Bishop David Zubik announced Wednesday the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will no longer charge to annul marriages.

The diocese is answering the call of Pope Francis, who previously proposed the elimination of all fees related to sacraments, including marriage, and in this case, the annulment of that union. According to the Rev. Thomas Kunz, judicial vicar for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the annulment fees have prevented some Catholics from experiencing the sacraments within the church.

How the Business of Weddings is Changing with the Times

Jul 22, 2014
Grand Velas Riviera Maya / Flickr

From bridal shops to reception venues and more, weddings are big business. Whether you’re part of the wedding party or simply attending the event you can expect to shell out some serious coin.

Business contributor Rebecca Harris revealed some facts that show weddings are changing.

One of Harris's discoveries was that June and September are now the most popular months for marriage.

"15% of US weddings take place in each of those months. It used to be summer time but as you can see from a day like today, people are really selecting to get married in cooler months."

The cost for weddings is also at a record high as Harris reported the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $30,000. With these rising costs the wedding business now makes up $40 billion of the economy.

Among other changes are the ages of the people getting married. The average age of a bride is 29 while the average age of a groom is 31 and Harris noted, "It used to be much younger."

Another major change is the increase of destination weddings, which now make up 24% of all weddings. But as Paul Guggenheimer pointed out this increase in destination weddings means a higher cost for the guests.

Check out these websites and ideas for keeping wedding plans local:

Managing Money As A Couple

Jun 19, 2014
Nick Ortloff / Flickr

We’re in the midst of wedding season, and for many people, marriage is the first time they ever have to consider managing money with someone else in mind.

As Chairman and CEO of BPU investment firm and a member of the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Financial Planning Association, Paul Brahim helps clients make sound financial decisions to fit their lifestyle.

When it comes to couples, this can mean he has to be part adviser, part relationship therapist. Brahim helps couples manage money at all stages of life, and one of the largest groups he advises are those who are near retirement.

Brahim shared one experience where one spouse was a "hard-charging" corporate business man, who then found himself retired, and home all day with his wife. Brahim said the sudden extra time together was hard on the couple.

Trevor Hurlbut / flickr

If you follow celebrity news, one story which made news last week was Gwyneth Paltrow’s divorce from Coldplay musician Chris Martin. The news was especially notable because of a term they used to describe the breakup - “conscious uncoupling.” The phrase raised eyebrows in the relationship counseling and divorce industries.

Paula Hopkins, a divorce attorney who specializes in collaborative law in the Pittsburgh area had never heard of conscious uncoupling until Paltrow’s announcement. But following the announcement, Hopkins found quite a bit of information about the term.

Shelley Panzarella / flickr

Watch out June and Ward, traditional marriage is rapidly evolving and research indicates that typical gender-based expectations in the household are becoming obsolete for couples as they make the decision to marry or cohabitate.

Dr. Connie Lappa, psychotherapist and adjunct professor at Robert Morris University and The University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Christine Whelan, visiting Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Sociology share their findings on modern matrimony and the most successful relationships.