Celebrating relationships 

How many years does a couple have to be married in order to get a telegram from the Queen?

You can apply for a congratulatory message from the Queen, to celebrate a couple's 60th, 65th,70th or 75th wedding anniversary.

These messages are arranged through the Department of Internal Affairs' Congratulatory Message Service. To arrange for a message of congratulations to be sent to an eligible couple or individual, send a completed application form to the Congratulatory Message Service four to eight weeks before the event. 

For some other wedding anniversaries, you can ask for a congratulatory message from the Governor-General, Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs or local Member of Parliament.

More information about how to arrange for a congratulatory message is on the Department of Internal Affairs' Congratulatory Message Service webpage.

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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)