The Best Places For Wedding Photos

In Each Abernethy Venue

Hello Smooch Readers,

Spring is in full bloom around Abernethy Center. Abigail’s Garden just opened for the season, and the Veiled Garden is alive with weekly wedding energy and the subtle song of seasonal birds. It feels like a magical time around the grounds as excitement builds for a busy summer season! Perhaps as fuel for my summer wedding daydreams, I’ve recently revisited some of our favorite photo galleries, leading to the inspiration for this post. Today I’m highlighting the best spots in each Abernethy venue to take wedding photos.

There’s no shortage of unique or beautiful photo backdrops on the nine-acre Abernethy property. The wooded hillsides, rolling lawns, natural streams, and whimsical gardens will give your photographer plenty to work with—no matter which Abernethy venue you choose. But since your photographer will ask for a “shot list,” here are some unique locations to keep in mind, organized by venue.

Veiled Garden, Chapel + Ballroom

This venue combination really has it all, including diverse and distinctive backdrops for your wedding photos. The chapel has a classic aesthetic, and the Veiled Garden is woodsy and romantic, while the ballroom’s historic brick facade and patio cafe lighting offer minimalist, contemporary vibes.

The Bridge

Connecting the Veiled Garden and Chapel paths is the sweetest little footbridge. It’s been the site of so many magical first-looks and makes an ideal location for bride and groom photos. Your photographer can capture stunning images with the chapel in the background and then simply turn around for a densely wooded natural backdrop.

The Waterfall

Nestled against a hillside in the back of Veiled Garden is a year-round waterfall. This serene spot is tucked away and frequently overlooked but offers gorgeous photo ops. The waterfall is surrounded by lush tree branches and blooming foliage in the summertime. Then leaves turn bright orange and yellow in autumn, for a bit of seasonal flair in your wedding photos

In Front Of The Chapel

Abernethy chapel is a classic white wedding chapel set against a grove of mature evergreen trees. The chapel’s design is timeless, with a nod to our historic Oregon City neighborhood and repurposed 1886 wedding bell atop the 45-foot tower. Photos in front of the chapel are equal parts romance and drama, where the vintage architecture and natural landscape provide a striking backdrop. Plus, you can’t beat a classic “going to the chapel shot” that will make you smile for years to come.

The Ballroom Patio

Our historic ballroom building was once-upon-a-time the Oregon City Post Office. Inside it’s all sparkle and elegance, but we’ve preserved the vintage brick facade outside. The ballroom patio with brick walls, string lights overhead, and fragrant vines of blooming jasmine offers a romantic contemporary backdrop for wedding photos with a more urban aesthetic than other areas of the property. Many couples opt to do their formal sendoff on the patio because it photographs so well.

The Chapel Patio

Nestled beside the creek, on the north side of Abernethy chapel is a small private patio with romantic string lights and seasonal blooms in a natural forest setting.  During the summer we host less than 25-guest elopement celebrations here. It’s also beautifully scenic for wedding photos since you can capture both the classic white chapel and lush woodland garden as a backdrop.

Abigail’s Garden

Abigail’s Garden is full of breathtaking natural photo ops. The venue sits on almost 4-acres of meticulously landscaped gardens and rolling green space along Abernethy Creek, surrounded by a thick perimeter of mature privacy trees that provide both shade and a beautiful natural backdrop for wedding photos.

The Garden Path

The path to Abigail’s Garden winds from the parking lot through the trees and to the east lawn; on one side is a wooded hillside with mature evergreens shading a blanket of ferns and ivy below. On the other is a row of trees with blooming bushes and a gentle stream that runs all the way to the ceremony site. This area of Abigail’s Garden consistently produces some of the best wedding photos with richly textured natural backdrops and magical light.

The Staircase

Adjacent to the bar is a staircase leading to the lower garden. This spot is often overlooked but has an excellent backdrop for photos. From the bottom of the steps, you can capture the reception tent and patio lights set against the towering pine trees. It’s the perfect spot little mid-reception couple’s shoot, and the golden-hour light is perfection!

Beside The Ceremony Site

Besides the ceremony gazebo, there are beautifully landscaped nooks, often overflowing with natural decor. On the north side of the gazebo are several rows of trees and, beyond that, the rugged Abernethy Creek. On the south side of the gazebo are delicate magnolia trees, young cedars, and various blooming bushes.
These are only a few many beautiful locations to take photos on the Abernethy grounds. I wanted to identify the best and most overlooked spots, so I didn’t include much about our beautifully scenic ceremony sites. You already know about those backdrops! For more photo ideas, follow @abernethycenter on social, where we share all the love and beauty from our real weddings.

Thank you for reading this latest post from Abernethy’s Smooch blog, offering wedding wisdom and love inspo on the first Monday of every month. 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!

Love + Gratitude,



* indicates required

Photo Credits for this Post

Many, MANY thanks to the amazing photographers and sweet newlyweds who share their images with us to build community and inspire other couples. All photographers whose work I used in this post are linked below.

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