5 Unique & Emerging Ideas

To Elevate Your Wedding Experience

The best weddings don’t follow a cookie-cutter mold; instead, they reflect the couples’ personalities from beginning to end. And to-be-weds today have more freedom than ever. Post-pandemic celebrations are all about relishing the experience of being together and creating memories. Trends are capitalizing on opportunities for connection, live music, and unique reception entertainment. It’s time to free yourself of the pressure to plan a perfect wedding and create your one-of-a-kind expression of wedding love. Here are five ideas to inspire your creativity and elevate the celebration for your guests.

Create A Lounge Area

While incorporating space for guests to gather and hang out, you can create mini decor installations that add to the overall reception vibe. I love this trend because it embodies equal parts form and function! You can create a cozy nook, boho chill zone, or modern setee setup. The options are endless!

Garden wedding lounge area

Interested? Start by browsing the rental catalog from Lily & Cane with contemporary pre-styled and a la carte options that make it easy to create a perfectly personalized wedding lounge area your guests will love!

Invite the wedding llamas

They’re obviously adorable but also represent a great cause. The wedding llamas are part of Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas. All proceeds from their event appearances go toward funding therapeutic programs for special-needs organizations, schools, hospitals, senior communities, and rehab facilities throughout Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA. You can learn more HERE.

Wedding Llamas

These good-natured creatures arrive beautifully accessorized to mingle with your guests and create magical photo ops in our woodland gardens. They’re unbelievably soft, with professional handlers that will facilitate the interactions, even “carrot kisses” for you and your guests.

Treat Your Guests To a Caricature

For a unique guest experience and wedding favor, consider having a live sketch artist at your cocktail hour or reception. The artist draws your guests in real-time and gives them a fun sketch they are bound to hold onto for years to come. Plus, it serves as a talking point and ice breaker among guests!

Wedding Caricature artist

We recommend Spitting Image Caricatures for adorable likenesses that evoke a playful feeling of nostalgia.

Surprise your guests with live music

Music stirs emotion, and live music amplifies the effect. Musicians can accompany the ceremony, provide entertainment at the reception, or serve as a nod to your cultural heritage to punctuate a special moment during the festivities.

Imagine a mariachi band welcoming guests to your ceremony or a bagpiper heralding your grand reception entrance.

We have space for a full band to accompany your reception in both Abigail’s Garden and Abernethy ballroom. If you’re looking for a recommendation, Dancehall Days is fantastic. 

For traditional ceremony music, Duo Con Brio has been a favorite among Abernethy couples for years. They play wedding classics along with beautiful string renditions of contemporary pop songs.

Offer Tarot Card Readings

Give your guests a peek into their future and something memorable to talk about by hiring a tarot expert to give readings during the reception. Tarot card readings are a lot of fun and not overly done, making them an excellent option for open-minded couples seeking unique wedding entertainment.

Wedding tarot card reader

Lettie Jane is a talented Portland artist and tarot reader who brings a contemporary heartfelt approach to her readings using an original deck created to define a more inclusive definition of femininity, beauty, and body image.


What do you think?

Let us know what you have in store for wedding entertainment by tagging @abernethycenter in your planning posts, stories, and reels! Make sure you follow us for more wedding entertainment ideas from our real Oregon weddings.

Next month on the blog, I’ll be talking about creative local dessert options for your wedding reception. Stay tuned for some wildly delicious content! If you haven’t subscribed yet, enter your email below to join our community. We publish one post per month and won’t use your email for anything else, promise!


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