Celebrating relationships 

How does a couple get a congratulatory message from the Queen, for their 60th wedding anniversary?

If you apply to the Department of Internal Affairs Congratulatory Message Service they can arrange for a message of congratulations to be sent from Her Majesty the Queen to the couple celebrating their 60th (or 65th or 70th) anniversary.

You’ll need to apply four to eight weeks before the anniversary date. You do this by completing an application form and emailing or posting it to the Congratulatory Message Service.

Congratulatory messages can also be requested for couples celebrating their 50th or 55th wedding anniversary. In these cases the message may be sent from the Governor-General, Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs or the local Member of Parliament.

More information about how to arrange for a congratulatory message, and who the message will be from, is on the govt.nz website.

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My friend and his wife are going to "renew their vows". What does that mean?

Renewal of vows is when a couple organise a ceremony during which they either repeat their original wedding vows, or make new ones. Wedding celebrants usually perform the ceremony. Some couples use the ceremony to celebrate a milestone in the relationship or a significant anniversary, while others have one to reflect on their lives together, and celebrate their growth and development as a couple. It’s an opportunity for your friend and his wife to celebrate their love in the presence of friends and family.

This is not a legal ceremony and can be as informal or formal as the couple wants it to be.

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What are the traditional names for wedding anniversaries each year?

There are traditional names for wedding anniversaries, from 1st to 80th. This list is based on symbolic gifts that can be given for each anniversary. The tradition is used partly to congratulate the couple for the good fortune that had prolonged their lives together, and partly in recognition of the fact they must have enjoyed a fairly harmonious relationship. The standard names (as used in the UK) are

1st Anniversary - Cotton
2nd Anniversary - Paper
3rd Anniversary - Leather
4th Anniversary - Fruit or Flowers
5th Anniversary - Wooden
6th Anniversary - Sugar or Candy
7th Anniversary - Copper
8th Anniversary - Bronze or Pottery
9th Anniversary - Willow Pattern or Pottery
10th Anniversary - Tin
11th Anniversary - Steel
12th Anniversary - Silk & Fine Linen
13th Anniversary - Lace
14th Anniversary - Ivory
15th Anniversary - Crystal
20th Anniversary - China
25th Anniversary - Silver
30th Anniversary - Pearl
35th Anniversary - Coral or Jade
40th Anniversary - Ruby
45th Anniversary - Sapphire
50th Anniversary - Golden
55th Anniversary - Emerald
60th Anniversary - Diamond
65th Anniversary - Blue Sapphire
70th Anniversary - Platinum
80th Anniversary - Oak

You can read more about celebrating wedding anniversaries in New Zealand, in the Encyclopedia of New Zealand (Te Ara)