costs through the fees they charged or through the organisations with whom they are registered.

A Wellington based independent celebrant said the majority of people charged about $350 to $550 in most parts of the country for celebrant services.

“It’s at least eight hours of work with writing ceremonies, meeting couples, replying to emails.



On Monday 29 May, the Department of Internal Affairs confirmed by email, a telephone conversation saying ministers of certain religions will not be required to pay the registration and annual fees.

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News category: New Zealand.

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