Craig McLachalan

Marriage & Civil Union Celebrant

Craig McLachlan 2017I am a registered independent Marriage & Civil Union Celebrant and can perform weddings anywhere in New Zealand.

  • I specialise in intimate weddings and elopements – plus ‘unusual weddings’ – offering creative and innovative ceremonies and encouraging the couple to be active in planning their own ceremony.
  • I am happy to conduct ceremonies in pretty much any location – such as helicopter weddings, wilderness weddings, beach weddings and just about anything you can come up with.
  • Formal ceremonies in a suit & tie or informal ceremonies in an aloha shirt are fine – please let me know your requirements.
  • I am happy to conduct Civil Union ceremonies.
  • I can conduct Marriage and Civil Union ceremonies in Japanese.
  • I am very flexible and believe that a happy couple on their wedding day should plan their ceremony to be as they wish – as long as legal requirements are met. It’s your day ….. enjoy it!

celebrants-logo-webI am a member of the Celebrants Association of New Zealand (CANZ Inc) and of the Queenstown Wedding Association – check out why Queenstown is such a great place to have your wedding!

Please contact me once a date has been decided to check that I’m available – Contact Craig

Let me know exactly what you want and I’ll get back to you with what it will cost.

My wife Yuriko and I also run an Airbnb apartment – take a look if you’re searching for a place to stay in Queenstown when you come here to get married.

Weddings – Click here for information on “How to get married in New Zealand”.

It is the couple’s responsibility to organise the marriage license – easily done online through the link above – and the celebrant’s responsibility to return the license to the Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages after the ceremony and signing of the license.

Legal Requirements for the Ceremony –

  • The formal identification of the people named on the Marriage or Civil Union License. The celebrant must be satisfied that the people about to be joined in marriage or by civil union are in fact those named on the license. This can be done before the wedding with some form of ID like a passport or Drivers License.
  • The full names of the people– as they appear on the license – must be used at some point in the ceremony to clearly identify them. Abbreviations and nicknames may then be used in other parts of the ceremony.
  • The ceremony must be solemnised at a place described on the license and by an approved celebrant and before at least two other witnesses. Under the Marriage Act, a marriage cannot occur virtually and the couple, celebrant and witnesses must be physically present in the same place.
  • During a marriage ceremony, the couple must exchange marriage vows. That is each person must say the words, “I AB, take you CD, to be my legal wife/husband/partner” to each other– or words to similar effect.
  • During a civil union ceremony, the couple must exchange the civil union statements. That is each person must make a statement to the other that names both people and acknowledges that they are freely joining in a civil union with each other.
  • Whether a marriage or a civil union, each party should say the words to each other rather than answering a question asked by the celebrant. Note that any marriage or civil union should not be void if it was performed where the celebrant asked a question of the parties.
  • The registration papers must be signed by the couple, the celebrant and the two witnesses immediately after the ceremony, and must be returned by the celebrant to Births, Deaths and Marriages within 10 calendar days.
  • The celebrant must take all reasonable steps to ensure the marriage or civil union is registered with Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Elements of a Ceremony – these are the basic parts of a standard wedding ceremony, but I encourage couples to personalise things by planning and writing their own ceremony and vows – as long as legal requirements are met, feel free to make your special day more special by planning your own ceremony. It’s fine to involve family members –

  • Welcome 
  • A short speech about the couple OR a Reading
  • Exchange of the Rings
  • Exchange of Vows
  • Marriage License Signing
  • Conclusion

Taito & Kaori’s Heli-wedding (James Hirata Photography)

Peter & Abigail’s wedding at Kelvin Beach (James Hirata Photography)

  Yuji & Hiromi’s wedding at Millbrook  (Carla Mitchell Photography)

Geoff & Yuko’s wedding high above Arrowtown.

Tyson & Allie’s wedding at Bob’s Cove, Lake Wakatipu

Tania & Stephen’s wedding at Stoneridge