The observed light curves of most eclipsing binaries and stars with transiting planets can be well described and interpreted by current advanced physical models which also allow for the determination of many physical parameters of eclipsing systems. However, for several common practical tasks there is no need to know the detailed physics of a variable star, but only the shapes of their light curves or other phase curves. We present a set of phenomenological models for the light curves of eclipsing systems. We express the observed light curves of eclipsing binaries and stars, transited by their exoplanets orbiting in circular trajectories, by a sum of special, analytical, few-parameter functions that enable fitting their light curves with an accuracy of better than 1%. The proposed set of phenomenological models of eclipsing variable light curves were then tested on several real systems. For XY Bootis, we also compare in details the results obtained using our phenomenological modelling with those found using available physical models. We demonstrate that the proposed phenomenological models of transiting exoplanet and eclipsing binary light curves applied to ground-based photometric observations yields results compatible with those obtained by the application of more complex physical models. The suggested phenomenological modelling appears useful to solve a number of common tasks in the field of eclipsing variable research.