Can you get married in less than one month?

Everyone getting married in Australia needs to give at least one calendar months notice, no matter if you are using a marriage celebrant or the marriage registry.

This notice period starts when the couple provide their marriage celebrant their Notice of Intended Marriage form (NoIM) - this can be electronically.

In some very limited circumstances, your marriage celebrant is permitted to marry you in less than one month.

Please see below for these reasons and the process you must got through.

NB. However, it may be simpler (and cheaper) to avoid the hassle and just provide the months notice, if possible.

However, our marriage celebrants can marry you in exactly one calendar month today, [todaysdate format="jS F Y"+2m]!

With out going through the hassle of applying for a shortening of time we can marry you in one calendar month from today - and if you also need the registered Certificate of Marriage you can pick it up the day from BDM (or next business day).

As our process can all be done on line we are the quickest way in Australia to get married - far quicker (and simplier) than the Marriage Registry Officer. Just click here to book now

Below are the "Guidelines" set out by the Attorney Generals  Department, covering the Shortening of Time before you can get married.

In particular refer to;

  • Section 4.1.4. This covers the specific circumstances you can use to request a shortening

Guidelines on the

Marriage Act 1961

for Marriage Celebrants

as published by the Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department (v1.0 February 2012)

- Excerpt -

4.1. PROCEDURE REQUIRED BEFORE SOLEMNISING A MARRIAGE

A marriage must not be solemnised unless:

  • notice of the intended marriage has been given to the authorised celebrant within the required notice period (discussed further below)
  • each party has produced the following documents to the authorised celebrant (as required by the NOIM):

-        evidence of date and place of birth (discussed further in Part 4.1.5 of these Guidelines)

-        evidence of identity (discussed further in Part 4.1.10 of these Guidelines)

-        evidence of the termination of any previous marriage, where relevant (discussed further in Part 4.1.16 of these Guidelines), and

  • each party has made a declaration as to his or her belief that there is no legal impediment to the marriage (discussed further in Part 4.1.9 of these Guidelines), and
  • the authorised celebrant is satisfied that the marriage will be valid, including that each party has given real consent (discussed further in Part 8.6 of these Guidelines).

The authorised celebrant must also ensure that information about marriage education and counseling is made available to the parties to the marriage (discussed further in Part 4.1.19 of these Guidelines).

4.1.1 NOTICE OF INTENDED MARRIAGE

Section 42 of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) requires the parties to an intended marriage to give the authorised celebrant at least one month’s written notice prior to the solemnisation of the marriage.  This notice is known as the Notice of Intended Marriage.  An electronic copy of the NOIM is available here.

4.1.2 OBTAINING A TRANSLATOR OR INTERPRETER

Obtaining a translator or interpreter will arise in a number of contexts in preparing to solemnise a marriage.  The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (NAATI) is the national standards and accreditation body for translators and interpreters in Australia.  It is the only agency to issue accreditations for practitioners who wish to work in this profession in Australia.  The NAATI website provides a searchable online directory of translators and interpreters.  When the services of a translator or interpreter are required, the Marriage Law and Celebrants Section recommends that they are found through the NAATI website.

4.1.3 WHEN THE NOIM MUST BE RECEIVED

The NOIM must be given to the authorised celebrant no earlier than 18 months and no later than one month before the date of the marriage.[1]  A notice expires after 18 months, and a marriage may not be solemnised if the NOIM was received more than 18 months before the date of the proposed marriage.  Parties are encouraged to produce their evidence of date and place of birth as well as evidence of identity and the end of any previous marriage (if relevant) at the time of lodging the NOIM.  However, this document may be produced at any time before the marriage is solemnised.  For the purposes of complying with the timeframes required for lodging the NOIM it is sufficient for an authorised celebrant to sight scanned (emailed) or faxed copies of the documents at the time of lodgement of the NOIM, provided the originals are sighted by the authorised celebrant before the marriage is solemnised.

4.1.4 CIRCUMSTANCES FOR AUTHORISING MARRIAGE WHERE NOIM IS LODGED WITH LESS THAN THE REQUIRED NOTICE TIME – ‘SHORTENING OF TIME’

A prescribed authority may authorise a marriage to be solemnised despite the authorised celebrant receiving the NOIM within one month of the date of the marriage.[2]  A list of prescribed authorities is published on the Attorney-General’s Department website.

WHEN CAN A PRESCRIBED AUTHORITY CONSIDER A SHORTENING OF TIME REQUEST?

The five circumstances in which an application for shortening of time may be considered by a prescribed authority are set out in Schedule 1B to the Marriage Regulations 1963 (Cth).  These are limited to:

  • employment related or other travel commitments
  • wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
  • medical reasons
  • legal proceedings, or
  • an error in giving notice.

WHAT SHOULD AN AUTHORISED CELEBRANT DO IF A COUPLE WANTS THEIR MARRIAGE SOLEMNISED LESS THAN ONE MONTH AFTER THE CELEBRANT RECEIVES THE NOIM?

If the parties to an intended marriage have not provided the NOIM to the authorised celebrant with the minimum one month’s notice, they will need to apply to a prescribed authority for authorisation before the celebrant can make or confirm any arrangements to marry them.

Where an authorised celebrant is asked to reduce the minimum notice period for the NOIM, the celebrant should see that the NOIM is in order and then refer the party or parties with the notice to a prescribed authority.

The authorised celebrant should explain the following key points to the couple:

  • the reason for seeking a shortening of time must fall within one of the categories described above before the application can be considered
  • a prescribed authority has no discretion to grant a shortening of time outside the circumstances covered by these categories, and
  • the granting of a shortening of time is not automatic.

The authorised celebrant should also advise the parties to the marriage to make an appointment with the prescribed authority and to take the completed NOIM and any other documentary evidence to prove why they require a shortening of time (for example, medical certificates or a travel itinerary).

WHAT CASES FALL WITHIN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN A SHORTENING OF TIME MAY BE GRANTED?

Schedule 1B to the Marriage Regulations provides examples of each of the given sets of circumstances.  Whether a particular situation falls within one of these is a matter for the prescribed authority, not the authorised celebrant.  The Marriage Law and Celebrants Section is unable to provide advice on particular situations other than to provide the information in these Guidelines and the Marriage Regulations.

WHAT SORT OF MATERIAL WILL THE PRESCRIBED AUTHORITY REQUIRE TO CONSIDER THE APPLICATION?

The Marriage Regulations list a number of matters the prescribed authority may take into account and material they may request when making the decision. Authorised celebrants should advise couples to put together this material before approaching the prescribed authority.

Such material should include a letter from a medical practitioner if they are seeking a shortening of time on medical grounds, or receipts for payments or wedding invitations if the circumstance is wedding or celebration arrangements.  The prescribed authority will be looking at the dates payments were made or invitations sent to gauge the genuineness of the need to shorten time.

If the circumstance relates to relocation for employment the prescribed authority will be looking for evidence of the date on which the applicant was informed of the posting or employment relocation as opposed to the date on which the posting is to commence (unless the posting or employment relocation has been brought forward).

Error in giving notice relates only to error on the part of the authorised celebrant, not the couple.  For example, the celebrant may not have fulfilled their obligation to explain the notice requirements properly.  Error in giving notice also includes invalid, stale or lost NOIMs.  An example of an invalid notice would include a NOIM given to a person who was not an authorised celebrant.  A reference to a lost NOIM refers to a notice that has been lost by the authorised celebrant not the couple.

HOW DOES THE PRESCRIBED AUTHORITY GRANT A SHORTENING OF TIME?

If the prescribed authority is satisfied that the relevant circumstance for shortening the notice period to less than one month has been met, they will make a note in the box provided at the foot of the NOIM on page four, sign it, add his or her designation and the words ‘Prescribed Authority’ and write the date.  The original NOIM should then be given by the parties to the proposed authorised celebrant before the marriage is solemnised.

WHAT DOES GIVING THE NOTICE ‘NOT LATER THAN ONE MONTH BEFORE THE DATE OF THE MARRIAGE’ MEAN?

The Acts Interpretation Act 1901 was amended by the Acts Interpretation Amendment Act 2011 commencing on 27 December 2011.  Section 2G provides that in any Act, month means a period: starting at the start of any day of one of the calendar months; and ending: immediately before the start of the corresponding day of the next calendar month; or if there is no such day – at the end of the next calendar month.

The term ‘month’ is defined in section 2G of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 as follows:(1)  In any Act, month means a period:(a)  starting at the start of any day of one of the calendar months; and(b)  ending:(i)  immediately before the start of the corresponding day of the next calendar month; or(ii)  if there is no such day—at the end of the next calendar month.Example 1: A month starting on 15 December in a year ends immediately before 15 January in the next year.Example 2: A month starting on 31 August in a year ends at the end of September in that year (because September is the calendar month coming after August and does not have 31 days).(2)  In any Act, a reference to a period of 2 or more months is a reference to a period:

(a)  starting at the start of a day of one of the calendar months (the starting month); and

(b)  ending:

(i)  immediately before the start of the corresponding day of the calendar month that is that number of calendar months after the starting month; or

(ii)  if there is no such day—at the end of the calendar month that is that number of calendar months after the starting month.

Example 1: A reference to 6 months starting on 15 December in a year is a reference to a period starting on that day and ending immediately before 15 June in the next year.

Example 2: A reference to 6 months starting on 31 October in a year is a reference to a period starting on that day and ending at the end of April in the next year (because April is the calendar month coming sixth after October and does not have 31 days).

For example:

  • a month starting on 15 December in a year ends immediately before 15 January in the next year (therefore the first day the marriage can be solemnised is 15 January)
  • a month starting on 31 August in a year ends at the end of September in that year because September is the calendar month coming after August and does not have 31 days (therefore the first day the marriage can be solemnised is 1 October), and
  • a month starting on 29, 30 or 31 January ends at the end of February in that year because February is the calendar month coming after January and does not have 31 days (therefore the first day the marriage can be solemnised is 1 March).  This applies regardless of whether it is a leap year.

Important Note:  The information previously provided by the Marriage Law and Celebrants Section including in the Explanatory Material on the Marriage Act 1961 for Marriage Celebrants regarding the calculation of the one month period is no longer current.

HOW DO THE PARTIES GIVE THE NOTICE IF THEY ARE OVERSEAS UNTIL LESS THAN ONE MONTH BEFORE THE MARRIAGE?

Where the parties will be overseas until a time that is less than one month before the marriage, they may send a copy of the NOIM and supporting documents to the authorised celebrant by post, (scanned) email, or fax.  It is not acceptable for an authorised celebrant to accept a NOIM and/or supporting documents via Skype or an iPad.  The authorised celebrant should recommend that if the NOIM is to be posted it should be sent by some form of registered post.

It is a wise precaution for couples to send photocopies of their supporting documents with the NOIM when they post them from overseas.  If there are any potential problems with, for example, divorce papers or death certificates the authorised celebrant will be able to advise the couple of this before they arrive for the marriage.

The authorised celebrant will need to obtain from the parties the original NOIM and sight the original documents relating to evidence of date and place of birth, identity and evidence of the end of a previous marriage (if relevant) prior to solemnnising the marriage.  This means the parties will need to bring these original documents with them.

WHEN DOES THE ONE MONTH PERIOD COMMENCE?

The one month notice period begins when the couple gives the authorised celebrant the completed and signed NOIM.  It does not commence when the couple book the marriage with the authorised celebrant or pay a deposit.

The one month notice period can also begin when the authorised celebrant is given a completed NOIM signed by one party to the intended marriage.  This situation only arises when the signature of the other party cannot conveniently be obtained at least one month prior to the proposed ceremony.  The NOIM can be lodged when signed by only one of the parties to the proposed marriage provided the other party signs the NOIM in the presence of the authorised celebrant before the marriage is solemnised.  The authorised celebrant must be satisfied that the party who has not signed the NOIM has a genuine reasons for not being able to do so at the time, is fully aware of the marriage and that their documents are in order.  Authorised celebrants should exercise caution in these situations as a party to a marriage may attempt to use this exception for a ‘surprise wedding’.

When an authorised celebrant receives a NOIM, they must write the date on which the NOIM was received in the space provided.  This is the date the NOIM is lodged.

HOW CAN AN AUTHORISED CELEBRANT OBTAIN A NOTICE OF INTENDED MARRIAGE?

The form of the NOIM has been prescribed.[3]  Copies of the NOIM are available here and can be purchased from CanPrint Communications.

A NOIM must be in accordance with the prescribed form and must contain the parties’ particulars as required in the prescribed form.

COMPLETING THE NOIM

Authorised celebrants should advise parties to complete the NOIM with care.  They should read the notes on the front of the printed form before completing the NOIM.  It is recommended that parties type, or use block letters, to complete the form.  If the NOIM is downloaded from the internet care should be taken to download and print all four pages so that couples can read all the Notes, including the Privacy Note.  The authorised celebrant or another person may write the particulars on behalf of the parties giving the notice as long as the parties check them for accuracy.

WHAT IF A PARTY DOES NOT KNOW THE INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE NOIM?

Where a party is unable to ascertain all of the particulars required in the NOIM after reasonable inquiry, they should write ‘not known’ in the appropriate space/s.

In order to make the NOIM effective, they should also provide the authorised celebrant with a statutory declaration as to his or her inability to ascertain the particulars not included in the NOIM, and the reasons for that inability, before the marriage is solemnised.  The requirements for completing a statutory declaration are explained further in Part 12.5 of these Guidelines.

NOIMS CONTAINING FALSE STATEMENTS

Authorised celebrants should advise parties that it is an offence for a person to give a NOIM to an authorised celebrant if the person giving the notice knows that the NOIM contains a false statement or is defective.[4]  If an authorised celebrant is in any doubt whether a NOIM is in order or whether it contains false statements, he or she should refer the NOIM to a registering authority as soon as practicable after receipt and before the solemnisation of the marriage.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE NOIM AFTER A MARRIAGE?

Items 1‑7 and 9‑10 of the NOIM correspond exactly to the items on the BDM issued official certificate of marriage which authorised celebrants prepare and forward to the relevant BDM after the marriage.

Item 8, which asks about length of residence in Australia, is not reflected on the BDM certificate.  The information in item 8 and items 11 to 16 of the NOIM are forwarded by the BDM to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  The ABS records non-identifying information from the NOIM, and uses the information to generate national statistics on marriage and the family in Australia.


[1] Paragraph 42(1)(a) of the Marriage Act

[2] Subsection 42(5) of the Marriage Act and Schedule 1B to the Marriage Regulations

[3] See Form 13, Notice of Intended Marriage – Schedule 1, to the Marriage Regulations

[4] Section 104 of the Marriage Act

According to the Marriage Act 1961