Weddings (Shortening of Time)
Do you need to get married in a hurry, with less that
the full calendar month's Notice of
that the Marriage Act generally
requires? If you do, you will need to get official
permission for what is called Shortening of Time.
Shortening of Time
Shortening of Time means getting official permission to
be married with less than the required month's notice.
Only an official Prescribed Authority can grant such
permission. The Prescribed Authority charges a
relatively modest fee to consider your application.
In Queensland, for your celebrant must submit the
application on your behalf. If your reason for needing
to apply for Shortening of Time is one of the allowable
grounds for getting permission to marry in less than a
month, I will pull out all stops to submit an
application for you as a matter of urgency.
The five grounds on which Shortening of Time may be
- Employment related or other travel commitments -
including work transfer interstate or overseas at
- Proof of Wedding arrangements (where you've made
all the other arrangements but forgot about the
celebrant!) or religious consideration.
- Medical reasons
Serious illness of one of you or of a close family
- Legal proceedings, where one of you has a court
date and it is likely that you will be incarcerated
for a period longer than a year
- Error in giving notice.
1 - 4 require that you have only just become aware of
the need to lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage at
least a full month before the wedding. Number 5
relates to an error on the celebrant's part.
Pregnancy or imminent visa expiry are not acceptable
reasons for permission to marry in less than a month.
Permission is not automatic. The Prescribed Authority
considers the submission and makes a decision.
Where your reason for needing to be married urgently is
the serious/terminal illness of one of you or of a loved
one, I will work within your timelines to create and
conduct a sensitively worded ceremony that focuses on
the present and creates moments of joy for all
concerned. In Australia no special legal permission is
needed to conduct a wedding ceremony in a hospital or a
hospice, although the person's medical team will need to
be involved in the arrangements.
When you just want
to get married in a hurry
If you're a spontaneous kind of couple, or your reasons
for wanting to get married quickly do meet the
requirements for Shortening of Time, your only option is
to hop on a plane and head off overseas.
If you can travel, you could hop across the ditch to New
Zealand, where you can get a marriage licence with 3
(business) days notice, and then get married
Or take yourselves out to the airport, grab a last
minute seat to California where there is no waiting
period for a marriage licence.
Don't forget for both you'll need to take official
documents with you to show the authorities (as you do
when getting married in Australia), and you'll need to
pay for the licence. In Australia there is no direct
charge for the Notice - it is just part of the fee you
pay your celebrant.
Don't even think about asking your
celebrant to back-date your Notice. That's a criminal
offence and carries very serious penalties with it.