Eight Eight One Eight
Before getting married, be sure to play Overcooked to see if love will tear you apart. We passed, apparently. It’s been a large part of our lives. Yes, we really did have wedding photos taken of us playing Overcooked together. By the photographer friend who introduced it to us, no less.
Exactly one year ago, I had the opportunity to marry the love of my life.
We got married in Auckland, New Zealand, and we couldn’t recommend it enough. It was a scenic, and fitting, way to celebrate our love.
Many have asked how we got married there. The NZ government is very efficient, and we had no problems getting married there as foreigners. They even arranged to have the marriage certificate ready for us on the day itself, so we didn’t have to wait!
If you’re a queer couple that’s planning to get married, New Zealand is happy to marry you. Note: most North American countries, Australia and New Zealand will marry people who don’t live there. Most European countries will require at least one person to live there officially (such as with an employment or other residency visa), or be a citizen in their countries. Check the requirements ahead of time.
How to Get Married in New Zealand
- Visit Govt.nz’s website on how to get married in New Zealand
- Decide if you want a registry wedding ceremony or a personalised one. We opted for a registry office ceremony, which is carried out by a NZ official. Caveat: it has to be at a marriage registry office in Auckland, Wellington, Manukau or Christchurch. We picked Auckland, as that’s where we have friends.
- Apply for a marriage license. Follow the simple instructions. They are also very helpful on the phone. They helped us through the process, knowing that we were an international couple that was not ordinarily resident in New Zealand.
- Arrange for two witnesses. We had two friends who did that for us.
- Fly to New Zealand
- Get married!
- Celebrate. We celebrated with shakshuka and coffee afterwards.
Our Northern Explorer Honeymoon
Since it was both of our first visits to New Zealand, we decided to celebrate in style. Being a bit of a train nerd, I am always excited to ride trains everywhere I go.
We had a plan to visit Wellington, which was perfect: the Northern Explorer train travels from Auckland to Wellington in a day, passing by some truly gorgeous terrain. We didn’t have time to get off midway to visit the national parks, lakes, ski spots or caves, but we were sure we would be back to New Zealand repeatedly in the future to experience all of the things we had to skip.
Highlights of our Wedding and Honeymoon
- New Zealand, in general, as a destination. Highly recommended!
- If you love movies, you must check out Weta Workshop
- Food is so good in New Zealand! But so expensive. Look at all the prices under “Markets” on this cost-of-living list! We could not believe that the imported Kiwi products we love (smoked salmon, for example) cost 2-4x more in its country of origin. We were especially shocked by the price of.. garlic
- We were such big fans of Siggy’s pies. I still dream about it everyday
- We had a surprise stopover in Melbourne. Due to a complex airport layover I planned (because I wanted us to fly in a specific plane for an award flight), we were 5 minutes past the 8 hour visa-exempt period (given to folks with our passports) who just needed to transit in Australia. We scrambled for a last minute Australian electronic travel authorization at the Wellington airport, and somehow made it. Sabrena had never been to Melbourne, so I was glad to show her some of my favorite Melbourne coffee shops
- Even though this sounds like a fun story, I wish we didn’t have to travel halfway around the world to get married. Marriage equality, though it has made progress in some countries, is still far from reality for many others, including the ones we’re from. Actual equality would mean not having to go to a different country, one we don’t live in, to get married. (This was before we moved to the US)
- Next time, we’ll be back to explore the South Island
One Year On
Happy anniversary, my love!
Through the years of globetrotting adventure and travel, I’m so lucky that you agreed to move with me to a country you had never even been to. That we spend so much time reading together, and supporting each other in everything from athletic to culinary endeavors. Our tiny home may be small, but it’s never lacking for warmth.
On one of our first dates, we were so comfortable and happy with each other that the restaurant thought we were celebrating our wedding anniversary. And we rolled with it.
Here’s to the years ahead.