Thoughts from a Celebrant Trainer
There are so many aspects to the role of a Heart-led Celebrant. Our celebrant-training students quickly realise, within a couple of hours of beginning their training with us, that this job goes way beyond standing up to speak for 20-30 minutes. Those ceremonies don’t just miraculously turn up on the lectern! A single funeral ceremony, for example, might involve about ten hours of your time: liaising with a funeral director, meeting a family for a couple of hours, travel time, writing the ceremony (2 to 4 hours), sending off the script for approval, liaising with your client, ordering music and a livestream link through Wesley or Obitus, rehearsing ceremonies so that they feel like a second skin, travel to the ceremony venue (and arriving early), officiating, talking with mourners and FD after the ceremony. And as for weddings, well you can easily block off twenty or more hours of time in getting to know a client/client meetings, venue visit/s, creating and writing a ceremony, researching cultural traditions, choreographing bespoke rituals, attending rehearsal day, day of the wedding.
During training, each student learns about ceremony development, how to open up to inspiration, the importance of listening (by this I mean deep-level listening. This about more than what you hear. It’s also about what’s not spoken, and having a keen awareness of body language. There’s another listening that happens, too, and for me this is listening to my inner voice (or intuition). This guidance supports me in all my ceremony writing even, and especially, when my ‘logical’ voice is telling me otherwise.
Once we understand the scaffolding of any ceremony, then we have choice making and creating. There is no price that you can put on a celebrant’s experience, creativity, empathy and intuition.
Understanding the purpose of ceremony, creating, writing and officiating ceremonies and knowing how to create bespoke rituals, form the heart of our work. Very little of our work is actually in front of an audience. Most of it occurs well away from other human beings.
Aside from ceremonial work, there’s also the day-to-day running of a celebrant business as a self-employed person: this involves organisation, time keeping, understanding GDPR, accounting, continuing professional development, office management, being skilled with filing (digital or paper). Then there’s maintaining a website and social-media presence, too, and the day-to-day communications and meetings with our clients.
When we’re called to serve our community as a celebrant, we quickly realise that as much as we’re a specialist in ceremony and ritual, we’re also a Jack of All Trades!
Veronika Robinson has been officiating ceremonies, across all rites of passage, for 27 years. Alongside her husband Paul Robinson, voice and presentation coach, she’s co-founder and co-tutor at Heart-led Celebrants, a boutique celebrant-training school based in Cumbria, England. Their students come from around the world for training.
With a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Cumbria, she generously imparts her skills, knowledge and experience with each student. She is a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction, freelance writer, and former magazine editor. A specialist in ritual, Veronika enjoys guiding celebrants-in-training through the art of creating bespoke ceremonial elements.
Veronika and Paul Robinson are highly sought-after celebrant-training tutors known for their extensive and unparalleled experience, and personal, professional and comprehensive first-class training.