Shortening of time

Information from the Attorney General's website:

It is possible to shorten the minimum notice time for a marriage to less than a month if, and only if, the special circumstances set out in the Marriage Regulations 1963 are met.  You will need to approach a Prescribed Authority for approval. You may need to make an appointment and a fee may be payable. 

Prescribed authorities are listed on the Attorney General's website (Prescribed Authorities are usually found at your Local Court or Registry Office).  They can shorten the required period of notice if they are satisfied that the circumstances prescribed in the Regulations are met.

The five categories of circumstances set out in the Regulations are:

  • Employment–related, or other travel commitments
  • Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
  • Medical reasons
  • Legal proceedings, and
  • Error in giving notice.

The reason for wanting a shortening of time for notice must fall within one of these categories. There is no capacity to grant a shortening of time outside these circumstances. 

Shortening of time is not automatic. 

When making a decision, the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) or a Prescribed Authority will weigh up the information provided in support of your application and may seek additional information as outlined in the Regulations.

You should have the documentation that supports your request before approaching a Prescribed Authority

What do you need to do?

  1. Contact a marriage celebrant who is willing to conduct a ceremony at short notice.  You can find a celebrant in your area here

  2. Complete a Notice of Intended Marriage and provide it to the celebrant.  Make sure you do not sign until you are in the presence of the celebrant or other approved witness.

  3. Choose a date and time for the ceremony - this can be changed if necessary

  4. Ask the celebrant to supply you with a letter saying they have received a Notice of Intended Marriage from you and are willing to conduct your marriage ceremony on the date and time nominated, provided the approval for shortening of time is granted.

  5. Go to a Prescribed Authority to request a Shortening - take the letter from the celebrant and the Notice of Intended Marriage with you, so that the Notice can be signed as approved by the Prescribed Authority.  You must return the signed Notice of Intended Marriage to your celebrant.

  6. Make sure you take all documents that you would require to be married (birth certificates and/or passports, divorce papers) and documentary evidence to support your reason for shortening eg medical reports, employers evidence, wedding receipts

A civil celebrant from The Celebrants Network will be able to guide you through the process of obtaining a Shortening of Time



Last modified on Thursday, 27 July 2023 18:17