Planning Your Dream Abernethy Wedding

A timeline of What needs to be done, and When!

Congratulations to-be-weds! This is the start of your personalized journey to the biggest party you’ll ever throw with your newly-minted spouse. Now that you’ve booked a venue and set the date take a deep breath and get ready to embrace a whirlwind of people, planning, and excitement. As your guide, I’ll walk you through the next steps and significant milestones that lead to your amazing day.  This blog is packed with helpful information and pro tips, so be sure to bookmark it as your wedding planning resource.

Let’s review a general wedding planning timeline. You may have more or less time between now and the big day. Don’t worry. Every journey is different, and this is merely a guide. You can condense the tasks into a shorter timeframe by eliminating date markers that have passed and using the list as an order of prioritization. Remember, if any questions arise, your Event Specialist is a wealth of wedding wisdom that you can email anytime.

10-12 Months Before

Welcome to the very first stages of wedding planning. It’s time to develop an overarching vision for your big day and find key vendors to help bring it to life.  Many couples experience lots of excitement with a dose of anxious energy in this stage. You may feel like you’re learning a new language or suddenly immersed in a foreign land. Be patient with yourself and ask as many questions as you need to. Here are some tasks to focus on:

Set a realistic spending plan or budget for your wedding

If loved ones are helping sponsor the event, discuss who is paying for what and how much they want to contribute. These conversations may sound awkward, but they set you up for success by ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Prepare the guest list and choose your wedding party

Commonly about 75% of invited guests will attend

Send save-the-date cards.

Create gift registries and wedding website (if desired).

Book a wedding planner or coordinator (if desired).

Research wedding vendors and start booking your dream team.

Think photographer, florist, and officiant. Visit the Abernethy Preferred Vendor list HERE. You’re not required to use Preferred Vendors, but I can tell you they are all amazing!

Curate the vision for your ceremony and reception decor.

Save photos or create a Pinterest Board. Imagine the vibe you’re looking to develop and pick details you love. Determine your wedding colors. Think about elements like whether you want assigned or open seating.

Shop for a wedding dress (if applicable) and book the gown alterations appointment.

Many dress shops have limited off-the-rack selections, and ordering a gown will take about nine months (then there are alterations), so give yourself plenty of time.

PRO TIP:  There’s a lot to do, so focus on one thing at a time, lean on your fiance as a planning partner, and be patient with yourself.

8-10 Months Before

You’re starting to envision what the ceremony and reception will look like, and excitement is growing. Channel that enthusiasm into finding the rest of your vendor team and continue daydreaming about creative details.

◊ Finish booking your primary wedding vendors.

Think DJ or band, dessert provider, hair, and makeup artist, transportation or shuttle service, and calligrapher.

Book hotel blocks for out-of-town guests.

◊ Order invitations.

Confirm bridesmaids’ dresses.

6 Months Before

Nothing can stop you now! The wedding may seem far away, but time is flying by. You’ve got the vision and a team to make it all happen. Now on to the finer points of confirming logistics and filling in details.

Your Abernethy six-month payment is due.

Your Event Specialist will send a payment reminder and invoice when it’s time.

Review your wedding vision.

Brainstorm about any decor elements or entertainment you may want to enhance the celebration, like a photo booth or cocktail hour entertainment.

Check-in with all wedding day vendors.

Discuss your contracted venue times, especially with the photographer, to ensure enough time to capture your shot list and the florist, who may need additional setup time for complex floral installations. Contact your Event Specialist to add more time.

Shop for or reserve suits.

◊ Shop for favors.

Order wedding bands

PRO TIP: Communicate with wedding vendors through email rather than over the phone.  That way, you have everything written out and don’t need to rely on memory.

4 Months Before

Your wedding is around the corner, and most of the larger planning tasks are completed. Pause for a sigh of relief. It’s time to meet with your Event Specialist to refine details on the venue side and send out those wedding invites!

It’s time for your wedding details appointment.

The Details Appointment is a 45-minute meeting with your Event Specialist to discuss the finer points of your big day. You’ll select linen colors and napkin folds, discuss menu options, finalize the timeline, and create a layout. Your Event Specialist will email you to schedule. 

Mail invitations.

Make sure to include the name and specific address of your Abernethy venue on the invitation, and use adequate postage for mailing.

Abigail’s Garden

700 15th St.

Oregon City, OR 97045

Veiled Garden

1400 John Adams St. 

Oregon City, OR 97045

Abernethy Chapel

1326 John Adams St. 

Oregon City, OR 97045

3 Months Before

Some couples experience a wave of anxious energy as the three-month mark approaches. Take a moment to review what you’ve done so far to ensure everything is on track and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. If you need extra support, ask your Event Specialist about adding wedding coordination. Focus on the fact that you are about to get married!

Your Abernethy three-month payment is due.

Your Event Specialist will send a payment reminder and invoice when it’s time.

Consider hiring a Day-of wedding coordinator.

They will offer support with the final details and expertly arrange your personal decor on the wedding day. Learn more HERE.

Mail invitations.

Make sure to include the name and specific address of your Abernethy venue on the invitation, and use adequate postage for mailing.

Plan the ceremony with your officiant.

Including any music, readings, and vows.

Do a trial run of wedding day hairstyle and makeup.

PRO TIP:  Consider adding a venue map to your wedding website to ensure no one gets lost en route to the celebration. You can download maps here: Abigail’s Garden, Veiled Garden, Abernethy Chapel.

60 Days Before

This is a minor milestone, more of a pit stop, for some very important logistics.

Apply for your marriage license.

You can obtain a marriage license from any Oregon county. Visit the County Recorder’s website for directions on how to apply. The license must be issued at most sixty and at least three days before the wedding.

Finalize and confirm all floral arrangements.

Including bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres with your florist.
hanging greenery

6 Weeks Before

Excitement is growing for the big event! RSVPs are coming in, and all the details are falling into place. This is a time to relax and refine.

Have final dress and suit fittings.

Confirm accommodations.

Contact hotel about room blocks and confirm reservations for appropriate guests.

Print programs for the ceremony and menus for the reception (if desired).

30 Days Before

You’re getting married next month! Your vendor team is preparing for the big day, and it’s time to confirm everything is in order. If you’re planning any DIY decor, we highly recommend completing it by now, so you don’t feel crunched in the weeks leading up to your wedding.

Create your seating chart, if desired.

Print signs and escort cards.

Confirm arrival times and logistics with all vendors.

It may be helpful to email directions, contact numbers, and the day’s itinerary to all vendors.

Confirm dietary restrictions and vendor meals with your Event Specialist.

PRO TIP: Make sure all DIY projects are complete by this time.  Remember, it’s okay to pivot if a project is more time-consuming or difficult than expected. It happens all the time.

14 Business Days Before

It’s the final countdown! Once you submit your final guest count and any last-minute updates, it’s time to relax and pamper yourself!

The final guest count and remaining balance are due.

Your Event Specialist will send a payment reminder and invoice when it’s time.

Last chance to update your menu, and layout before the wedding.

Confirm liquor liability insurance.

You can get a policy from your current insurance provider or by clicking HERE. Don’t forget to send the insurance certificate to your Event Specialist.

Return the completed Ceremony Prep Sheet to your Event Specialist.

If you haven’t already done so.

Pick up the wedding outfits and break in your shoes!

On The Wedding Day

When you arrive on the wedding day, The ceremony and reception venues will be set and ready with chairs, tables and linens placed, awaiting your final touches like personal decor and centerpieces. You’ll have two main points of contact who’ll manage venue logistics and partner with outside vendors to ensure everything unfolds according to your carefully made plans.

Your Ceremony Manager will greet you in the getting-ready suites with room service (an assortment of mess-free snacks and festive libations). They’re available for questions or last-minute needs, such as safety pins or fabric steamers. The Ceremony Manager has two primary roles: 1) To make sure you’re fully taken care of before the wedding, and 2) To manage the ceremony and queue everyone down the aisle.

Your Abernethy Event Manager takes over when the reception begins. They oversee the Abernethy event staff with meal service, partner with outside vendors (like photographers, florists, and DJs), and manage any unexpected situations that may arise so your nearest and dearest can relax and enjoy the party. The Event Manager is your last point of contact at the end of the night by sending you off into married life with a to-go bag of all the food served at your wedding and a bottle of bubbly to enjoy later.

hanging greenery
“The actual wedding day was more than I could have hoped for. Everything went off perfectly (or if things didn’t, I had no idea because they are that good).”

Chris, Abernethy Groom

Wedding Coordination

If you’d like additional support in the planning process or someone to set your personal decor on the wedding day, Abernethy has optional coordination packages that take our service to the next level, so all you and your loved ones have to do is show up and enjoy! Learn more about coordination packages and pricing HERE.


How do menu tastings work?

Abernethy Center provides two Chef’s Previews a year to sample a selection of the available menu items. Attendance is complimentary for two attendees. Chef’s Previews are typically held in the Fall and Winter, with invites sent six to eight weeks in advance to RSVP. You can review our full menu HERE.

Can I add additional time to the venue rental?

Yes! Our typical venue rental includes seven hours, but you can add more for an hourly rate. Contact your Event Specialist to learn more about increasing the rental time.

Can I change my wedding date?

Yes! Please notify Abernethy Center at least six weeks before the wedding if you need to postpone. There’s no charge for doing so, and we can transfer the funds you’ve already paid to any available date within the next two years.

When is my wedding rehearsal?

Your Ceremony Manager will do a run-through rehearsal with the wedding party when you arrive on the wedding day. Then, line everyone up and cue them down the aisle for your processional.

What if I want to look at linen colors and other finishes before my Details appointment?

No problem! Just email your Event Specialist for assistance.

Can we bring alcohol for the getting-ready suites?

Please do not bring any outside alcohol on the wedding day. Our liquor license requires all alcoholic beverages served on the premises to be provided by Abernethy Center. We have zero tolerance for outside alcohol as it risks our OLCC license and will be confiscated. Please inform family or members of the wedding party who may be inclined to bring a bottle or flask about this rule to avoid disappointment or conflict on the big day.

Wow! We just went through a lot of information. Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once, but staying on pace will make the wedding planning process much more relaxed. We’re here for you! You can email your Event Specialist with questions.  Browse our real weddings blog for inspiration from hundreds of Abernethy weddings, and be sure to follow along on social for regular inspiration and whole lotta love. We can’t wait to celebrate your special day!

“I never worried that things would go wrong because this team of awesome people made me confident in their ability to get the job done. All while being so gracious and kind.”

Stephanie, Abernethy Bride

About the author:

Sara O’Brien has been with Abernethy Center since 2017. She brings playful optimism and bottomless love of wedding celebrations to her role as Social Media Manager. Sara is a PNW native and nature lover who is passionate about spreading joy through honoring life’s big [and little] moments.

Smooch is the official blog of Abernethy Center, Oregon’s premier indoor and outdoor wedding venue.  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 a classic, 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