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More Than A Dream January 24, 2017

Destination weddings can make for memorable moments for brides, grooms, and their family and friends. While the celebrations often take place in idyllic locales that make for a gorgeous backdrop to the celebration of the happy couple, setting the perfect ambiance for such a noteworthy occasion without breaking the bank can be tricky.

Destination weddings ask a lot of both the couple and their guests. Couples may need to visit the location of their wedding several times before the big day, and those costs can quickly add up. Guests will also need to budget for flights and lodging to attend a destination wedding. However, there are some ways for couples to rein in the associated costs to ensure that everyone has a good time without having to worry about finances as soon as the big day is over.

Look for Convenient, Affordable Travel. Some resorts may offer great prices on destination wedding packages, but be careful to avoid locations so remote that you and your guests will be forced to pay for expensive flights. With the rising popularity of destination weddings, many resorts now offer competitive packages; however, if keeping travel affordable for guests is a goal, it is important to choose a location that will allow travelers to book a reasonably priced flight rather than choosing the location based on the cost of the wedding package.

Shorten the Guest List. Trimming the guest list is how many couples curtail destination wedding costs. Invite only your closest family members and friends to the wedding and reception and then host a second, less-formal party for your remaining relatives and friends after returning from your honeymoon. Guests will understand, and you will ultimately get the chance to celebrate with all of your loved ones anyway.

Go Simple and Save. Many traditional weddings include all the bells and whistles, like lavish flowers and elaborate gowns. Destination weddings are often expected to be simplified, particularly if the festivities are at an island location. Let nature do the decorating and opt for native wedding attire if it's more affordable than potentially costly gowns and tuxedos.

Resist Peak Tourist Season. Much like there is a peak wedding season throughout North America, many popular travel spots' economies depend heavily on tourism seasons. Avoid that season when choosing a date for your destination wedding and you'll also avoid the higher costs that are associated with the more popular tourist times.

Go Discount Hunting. Popular destination wedding locations may be willing to negotiate prices on all aspects of the wedding, and those discounts may increase as more guests commit to attending. Resorts recognize that weddings will bring guests in need of lodging, food, and entertainment. Couples can use that to their advantage when negotiating prices. Couples may even be able to negotiate with airlines for discounted airfares if they can guarantee a certain number of travelers.

Buy Local. When planning your wedding, embrace the culture of your chosen destination and choose local foods, flowers, and entertainment. Not only will it make your big day more unique and authentic, but it will also save you money and benefit the local economy at the same time.

Don't Forget... Couples hoping to have a destination wedding in another country may want to plan for a longer engagement than those getting married closer to home. The longer timeframe gives guests more time to arrange for travel, and it allows the bride and groom more time to navigate the requirements of getting married in a different country. Paperwork should be expected, and wedding license applications may not be processed as quickly. Be sure to have a firm grasp of the country's application process, including the possibility of having birth certificates and other personal documents translated into the official language of the country. Also, be sure to check on residency requirements of the country that you hope to marry in. Take advantage of a professional wedding planner, if the resort you choose has one on staff. A professional can make it easier for couples to navigate the sometimes complex laws regulating destination weddings, and a wedding planner's services are often included in resort wedding packages. If no such service is included in the hotel package, consider hiring a local wedding planner to make the process go more smoothly.

Destination weddings can be significant undertakings, but if couples are armed with the proper knowledge and preparation, the bride and groom can enjoy the wedding event of a lifetime and create memories that will last forever.

Ben & Andrea's Majestic Rocky Mountain Wedding

When Ben and Andrea Singer of Lancaster decided to plan their dream wedding, they knew that it would involve travel for their family and friends. "Our family is spread out across the country," Andrea explained. "Regardless of what we did, half of our family would have to travel."

The couple began planning a lavish autumn wedding in their local area, but they soon decided it wasn't going to live up to their hopes for the big day. "We realized we needed to refocus and bring things back to what mattered to us," the couple shared. "We were planning a wedding for other people, rather than a wedding that would make us happy."

With their newfound focus, the couple zeroed in on a destination wedding in a location that was special to both of them: the Rocky Mountains. "Andrea spent her childhood vacationing at the YMCA of the Rockies, and as adults, we have shared this place together. When we decided to go with a destination wedding, it was a logical choice for us, given its significance and our great love of the outdoors," Ben said. "It seemed like a wonderful idea to bring our families together in a place with so many fond memories for the two of us, and it gave us an opportunity to share this place with the people we love."

In the week leading up to the wedding, the couple rented a 32-person cabin where their families could spend time and get to know each other. "It was a surprisingly drama-free week that culminated in our wedding," Andrea recalled. "There were certainly a lot of 'what-ifs' leading up to the wedding, but the YMCA of the Rockies did an amazing job of making our wedding work," noted Ben.

The Singers were thrilled with their Rocky Mountain wedding, and they have a few tips for other couples who are interested in saying "I do" in a special, far-away locale. "Destination weddings can be tricky because you may not even see your wedding venue until (the big day)," Andrea noted. "Plan how you want things to go way ahead of time so that there are fewer surprises when you get down to the wire." Ben and Andrea also recommend that couples decide what they are willing to sacrifice, noting that not all of their close friends and family were able to make the big day. "For some, that may be a sacrifice they are not willing to make. Even something as small as trying wedding cakes or catering options will be something you may miss out on," Ben said.

However, for each sacrifice, there is the reward of lifelong memories. "Destination weddings replace some of the sacrifices with memories you simply can't make elsewhere," Andrea pointed out. One glimpse of the Singers' incredible wedding photos with breathtaking mountain views in the background, and there's no doubt that the couple made a great decision.

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Obtaining A Marriage License In Pennsylvania December 15, 2015

The Clerk of Orphans' Court and/or the Register of Wills within each individual county in Pennsylvania handles information, forms, and the actual registering of marriage license applications. Both individuals must appear in person together to complete (and file) the application for marriage. A Social Security number and a government-issued photo ID are required for both parties. The medical examination and blood test are no longer required.

In Pennsylvania, if either party is under age 18, the consent of a parent or legal guardian is needed. Applicants who have been previously married must provide the following information concerning the dissolution of the most recent marriage: divorces - must present a certified copy of the decree (if maiden name has been resumed, that document must be presented); annulments - the same information as is required for divorces; and widowed - the date of death of the deceased spouse. Blood relatives down to and including first cousins may not marry under Pennsylvania law.

A marriage license becomes valid on the third day following application or the next business day if the third day falls on a weekend or holiday. The license is valid for 60 days from the third day following the date of application.

The wedding ceremony need not be performed in the county in which the license was issued. However, an out-of-state marriage license cannot be used in Pennsylvania, nor can a Pennsylvania marriage license be used in another state. Details, courthouse locations, and other information for separate counties in the area are listed below. All courthouse office hours listed are Mondays through Fridays, unless otherwise noted.

Details are available on each county's government website, by calling the phone number for the Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans' Court Office, or in person Mondays through Fridays during regular business hours, at least one half hour before closing time.

Adams County

Clerk of Courts & Orphans' Court

117 Baltimore St., Room 103

Gettysburg

8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-337-9806

www.adamscounty.us

Berks County

Register of Wills

633 Court St., Second Floor

Reading

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

610-478-6600

www.co.berks.pa.us

Chester County

Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans' Court

201 W. Market St., Suite 2200

West Chester

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

610-344-6335

www.chesco.org

Cumberland County

Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans' Court

1 Courthouse Square, Suite 102

Carlisle

8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-240-6345

www.ccpa.net

Dauphin County

Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans' Court

101 Market St., Room 103

Harrisburg

8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-780-6506

www.dauphincounty.org

Dauphin County - Northern Branch Office

Northern Dauphin Human Services Center

295 State Drive

Elizabethville

First and third Wednesday of the month, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-905-2700

www.dauphincounty.org

Lancaster County

Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans' Court

50 N. Duke St.

Lancaster

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-295-3522

www.co.lancaster.pa.us

Lebanon County

Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans' Court

400 S. Eighth St., Room 105

Lebanon

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-228-4415

www.lebcounty.org

Montgomery County

Register of Wills

1 Montgomery Plaza, Fourth Floor

Norristown

8:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

610-278-3414

www.montcopa.org

York County

Clerk of Orphans' Court

45 N. George St., Second Floor

York

8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

717-771-9288

www.yorkcountypa.gov

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Obtaining a Marriage License in PA August 28, 2013

The Clerk of Orphans' Court and/or the Register of Wills within each individual county in Pennsylvania handles information, forms, and the actual registering of marriage license applications. Both individuals must appear in person together to complete (and file) the application for marriage. A Social Security number and a government-issued photo ID are required for both parties. The medical examination and blood test are no longer required.

In Pennsylvania, if either party is under 18, the consent of a parent or legal guardian is needed. Applicants who have been previously married must provide the following information concerning the dissolution of the most recent marriage: divorces - must present a certified copy of the decree (if maiden name has been resumed, must present that document); annulments - the same information as is required for divorces; and widowed - the date of death of the deceased spouse is needed. Blood relatives down to and including first cousins may not marry under Pennsylvania law.

A marriage license becomes valid on the third day following application or the next business day if the third day falls on a weekend or holiday. The license is valid for 60 days from the third day following the date of application.

The wedding ceremony need not be performed in the county in which the license was issued. However, an out-of-state marriage license cannot be used in Pennsylvania, nor can a Pennsylvania marriage license be used in another state. Details, courthouse locations, and other information for separate counties in the area are listed below. All courthouse office hours listed are Monday through Friday.

Details are available on each county's government website; by calling the phone number for the Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans' Court Office; or in person Monday through Friday during regular business hours, at least one-half hour before closing time.

Adams County

Clerk of Courts & Orphans' Court

117 Baltimore St., Room 103

Gettysburg

8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

717-337-9806

www.adamscounty.us

Berks County

Register of Wills

633 Court St., 2nd Floor

Reading

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

610-478-6600

www.co.berks.pa.us

Chester County

Register of Wills

201 W. Market St., Suite 2200

West Chester

8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

610-344-6335

www.chesco.org

Cumberland County

Register of Wills

1 Courthouse Square, Room 102

Carlisle

8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-240-6345

www.ccpa.net

Dauphin County

Register of Wills

101 Market St., Room 103

Harrisburg

8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-780-6506

www.dauphincounty.org

Lancaster County

Register of Wills

50 N. Duke St., 2nd Floor

Lancaster

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-295-3522

www.co.lancaster.pa.us

Lebanon County

Register of Wills

400 S. Eighth St., Room 105

Lebanon

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-228-4415

www.lebcounty.org

Montgomery County

Register of Wills

1 Montgomery Plaza, 4th Floor

Norristown

8:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

610-278-3414

www.montcopa.org

York County

Clerk of Orphans' Court

45 N. George St., 2nd Floor

York

8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

717-771-9288

www.yorkcountypa.gov

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