Gloucestershire-based certified celebrant, Clare Janik has trained in both our wedding and funeral celebrant training courses, and she has been a dedicated and enthusiastic trainee in both. Now that she's fully certified, she's created her new celebrant business - Life's Celebrant and has already formed good relationships with local funeral directors and has led her first funeral services.
Read on to learn more about Clare's celebrant journey.
What did you do before becoming a celebrant or in addition to being a celebrant now?
I worked in the care profession for twenty years, which I retired from in 2017. That same year I started an Airbnb business - letting out a cottage I'd renovated in a village nearby. Sadly, due to the pandemic's impact, I let the cottage out on a long-term let last July.
What experiences or past skills do you think helped you with being a celebrant?
When I first started working in care, I would visit clients in their own homes to understand their needs, wishes, and preferences regarding how they wanted to continue living as independently as possible but with some support. I met a LOT of people all over the country! That experience of talking and really listening was a huge transferable skill in my new role as a celebrant. I used to create care plans that reflected clients wishes, and that experience of writing a bespoke plan has also proved helpful, and the sensitive conversations I had with families as their loved neared the end of their life. I also travelled overseas to conduct seminars, so public speaking was already on my skill list. It was all about making people happy with my holiday cottage - the little touches, my communications with them!
What made you want to train to become a celebrant?
I had toyed with the idea for a couple of years. I knew I enjoyed working with people, particularly if I could make them happy, plus I felt my experience with life's more difficult times would help me when dealing with families who had lost a loved one. In July last year, I was asked by a friend to conduct the funeral service for her partner and that just cemented the idea. I came away knowing that I wanted to be a celebrant - it just felt like I was in the right place.
What did your friends and family think of your decision to become a celebrant?
They were SO positive. I've really had a wonderful response from them - with many of them saying they could think of no better role for me. My best friend's parents immediately phoned their family to let them know that I would be the celebrant for their funerals when the time came!
Why did you choose to train with the Celebrants Collective?
I looked at numerous celebrant-training website, which was helpful but didn't engage, all seeming a bit dry. The moment I found the Celebrants Collective website, though, I knew I was in the right place! Claire and Natasha's voices called out to me, and I knew I definitely wanted to be in their gang!
Did you have any worries about being a celebrant which the course has helped you resolve?
Understanding all that's involved with a ceremony, be it a wedding or a funeral, I guess the ceremony's flow, from the initial contact to the big day itself. I also thought I would be on my own once I'd finished the course, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I know that Claire and Natasha, plus all my fellow students/colleagues, have got my back! As I have theirs.
What was your most favorite part of the course and why?
I just loved all of the course right from the beginning, but "meeting" Claire and Natasha and talking with the other students has been my absolute favourite. I think the Zoom calls have been incredibly beneficial and engaging - there's always something to learn or an idea to share or build on.
How has your training with the Celebrants Collective helped you to become a confident celebrant?
I think of it as giving me my backbone! The modules were interesting, engaging and informative. Knowing I can still access them is also a bonus - just in case there's one particular area I want to review. I also know that I can voice any concerns to the Facebook group - who will always guide me in the right direction. Claire and Natasha want the best for you, so do all they can to support you; right from the outset, it continues after the training has been completed.
What’s been your biggest takeaway so far about training to be a celebrant?
Unleashing my creativity! Also, focusing on my listening skills.
What kind of celebrant do you think you’re shaping up to be?
I think that's still evolving, but I want to bring a sense of occasion, warmth and light touch where needed, sensitivity where appropriate, and be there for my clients on the journey towards their ceremony. Whatever the occasion, I want to do my very best to help create beautiful ceremonies meaningful to my clients.
How have you been making a name for yourself since you became certified or in the process of getting certified?
BBC Radio Gloucestershire interviewed me just after Christmas to talk about my career change and explain what a celebrant does (and can't do). I'm gradually getting used to promoting myself on social media, so my name is out there. I also made a point of visiting all my local funeral directors to introduce myself. So far this year, I have joined Stroud Businesswomen's Network and have just submitted an article to them for their newsletter about my new career, which gets sent out to over 200 people. I've also been sure to tell all my friends and family about being a celebrant!
What would be your advice to someone looking to train to be a wedding or funeral celebrant?
Developing your career as a celebrant can take time to build, so understanding that was a lesson I certainly learnt. Other than that, if they feel they have the right personality, then don't hesitate - sign up with the Celebrants Collective straightaway!
We are so proud to have Clare in our Celebrants Collective community.