In Quebec, it is necessary to wait 21 days to get married between publication of the marriage notice (formerly known as publication of the bans) and celebration of the marriage.
This delay allows celebration of a marriage to be made public and to allow any person who might oppose it to assert his reasons in court.
Failing to comply with this delay could lead to significant difficulties in having the marriage registered and thus having proof of it.
In the case of a couple who is already in a civil union, publishing a notice of marriage is not required. A couple united civilly who wish to get married could therefore get married before this 21-day period.
A marriage must be celebrated within three months following the twentieth day from publication of the marriage notice. After this period, the celebrant will have to publish a new marriage notice and the prospective spouses will have to wait 21 days to get married.
In certain cases it is possible to get married before this time. It is then necessary to obtain an exemption from publication of the marriage notice. This exemption is granted by the Quebec Director of Civil Status for serious reasons. A request for exemption must be submitted directly to the Director of Civil Status.
In the case of extreme urgency, when the life of one of the future spouses is in danger, the celebrant may herself grant the exemption, enclosing a letter of justification with publication of the marriage notice.