Serving Manhattan, Westchester, Hudson Valley, NY, NJ, CT

Mazal Tov!

So you recently got engaged and need a wedding officiant. I really enjoy working with couples—it’s not solely about creating a great ceremony but about working with a loving couple towards building a lasting relationship.

Jewish. Interfaith.
Same-Sex.
Meaningful. Personal.

I take time to get to know and understand the couples I work with. That way, I’m able to give your relationship and your love a voice to those with whom you intend to share this special moment in your lives.

As a liberal Jewish ordained Cantor, I conduct a Jewish influenced wedding ceremony and perform pre-marital counseling. I work with interfaith and same-sex couples. I like to incorporate the culture from both sides of your family and make sure that all of your family and guests feel comfortable and included. Should we speak or sing any Hebrew, it will always be translated. Your wedding ceremony will feel personal and unique.

Your wedding is not about the band, the florist, the photographer, or even the officiant.

It’s about you.

Cantor Erik Contzius

Cantor Erik Contzius

Ordained Wedding Officiant

I was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1995. Since then, I’ve served congregations in Omaha, Philadelphia, and Westchester County, NY. After a fulfilling 18 year career caring for my congregational families, I decided to step off the pulpit to give more attention to my own family. But I still find opportunities for the gratifying work of working with couples on their wedding day.

Before we work together, you’ll want to do a few things…

The New Jewish Wedding

1) Get The New Jewish Wedding by Anita Diamant.

Whether you’ve attended many Jewish weddings or none at all, this invaluable resource will be great to help plan and shape your special day. Consider it mandatory reading.

The New Jewish Wedding

2) Get Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix.

You care enough to craft the perfect Wedding Day, but what’s much more important is the work needed to have a fulfilling Married Life. This book is an invaluable resource for all couples.

3) I do not officiate at any ceremonies without getting to know my couples. I require several sessions of pre-marital counseling using Prepare-Enrich. It is a relationship assessment tool that has been a wonderful reflection piece for all the couples I’ve had the honor of marrying.

same sex couple
4) I will need you to complete a Wedding Intake form so we can move forward. Let’s get started!

Testimonials

Cantor Contzius officiatead our wedding in October 2016. He guided is through the process like a true expert and professional and was very generous with his time. During our nearly weekly meetings with the Cantor, he offered support, provided pre-marital counseling which was invaluable, reviewed our personal information to be included on the ketubah, listened to our our expectations regarding the ceremony and advised us on how to carry them out, among other things! Throughout the process it was clear that Cantor Contzius would be sure to include both our families in the ceremony and ketubah signing despite the fact that my husband is not Jewish. And true to his word, Cantor Contzius made certain that our diverse group of family and friends understood the rituals which we carried out and the meaning behind all of the prayers. He even went to great lengths to translate a prayer into Japanese for my husband’s family. Our ceremony was exactly what we had envisioned – warm, personal and light-hearted. It was apparent to everyone that Cantor Contzius had gotten to know both my husband and I well over the few months that we had worked together. Following the ceremony, the majority of our friends (regardless of religious background) remarked how wonderful the Cantor was and how much they enjoyed the ceremony. It meant so much to my husband and I to have a meaningful ceremony that was personal and spiritual that all of our guests could enjoy. I honestly can not speak highly enough of Cantor Contzius and recommend him without hesitation. He set the tone for our amazing wedding! D.N.

WOW! What an amazing job you did this weekend. Thank you so much!

We loved the ceremony and have heard raves about you from our guests. The ceremony was the perfect start to our night and our marriage. Humor was important for our wedding and is important in our relationship and you provided laughs without distracting from the meaning of the day. Moreover, you personalized the ceremony such that we, as well as our guests, felt like we weren’t just getting married but commemorating a new step in our relationship. We also wanted you to know how much we appreciated all the little helpful directions both before and during the ceremony. Additionally, so many of our guests used the phrase “amazing voice” when talking about your officiating the service. As you know, music is important to our family, so it was wonderful to have such a melodious service. Overall, the service struck the right tone and we are deeply thankful to you for that.

A.W. & J.O.W.

Finding the right officiant was very Important to Doug and I. When we got engaged we did not have a Rabbi or Cantor that knew both of us, and that was a big challenge since we didn’t want a generic fill-in-the-names ceremony. To complicate things further we’re an interfaith couple but both had a strong interest and respect for Jewish traditions. Our dreams came true when we found Cantor Erik. He went above and beyond in every way. Before the wedding he helped proof our self-written Ketubah. He helped proof our program (which included explanations of the various Jewish traditions included in the ceremony. He also met with us twice to get to know us as actual people (and not just “clients”) and provided some very genuinely useful pre-wedding advice. The day of our wedding he oversaw our civil signing as well as our Ketubah signing, providing our close family and friends thoughtful context of those proceedings. He arrived well before he needed to, which was so reassuring (looking around and seeing all your vendors arrive early lowers the blood pressure!). Then most importantly, the ceremony: The ceremony was absolutely beautiful. My husband is a wedding photographer (doug-peterson.com) and he has seen hundreds of ceremonies and the thing he kept saying afterward was just how *genuine* Cantor Erik’s comments and joy were, and I agree! It was neither rushed nor drawn out. It was beautiful, eloquent, and very very personal. The time he invested to get to know us really showed, and there were few dry eyes in the audience. We will forever be grateful to Cantor Erik and simply cannot recommend him highly enough. D.P. & B.K.

Our conversations and planning with Erik culminated with a beautiful, personal, heartfelt ceremony that reflected exactly what we wanted. Erik interpreted our personalities and what we said during our conversations on skype and via email to put together a ceremony that represented us, just what we had hoped for. Erik respected our different family backgrounds and we are so happy to have the great memories of our ketubah signing and ceremony that he helped to create. J.Z.

Review us on The Knot

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you officiate at interfaith ceremonies?
Yes. My philosophy is that if a couple is on the same page about wanting a Jewish-influenced ceremony that embraces universal values, I’m happy to accommodate you.
Do you co-officiate at multi-faith ceremonies?

Not yet. My expertise is in providing couples a Jewish-influenced ceremony officiated by a sole officiant, but my positions are evolving. Let’s start a conversation.

We are very ambivalent about religion/God. Can you help us with our wedding?

Yes! You as a couple are not the sum total of your upbringing—you are about your experiences, your evolved values, your interests… let’s start a conversation!

Do you officiate at LGBTQ ceremonies?
Yes. I am a straight ally and believe in full equality for all. I lobbied Albany for equal marriage in New York before it was legal in the state, and I continue to fight for full equality in our society.
What are your fees?
Because I also offer pre-marital counseling to all my couples, and because I like to meet with couples between 3-6 times prior to the “big day,” there is a lot of time and energy to prepare for the wedding ceremony. I typically charge between $1,100 – $1,300, depending on the couple and the situation. If I have to travel more than 45 minutes to a venue, there is a charge for transportation. Deposit of 25% (not refundable to reserve the date) is expected at the time of booking.
We have a special situation. Can you accommodate us?
I will try my best. I’ve been a clergyman for over 20 years and have worked with so many different kinds of couples. I’m happy to be your guide, advocate, and partner in crafting the most meaningful ceremony for your special day.

Questions?

I’m here to help.
You can send me an email,
or feel free to call me at
914-393-0121.

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