How to Celebrate not getting Married


Savannah and Tim were due to Marry on the 11 April 2020. But the Covid19 Epidemic changed everything.


I had many conversations with Tim and Savannah about their wedding day for almost a year before their big day and with 6 and 4 weeks out, we were all getting very excited.


First came the announcement that gatherings in New Zealand of under 100 people were still allowed. Our last conversation was about "yes we have under 100 guests now and no one from overseas" We were confident that the day was still going to be spectacular even though Tim's father couldn't make it from Australia, this part was a little gut wrenching but we were all positive.


One week later and the announcement by our Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern just pulled at our heart strings. A four (4) week lock down. No social gatherings, no weddings and no one leaving our "bubble"


So what do you do to still make the day special. I emailed Tim and Savannah on their expected Wedding day as I was thinking of them lots, it is such a hard moment to deal with. All their hopes and dreams for that day had been shattered.

I emailed Savannah and Tim and this was their reply " we got dressed up for an antipasto picnic with a bottle of champagne and wore our rings for a wee bit"


How cool is that!!. A few days later Savannah had rebooked all her vendors for later in the year and the question to me "Are you free" answer was "hell yes"!!!


So the question is If you had a scheduled wedding date that was during lockdown what do you do?.


Marriage licence refunds https://www.govt.nz/browse/family-and-whanau/getting-married/get-a-marriage-licence/


Marriage licences are valid until the date of expiry, that being 3 months from the date of issue. If couples want to postpone their wedding as a result of the pandemic, there are options:

1. Delay having the marriage, but not later than when the marriage licence expires. This in the hope that the situation has improved within 3 months.


2. If the couple plan to get married after their licence expires, they can apply for a refund now. If approved, the refund will include the licence fee and the marriage certificate, if ordered. When the couple are ready to get married they can apply for a new licence at https://marriages.services.govt.nz.


Couples can request a refund by emailing bdm.nz@dia.govt.nz with the subject heading "Request for marriage licence refund".


In the body of the email include:

· Reason for refund e.g. unable to enter the country.

· Both partners’ full names and contact details (e.g., email, phone number etc.)


Refunds currently take about 4 weeks to process.



As of the 28th April 2020 we are in Covid 19 Level 3 Lock down, What does this mean for couples wanting to get married?


Marriages during Alert Level 3, from 28 April The Government has provided the following advice: Gatherings present a very high risk of transmitting COVID-19, and acceptable gatherings are very limited. Up to 10 people can gather for: · Wedding ceremonies (not receptions). · Funerals and tangihanga

Gatherings of up to 10 people at a time for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Wedding receptions and other celebrations are not allowed.

Consumption of food/drink not permitted.

Additional conditions on gatherings: · Physical distancing and infection prevention and control requirements must be met. · All gatherings must record attendees to ensure contact tracing can be conducted if necessary. · No participants allowed who have COVID-19 symptoms or who need to be in isolation/quarantine for any reason.

Example to help explain these measures For those holding a wedding ceremony, the limit means there can only be the couple, the celebrant, a couple of witnesses and family. Most people will still need to attend through video conferencing. Those who do attend must keep themselves and others safe. Keep a list of those who attend, stay at least 2 meters apart and wash hands regularly. For more information refer to: · https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/alert-level-3/#gatherings · https://covid19.govt.nz/assets/resources/tables/COVID-19-alert-levels-detailed.pdf

Advice about ‘virtual’ weddings

Under the Marriage Act, a marriage can’t occur virtually (i.e. you cannot use video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype etc.) and the couple, celebrant and witnesses must be physically present in the same place.

If you want to get married at Level 3 I have the perfect package for only $125.00 plus your $150.00 for your Licence. Email me if you are keen and we can still make your day unique, special and personal. Your Celebrant - Sarah McCambridge this is what Savannah and Tim said about their draft ceremony " I have just received our copy of the ceremony and I can't stop crying its so beautiful, how do I stop myself from crying on the day during our wedding ceremony" -- Savannah



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Sarah McCambridge

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Tel: 021 202 7251 or 036831848

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