Ceremony Matters 

Advanced trainings and CPD for funeral celebrants

Ceremony Matters was founded in 2018 by Award winning celebrant, secular minister and opera singer Emma Curtis. At Ceremony Matters we offer group Continuing Professional Development trainings for funeral celebrants to further develop their professional celebrancy skills, and personal resilience. The quality of ceremony that we offer our clients not only makes all the difference in the world to them, but it affects the growth of our celebrancy businesses. So many funeral directors say that we are only as good as our last ceremony!

We also offer our signature 1-2-1 Advanced Certificate in Bespoke Funeral Celebrancy to catapult individual celebrants to an advanced level, tailoring the programme to meet their personal learning style, needs and talents.

There are so many aspects to our skill set as celebrants; our performance skills, the tone of our voices, our knowledge of music and poetry, our research skills, our confidence and self-efficacy, our ability to listen well and write an appropriate and meaningful narrative, with words that express the feelings of those left behind, our organisational skills, our talent for building relationships and making others feel comfortable in very challenging situations, and our understanding how to be empathetic without becoming drained by our work,

Ceremony Matters is here to take you beyond the basics of celebrancy and give you the skills to consistently offer exceptional service to your clients and families, and to all those you serve.

Ceremony Matters includes ‘Celebrant Support’ 

Mentoring and Support for celebrants

Since 2017, Celebrant Support has provided award-winning mentoring, support and further 1-2-1 training for celebrants. In 2018 Celebrant Support was cited by the National Celebrant Awards: “‘Emma is a very worthy winner of this award. Her nominations came from many different people who recognised her effort in launching Celebrant Support to support celebrants with CPD and further training. Emma launched this service as a way to increase support for celebrants in the wider context. And we are delighted to recognise that effort today’”

Working on a new model, individuals can request mentoring/support by the hour or in short HELP ME! sessions if they need help with an immediate problem, whether writing a ceremony, managing client dynamics, translating from other languages or pronunciation, vocal difficulties. coping with personal feelings or many of the other issues that affect professional celebrants.

Emma Curtis 

Founder & Principal Trainer, Ceremony Matters & Celebrant Support

Emma is a secular minister and the founder of Extraordinary Ceremonies, creating highly personalised funerals and memorial ceremonies based on the personalities and beliefs of those she serves, however individual, and offering continuing pastoral care. As a certified celebrant, thanatologist, therapist and grief specialist, she fully supports the bereaved through and beyond the funeral ceremony.  She is both a minister and pastoral counsellor ordained in the USA, and an independent celebrant trained in the UK.

Emma’s thirty years on the international stage as a professional opera singer and actress support her expertise in presentation skills and public speaking. She has facilitated group and workshops throughout her career including voice, grief, play, creatively, confidence and presentation, as well as being a Death Cafe host and Dementia Friend Champion.

Emma was awarded the National Celebrant Award for Influencing the Wider Professional of Funeral Celebrancy in 2018 and she is the representative for Independent Celebrants on the Funeral Celebrancy Council. In June 2019 the Council launched The Funeral Celebrant Accord with the aim of raising standards in funeral celebrancy, and promoting a conversation about what a good celebrant can offer to the bereaved. Emma is very proud to have played a part in the drafting of this document. 

Emma teaches and mentors celebrants and ministers. She founded Celebrant Support and was for two years the CPD trainer for funerals for the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants before founding Ceremony Matters. She is also the creator and facilitator of Time to Altar Grief, an ongoing secular altar for the community created from memorial art. Emma runs Death Cafes (and talks on how to run one), and death and grief positivity workshops for both adults and children. She has presented at many festivals and events including the National Trust’s Life. Death. Whatever., Belief and Beyond Belief at the Southbank Centre, for the British Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Royal Observatory Greenwich, National Maritime Museum, Sir John Soane’s Museum and for the Open University. In September 2019 she presented at the 14th International Conference on the Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal at the University of Bath on the subject of Engagement and empowerment of the bereaved in the preparation and facilitation of a meaningful funeral ceremony. 

“I’m here to share all my knowledge, skills and experience with you to help get you to where you want to be.”

If you would like to know more about my singing career, click here

For support for professional celebrants, click here for CelebrantSupport.com


Working with Emma was empowering for all of us. We were all able to do the exercises under clear guidance, and it was obvious that everyone benefited from the toning, breathing and raucous laughter!


Emma was so supportive and helpful during my journey into celebrancy. She shared her experience, advice and skills so selflessly, and observing her work gave me confidence I don’t feel I could have found on my own. Her support both in person and on the telephone guided me through some critical moments in my work. Emma’s approachable, friendly manner, combined with her vast experience, her confidence and her belief in what she does, make her an excellent resource for celebrants, or anyone involved in grief counselling.”
Gillian Keith
Independent Celebrant, Fellowship of Professional Celebrants

Gillian Keith

Independent Celebrant


MSc Psychology
Birkbeck College, University of London

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist, Dip CBH
UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, specialising in stress and resilience, performance enhancement and post-traumatic growth

Certified Thanatologist – Death and Grief Studies
Dr Alan Wolfelt, Center for Loss and Life Transitions/Colorado State University

Ordained Minister and Pastoral Counsellor
Venus Rising Association

Certificates in Funeral Celebrancy and Weddings and Family Celebrancy Fellowship of Professional Celebrants

Post Diploma Vocal Training (Opera and Concert singing) Certificate of Advanced Study Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Graduate Diploma in Music GGSM 
Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Emma is also a certified Sound Healer, Master Breathwork Practitioner, Reiki Master and Laughter Yoga leader.

Emma is also a Death Cafe host, and a Dementia Friends Champion, offering Dementia Friends Information sessions as a volunteer for Alzheimers Society.

I Have Adopted The Accord. Emma is proud to have been a part of the development of the Funeral Celebrant Accord as a representative on the Funeral Celebrancy Council. She is the council’s representative of Independent Celebrants.