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Autism: Planning a Wedding for Guests Who Have “Invisible Disabilities”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are about 6,100,000 people in the U.S. who have invisible disabilities such as autism, ADHD, and are neurodivergent. At Ainsworth House & Gardens, we cherish these guests and provide a safe space for them to attend your wedding. Read on to find out how we do it!

groom and younger brother at wedding

Hey, Christie!

Cameron and I are excited to be planning our Ainsworth House & Gardens wedding! You have made it so easy for us! 

OK, I’ve got some questions.

Henry, Cameron’s younger brother, is on the autism spectrum and was diagnosed with a sensory disability. When he becomes overwhelmed by sights and sounds, he needs a quiet place. Can we create a quiet space for him during our wedding and reception?

Since we are creating a safe place for Henry, should we ask our guests if any of them have invisible disabilities too so that we can prepare a place to meet their needs during our wedding? We want to create an inclusive, accessible wedding.


–Katie in King City, Oregon

Hey, Katie!

Thank you for your loving kindness to those you know with invisible disabilities.

First, let’s define the term “invisible disabilities.” Invisible disabilities include autism, ADHD, and social anxiety.

These are mental, physical, or neurological conditions which could limit or challenge that person’s senses, movements, or activities.

Because these disabilities are invisible, this might lead to harsh judgements by other people, false perceptions, and misunderstandings.

When we have guests who have invisible disabilities, we cherish them and provide a safe space that is open to them any time during the wedding and reception.

I’ll circle back to this.

artistic statue of person with hands over their ears
wedding invitation

Yes on the invitations.

For years, wedding invitations often included questions about guests’ food allergies or strond dislikes.

Now, invitations often include questions about light or sound sensitivity, mobility, disability, and invisible disabilities. This helps the bride and groom plan the wedding to be as accessible as possible.

Yes on having a safe space.

We can create an indoor or outdoor quiet space for those with invisible disabilities at your Ainsworth House & Gardens wedding.

As you know, every person on the autistic spectrum is incredibly unique; many of these people have sensory issues as well.

red winback chair

They might have hypersensitivity (over responding to bright lights or loud sounds) or hyposensitivity (needing bright lights and loud sounds to feel connected to the group) or might show either depending on the situation.

For that reason, depending on how many guests wish to have access to these safe places, we could set up two distinct kinds of quiet places for your guests.

2 happy kids on laptop

Indoor Calm, Time Out Space/Quiet Room for Sensitive and Neurodivergent Guests

After the bride leaves the bridal lounge, we can convert this into a Safe Space with coloring books, board games, and puzzles. Your guest is welcome to bring a mobile device for playing games. Since there is no music, this is a calm space. Not only is there is comfortable seating but also we can dim the lights. Since there are no bright colors, this is a very welcoming space for anyone who needs to recharge.

Outdoor Calm Space

The wrought iron gazebo in The Grove is a great Safe Place. Because it’s surrounded by plants and trees, it allows your neurodivergent guests to find a peaceful place that is isolated from noise so that they can recharge.

For the outdoor space, we could offer lawn games or scavenger hunts. You might even consider a bounce house!

Oregon City Event Gazebo in The Grove at Nighttime
artistic statue of person with hands over their ears

For either an indoor or an outdoor space, we have a special name: “The Oasis.” Anyone can hang out in the hideout to avoid sensory overload. I strongly suggest that you have a friend check into this room on a regular basis to make sure it remains a safe space reserved for your guests.

Having a peaceful place to recharge can make all the difference in the world for someone who is neurodivergent because of an invisible disability such as Asperger’s or ADS.

For those guests who struggle with coping with lots of people and tons of noise, I gently suggest that you make ear plugs available.

If you have questions, please reach out to me. I’m happy to help you!


Your friend in the wedding business,

Christie Shyne

Images courtesy of

© 2023. Come Rain or Shyne, LLC. All rights reserved.


wedding ceremony in Oregon City under 200 year old Ponderosa Pine
A couple marries in The Grove at Ainsworth House & Gardens in Oregon City
Newlyweds and friends after their wedding in Oregon City
A couple marries in front of the Ainsworth Mansion.
Ainsworth House & Gardens event reception in Oregon City