Urgent Weddings (Shortening of Time)

Do you need to get married in a hurry, with less than the full calendar month's Notice of Intended Marriage 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 granted are:
  1. Employment related or other travel commitments - including work transfer interstate or overseas at short notice
  2. Proof of Wedding arrangements (where you've made all the other arrangements but forgot about the celebrant!) or religious consideration.
  3. Medical reasons
    Serious illness of one of you or of a close family member
  4. 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
  5. 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 immediately.

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.

PS 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.
Another PS If you're a spontaneous kind of couple you can get married in a way that feels spontaneous, without breaking the law. Talk to me about that option!

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