Love is most certainly "all around" in Whanganui.

So says New Zealand's youngest marriage celebrant, Ruben Mars, who channels Hugh Grant in the movie Love Actually when he sums up the state of love locally.

"Love is definitely thriving in Whanganui," Mr Mars said.

"There's always unspoken signs that a couple are in love, and it is the way they look at one another. There are no words, they both catch each other's eye and let out a small but delicate smile with a slight movie-like sparkle in their eye, then they keep going about their day and it really is as simple as that.


"The reason I believe love is strong in Whanganui is because I see this telltale sign everywhere, not just with the couples I meet and marry. You see it in the streets, in your friends and nearly everywhere you go."

Mr Mars says if love was not strong in the city he would be out of a job.

"In fact, I would have never taken it on if it wasn't for the people of Whanganui having love to give and wanting to solidify that love in the form of marriage.

"I think what I have discovered about what love means to my couples is it is never perfection. Love will never be perfect or the same for any two couples, it is always different.

"To some, love can mean a sign of extreme appreciation, to others love can mean a strong connection pulled together by an adoring of humour, appearance and personality. But there is always one constant variable in every kind of love and that is happiness. Without it love does not exist and, based on my early work as the youngest celebrant in the country, I have discovered Whanganui is a very happy town because love is most certainly 'all around'. Or at least that's what Hugh Grant said."

Since becoming a celebrant in late 2017, Mr Mars has done two weddings and currently has three in the pipeline, including two couples who have chosen him based on his age.

"The two younger couples that have chosen me are just looking for a relatable person who is easygoing and understands the youth culture and because of this they came to me," he said.

"But in saying that, so far I have dealt with older couples and, even though I catch a bit of stick from the guests for looking 'about 17' (while I'm 21), I do get along really well with the older age groups as well. We can all have a good time and get along even with a decent age gap.

"I recently did [a wedding] on January 20 and it was very enjoyable. The couple, Sally and Karl, were wonderfully humorous people and they truly made the wedding their own from the jokes to the vows to the hip flask that was passed around before they could say 'I do'.

"There were animals, a sunny day, a few interruptions and fantastic friends and family. If all my weddings went as well as that I would feel like I've really done my job."

Celebrating love this Valentine's Day with San Valentino by Lorenzo Buhne.