Ceremony

Ceremony provides a container for emotion, reflection and transition, the punctuation we need in the frenetic stream of life.

A funeral is a full stop.
A wedding is a plus sign.
A naming ceremony is a new sentence with its own capital letter.

In other cultures, additional rituals are commas, or even semi-colons, used to honour milestones that we don’t even acknowledge, from the transition to adulthood to becoming a grandparent, from the anniversary of a death to the changing of the seasons.

Celebrations and rituals belong to every part of life. A funeral where the loved one’s story is truly captured and celebrated is a healing thing. A wedding where every guest feels their own heart expand in honour of love is a glorious experience.

Without ceremony, it’s far harder to really let go of the old or begin the new.

Human beings have created ceremonies and rituals since the dawn of time. We still need to celebrate. It’s just that these days, we don’t always know how to make our ceremonies meaningful, magical and personal.

As a non-denominational celebrant, I design, write and lead bespoke celebrations to mark the transitions in their lives, from baby namings to weddings and funerals, and everything in between. My clients include atheists, people who are spiritual but not religious and interfaith couples and families who want to bring aspects of their respective cultures into their ceremony.

This is Tom, I married him to his wife Anna last year:

I bring all my skills together in helping you to create a totally personal and utterly beautiful ceremony to honour the transition it is that you want to celebrate. Whether it is a wedding by a waterfall or a funeral in a forest, together, we co-create ceremonies that are as unique as you are.

A ceremony should reflect who you are, what you believe and where you are in your life.

The only limit is your imagination.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your incredible work in creating THE MOST MAGICAL CEREMONY we could ever have imagined. You were an absolute dream to work with from start to finish, listening, guiding, supporting and helping us to create the most memorable, beautiful service that will stay in the hearts in everyone who attended.

Dalia & Neil

What is a celebrant?

What is a celebrant?

A celebrant is someone who helps you to celebrate life, love and death.

With you and your family, a celebrant creates a ceremony that honours your loved ones, be it a wedding, a funeral, a naming ceremony or any other occasion that deserves to be marked with a special event.

I do not offer rituals affiliated to any religion nor am I trained in the humanist celebrant tradition, instead bringing something of my own particular flavour of creativity, presence and celebration to the proceedings.

My approach is personal, collaborative and intuitive, allowing you to bring your own values and beliefs to the creation of the celebration, whatever they may be.

If you would like the support and collaboration to bring out the very best in any celebration, I can bring love, listening, imagination, facilitation skills and creativity to the task at hand. I trained as a celebrant with Liferites and also spent time learning about funerals with an award winning green undertaker.

I also sometimes bring my singing voice to the role of celebrant, leading others in song, singing alone, or both. I have been honoured to sing at many weddings and funerals, when the simple power of raising the voice in song can somehow help to seal the deal, crack open the heart, make everyone in the room come into the moment and connect with the ceremony.

Wedding Ceremonies

Weddings

Everyone, no matter what their values and beliefs, can have the wedding ceremony of their dreams.

No two wedding ceremonies should be the same because no two couples are the same. Yet, often as not, there is a one-size-fits-all approach that isn’t always a very satisfying prospect for those who want the celebration of their love to be as unique as they are.

For those who have a faith, getting married in a church or a temple may well be a good fit. For those who are focussed on the practical and legal aspects of the wedding, the registrar may do just the job.

But for those whose beliefs and values lie somewhere in that gulf that stretches between religion and admin, I offer a lot of beautiful, imaginative and personalised alternatives.

I have married people in a forest, a country house and a chic city hotel.
I have married a groom from a Sikh background to his Swiss Catholic bride, weaving together cultural influences from both sides and delivering their ceremony in both English and French.
I have passed the wedding rings around the guests so that everyone blesses them with luck, love and all their good wishes.
I have helped plant a tree for the couple and invited all their relatives to decorate its branches with ribbons representing the coming together of two families.
I have sung the wedding blessing over a hundred humming voices.

I collaborate with the couple, weaving together their ideas, their beliefs and their stories, to create a ceremony that is personal, memorable and meaningful to everyone present.

Since I am not allied to any particular faith, nor am I trained in the humanist tradition, I am free to work with all sorts of couples and in all sorts of settings, from interfaith weddings to atheists, both gay and straight, and can marry people indoors or outdoors, under the sun or the moon and the stars.

“Creating a wedding that is poignant, powerful and beautiful has to touch something deep and sacred inside. Doing that in a way that is fun, bright, engaging and inclusive is an art form and Tiu de Haan is a master at this. She was born to do the precious work of helping a couple find a unique way of celebrating and expressing their love for one another. She will make your day more magical than you can possibly imagine.”
Tom & Anna

Funeral Ceremonies

Funerals

A funeral can and should reflect the life and death of the person at its centre.

A funeral, in our modern world, is such a brief moment to reflect on a life, so it is important to make sure that it is true to who the person was, to all that they held dear.

Sometimes, they have humour alongside the sadness. At other times, the whole event is one of unadulterated grief and loss. No matter what the emotional, practical, psychological and spiritual landscape of the loss, I make sure that I am there for those closest to the loved one who has died, to guide them gently through the process of creating a ceremony that will be meaningful, moving and as satisfying as it can be.

I have had the enormous honour of working with dying people to design their own funerals with their wishes and beliefs at the very heart of the ceremony. Other funerals have been guided by the family’s wishes, creating a ceremony that fits their needs. Some want to celebrate a life well lived and others want an opportunity to acknowledge the tragedy of the loss.

In preparation for this work, I trained as an undertaker with an award winning green funeral director to learn how best to meet the needs of people in grief, in confusion and in their raw, emotional love for the person they have lost.

In each and every case, I go out of my way to spend as much time as possible with the family and friends of the person whose life and death we are gathering to remember, celebrate, honour and mourn.

“You were the exact right person to help us through the last weeks. You have the most brilliant warm energy which I found so comforting and it was wonderful to be able to trust you so instantly. You were so generous with your time and in sharing your own experience with us. I felt very strongly that I was lucky to have your emotional support – something well beyond the remit, I’m sure, but perhaps typical of how you operate.

What you said in the ceremony was 100% perfect. You are so perceptive and were so very clever at capturing something of dad and in getting the tone exactly right. I have re-read your speech since and will continue to get strength from your wise words.

On a practical level, you were on the case with logistical details and had smart, pertinent ideas for the ceremony. It was so important to me that the ceremony was a fitting reflection of his talent and his emotional presence and I was very pleased indeed with how it went. Everything went smoothly, everyone understood what was going to happen and people felt safe thanks to your stewardship. How lucky we were to have your exceptional skills.”

Ella

Planning our own funeral

Planning our own funeral

There is something incredibly powerful and beautiful in planning our own funeral.

It may seem ghoulish or terrifying to ponder our own death, but the irony is that designing our own funeral can be an incredibly empowering and enlivening process. It simplifies our priorities, it helps us to appreciate our blessings and it reminds us to communicate our love to those who matter most to us.

And in facing our death, we can be given an incredible gift, as we are able to face life in a brand new way. We can wake up to the moment, commit to living as fully as we know how, and remember to tell the ones we love just how much they mean to us.

I have helped all sorts of people, both healthy and unwell, to elucidate their wishes and their beliefs so that when the time comes, everyone around them knows exactly how they want to be remembered and celebrated, in the manner of their choosing.

So many of us understandably fear this particular and yet inevitable frontier, and yet with some guidance, courage and creativity, we can all embrace the only thing that we know for sure and transform the prospect of our own death into an opportunity for creative expression, a celebration of all that we are and have been, and a chance to charge our lives with a new blast of energy, appreciation and clarity for the time that we have left.

“Tiu was the best possible choice to celebrate the funeral of my best friend, Deb. Shortly before Deb died, she made an instant connection with Tiu. Tiu guided us, the close friends and family, through the process of creating a funeral service and supported us throughout. She helped us to create not only an appropriate farewell but also a celebration of Deb’s life with great love, generosity of spirit, understanding, sensitivity and even humour and joy. Tiu’s own words at the service were perfect, so much so that we have reproduced them on Deb’s blog. If I ever get married, I know exactly who I would like to celebrate the wedding!”
Nic

Other Ceremonies for Life

Other ceremonies for life, love and death

As well as the big events, that honour birth, death and marriage, I can also help you to think creatively about how to celebrate the other transitions in your life. Some ceremonies don’t fit any of the usual categories. My job is to help to create the ceremony you want, whatever that may be.

Beginnings…

  • Mother Blessings or Blessingways: The creative alternative to a baby shower – it’s not about the tangible gifts, it’s all about love, solidarity and sisterly support for the mother-to-be
  • Baby Naming: start your baby’s life with a celebration of all the love that surrounds their present and their future
  • Welcoming the New Life: gather your closest community to welcome the newborn and begin your family life with practical, emotional and loving support
  • Home Blessings: make your new home feel fresh, sparkly and ready for a happy life

And Endings…

  • Divorce and Break ups: closure, completion and cutting the cords that no longer serve you
  • Good Grief: honouring the anniversary of a death, mourning a miscarriage, letting go with love
  • Leaving Home: moving out, moving on, clearing out the old and making way for the new
  • Embracing Eldership: celebrating your rightful place as a respected elder, drawing on your wisdom, reflecting on all that you have been and done – and all that is yet to come

For Example

Cara’s Godfathering Ceremony

When a young father died suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving behind his partner and their 2 year old son, the mother asked me to help her create a Father’s Day ceremony to welcome 7 godfathers into her son’s life. We co-created a playful but nonetheless emotional ceremony, to celebrate the positive male role models in her son’s life and to invite them to be there for him as he grows up.

“I asked Tiu if she would be the celebrant for my son’s godfathering ceremony shortly after his father died. She listened carefully to all my half-formed ideas and with a very gentle ear – and helped to bring them into reality, enhancing them with her own magical touches. Everyone who attended was surprised and moved at what a sensitive, memorable and fun event it was. And my son loved it most of all, which was a beautiful thing at a challenging time in our lives.”  Cara

 


Grace’s Self Marriage

Last year, I was asked to perform a self marriage which ended up making the headlines. You can read about it here.

Tiu de Haan - Ceremony / Creativity - Other Ceremonies: Grace Gelder

“Tiu was the perfect celebrant for my self marriage ceremony. I needed to be asked the right questions and have someone who is creative, organised, innovative and spontaneous in order to create the day I wanted.The atmosphere was beautiful and I know that Tiu was instrumental in the smooth running and success of the day.” Grace

Tiu The Celebrant

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