wendy haynes

celebrant, speaker, and author

mindfulness and nonviolent communication facilitator

quote marksI have been passionate about celebrancy since I was appointed in 1995. I celebrated my 25th anniversary of appointment in March 2020.

It's been an inspiring and rewarding journey working side by side with many couples and families creating personal, unique and heartwarming ceremonies that have touched not only the couple but everyone present.

Even though we need to 'stay at home' and cannot hug and kiss our dearest friends and family we can come together online, with a quality of deep presence, attention and care to honour the 'touchpoints' in our lives.

It's a time for deep listening, stepping into the new to affirm our connection, and hold close our vulnerability and courage.

We can do this together!

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Create your own inspiring Wedding Ceremony by Wendy Haynes


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I acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the lands on which I live, work and play, Gumbayngiirr Country in northern NSW. I pay my respect to Indigenous Elders past, present and emerging. 

celebrating this precious life



As the world emerges from the pandemic many of us have found new ways of being - working, playing, socialising and importantly, honouring life's celebrations and ceremonies.

In this new paradigm, we've opened to possibilities and reimagined ways of honouring life and death supporting families and community members to grieve and celebrate together. During the pandemic I was joined by over 140 guests including celebrants, funeral directors and community members from Australia and New Zealand in a project to role play six online funeral ceremonies using the platform Zoom.

Overwhelmingly, the feedback from participants attending the role play funeral ceremonies is that together we created a space where there was a tangible sense of connection, community and belonging. Whilst there was clear structure and guidance the online ceremonies are essentially like being in a circle where people can share stories, laughter and tears and connect with each other in an engaged way. While the platform has its limitations, many that participated viewed the experience positively. Dr David Straton, Psychiatrist, who attended as a guest at one of the role plays wrote, 'What touched me was a sense of a collection of individuals, rather than a crowd, which one sees in a live funeral.

While the need for online funeral funerals is changing as restrictions are lifting in most countries the guide can offer support for those who still wish to set up the online platform to allow those who cannot travel to attend the ceremony.

The outcome of the role plays? Two online videos of the role plays that were recorded are now freely available as is the accompanying Comprehensive Guide to Online Funeral and Memorial Ceremonies. The guide provides practical support for celebrants for conducting online meetings and funeral ceremonies. It includes a step by step layout for creating and conducting an online ceremony, comprehensive checklists and an example ceremony. There are also ideas on how to encourage people to take care of themselves during the ceremony, how to connect with others online, and how to best receive and offer support before, during and after the ceremony and a lot more. 

To download this free guide >>

Recording of two online funerals conducted by Wendy

The two recordings can be viewed on YouTube - the role-play of Bill's funeral here and the role-play of Olivia's funeral here.

Many of the skills and ideas utilised in the video and guide are transferable to other celebrations. Please contact me for support and ideas on how to conduct an online and engaged ceremony.

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Mindfulness Online with Wendy and Lisa

We invite you to be a part of an ongoing, online meditation community each Tuesday from 7pm to 8pm (Sydney, NSW, Australia). The meditations will be led by Wendy and Lisa, qualified practitioners offering practical meditation skills to support you during these challenging times, drawing on a range of traditions including Insight meditation, yoga and compassionate communication. The practices are offered freely however you are welcome to make a donation here to support our work. To join us on Zoom, click here to register and receive the link.

Be safe, well and happy everyone in these challenging times. 

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We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us, that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet' Yeats.

Celebrating this Precious Life hosted by Wendy Online

This six month program offers the opportunity for authentic and engaging conversations and deep listening to ourselves and others on death and dying. 

"There are not enough words to express how special this programme truly is. It is both gentle and powerful. Wendy is a remarkable person, with a soul that seeks to connect - and who succeeds in creating a safe space for others to delve inside themselves, to explore and enrich what living and dying means to them - and to learn what more they can do to connect with the earth - in life and death. I have benefitted greatly, and appreciate it all." Moira Hill End of Life Conversations End of Life Coach & Educator, England.

"I have loved the variety in the programme. The highlight has, however, been focusing my Life Review around the concepts of forgiveness and gratitude ... so powerful on so many levels, both personally and professionally!" Helen Rutledge, Celebrant, New Zealand

"Wendy Haynes is incredible. The challenge of considering ones imminent death is confronting however Wendy encourages openness, compassion, empathy and understanding of an individuals thoughts and beliefs. This program has allowed me to consider death openly, for myself, for my family and for others. Wendy's guidance has allowed me to embrace my passion of assisting others preparing for death. I confidently have the foundations to proceed with End of Life Doula training, thank you Wendy." Heather Hinton, Celebrant, NSW, Australia. 

Click here for more information and to register.  This program is offered freely. Donations are welcome.

Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence hosted by Wendy Online

12 week Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence online program developed by Catherine Cadden and Jesse Wiens Chu - a practical, doable guide if you want:

  • to relate to others in a more collaborative way that brings connection even when you feel stimulated!
  • to be able to listen and speak more effectively and with kindness for oneself and others
  • to know what's most important in your life and be able to live by those values
  • to live with an authentic quality of presence even when things get tough
  • a greater capacity to meet the challenges and resolve emotional and rational conflict
  • make some wonderful friends!

Through the cultivation of mindfulness and the practice of nonviolent communication, this 12 week online program, Ongo, offers practical exercises and teachings that are applicable at home, in business meetings, leadership development, special interest groups etc.  This program is offered freely. Donations are welcome and will go directly to the authors, Catherine and Jesse and their non profit organisation BabaTree International.

Click here to register your interest in joining the program

Empathy Circle hosted by Wendy Online

You are invited to join us for a short meditation followed by an empathy practice. This session is for anything to share that is alive in you, a mourning or celebration. Please click here to register and get Zoom details.


Empathy Circle focused on the topic: Death and Dying hosted by Wendy Online


This gathering is for deepening our discussions around death and dying and will include a meditation practice, reflection, creative writing and an empathy practice or circle.

Throughout this gathering our basic foundation will be that of empathic or deep listening. Authors of the program, Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence, Catherine Cadden and Jesse Chu, write, 'Empathy turns the listening up in our heart and quiets the mind by engaging our sense of curiosity about ourselves and others. We consider empathy to have five components in this order: curiosity, mindful presence, intention to connect, confirmation.'

First Thursday of the month at 6.30pm - 7.30pm AEST (Sydney, Australia). There is no need to make a regular commitment just register each month so I know who will be coming. Thank you.

Please click here to register and get Zoom details.




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Investment and contributions

During this time of great change, and social distancing there are many challenges that arise within us, personally and globally. Our opportunity to connect is vital especially in times of loss and grief and also in times of celebration. If you are in need of a celebrant yet are unable to meet this cost then please feel free to email to discuss your ceremony and my availability.

If you would like to invest in projects and ceremonies that are dedicated to creating connection, compassion, care and presence, please contribute below.

Your contribution will support families unable to afford the cost of a celebrant, the actors (for the ceremony role play), IT Support, technical staff and administration staff who are part of my dedicated team. Thank you.