Melissa & Austin, T Lucas Photography


Can you believe 2020 is almost over? After COVID turned the world upside down in March, our experience of life altered dramatically. It has felt like both the longest and the shortest year imaginable, and created our most unique wedding season everI want to end the year by sharing what we learned hosting weddings during the pandemic so far, and offer insight for 2021 couples and their wedding guests.

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

– Jimmy Dean.

Jannelle & Matthew’s 2020 Abernethy Wedding, pics by Kellie Kent Photography

Weddings In The Era Of COVID

We’ve been hosting events under the new (and ever-changing) pandemic restrictions in June. Abernethy Center enacted rigorous safety procedures based on CDC and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recommendations, including additional training and shift protocols for the whole staff. Our highest priority is our team and guests’ health, and we’re proud to report there have not been any COVID cases on our team or linked to Abernethy events. You can read more about Abernethy’s COVID-19 Response HERE


Smaller, More Intimate Celebrations

One of the most notable changes this year has been shrinking guest counts due to gathering limits. Many couples faced the challenging task of pairing-down their guest list. Luckily technology makes it easier than ever to include loved ones virtually (something we’ll talk about more later). Ultimately, we’ve seen wedding celebrations becoming exponentially more intimate since most of the guests have a close relationship with the couple and are entirely focused on the to-be-weds love story.

Social Distance Friendly Reception Activities

As couples adapt their wedding plans to the pandemic, we’re seeing the rise of new reception activities.  With packed dancefloors a thing of the past, couples are planning crowd activities and table games to ensure their reception is unique and unforgettable while keeping guests safely socially distanced. Necessity is the creator of new trends!


A lively newlywed game that will get everyone belly laughing! 

wedding reception trivia game


6 creative games that will ensure your guests have a great time while staying safely socially distanced!

Reception Layouts & Seating Charts

The norms for reception seating have changed in the era of social distancing. Gone (for now) are the days of open seating, as well as random table placements to help people “get to know each other.”

Safety guidelines require assigned seating with members of the same household seated together. As a result, fewer people are generally seated at each table which leaves more room for more creative and sentimental table decor.  Think of going bigger in smaller ways!

What’s Ahead for the 2021 Wedding Season?

Mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing are going to be around for a while. The good news is, you can still have an extraordinary wedding during a pandemic! You and your partner simply need to rethink certain aspects of the celebration to ensure everyone (including you) can stay safe.  To-be-weds have to consider what is really important and what they’re willing to be flexible with. For many, that means reevaluating the guest list and incorporating technology like videography and wedding live streaming, so no one is left out on the big day.  

Chelsea & Wesley 2020 Abernethy Wedding, pics by Kayla Sprint Photography

While the landscape for weddings may be changing, it helps to remember that the view remains the same today as it has been for millennia; Two people in love surrounded by their friends and family to witness and celebrate their commitment to one another. We’re ending 2020 with gratitude and anticipation for all the love stories we get to celebrate in 2021. It’s been a challenging year, but that makes the silver linings more glorious. In the next few months, I’ll be talking more about how weddings are evolving, so stay tuned for fresh tips, trends, and inspo as we all learn to navigate this new landscape together! Learn more About Abernethy Center Weddings

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

-Maya Angelou

Love & Gratitude


Abernethy Center is truly one of a kind! A full-service wedding and reception venue just on the outskirts of Portland in the heart of historical Oregon City. Our property features two distinct gardens, a gorgeous chapel, and an elegant Grand ballroom spread out over 9 acres. With nearly twenty years in business, an expert culinary team, and a tremendous staff experienced in providing exceptional service, we have everything for the perfect, uniquely yours Oregon wedding. 

Abigail’s Garden —– Veiled Garden—–Abernethy Chapel—–Grand Ballroom