In order to marry in Australia, you will need to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant at least one month before your ceremony date (and no longer than 18 months in advance).
But what happens if that doesn’t work for you? Is there any way you can get married quicker than one month? The answer is, sometimes, but only when there’s extenuating circumstances. This process is called a Shortening of Time.
A Shortening of Time is not always easy to get, and it’s not your celebrant’s decision to reduce the one-month period. This decision is made by a prescribed authority, for example, the Births, Deaths and Marriage in the State or Territory where the wedding will be taking place.
THE REASON WHY ONE MAY BE GRANTED
There are five circumstances where a prescribed authority may consider a shortening of time. These are:
- employment-related or other travel commitments
- wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
- medical reasons
- legal proceedings
- an error in giving notice
You can read more about the guidelines and some examples of when the above reasons are relevant here.
HOW TO APPLY?
The process for Shortening of Time varies a little, depending on which State or Territory you are apply for one in. You will need to apply for the Shortening of Time in the State or Territory where you plan to marry.
The best plan of action is to have a chat to your celebrant first and explain your situation as to why you feel you meet the criteria to be granted a Shortening of Time. They will give you advice on what documentation you need to support your request for a Shortening of Time.
In some States or Territories, the Celebrant will apply for the Shortening of Time on your behalf. In others, you will apply direct to the Prescribed Authority. Either way, you will need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage, signed and witnessed, as well as your supporting documents, such as your identification.
CAN MY CELEBRANT TELL ME IF I GET IT?
The decision of granting a Shortening of Time is out of your celebrants’ hands.
If you wish to apply for one, your celebrant does not have any influence on the Prescribed Authority to accept or deny the request but can provide a letter of support.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M NOT GRANTED ONE?
If you have a specific date you want to get married on, you can still have a Commitment Ceremony. This is like a wedding ceremony, but without the legal aspects of a wedding. Your celebrant will have to make it known to your witnesses and guests that this ceremony doesn’t mean you are legally married, but it can be a great alternative if you are not granted a Shortening of Time.