Cantor Cathy Lawrence - Wedding Officiant for Jewish, Interfaith, and Other Couples

229 West 97th Street
Apt. 5C
New York, NY 10025


I am an ordained member of the Jewish clergy and have been leading worship services for over twenty years in the New York area. I began officiating for weddings as part of my synagogue duties, and continue now out of a great love of this profession. It is a unique privilege to stand with couples at this exciting moment in their lives.  

The ceremonies vary from Jewish and traditional to interfaith, secular-but-spiritual, and same sex. Some are grand and formal, some small and intimate. One was a Jewish ceremony that followed a Hindu ceremony (not conducted by me!) in which the groom arrived on a white horse at the door of the Plaza Hotel. One took place in a Catholic church and was co-led by a wonderful priest. 

I encourage family and friends to participate, whether through planned readings or musical contributions, artistic offerings (a handsome, quilted chuppah, a specially designed and painted ketubah) or though invitations during the ceremony- for joining in an "Amen" chorus for a final song, or, in one case, for spontaneous remarks of reminiscence and blessing in the midst of an otherwise silent prayer.  This last took place in a Quaker meeting house in downtown Manhattan.  Some weddings have been outside- in parks, on patios, in a South Hampton backyard; others have been in lavish indoor spaces.  One featured a couple in their eighties and took place quietly and sweetly in their living room.  And in several cases, I have been summoned by the couple a year or two later, to preside over the naming ceremony of their newborn!  

What is the process?  This, too, can vary from couple to couple.  Generally we will email and/or speak on the phone and then set up a meeting.  I will explain my way of working, provide an outline of a typical ceremony, and gather information about you- who you are, how you met, and your hopes and wishes for your ceremony. Many couples have clear and sometimes fixed ideas along these lines.  They want spiritual but not religious, religious but not exclusive of others' beliefs, lots of reference to God, no reference to God, short and sweet, long and inclusive of certain rituals, lots of music, no music, etc.  Occasionally, there may be different expectations between partners, or concerns about how family members will react to the ceremony. We will find the path of maximum peace and enjoyment for you and your guests. I am entirely dedicated to making your wedding ceremony as wonderful as you and your future spouse can imagine.

After the initial meeting, I will email to you a ceremony based on our discussion.  Typically we will write back and forth a number of times until the ceremony is exactly what you want.  We may also meet one or more times after that to get better acquainted and for further discussion. I like to feel that I have a real connection with each couple.  That way the ceremony is more meaningful for everyone.

On the day of the wedding I will arrive at least 45 minutes to an hour before the ceremony start time, to check on everyone and to make sure that the sound system is working and that ritual items are set up.  I also use this time to get to know the families and to see that any ceremony participants are comfortable with their roles. I may also use this time to sign a ketubah and/or wedding license.  

I generally wear a white robe and a prayer shawl, but this is up to the couple.  

Fees
Prices range from $700 for a weekday ceremony within Manhattan, plus tax.  
Weekend service- add $100.
Travel outside Manhattan- add $75 or more, depending on location.

I ask for a deposit of $150 to hold a date.



I am happy to assist with coordinating musicians for the ceremony and/or reception. For an interesting group to consider for your ceremony music or cocktail hour, please visit http://www.nytroubadours.com.


The NY Troubadours at High Line Park, NYC















Obtaining a Marriage License from the Office of the New York City Clerk

The fee for a marriage license is $35 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk.
A New York State marriage license is valid for 60 days (except for active military personnel, for whom the validity runs for 180 days).

 A marriage license issued in New York can be used anywhere within New York State but may not be used outside New York State.

You can begin the application process to receive a marriage license online via "City Clerk Online". This will speed up the process, which then must be completed in person at the Office of the City Clerk. Regardless of whether you started the application process online, or will be filling out a paper form for a marriage license, you and your prospective spouse must complete the process by appearing at the Office of the City Clerk in person, together and at the same time. Proxy marriage is not permitted in New York, so no other party may apply on behalf of either spouse. You will receive the application from the information desk and you must complete the application in our office. Your marriage license will be processed while you wait. You should carefully read your marriage license to make sure there are no mistakes. You will take the marriage license with you when you leave the office.You must wait a full 24 hours before your marriage ceremony can be performed unless you obtain a Judicial Waiver.

A blood test is not required to obtain a Marriage License in the State of New York.

Name Change Option
You are asked to carefully consider whether to change your surname. Various surname options are listed on the back of the application. You must state your choice of surname on the application. If you elect to make a surname change on your application, the surname change takes legal effect at the conclusion of the Marriage Ceremony. The name change option does not apply to your first name or middle name. If you wish to change your surname through this office after your Marriage Ceremony, you must remarry. Although you may correct mistakes in your Certificate of Marriage Registration, a surname choice is not considered a mistake and cannot be changed through our Amendment process.











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