What connects us, is our love of celebrancy and the deep knowing that it is a privilege to be a family celebrant in the community. For me, becoming a celebrant was sparked by a chance remark by a court registrar in 1992.
I had been invited to the registry office for a very informal wedding. After the registrar pronounced the couple to be married, the father of the groom raised his glass and declared, ‘Well son, now you’ve got a ball and chain for the rest of your life!’
Without a moment’s hesitation, I lifted my champagne glass and offered a ‘counter’ toast to the newly married couple that inspired the registrar to come up to me afterwards and say, ‘Young lady, you should become a celebrant’. I applied a few weeks later and, three years later, in March 1995 I was notified of my appointment.
Even after all these years, there is always something to learn and lean into and I invite you, as a celebrant or ceremony space holder, to join me as we ‘walk this path’ together.
As celebrants, we are asked to step up and into very sacred, intimate spaces with the families we work with. While many of us are not counsellors nor are we expected to be, how we show up and ‘what we bring into the room’ can make a real difference to the couple, family and community we meet and work with.
Whatever your ceremony or practical questions about meeting with clients or challenges you may have, there are many resources available on this site that will help you to walk this path of celebrancy with ease and confidence.
Other celebrants have participated in the Ceremony Writer’s Collective, Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence and the Celebrating this Precious Life: Honest Conversations about Death and Dying programs.
If you cannot find what you are after, please feel free to email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
‘I recently reached out to fellow celebrants who were experienced in conducting funerals for a stillborn baby, as it was my first. Wendy responded very quickly to my request for help and over several emails gave me very sound and encouraging advice on both how to conduct the ceremony and, more importantly, how to look after myself when confronted with a highly emotional situation. She very kindly shared a funeral service for a stillborn from her Funeral Book which helped me with the structure of the ceremony. Wendy even scheduled a call and talked me through possible scenarios and how to cope with them. Her advice, tips and natural empathy were invaluable and gave me the confidence to conduct the service with a sense of calmness that I so wanted to portray to the parents.’ Celebrant, Anna Wong.
Check out my inspiring books in the online shop and also, within the blog, there are lots of real-life stories and resources. You can search the Blog by the ceremonies you are researching. You can also find the link, at the bottom of this page, for the online funeral ceremony that I scripted to support celebrants around the world when Covid-19 placed heavy restrictions on guests at ceremonies.
Write like you have never written before and find fresh ways of expressing yourself!
“I’ve been writing and conducting ceremonies for 11 years. Always eagerly learning, these writing prompts have pushed me out of my comfort zone and inspired me in new ways. I have already incorporated fresh ideas into my ceremonies. I can’t recommend this course highly enough!”
Jo Lincolne, Big Love Ceremonies, Qld
Wendy, your creative writing invitation has enriched my day. I’m feeling inspired and my contribution appreciated. This very much meets my needs for inclusion and to be valued. I must admit that I felt at first like a fish out of water as I am not a celebrant, nor do I consider myself a writer! I benefitted greatly from just that one short hour, I can only imagine what joy it might bring to others who join. Simone Wilkie, England (After attending the online workshop, Writing and Enthusiasm)
Keep an eye on my newsletter to receive news of classes being hosted online.
From the series currently I facilitated and hosted by The New Zealand Celebrant School,
Morgan wrote, The practices were eye opening and provided edge-walking with no bleeding. Could that have come after anything but a creative writing workshop? Love it!
Hannah in a note to the School: Wendy was a really incredible facilitator! Warm, welcoming, so inspiring! … I would thoroughly recommend the course and would attend again. I feel like I need more time to improve on my creative writing. Please thank Wendy for her time, her preparation and for sharing her knowledge. I am thrilled to have come across this course!
Rachel: Thank Wendy please for her authentic sharing, honesty and integrity. Her expertise and thoughtful. calm centred way of being is inspiring.
Genaya: Absolutely loved Wendy, such a perfect presence and held my attention even in tired moments.
This six-month program is recommended for celebrants and the wider community and offers the opportunity for authentic and engaging conversations on the many aspects of death and dying.
‘Remember, friends, as you pass by, As you are now so once was I. As I am now, so you must be. Prepare yourself to follow me.’ Let’s prepare to die… and in so doing, live fully! Epitaph
Through honest, generous, and inspired conversations and practices, with no set beliefs or agendas, we will talk about death, dying, and what’s important to each of us. We will meditate, write, talk, listen, be quiet. We will play, be serious, research, discover and listen deeply to find out what’s alive in us.
Click here for more information and to register your interest in the next program.
‘There are not enough words to express how special this program truly is. It is both gentle and powerful. Wendy is a remarkable person, with a soul that seeks to connect – and who succeeds in creating a safe space for others to delve inside themselves, to explore and enrich what living and dying means to them – and to learn what more they can do to connect with the earth – in life and death. I have benefitted greatly, and appreciate it all.’ Moira Hill, End of Life Conversations, End of Life Coach & Educator, England.
‘I have loved the variety in the program. The highlight has, however, been focusing my Life Review around the concepts of forgiveness and gratitude … so powerful on so many levels, both personally and professionally!’ Helen Rutledge, Celebrant, New Zealand
‘Wendy Haynes is incredible. The challenge of considering one’s imminent death is confronting however Wendy encourages openness, compassion, empathy, and understanding of an individual’s thoughts and beliefs. This program has allowed me to consider death openly, for myself, for my family, and for others. Wendy’s guidance has allowed me to embrace my passion for assisting others preparing for death. I confidently have the foundations to proceed with End of Life Doula training, thank you, Wendy.’ Heather Hinton, Celebrant, NSW, Australia.
For trainees completing their marriage celebrant course, new celebrants or those looking to enhance their celebrant business this kit has everything you need to create your business documents including a pro forma to set up your own invoice, agreement, evaluation forms, questionnaire and also information on marketing, rituals and using your Public Address effectively. Click here for more details.
Wendy, the work, forms and all of your notes will save me hours and hours of time in preparation and time. Thank you!” David Fahey, Celebrant, Sawtell, NSW
“Thanks for your email and the additional Word version of the Essential Wedding Kit for Celebrants. I am only just starting out as a celebrant, so this will be invaluable” Catherine Potter, Celebrant, Broulee, NSW
“I was completing my marriage celebrant training course and this kit came highly recommended by the trainer. I can see why as it’s been invaluable support for completing my assignments. Thank you.” CM, Trainee Celebrant, Melbourne, NSW
‘I was delighted and surprised by what I learnt and how much I benefited from the sessions. They changed my perception on good communication. Highly recommend this course.’ Bronwyn M, Celebrant, NSW, Australia
‘After 63 years of life, this Ongo program has taught me much. I am learning to connect in non verbal and verbal communication. To pause and listen deeply, in a much more meaningful way. Emotionally, l feel brighter and lighter.’ Catie Wood, Family Celebrant, WA, Australia
While the peak of Covid-19 has passed here in Australia this video can offer you an insight to working online. There is a free training guide available here.
The essential wedding kit for marriage celebrants is a great resource for new celebrants or those wishing to upgrade their business skills. There are templates for creating the non legal forms, a special bonus checklist, information about business planning, rituals and symbols for wedding ceremonies, effective use of a PA and more great ideas and support.
Inspiring Funeral and Memorial Services – a complete guide to creating beautiful funeral and memorial ceremonies with over 30 examples, real life stories and lots of ideas.
Create Your Own Inspiring Wedding Ceremony – a comprehensive guide to writing a beautiful wedding ceremony complete with stories, ideas and real life examples. Contains over 15 ceremonies.