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Philip Garside Books

Getting Married in New Zealand - Te Mārenatanga ki Aotearoa - Print.

Getting Married in New Zealand - Te Mārenatanga ki Aotearoa - Print.

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Getting Married in New Zealand - Te Mārenatanga ki Aotearoa: A guide to creating wedding and birth celebrations

By Gregory Hughson & Douglas Pratt

Published:  2 November 2020
Language: English
Words: 40,821
B/W text, 174 pages, 6″ x 9″
Soft cover
ISBN: 9781988572611

[8 in stock 20 April 2024]

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Book Description

This book has everything you need to plan and create a wedding ceremony and celebration that is right for you.

The authors have many years’ experience of offering couples a multi-choice format upon which to construct their marriage ceremony. The essence of the book is flexibility and adaptability to individual circumstances.

For each key part of your wedding ceremony there are many text options to choose from. Combine them or use them as a starting point to write your own text.

The book includes templates and information for:

  • Christian and secular weddings

  • te reo Māori ceremonies

  • same-sex weddings

  • a Tibetan Buddhist ceremony, and

  • guidance about what to expect at a Moslem wedding.

Combine them or use them as a starting point to write your own text.

The authors also provide guidance about wedding receptions, including toasts, speeches and, things to avoid.

Based on their long experience of conducting wedding celebrations and working with couples, they also offer advice about building strong marriage relationships.

Click here to download free wedding and reception checklists and summaries:

The authors also provide practical guidance about wedding receptions, including things to avoid, and they offer some advice about building strong, healthy marriage relationships. And they have included guidance and options celebrating the birth of children.

Both authors have significant experience of helping couples prepare for marriage and conducting marriage ceremonies. This book represents a pooling of their experience and expertise. They have also been active in promoting interfaith activity and greater interreligious understanding in New Zealand and beyond. There is a great deal that we can learn from people who base their lives and marriages on a faith different to ours, or on no particular religious faith-foundation at all. This book thus provides some “other-than-Christian faith” marriage information and ceremony options as an aid to greater understanding.

Te reo Māori (The Māori language) is an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand. The everyday use of te reo has been increasing significantly over the last 30 years. Accordingly, the authors have incorporated Ngā Whakaritenga Mārena – a marriage order of service in te reo Māori – within this book.

The authors hope that this book will also be valued by all who seek a broader and more informed understanding of marriage, including recent developments in New Zealand law to allow for same-sex marriage. Material is provided to help all readers understand some of the rationale and reasons why same-sex marriage has become legal in Aotearoa-NZ, and some of the theological understandings which undergird acceptance of same-sex marriage by some Churches.

The format and style of the wedding reception has evolved over the years. The authors provide advice for how to structure a contemporary wedding reception, taking account of significant changes within society.

Ceremonies of thanksgiving and blessing for the birth of a child are also included within this book. Many couples enter into a committed partnership with the intention of having, or adopting, a child, or children. Resources are provided here to assist with the creation of rituals which will help celebrate the arrival of a new life.

Getting Married in New Zealand – Te Mārenatanga ki Aotearoa is a resource for everyone. It is also a Christian-based practical theology resource which seeks to deepen our understanding of the meaning of marriage, and to provide quality inclusive resources to celebrate and sustain marriage relationships. It is the authors hope that this book will help meet the real needs of a new generation of couples and celebrants, both within and “way beyond” the Church.

In short, this book is:

  • ideal for celebrants to share with couples

  • ideal for couples to plan their own unique celebration

  • a helpful gift for couples preparing to marry

  • for couples seeking to deepen their marriage relationships, and

  • for theology, ministry and religious studies students

About the Authors

Gregory Hughson

With an M.Sc. in Biological Science and from a background in Agricultural Science Research, Greg trained for ordination as a Methodist Minister from 1985-1987, obtaining a Bachelor of Divinity in Practical Theology with Distinction from the University of Otago. He spent six years in parish ministry in Feilding (1988-93) followed by six years as Methodist Parish Superintendent in Gisborne (1994-99). He spent the next twenty years (2000-2019) as ecumenical chaplain at the University of Otago. Throughout his ministry Greg has enjoyed conducting many weddings, largely based on material provided by Douglas Pratt in previous editions of this book. Greg is now retired and living in Dunedin.

Douglas Pratt

Douglas trained as a Methodist minister, gaining degrees in philosophy (MA) and theology (BD, PhD). He later trained as a marriage relationship counsellor and supervisor. It was during his first parish appointment, 1975-78, that Doug began to offer a multi-choice marriage ceremony format and was at the forefront of promoting alternatives for both the ceremony and the location of weddings. Such developments paved the way for today’s context of secular (Civil) marriage celebrants. In 1984, following two years of overseas study (1979-80) and three years in Methodist parish ministry in Dunedin (1981-83), Doug took up an appointment as ecumenical chaplain to the University of Waikato. In 1988 he was appointed the foundation lecturer in Religious Studies at the University. In 1998 Doug became an Anglican priest while remaining a full-time university lecturer, retiring in 2018 as a professor. It was during his tenure as chaplain that the initial work on alternative marriage ceremonies was further developed and led to the publication of this book’s predecessor Celebrating Marriage.



    • Preface
    • Acknowledgements
    • About the Authors

    Part One – Getting Married

    1 — Introduction

    2 — Practical preliminaries

    • Legal requirements
    • Age limitation
    • People previously married
    • Place of marriage
    • Time
    • Witnesses
    • Registry Office wedding option
    • Marriage and Civil Union Blessings
    • Marriage licence (Certificate of marriage)
    • Marriage by proxy
    • The banns / Formal announcement
    • Objections to a marriage

    Four steps to getting married

    1. Decide who is to perform the ceremony
    2. Arrange for a place in which to get married
    3. Confirm that you are eligible to marry
    4. Obtain a marriage licence

    Expectations and duties

    1. The engagement
    2. The marriage relationship: preparation and counselling
    3. The type of wedding ceremony
    4. Invitations
    5. The bridal party
    6. The role of the chief bridesmaid
    7. The role of the best man
    8. Gifts for your attendants
    9. Decorations and apparel
    10. The photographer
    11. Social Media
    12. Wedding gifts
    13. Who pays – and for what?
    14. The importance of a wedding ceremony rehearsal
    15. Some other considerations

    3 — The marriage ceremony: structure and plan

    • Multi-choice marriage ceremony
    • Basic structure and item options

    Section I – Setting the scene

    Item 1: Introduction

    Item 2: Prayer

    Item 3: Reading

    Section II – The main action

    Item 4: Declaration of Intention

    Item 5: The Giving and Affirmation

    Item 6: The Vows

    Item 7. The Exchange of Rings

    Item 8: The Pronouncement

    Section III – Drawing to a close

    Item 9: Readings on love

    Item 10: Conclusion

    Item 11: The Dismissal

    Item 12: The Blessing

    4 —The reception:  recipe for a wedding meal

    • Simplicity
    • Degrees of formality
    • Reception Outline
    1. Commencement
    2. Toast to the marriage partners
    3. The marriage partner’s speech
    4. Reply
    5. The best man’s speech
    6. Other toasts
    7. Cutting of the cake
    8. Messages of congratulation
    9. The wedding meal
    • Advice for all speakers

    5 — Celebration and commitment: the honeymoon and beyond

    • Seven keys to a healthy relationship
    • Communication
    • Acceptance
    • Sensitivity
    • Understanding
    • Respect
    • Mutual Support
    • Forgiveness

    Some relationship-building exercises

    • Share with each other
    • An exercise in touch
    • Learning to express feelings and reactions

    Part Two – Marriage Records

    1 — Planning your wedding: a practical guide

    • Preparation checklist
    • Marriage ceremony selection list
    • The reception: a summary
    • Style of wedding reception meal
    • Toasts and speeches
    • Cutting the cake
    • Reading of messages
    • Social time and/or dance option
    • Reception checklist

    2 — Keeping Account: A wedding and anniversary record

    • Our Wedding Day
    • Our anniversaries

    Part Three – Having Children

    1 — Welcoming children

    2 — Celebrating birth: ceremony formats

    Ceremony 1

    • Introduction
    • A reflective reading or mediation
    • An act of promise by the parents
    • An act of promise by the Godparents
    • An affirmation by family and friends
    • An act of blessing
    • Prayer of thanksgiving
    • The Lord’s Prayer (may be spoken together)
    • The Benediction

    Ceremony 2

    Ceremony 3

    Part Four – Same-Sex ceremonies

    1 — A new development

    2 — Marriage ceremony resources and options

    3 —The blessing of same-sex marriage

    • Preliminary prayers
    • The Blessing of the Couple

    Part Five – Alternative language and religion options

    1 — A Māori language ceremony – Te ritenga karakia mō te Mārena

    • Ngā Whakaritenga Mārena – order of marriage service/ceremony
    • Te Whakaeke (the arrival process/ kawa of the Marae)
    • Te Minita (Minister / Celebrant)
    • He Mihi Whakatau (Welcome to the guests)
    • Te Karakia (Prayers)
    • Anei ētahi kōrero o ngā Karaipiture e pā ana ki te mārena (Scripture readings)
    • Ngā Pātai (main questions to the couple)
    • Kia inoi Tātou (prayer)
    • Ngā Oati Tapu (Vows/oaths)
    • Ngā Rīngi (The giving and receiving of rings)
    • Te Whakapai (Prayer of Blessing)
    • He Waiata (song or hymn)
    • Te Inoi a Te Ariki (The Lord’s Prayer)
    • Te Waitohu i te Raihana Mārena (signing the marriage register)
    • Te Whakatau (Declaration of Marriage)

    2 — A Buddhist (Tibetan) marriage ceremony

    • Wedding Format

    3 — Muslim marriage

    • The Nikah (Muslim marriage contract ceremony)
    • Sample of a simple Muslim marriage contract:
    • Vows and Blessings
    • What Guests Should Wear to a Muslim Wedding
    • The Bride’s Wedding Outfit
    • Separating Genders
    • The Wedding Feast (Walima)


    1 — Hymn, song and musical options

    2 — Website / Internet resources

    3 — References

    4 — Bibliography of same-sex resources

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