How to Officiate a Wedding in Pennsylvania

More and more couples are opting to have a close friend or family member perform the wedding ceremony these days. There are many benefits to asking someone you know to marry you. Wedding officiants that you know can add a personal authentic touch to your wedding day that will create lifelong memories. Having an officiant that you know makes for great photo ops too.

Being an officiant is a huge honor and comes with the most important duty of the day! To ensure that everything runs smoothly on the big day, be sure to plan ahead well in advance and follow all the necessary steps to legally marrying a couple in the state of Pennsylvania. 

How to Officiate a Wedding in Pennsylvania

Looking to learn how to officiate a wedding in Pennsylvania? It’s a very simple process. 

Get Ordained Online

Getting ordained is fairly simple through the American Marriage Ministries. It’s a free process that can be done online. There is an application online where you’ll need to fill out some basic information, and that’s it!

In the state of Pennsylvania, officiants are not required to register in order to officiate a wedding. While there is a law that specifies who can solemnize marriage, which includes all online ordained ministers of the American Marriage Ministries, it’s not required to register with the Pennsylvania government. Wedding officiants in the state of Pennsylvania must be at least 18 years old. 

Prepare for the Ceremony

American Marriage Ministries has resources to help officiants plan for the wedding ceremony. You’ll learn the details of the format of a ceremony, names of each part of the ceremony, how to write a wedding ceremony, and more. It’s helpful to discuss with the couple how they would like the ceremony to go, including any personal touches. 

That’s it! Officiating a wedding in Pennsylvania is very simple and can be done through the American Marriage Ministries. 

Plan Your Wedding Day with Us 

Plan your wedding at Historic Acres of Hershey in one of our beautiful event spaces. Located on rolling farmland, Historic Acres offers a scenic location to tie the knot. Contact us to discuss options and learn about our available dates. 

5 Ideas for a Rustic Winter Wedding

Are you planning a rustic winter wedding? While many people dream of a tropical wedding with their feet in the sand, others long for a cozy and romantic evening watching the snow gently fall.

Embracing rustic and woodsy elements into your wedding decorations offers stunning photos and a beautiful setting for an evening of dinner and dancing. Consider a few of our favorite ways to decorate your rustic winter wedding. 

Rustic Winter Wedding Decorations and Ideas

Design a color palate of bold and rich colors

Bold colors offer a richness and warmth that are perfectly suited for the winter, especially if you have snow on your wedding day. Think cranberries and deep reds that contrast nicely against white, as well as elegant golds and dense neutrals. 

Embrace the cold and snow

If there is snow on your wedding day, consider yourself lucky! Snow in wedding photos is absolutely gorgeous. Be sure to prepare with warm layers and even mittens or gloves to use in photos. 

Use wood and natural elements as decor

Wood, pinecones, birchwood, or even twigs are beautiful decor pieces for a winter wedding. This theme evokes cozy thoughts of a cabin in the forest, which is both romantic and elegant. Wood and natural elements also feel warm and inviting. 

Warmth of candles and lanterns

Candles and lanterns offer a fire element that mimics a fireplace and feels very romantic for a winter affair. Consider using candles as centerpieces, which is also more budget friendly than floral arrangements. 

Serve cozy cocktails and hot beverages

Make sure your guests don’t get cold during the night by serving hot beverages like apple cider, mulled wine, and hot chocolate. You could even consider a hot chocolate bar for your dessert table! 

Plan Your Rustic Winter Wedding at Historic Acres

Located on seven acres of rolling hills, Historic Acres of Hershey is a beautiful setting for a wedding all throughout the year. We offer a four-season pavilion and event spaces that can accommodate groups of all sizes. Give us a call to learn more about our venue and upcoming available dates.

5 Wedding Decorations on a Budget

Looking for wedding decorations on a budget? You’re in luck. There are many ways to reduce the cost of decorations without sacrificing the beauty of your event. We all know weddings can get pricey quickly, but there are options to save when it comes to decorations. You can get crafty, shop for vintage, and reuse decorations from other events. Get creative and have fun with your wedding decorations on a budget!

Wedding Decorations on a Budget

Search for Vintage

Go on a hunt for vintage decor to save money and reduce waste at your wedding. When choosing vintage decor for your wedding, have a general idea of what you’re looking for but keep an open mind for anything that suits your style and taste. With vintage, it’s easy to have mismatched items and eclectic decor. Some towns and cities host swap and sell events for wedding decor as well, so keep an eye out for a market like that in your area. 

Get Crafty with DIY Projects

If you’re crafty, wedding decorations are a perfect way to get out some creative juices. DIY projects can save you big when it comes to centerpieces and large displays. Give yourself plenty of time to research and put together your DIY wedding projects so you aren’t down to the wire getting a craft thrown together. This is a great opportunity to enlist the bridal party or family members to help. 

Use Your Location

Historic Acres of Hershey sits along beautiful rolling hills surrounded by lush foliage. The property includes beautifully manicured landscaping and natural greenery that will stand out in photos and serve as a perfect backdrop for your special day. No matter the season, Historic Acres of Hershey offers a gorgeous setting.

Skip the Flower Arrangements

Flowers are gorgeous, but they can get pricey very quickly. If you’re looking for wedding decorations on a budget, you’ll want to skip the floral arrangements. You can add pops of color with dried flowers, herbs, or even paper flowers throughout the venue. 

Reuse Decor

If you have some decor from your engagement party, bridal shower, or a family member or friend’s wedding, consider reusing if you can. Reusing decor is another great way to reduce overall waste at your wedding while saving money. You can always tweak or modify the decor to fit into your style or color palette. 

Plan Your Wedding at Historic Acres

Looking for a wedding venue in Hershey, PA? Historic Acres of Hershey boasts a beautiful setting and several spaces to accommodate your needs. Give us a call or fill out a form online to learn more about our offerings and availability.

Timeline to Plan a Wedding

There are a lot of details to consider when planning your wedding, some that need to be done well in advance and others that can wait until closer to the date. The timeline to plan a wedding comes down to the specifics of your day. If you’re wondering how to plan a wedding step by step without feeling stressed out, start with some of the bigger tasks and work your way down. 

Timeline to Plan a Wedding

One of the first things you do when planning your wedding is to find a venue and pick a date. Once this is solidified, you’ll know how long you have to plan and your venue’s capacity. 

1 Year Before Your Wedding

Create Your Guestlist: Start building out your wedding guestlist based on the capacity of your event space.  

Choose Your Wedding Party: Ask your closest family members and friends to be a part of your special day. Give them plenty of time to ensure they are available to be there for your big day. 

Buy Your Wedding Dress: Wedding dress shopping is a fun and special moment for many brides. Visit a couple of different stores to try on dresses to get a feel for the style you like best. 

Find Your Wedding Vendors: Once you have your date secured, you can start looking for vendors that are available that day. Historic Acres of Hershey has a list of preferred vendors that we love and trust. 

Start a Wedding Registry: Determine what you have already and what you’ll need once you officially start your life as a married couple. You can go to a store or do a wedding registry online. 

Book a Hotel Room Block: If you have a lot of out of town guests, it’s nice to offer a room block so that everyone stays in the same place. 

6 Months Before Your Wedding

Shop for the Bridal Party: Determine your color scheme and go shopping for your bridal party attire.

Plan Your Wedding Decor: Choose the style and types of decor that you’ll want to have for your wedding. Consider the time it will take to create DIY decor or how long it will take for something to ship if it’s being made.

Send Out Save the Dates: Let everyone know about your upcoming event with save the dates! These are typically simple and beautiful with minimal details so your guests can begin planning.

Create Your Wedding Website: Another great tool for planning is a wedding website. Create a wedding website for your guests with information like the wedding registry, hotel accommodations, things to do in the area, wedding party information, and more. 

3 Months Before Your Wedding

Plan the Day: You’ll need to plan the wedding reception order of events and which traditions and activities you’ll include on your special day. 

Create Your Seating Chart: By this time, you’ve likely started receiving your RSVPs and you can start building your seating chart. 

Obtain Your Marriage License: Just before the wedding, you’ll need to obtain your marriage license. You will need to obtain it within 2-3 weeks but at least three days prior to your wedding day. 

FInalize Last Minute Items: No matter how well you plan, there’s always something that seems to pop up at the last minute. Save yourself some time- and money- to manage these surprises. 

Plan Your Wedding at Historic Acres of Hershey

Historic Acres of Hershey offers a beautiful setting for rustic and modern weddings alike. Contact us to learn more about our event spaces or to book a tour of the property.

Alternative Wedding Dress Ideas

If you’re a non-traditional bride looking for ways to switch it up, alternative wedding dress ideas are a perfect solution. While some girls grow up dreaming of a beautiful white wedding dress, others may prefer to showcase their personalities with a bit more flair. 

There are several options for brides seeking an alternative to wedding dresses. From jumpsuits to brightly colored attire, there are truly no limits to how the bride dresses on her special day.

4 Alternative Wedding Dress Ideas

Ultimately, brides should choose the wedding dress that makes them most comfortable while feeling beautiful. Each bride has their own idea of what that means. Here are a few alternative wedding dress ideas to consider.

Jumpsuit

Not really into dresses? Jumpsuits are an ultra-modern alternative for brides who don’t like to wear dresses. You can find bridal jumpsuits in all types of fabric like satin, lace, or tulle. Elegant jumpsuits offer extra comfort and style for both casual and formal affairs. Jumpsuits are also great for brides who want to do an outfit change for the reception. 

Cocktail dress

Brides who want to be casual and fun may want to consider a cocktail dress rather than a gown. Cocktail dresses are especially great for summer weddings. A cocktail dress is another consideration for weddings that don’t have a traditional dinner. 

Bright and colorful

Why just wear white? Brides can think outside of the traditional color scheme and opt for a vibrantly colored dress. This is a great alternative for creative brides who want a cheerful event! Bright colors look stunning in photos, but be sure to consider the overall color scheme of the event. It can be easy to overload on the colors, so think about neutral decor to balance it out.

Vintage dress

A vintage dress is not only a fashion-forward option, it’s also sustainable and budget-friendly. You can choose to wear a dress that has been passed down in your family, or buy a vintage dress specifically for the occasion. Check out a few different stores and keep in mind that you may have to get it altered. Vintage wedding dresses can make for stunning photos, too!

Secure Your Wedding Space at Historic Acres

Planning a wedding in Hershey, PA? Historic Acres of Hershey offers multiple event spaces that can accommodate decor of all styles. Contact us to learn more about our available dates and venue details.

How to Create a Wedding Guest List

Planning a wedding requires quite a few steps, including creating your wedding guest list. While this might be a simple task for some, it may be more challenging for others. Ultimately it comes down to the size of your venue and your ideal number of guests, as well as the amount of people in your life that you want to be witness to this event. 

Tips to Create Your Wedding Guest List

There are a few steps to consider when planning out your wedding guest list. Be sure to consult with members of your family, like parents and guardians to ensure that everyone is included who should be. You don’t want to realize you forgot someone when it’s too late! 

Determine your venue’s capacity

The first thing to know is how many guests can fit at your venue, which will guide your guest list creation. You may find you have plenty of space for all your family members and friends, or you’ll need to think carefully about invites. 

Start with your immediate family and bridal party

When you’re planning your guest list, start by considering your closest family members and bridal party members. And don’t forget to include yourselves on the list! Once you’ve got your core group of attendees, you can start filling in the remaining guests. Consider creating tiers if you are going to struggle with capacity. 

Make a long list of all considered guests

It can be helpful to start building out a a long list of all considered guests so you have all names in front of you. This is a great time to pull in assistance from family members to be sure you have everyone included. In some cases, there will be extended relatives who you invite based on other invitees. Don’t forget to include cousins, spouses, and children of relatives when you’re building out your list.

Decide whether you’ll include plus ones

Plus ones will play a big role in how many guests you have capacity to invite to your wedding. It’s considered fairly standard to offer plus ones to guests in long-term relationships, while you might not need to offer them to guests who are single or in new relationships. 

Stagger your invitations

If you have a list of guests that is too long for your venue’s capacity, consider staggering your invitations. You can send out your initial batch and wait for responses until you send out more batches of invitations to more distant relatives or friends you haven’t spoken with in a while. However, if this is a route you’re going to take, be sure that you’re giving guests enough time to plan.

Book an Event Space at Historic Acres of Hershey

If you’re planning a wedding in Hershey PA, consider Historic Acres of Hershey for your event. We have event spaces with varying capacities to accommodate groups of all sizes. Give us a call to learn more or schedule a tour. 

8 Wedding Dessert Ideas

Are you searching for wedding dessert ideas that are out of the norm? While everyone loves a good cake, there are so many other desserts to consider. From pies to whoopie pies, there are no rules when it comes to serving up delightful sweet treats for your guests. You can make it easy for your guests to grab a dessert between songs or stick to the traditional post-dinner dessert while guests are still seated. 

Wedding Dessert Ideas

Think outside of the box with these wedding dessert ideas for your big event. You can customize them all to suit your taste and style.

Pie

Great for fall weddings, pie is a cozy and delicious dessert to serve at your wedding. From fruit pies to cream pies, there is a variety of flavors to serve giving guests options to choose their favorite type. And, don’t forget the ice cream!

Donuts

Donuts are fun and easy to grab and go. You can have both standard donuts and donut holes so guests can choose their ideal serving size. There are so many fun ways to display donuts as well! Have some small to-go bags ready for guests as well who may want to bring a donut home for breakfast in the morning.

Cake pops

Cake pops are easy to display and eat without making a mess! Kids and adults alike will love cake pops and they are great for guests who don’t want to spend too much time away from the dance floor. 

Churros

Churros are a fun alternative similar to donuts. The cinnamon and sugar coated fried dough is a Spanish and Mexican dessert that has gained popularity as street food, and as a wedding dessert! They are perfectly sweet and easy to eat. You can serve up different flavors or have sauces available to customize.

Ice cream or gelato

Great for summer weddings, ice cream or gelato are classic desserts that everyone loves! You can either serve it with dinner as everyone is seated or have a table set up for guests to choose their flavors. You can even have toppings and cones to make guests feel like they’re at a real ice cream shop.

Chocolates

A display of beautiful chocolates is not only great for photos, but is perfect for everyone. Consider a variety of chocolates, truffles, dipped fruit, or even fudge. Make sure to label each kind so guests know what they are biting into!

Whoopie pies

Delicious and hand held, whoopie pies are a great alternative to cupcakes. These can be pre-packaged so guests can save them for later, or you can display them similar to a cake. 

S’mores

Who doesn’t love s’mores? At Historic Acres of Hershey, we have a bonfire pit to roast the perfect marshmallow and craft the ideal dessert. S’mores are both fun and nostalgic!

Plan Your Wedding at Historic Acres of Hershey

Secure a space at the Historic Acres of Hershey for your wedding. We have various wedding event spaces to consider, all of which are beautiful and unique in their own way. Give us a call or submit a form to contact us to learn more about our availability and schedule a tour.

Wedding Reception Order of Events

If you’re planning a wedding, there are a lot of things to think about. While plenty flexible, there is a general wedding reception order of events so that you and your wedding coordinator know the flow of the day. 

Wedding Reception Order of Events

At modern weddings today, many couples decide to scrap traditions like the bouquet toss or the receiving line, but there’s no harm in keeping tradition alive. Depending on the couple, there may be family traditions added as well. If you’re unsure of the standard wedding reception order of events, look no further! We’re here to offer some insight. 

Post-ceremony

Receiving Line: This is when the newly married couple will greet all of their guests and receive well wishes as they embark on this new journey. It’s a great way to ensure you get to thank each and every one of your guests. 

Cocktail Hour: Between the ceremony and the reception, cocktail hour is a casual time to mingle and enjoy a drink. This is typically the time when the married couple and wedding party will take photos as well. 

Guests Are Seated: Once cocktail hour starts to wind down, it’s time for dinner. Guests are guided toward their seats as they await the wedding party and dining festivities. 

Wedding Party Entrance: Ready to watch everyone’s finest entrance moves? The wedding party entrance is fun and exciting. The married couple makes the final entrance into the reception to get the party officially kicked off. 

Main Reception

First Dance: The first dance at a wedding is one of the most popular traditions and a romantic way to signify a new life together. The couple’s first dance can even be to a faster song for those wanting to have a little fun with it. 

Meal: It’s time for food! You can do family style, plated dishes, or even food stations for guests to try. 

Speeches: Weddings will typically include speeches from the maid of honor, best man, a parent of the couple, and the couple. 

Cutting the Cake: Newlyweds will typically cut the cake together, sometimes feeding it to one another-or even smashing it in one another’s face! 

Dessert: Serve up your dessert. You can choose traditional cake, ice cream, cupcakes, donuts, pies, or any other sweet treat that will please a crowd. Desserts can be served or you can set up a bar for guests to grab and go. 

Dancing: It’s time to get everyone out on the dance floor for an evening of celebration. If you’ve chosen your playlist, be sure to include 

Late-night Snacks: Weddings are long! Late night snacks are increasingly popular to have at weddings. Choose something simple and fun and easy to eat between moves on the dance floor. 

Last song: It’s the last song of the night, so make it a good one! The DJ will announce the final song of the evening and any after-party events to the crowd. 

Contact Historic Acres of Hershey

5 Cozy Wedding Ideas for Fall

Crisp air, crunchy leaves, and vibrant hues of orange and yellow evoke all the fall feels. Wedding ideas for the fall embody the natural changing of the seasons. Fall weddings are popular because of the beautiful weather and stunning scenery this time of the year. 

5 Wedding Ideas for Fall 

Think cozy and romantic decor, warm tones, and outdoor settings for your fall wedding. Here are a few ideas to make your fall wedding extra special.

Pick Warm and Rich Tones

Think burnt orange, sage green, mustard yellow, lavender, and even dark purples for your color scheme. This is a great opportunity to incorporate metallics as well, which work nicely with warm tones for the season. From bridal party attire to centerpieces, fall colors match most skin types and look great in photos!

Choose a Seasonal Cocktail

Seasonal cocktails are great for fall weddings when people are craving warm, cozy, and spicy drinks. Hot spiked apple cider, whiskey and ginger, cranberry margaritas, or pumpkin spiced beer are all fun seasonal options. 

Embrace the Natural Scenery

Consider the time of fall when you’re getting married and whether the leaves will still be green or already changing. Photos during fall look magnificent, especially when the leaves are starting to pop. From bridal photos to candid shots of the event, the natural setting this time of the year is stunning.

Incorporate Rustic Decor

The warm tones of rustic decor are perfect for fall weddings. At Historic Acres of Hershey, our modern farmhouse style works with all types of decor, especially rustic. Think natural wood elements, pallets, linen, pampas grasses, and wildflowers.

Opt for Pie

Skip the cake and opt for pie for your fall wedding. There’s something about pie that screams fall, so consider a local vendor that specializes in these warm and comforting desserts. Pumpkin or apple? You don’t have to choose. Have an array of pies for your guests to choose from! 

Plan Your Fall Wedding at Historic Acres of Hershey

Historic Acres of Hershey is a beautiful property with multiple spaces to choose from and vast open spaces ideal for photos. Our rustic property is beautiful all year round, and fall is uniquely special. Give us a call today to schedule a tour or learn more. 

What Does a Wedding Coordinator Do?

On wedding day, there is so much for the happy couple to focus on and enjoy. And while much of the planning takes place prior to wedding day, there are inevitably decisions, challenges, and things to do. That’s where a wedding coordinator can help. 

What does a wedding coordinator do exactly? They help to oversee your timeline, schedule, manage vendor relationships, and handle anything that comes up out of the blue. 

Wedding Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner

A wedding planner is typically involved throughout the entire planning process, while a wedding coordinator is involved toward the end of planning—about a month out from the event date. 

At Historic Acres of Hershey, we require a day-of coordinator for our wedding venue packages and have local recommendations. We require this because it ensures a smooth day and takes added stress off the couple. 

What Does a Wedding Coordinator Do?

Your wedding coordinator is there to help with all the details of how the day of the event will run. They are going to be the go-to person for any questions or issues that may arise. A wedding coordinator takes any added stress away so the happy couple can truly enjoy their magical day. 

Create a timeline of your day. A wedding coordinator will help plan the timeline of your day. And more importantly, they ensure that everything stays on schedule. 

Oversee vendors. As vendors arrive, the wedding coordinator will direct them to their set up location. They are like the “manager on duty” so they will ensure that everything is set up and delivered as it should be. If vendors have any questions, your wedding coordinator will be the one to manage communications. 

Handle last-minute issues and challenges. Last-minute issues and challenges might pop up out of the blue. A wedding coordinator is there to handle those situations so the couple doesn’t have to. They will be putting out fires and solving problems so everything runs seamlessly. 

Set up the morning of your event. They will also help with setup for your event, including decor, flowers, table settings, desserts, and more. 

Clean up at the end of the night. You’re married! Once the evening is over, your wedding coordinator will be in charge of taking everything down so you don’t have to worry or stress. 

Note: Wedding parties may have access to the property starting at 9 am on the day of the wedding and vendors must be cleaned up by midnight. Nothing is permitted to be left overnight before or after the wedding. 

Plan Your Wedding at Historic Acres of Hershey

Are you ready to plan your wedding in Hershey PA? Historic Acres of Hershey offers spaces to accommodate groups of all sizes and styles. Contact us for more information, available dates, or to tour the facilities.