New Zealand may not be on a lot of people’s radars, but it should be. If you love the outdoors, New Zealand is a paradise for adventure lovers! From the gorgeous snow capped mountains and beautiful fjords of the South Island to the endless empty beaches of the North Island, New Zealand’s diverse landscapes provide for stunning elopement backdrops!
Let’s dive into:
Making your marriage legal in New Zealand is a big part of planning your NZ elopement! Luckily, you don’t have to be a New Zealand citizen to get married here, and same-sex marriages are legal! First, you’ll want to apply for a marriage license online for $150. You can apply for your marriage license up to three months before your elopement in New Zealand. When you fill out the form, only one of you needs to apply, but you will need information about both of you!
After you have signed your form, you can pay the fee, and next, you will need to find a celebrant (officiant) to perform your ceremony. To legalize your New Zealand elopement, you’ll also need two witnesses in addition to your marriage license.
If you don’t want to deal with paperwork during your trip to New Zealand, you can always make your New Zealand elopement a symbolic one! Simply take care of your paperwork in your home state, and use your NZ vacation to have a symbolic elopement ceremony! But where should you elope in New Zealand?
New Zealand shines at any time of year, so deciding when you’d like to have your New Zealand elopement will depend on a few things! You’ll want to take these deets into consideration when planning your adventurous NZ elopement.
New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, so their seasons are opposite of the United States and Canada.
WINTER // Dreaming of a winter wonderland wedding in New Zealand? Eloping in the winter in New Zealand means June, July, and August. New Zealand winter temperatures average from 50 – 61 degrees. During this time of year, the south island experiences more snow than the north, which gets a lot of rain.
If you love snow activities or are an avid skier, Queenstown could be the perfect place for your winter elopement! BONUS….Winter in New Zealand also means the fewest tourists, so if you want to avoid the crowds, eloping during the wintertime in New Zealand may be for you. Just remember that some popular trails may not be accessible during this time of year.
SPRING // Spring in New Zealand is a wonderful time for eloping, and for good reason! You can expect temperatures ranging from 55 – 70 degrees during the springtime months of September, October, and November. This is when you can expect stunning colors and flower blooms as the backdrop for your elopement in New Zealand. It can be windy during the spring, but I love a good dress shot with some epic movement! Outdoor activities also begin to become plentiful again after the winter. Experience the best of both winter vibes and summer energy during the spring in New Zealand.
SUMMER // What about summer in New Zealand? Summer in New Zealand is the northern hemisphere’s winter, which can mean a welcome break from cold temps if that’s what you’re used to. In fact, think temperatures ranging from 68 – 80 degrees in the summertime. Summer in New Zealand is a popular time to visit, so keep in mind that some areas may be more crowded with tourists. Pretty much everything on the New Zealand islands is accessible during the summer months of December, January, and February. By February most locals will have concluded their holiday and be back to work so you may find it easier to book accommodations.
AUTUMN // Last but definitely not least, we arrive at fall/autumn in New Zealand. Much like springtime, fall in New Zealand brings about mild temperatures and a good mix of weather. In March, April, and May, temperatures are around 62 to 70 degrees. The leaves here change into gorgeous colors, and hiking in New Zealand during early fall is something that can’t be missed. The summer crowds also begin to thin out, making an autumn elopement in New Zealand more intimate.
Both the north and south islands of New Zealand are home to many gorgeous places that are worth visiting, and places that could be the perfect backdrop for your NZ elopement!
Do you gravitate more towards epic mountain landscapes, and rugged geography? If so, you may want to consider eloping on the south island of New Zealand. If you are looking for coastline’s with rolling hills or empty beaches reminiscent of the United States Pacific Northwest, New Zealand’s north island may be the perfect place to elope.
Starting with the North Island, if you want to stay close to Auckland, Piha Beach is an incredible location! With its towering cliffs, darker black sand, and surfers in the distance, it offers incredible beauty not too far away from the city. If you head north of the city, another stunning location is Tawharanui Regional Park with it’s pristine blue water, and lush rolling hills on either side of this white sand beach.
As we continue north, you’ll enter a region of New Zealand called Northland. One of the most unique coastal locations here is Cape Reinga. This Cape is where the Tasman sea and Pacific Ocean meet at the Northernmost point in New Zealand. Here you can take a hike on the Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway and escape to one of the most remote beaches in New Zealand, 90 Mile Beach. Lastly, in the Northland of New Zealand you’ll also find Whangarei heads**. Here you’ll find beautiful coastal and harbor beaches, and you can explore volcanic peaks and lush forests with many hiking trails.
**FUN FACT: “Wh” in te reo Māori (Māori Language) is pronounced “f” so as you are driving around New Zealand practice pronouncing towns like the locals do!
Heading south of Auckland, you’ll find The Coromandel which has some incredible beaches and landscape features including Cathedral Cove and Stingray Bay. Even further south, you’ll find Bay of Islands which has incredible coastline locations such as Waihi Beach and Papamoa Beach.
Heading to the South Island, Abel Tasman National Park is one of my favorite places in New Zealand, especially for elopements. There are a ton of gorgeous elopement spots in this national park – located on the south island. And the best part you can choose to kayak, or hike or both to enjoy all this park has to offer.
Helicopters are popular for elopements in New Zealand, and heading to Fox Glacier is an elopement dream! This incredible glacier is over 13km long and can be an otherworldly backdrop for your elopement.
Milford Sound is iconic, with it’s incredible fjords! The rainy weather here provides a setting for the perfect, moody elopement, photos. To take advantage of the incredible views, a boat elopement in Milford Sound is a good choice, or even eloping on one of the many trails in the area!
Eloping on Hooker Valley Track at Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park means enjoying some of the snow capped peaks you can see, even in the middle of summer!
Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve offers breathtaking blue water and forested rocks. The Hokitika Gorge Walk is only about a half hour – the perfect hike to do in your wedding dress!
If you want privacy, there are a lot of ways to find it in NZ, especially if you want something simple! I would love to be able to help you find the perfect elopement place in New Zealand.
While you are visiting New Zealand for your elopement, there are definitely some things that should be on your to-do and to-see list!
NEW ZEALAND MUST DO’S
New Zealand has so much to offer for being a country of 103,483 mi². This beautiful place can be your one-stop-shop when it comes to planning your elopement. Elope amongst the snowy peaks during New Zealand’s winter, or have a tropical elopement on the beach during the summer. Take advantage of fun watersports on the lakes, and go backpacking, hiking, and camping in New Zealand’s stunning national parks. Don’t forget to have some uniquely New Zealand experiences when you’re here for your elopement: meat pies and a rugby game, anyone? New Zealand has some adventures that you won’t find anywhere on earth: glowworm tours and bungy jumps that set the stage for a perfect honeymoon after your elopement.
Dreaming about eloping on New Zealand’s north or south island? Let’s chat! I am here to help you determine the best time of year to elope in New Zealand, things to do on the islands, where to elope in New Zealand, and your biggest cheerleader when it comes to having the best day ever!