News release

Legislative Changes Take Some of the Stress out of Getting Married

They say you can't hurry love, but Nova Scotians planning to marry won't have to wait quite as long for a licence with changes to the Solemnization of Marriage Act introduced today, April 3.

The act will be amended to eliminate the five-day wait period between the time a marriage licence is applied for, and the date it is ready for pick up.

"A marriage ceremony is a special occasion that should be as hassle-free as possible," said John MacDonell, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. "To help make preparing for the special day less stressful, we are removing the red-tape from the marriage licence process."

Before the amendment, couples applying for a marriage licence made two trips for a licence, one to apply and, five days later, another to pick up the licence. This was often inconvenient.

"The new changes to the Solemnization of Marriage Act will reduce some stress for couples getting married and let them focus on the fun details," said Lauren Martin, a Nova Scotia wedding planner and designer. "It directly impacts our clients and allows for a seamless and stress-free application process."

The five-day wait period was introduced in 1931 and it is believed it was to force sober second thought.

"While this requirement may have served a useful purpose at one time, Nova Scotians no longer need government to play this monitoring role," said Mr. MacDonell. "We are responding to Nova Scotians' need to have efficient and convenient access to government services while respecting that adults do not require a government-forced period to think about their marriage."

Eliminating the five-day wait is also more efficient for government.

In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, 4,636 marriage licences were issued in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia is the last province in Canada to have a wait period for marriage licences.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotians planning to marry will no longer need to wait five days to pick up a marriage licence.

Changes to the Solemnization of Marriage Act will eliminate the wait period for a marriage licence, and the need for a second visit to get the licence.

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell says the province is removing red-tape from the marriage licence process to make preparing for the special day less stressful.

The wait period was introduced in 1931, presumably to force sober second thought. Nova Scotia is the last province in Canada to still have a wait period for marriage licences.

-30-

Media Contact:

Susan Tate
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-0112 E-mail: