Did You Have a Microphone On?

This morning I had the privilege of officiating the farewell ceremony of a wonderful woman. Immediately after the ceremony, her daughters came up to me and said “Did you have a microphone on you? You captured our exact memories.” The family had, of course, seen the script beforehand, and approved it, but there’s a huge difference between seeing something on paper and then hearing it shared with care, emotion and authenticity. My job, after all, is to reminisce on their behalf. And if I were talking about my mum’s life then it would be a reminiscence of love, fondness, humour, joy, regret and whatever else was involved in the storytelling. It is only natural, for me, to do the same for any family I’m tasked with serving.

As I drove home from the ceremony I kept reflecting on their words: “did you have a microphone on?” No, I didn’t. I don’t digitally record my family meetings. I write down everything I hear and I listen intently without interrupting to share a relatable story.


This skill, and the gifts involved, are something I seek to share with each of our students who come for celebrant training. It’s so important that we never lose sight of what a momentous transition it is to have a loved one pass away, and that our job is to help do whatever we can to make that experience a bit easier. It begins and ends with listening. Listening well. Listening without agenda. Listening because we care.


Veronika Robinson and Paul Robinson (voice and presentation coach for celebrants) are tutors at Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training. Veronika Robinson is a specialist in ritual and has been officiating beautiful, bespoke ceremonies since 1995. She’s a certified Infant Loss Professional; founder of Penrith’s first Death Café; is certified in Self-harm and Suicide Awareness and Prevention; is a celebrant for the charity Gift of a Wedding; and mentors celebrants around the world in all aspects of celebrancy including mastering writing life stories and love stories. Veronika also runs workshops and retreats for celebrants.

Alongside celebrant training, Veronika Robinson officiates beautiful and bespoke ceremonies across Cumbria, from Cornwall to Callanish, and internationally. She earned her Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Cumbria.

Veronika is the author of many books both fiction and non-fiction, including the popular Celebrant Collection:
Write That Eulogy;
The Successful Celebrant;
Funeral Celebrant Ceremony Planner;
Wedding Celebrant Ceremony Planner;
The Blessingway.

Three more titles will be added in late February 2024:
The Gentle Celebrant’s Guide: Funerals For Children;
The Discrimination-free Celebrant;
The Celebrant’s Guide to the Five Elements.

Also in 2024:
Every Couple Has a Love Story: A Wedding Celebrant’s Guide to Creating Compelling Narrative from Once Upon A Time to “I do!”

You can also find the wonderful library of celebrant magazines Veronika edited, here: www.thecelebrantmagazine.co.uk