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Help! I need to get married quickly!

Help! I need to get married quickly!

In order to marry in Australia, you will need to lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant at least one month before your ceremony date (and no longer than 18 months in advance).

Has something unexpected come up, and now you’re thinking about how you can move your wedding date forward? Is there any way you can get married quicker than one calendar month? Yes, you can, and it’s called a Shortening of Time.

Now, one thing we need to be aware of before we go down this path is that a Shortening of Time is not guaranteed and it is only under certain circumstances that it is approved. The decision to approve the reduction of the one month notice period  is out of the hands of your celebrant (though they do help you apply), rather this decision is made by a prescribed authority, for example, the Births, Deaths and Marriage in the State or Territory where the marriage is to take place. You will need to meet specific criteria and present your case to the Prescribed Authority.

So, why might you need this Shortening of Time?

Well, there are five main reasons recognized:

  1. Employment-related or other travel commitments.
  2. Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations.
  3. Medical reasons.
  4. Legal proceedings.
  5. Error in giving notice (by the celebrant, not the couple!)

Now, if your situation fits one of these categories, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Reach out to a marriage celebrant (like me) who’s up for conducting a ceremony at short notice – essentially – check availability before making your application. 
  2. Fill out a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form and submit it to the celebrant. Hold off on signing it until you’re with the celebrant or another approved witness.
  3. Pick a date and time for the ceremony, but keep in mind it can be adjusted if necessary.
  4. Get the celebrant to provide a letter confirming they’ve received your NOIM form and are willing to perform your marriage ceremony on the chosen date and time, pending approval for the shortening of time.
  5. Schedule a meeting with a Prescribed Authority to request the Shortening of Time. Take along the NOIM form so it can be signed. Remember to promptly return the signed NOIM to your celebrant the moment it is approved. The celebrant cannot proceed with your marriage ceremony until this approval is received. There is a list of Prescribed Authorities here: https://marriage.ag.gov.au/stateofficers/authorities
  6. Gather all necessary documents for the marriage (like birth certificates, passports, divorce papers) and any evidence supporting your reason for shortening the time (like medical reports, employer letters, receipts, flight bookings, etc.).

By following these steps and providing all the required information, you’ll be well on your way to saying “I do” sooner than you thought possible.

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