Well hello! My name is Veronika Robinson, and I’m a wedding celebrant in Cumbria. I’m actually an Aussie, but have lived here since 1999. I began my celebrancy career back in 1995 in New Zealand, and have officiated across all rites of passage, internationally. I’m also a celebrant trainer and publisher of The Celebrant magazine. You can probably guess: I am passionate about celebrancy.

The Happy Celebrant: Veronika Robinson

There are so many aspects to being a wedding celebrant that I truly love and one of them is that every single wedding is so different. Unlike a registrar service where you have a choice between three set scripts, every ceremony I write is bespoke from beginning to end. When you book me as your wedding celebrant, of this you can be certain: I am as invested in your wedding ceremony as you are. It is important to me that it is 100% perfect for you.

Karen and Nicky’s elopement ceremony in Cumbria. Photo by Kathryn White.

My style is relaxed, warm, friendly, gentle and with a touch of humour (or more) if desired. I offer multi-cultural, spiritual, religious, humanist and agnostic ceremonies, and tailor the style depending on your wishes. Some couples prefer a traditional and formal feel while others want something laid back or alternative. I’ve worked in a variety of places over the years from castles to flower meadows, beaches to vineyards, stone circles to stables, riversides to waterfalls, barns to living rooms, gardens to woodlands, canal boats to lofts.


Some of the venues you can find me officiating at include: Askham Hall, Low Hall The Lakes, New House Farm, Eden Barn, Hidden River, Crown Hotel Wetheral, Roundthorn, Appleby Castle, Augill Castle, Three Hills Barn, Castlerigg Stone Circle, Long Meg Stone Circle, Callanish Stones, Cragwood Country House Hotel, Limetree Farm Stone Circle, New Dungeon Ghyll, Swaledale Yurts, Blencowe Hall, Glassonby Old Hall, Kirkbride Hall.

Ringing the Tibetan Prayer Bell at Pam and Doug’s spiritual wedding ceremony on the Summer Solstice at Callanish Stones. Image by Sandie Photos.

If you’d like a handfasting ceremony or a handtying ritual, sacred-oil anointing, Irish sundial ritual, matrimonial handwashing, jumping the broom, caudle, quaich, minna or any other symbolic element in your ceremony, I will work with you to co-create a beautiful wedding ceremony here in Cumbria (or beyond).

Matrimonial handwashing ritual. Image by Kathryn White.


Hannah and Jaret’s woodland wedding at Low Hall The Lakes


Nicola and Lee’s gorgeous wedding at Askham Hall


Darryl and Greg’s gorgeous Scottish-themed wedding was at Three Hills Barn.

Katie’s grand processional at Appleby Castle


Ryan and Andrea had their wedding ceremony, and Tom’s naming ceremony, in their own barn.

Laura and Gina’s gorgeous wedding ceremony was at the fabulous Hidden River barn.

Handfasting Ceremony at the Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides

Take one absolutely beautiful bride and groom from Australia. Add a four-year journey getting to know them (aka postponements due to you know what)… Set the ceremony at the World-famous Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Throw in 30km per hour winds to keep us on our toes. Be surrounded by valued friends and family (and interested tourists). All on the Summer Solstice…

What do you get? Magic and miracles. Love. Pure, gorgeous, life-affirming love.

Pam and Doug and I shared so many spiritual interests in common, and it felt like the stars truly aligned for us to come together as a wedding couple and a wedding celebrant. They had no idea when they booked me from Australia that I was also Australian (or how far I lived from their chosen wedding venue). But hey, I’m a celebrant, will travel!

I shall remember their gorgeous handfasting ceremony at the Callanish Stone Circle on the Summer Solstice for the rest of my life. Thank you Pam and Doug for sharing your photos with me, and for being such beautiful souls. You have truly touched my heart and my life in ways you can never begin to imagine. Thank you for being so inspiring.

Photography by Sandie Photos.


Veronika Robinson is a Heart-led Celebrant in Cumbria. She has had the immense pleasure of creating beautiful weddings since 1995, and still has a skip in her step each time she heads off to officiate a ceremony. Although her practice is based in Cumbria, she officiates from Cornwall to Callanish, and everywhere in between, including internationally. Veronika is an inclusive celebrant and practises discrimination-free celebrancy. Her officiating style is relaxed, authentic, friendly, warm, gentle, caring, and with natural humour. And if you like, she’s happy to wear Tamara, her beautiful velvet purple ceremonial cloak.


Increasingly, people are seeing marriage, and certainly the patriarchal or religious influences around that institution, to be archaic. Indeed, at the time of writing, there is currently a long-awaited review into marriage laws as they are well and truly outdated.

Having a significant life relationship legally recognised, without the weight of traditions, is appealing to those who seek a balanced landscape upon which to honour and celebrate their union. Partnership is about equality.


A common question from fellow celebrants is: what’s the difference between a wedding ceremony and a civil-partnership ceremony? It’s understandable that there might be some confusion because of it being quite new to our understanding of what ‘bonds’ a couple in the eyes of others and the law.


A wedding ceremony (including contemporary and alternative ones) tends to share common themes such as traditional rituals like the processional of the bride, the bride being given away, the giving of rings, pledges/vows, and primarily the language used: husband and wife (wife and wife, husband and husband), marriage, and so on. These are so engrained in our cultural wedding traditions that we expect to see these in a bonding ceremony, even those with an alternative flair.

Loz and I the moment we see his beloved Kate arriving to join us and their guests beside the waterfall.

When I train celebrants, we talk about what makes a marriage commitment real. Is it the legal document the couple signs? Is it the wedding ceremony they share with friends and family? Indeed, does an elopement with only two witnesses constitute the same level of commitment as a ceremony with many witnesses? Is marriage God ordained? Does the legal signing of a document bond a couple? All these questions are important to ask, and from a celebrant point of view, I believe it is vital that we understand our own beliefs about relationships and bonding. What do we, as celebrants, energetically bring to the unions (traditional or otherwise) that we are so privileged to be part of?

Who decides if a bond is valid and/or sacred? Who has the right to ordain this? What words or actions need to be spoken or enacted to give credence to this rite of passage? Indeed, is a bonding ceremony considered meaningful only if it is in tandem with the legal contract? (which is essentially notification to the government about a change in taxation status [read that bit about the legal contract again])


It is because of all these questions/answers, and more, that some couples are turning towards civil partnership. Apart from the uninspiring label (no doubt decided upon by a civil servant), what couples like these are looking for is to have their loving relationship recognised for the co-creative equal union that it is, and in some cases they’re quite happy to sign the legal document and then carry on with life as per normal while enjoying the financial benefits that this brings.

For others, they wish to bring in the simplicity and balance that comes with identifying as partners rather than traditional titles but would also like a ceremony to share their commitment in front of loved ones. From a ceremony-creation point of view, this can still be as beautiful, romantic, creative, life affirming, and rich with symbolism, as any traditional wedding ceremony or alternative one. My job, as ever, is about creating a ceremony which reflects whatever is meaningful to the couples I work with, and which honours the truth about their lives and choices.



Veronika Robinson is a celebrant in Cumbria and has officiated all manner of ceremonies, internationally, since 1995. She’s the editor of The Celebrant magazine and celebrant trainer at Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training.

Veronika is currently the president of the Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC).




Is ‘running off in secret’ something couples do to avoid dealing with complicated relations, permission, expensive commercialised wedding days and high-level stress or is the shrouding of the event in secrecy a form of magical intimacy? Culturally we’ve been somewhat conditioned to believe it’s rather anti-social behaviour, and often done in haste, but I would suggest reframing elopement. Perhaps honouring the delicious esoteric nature of lovers’ promises is a healthier way of viewing this less-traditional crossing the threshold?


Geoff, the handsome groom


When my dear friend Tanya confided that she and her beloved, Geoff, were eloping, I did a happy dance. YES! Actually, I was ecstatically happy! I’ve known Tanya a long time, and had the honour of officiating her son’s naming ceremony in Australia 20 years ago.

Carefully chosen items for the wedding altar



Why was I so delighted? You’d possibly think, as a wedding celebrant (and, obviously, as a friend), that I’d want to see the gathering of guests and all that a wedding ceremony traditionally entails. Without her giving me any explanation as to their decision, I fully understood why they were taking this path.



There are many reasons for choosing to elope, and while it’s more common for people entering their second or later marriage, even first timers can enjoy the intimacy which comes from ‘just the two of us’.

Tanya on the verandah of the beachside cottage they stayed in for their elopement

The benefits of eloping:


  1. The focus is entirely on yourselves. No expensive venue. No exorbitantly priced disco lights. No wedding invitations. No caterers. No £500 wedding shoes. No having to mediate between parents and in-laws’ ideas about what you should do or have.
  2. No extortionate wedding expenses. If you fancy going away, you can spend money on travel instead and have an amazing adventure.
  3. There’s no worry about who to place at what table for the reception, or the hell of divorced parents having to meet up.
  4. You don’t have to be concerned about who to invite.
  5. You don’t have to worry about stage fright and nerves.
  6. It is incredibly intimate and ever so romantic, and the whole day is about you (not anyone or anything else).

Traditionally a wedding is done before friends and family as witnesses, and the sharing of your joy is what helps to make it such a special occasion. In this day and age where weddings have become so commercialised, often costing couples anywhere between £10 000 and £50 000 (in Cumbria, at a registered venue), imagine what a couple could do with that money? Apart from a lovely destination elopement or honeymoon, it could provide a solid basis for creating a home. Or it could feed a few orphans. Or rescue animals. At the heart of any wonderful wedding is the ceremony. No amount of money in the world will make it extra special. The secret ingredient of a beautiful wedding ceremony is the undiluted love the couple share with each other. It’s not dependent on anything but looking into each other’s eyes as they declare their commitment.


They said I DO!


Elopement might just become the new norm as more couples recognise how many benefits there are to saying “I do” without an audience.


Your wedding day sets the tone ~ a template, if you like ~ for your married life. Whatever choices you make, it’s important that they feel right to you and aren’t based on keeping everyone else happy.


Tanya and Geoff on their wedding day. They eloped to Tasmania.


Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos with the world, Tanya and Geoff. Wishing you all the best for an amazing life together. You deserve it!


About Me:

Veronika Robinson is a wedding celebrant who has been officiating wedding ceremonies since 1995. She loves the intimacy that comes with ‘just the couple’.


If you’d love to have an obligation-free chat about eloping in Cumbria or are planning a destination wedding here with guests, contact her: