Jocelynn & Sylvan I Traditional Jewish Ceremony Dexter, Oregon Part I

This is going to be a long one folks! Lucky for you we are going to split it up into two posts so you can soak up all of the amazingness that was Jocelynn + Sylvan’s wedding.

Jocelynn + Sylvan had a traditional Jewish ceremony. I know there’s that word “traditional”. I know it sounds scary but I have to say this was nothing like I had imagined. It was sooooo much cooler! Everything about their wedding day was so romantic and fun! When we first got to talking about their wedding at our initial meetings they had to give us some serious education about Jewish customs as this was our first time shooting a Jewish wedding. I thought I would pass along some of the things that we learned to you! It will also help explain what is going on in the pictures a bit. 🙂


The bride and her girls are working hard getting purdy; hair/makeup/nails/getting dressed, etc…

Meanwhile the groom….

There were so many details it wasn’t easy to capture them all! They hung multi-colored ribbons in the oak trees. They even handmade about a zillion of these cute little pots of honey for each guest as a little favor. 🙂 On their RSVP’s was a little square that said “Complete the Drawing”. They hung them all on a string at the reception for everyone to enjoy. (I loved this idea!) It was really something to see, everyone was so creative!

The entire wedding party or “gaggle” as they called them got to walk down the aisle together while carying the “Chuppah”.


The chuppah under which the couple stands during the ceremony represents the home they will build together.  The chuppah is open on all four sides, and symbolizes that family and friends are always welcome in the couple’s home.

Sylvan walking down the aisle with all of his parents 😉

Like mother like daughter… Just look at those leggs! Yowza!

The image above and below are of the Hakafot. This is a very old custom in which they walk slow circles around each other. It symbolizes creating a new family circle and demonstrates their primary allegiance has shifted from their parents to one another and are now bound more intimately to each other.

They each wrote their own vows. They were so beautiful!  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I was havin such a hard time keepin’ it together. 🙂


The ceremony was led by Rabbi Joan. She had such a beautiful singing voice!

After the ceremony they got to have some alone time together. This is called the “yihud”. Even if you are not Jewish I would highly recommend scheduling some alone time for the two of you on your wedding day. It dosen’t have to be long, just enough time to take a breath and let it all sink in.


The word yihud is derived from a Hebrew word which means “one” and has come to represent the transition when two individuals become one.  After the ceremony, the couple adjourns to a room for a few minutes of private time.  This is a period of bonding, privacy and reflection before they join guests for the celebration!

Dexter, OR


venue // Mercier Family farm

catering // Cafe Soriah

design + planning // The lovebirds Sylvan and Jocelynn. phew!

cake // Angie from Cafe Soriah, best carrot cake on record.  Seriously.

floral // Flowers came from a variety of locations (local you-pick, a wholesaler and the backyards of the lovebirds and their parents). Sylvan’s mother Avis did the majority of the table arrangements with the other girls filling in the rest, while bridesmaid Nalisha and her sister Tori made bridesmaid bouquets.  Boutonnieres were crafted by bridesmaid Stacy, and Jocelynn made her own bouquet and the boutonniere for Sylvan.

wedding dress // BCBG Max Azria

hair // Matron of honor Lindsey did Jocelynn’s hair with veil assistance from Nalisha.

 makeup // Jocelynn did her own make-up.

ceremony music // Rachel Streeter on wood flute & David on cello

reception music // Water Tower Bucket Boys (Best ever! They kept everyone dancing all night long!)

landscaping on loan from // Bloomer’s Nursery

wall hanging oriental rugs were on loan from // Oveissi & Co.

photo booth was made by // Structure by Phil & Gabe Gebhart (bride’s father and brother) as per Sylvan’s design.  Technical installation and ergonomics/lighting by the Licht men; Jared, Galen (Sylvan’s brothers) and Bob (Sylvan’s step-dad)

wedding heroes //  Jocelynn’s aunt Pat, along with Gloria, Kerri and Bo did some major decorating and wedding day feats of strength.  Aunt Viv climbed great heights hanging paper and lights.  Frank and Susie Mercier were the most gracious and hospitable hosts on planet earth. Sylvan’s dad William pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat more times than we can count while Mary was busy creating a spectacular and scrumptious rehearsal dinner feast. MOBster and FOBster Cheryl and Phil were the busiest of bees, turning our suggestions into reality. Brother Gabe came to the rescue for tasks both timely, and frantic, night-before the wedding. Tori was full of pixie dust and good ideas as all the bridespals were getting ready on the big day.  Sylvan’s brother Josh (a baker at Grand Central in Portland) brought a perfect loaf of challah bread from his bakery for the HaMotzi (blessing before the meal).


Don’t change that dial folks! Stay tuned for Jocelynn + Sylvan Part II!

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  • phil FOB

    Thank you Harvest Moon Photography for the wonderful job you did. Would recomend you to everyone. It is great having a husband & wife team to photograph both the groom and bride.ReplyCancel

  • […] of weeks ago but were so busy with other weddings we just never had the chance. Thanks for waiting! Go check out Part I if you missed it or if you just can’t get enough of them you can go see it […]ReplyCancel