YOUR GUIDE TO PLANNING AN
ELOPEMENT OR SMALL WEDDING
IN NEW ZEALAND
Back in the day, weddings didn't used to be these crazy elaborate events - communities used to gather around people, neighbours helping prepare food, the local community or church hall jazzed up, and the local mayor or minister officiated. While that particular version of tying the knot may or may not be your thing, the idea of a massive event to organise and lots of people to perform in front of, might just not be your cup of tea - it's why more and more people are choosing something else over a big wedding - choosing to consicously downscale their wedding celebration to be able to focus on what is really important to them. Considering eloping or having a small wedding creates the opportunity to make something really personal and relaxed of the two of you committing your lives to each other. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you'd like - a marriage license, a celebrant and two witnesses are the bare bones really . Naturally I think wedding photography is this gorgeous way to be able to record and share the day with your friends and loved ones, and a good elopement photographer can help you plan the day, pull together the details and bring your vision to life.
What is eloping exactly? And what do you define as a small wedding?
Are eloping and marriage the same thing you ask? Well if you want to get technical, eloping has traditionally been going away secretly to get married. Now, it's become more of a term in the wedding industry for a couple getting married with just them and a few witnesses - a marriage without the wedding you might say. They're intimate and personal, and perfect for lock down weddings with 10 or less people. If you're interested in thinking more about what this could look like, see my 'Elopement Package' below. Similarly, people are starting to opt more for simply a small wedding - which is similar to an elopement, with usually around 10-20 guests. Keeping things small, whether you elope or have a small wedding, or something in between, can make it easier to keep the day's focus on your wedding vows. You get more of an opportunity to really hang with the people present, it works out much more cost efficient, and it takes alot of pressure and stress off.
But we want all our family and friends there to celebrate with us - is it ok to elope then have a party?
Deciding to elope or have a small wedding doesn't mean you can't celebrate with a wider group of people! A number of couples have gone for live streaming their ceremony, (be sure to check that you've got good reception where you're planning on getting hitched and are familiar with the ins and outs of an app like Zoom) others have opted for the marry now with two witnesses, party later, set up. There are a number of ways of connecting people in, and they can be as personal and creative as the two of you can dream up! Think a chilled bbq on the beach or hitting up your favourite family restaurant for a nostalgic moment.
The Best Places to Get Married with Just the Two of You...
(aka our favourite places in NZ)
1. Queenstown Wedding
No surprises here, it's so epic, and lives up to its reputation in so many ways. Mountains, lakes, luxury lodges - take your pick. The main problem will be choosing which piece of epic scenery to choose as the background for your adventure - something that we will be more than happy to do, having spent countless hours happily exploring the playground that is Queenstown!
My favourite hike: Ben Lomond Track (so many choices but how gorgeous and handy is this one - the Tikki trail is my default pre-breakfast donut workout)
2. Coromandel Wedding
I've always loved the Coromandel, growing up holidaying there, and now loving getting to take our kids to explore our favourite spots, whether hiking, swimming, snorkelling. Gorgeous balmy weather, laid back vibes, and so many gorgeous nooks and crannies with epic beaches - if you haven't been before, Hahei is a great place to start!
3. West Auckland Wedding
So close to home for so many kiwis, fringing Auckland, the bush and beaches around the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park are just so gorgeous, and my favourite place to hang out when I lived in Auckland - proving you don't need to go far for an epically beautiful elopement or small wedding adventure.
4. Tongariro National Park Wedding
My second home - whether hiking in summer or skiing in winter, I adore the dramatic landscape of the central North Island mountains.
My favourite hike: anywhere that ends with high tea at the Chateau,
although the Tongariro Crossing is a must do.
ELOPEMENT & SMALL WEDDING FAQ
1. Where can I elope in New Zealand?
How long is a piece of string? While you will need a permit for commercial activity in most national and
regional parks, you generally can elope anywhere that isn't private land, and even then, it's amazing what
a bottle of wine might get you!
2. How much does it cost to elope in New Zealand?
The bare essentials are the cost of a marriage license ($150 and you can apply online here) and a celebrant
to perform the ceremony. Then you need to factor in your photographer and attire, and you're set!
Have a look below at our elopement package which includes a photographer and celebrant, along with
our assistance planning your adventure out!
3. How to elope in New Zealand? How do we start planning our small wedding in nz?
Get in touch if you'd love to throw some ideas around or get some concrete details on the nitty gritty, I love to help plan all those details with you that will make your day uniquely you, and that will show you new corners of New Zealand that you'll fall in love with, or make the most of your favorite part.
4. How do I choose where to elope or have our small wedding? What's the best places to get married with just the two of us?
Check out our handy list above of our favourite parts of New Zealand, and then for elopement packages or small wedding packages, have a look above to see how easy it would be to make a New Zealand elopement happen.