Serving Manhattan, Westchester, Hudson Valley, NY, NJ, CT
Recently got engaged?
Need a wedding officiant?
I’m here for you.
It’s not just about creating a great ceremony,
but about working with a loving couple
towards building a lasting relationship.
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 usually conduct a Jewish influenced wedding ceremony and perform pre-marital counseling. I work with interfaith and same-sex couples—even couples seeking a non-religious ceremony. 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
Ordained Wedding OfficiantI 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…
1) Get The Jewish Wedding Now 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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are your fees?
Because I also offer pre-marital counseling to all my couples, and because I like to meet with couples at least 4-8 times prior to the “big day” (in person or via Skype), there is a lot of time and energy to prepare for the wedding ceremony. I charge $1,500 per wedding couple, which includes all of our meetings between the time we start and the “big day” as well as performing the ceremony—no matter how many phone calls, meetings, or e-mails.
My only other fee is for travel to and from the venue on the day of the wedding. A deposit of 20%-25% (not refundable, to reserve the date) is expected at the time of booking.
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?
When two people come from different faith traditions, they often want both represented in some fashion, including having two clergy people present. In a situation where there is a co-officiant, I like to have a conversation with that officiant to make sure we can create together the wedding ceremony you want. Call me and we can discuss further!
Do you officiate at non-religious ceremonies?
Yes. If you’re looking for a secular ceremony, I’m happy to preside over your wedding. You can certainly have a very personal and meaningful wedding without any religious overtones. Let’s create something special together.
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.
How long are the ceremonies you perform?
That’s entirely up to you. My typical ceremony from the time we walk down the aisle is approxamately 30 minutes. Sometimes couples want to add a few ingredients to the mix without taking anything else out. In those cases, I make sure you (and your wedding coordinator if you have one) is aware that the ceremony might be longer than 30 minutes.
In short: Your wedding ceremony is the formal declaration of your love and commitment and shouldn’t be given a short amount of attention. 30 minutes is a good average amount of time to express the right sentiments.
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!
We have a special situation. Can you accommodate us?
I will try my best. I’ve been a member of the clergy for over 20 years and have worked with 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.
I’m here to help.
You can send me an email,
or feel free to call me at