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Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training in Cumbria

Are you looking for something that’s more than a job? Perhaps in your heart you know you’re looking for a vocation.

 

Training to be a heart-led celebrant may be the course that will change your life.

 

As a celebrant, I always look forward to going to work whether it’s to officiate a joyous wedding ceremony, holding the space for a family and their friends while they grieve a loved one, celebrating the giving of a name (to a child or adult), or officiating other rites of passage such as a blessingway, menarche, and so on.

 

My ‘office’ is varied. One day I may officiate in a chapel, and another day it’s in a wildflower meadow. Some ceremonies are conducted in ancient stone circles, while others are held in barns. No two ceremonies are the same in location, wording or style.

 

If you’d like to learn more about training to be a celebrant, and obtaining a Certificate in Celebrancy, visit www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant-training

 

Feel free to get in touch for an obligation-free chat.  ~ Veronika Robinson xx

Wedding Celebrant Training

Being an intimate part of any couple’s wedding ceremony is a beautiful experience. I’ve had the pleasure of being a wedding celebrant for 23 years now, and I am still just as excited each time I head off to officiate a ceremony.

 

It is my joy to teach other people this wonderful vocation, and I do so by offering training either in a group setting or one-to-one.

 

As part of the Certificate in Celebrancy you’ll learn how to officiate all types of ceremonies: weddings, handfastings, vow renewals, namings, funerals and memorials, blessingways, divorce healing, menarche, wise crone, and other rites of passage.

 

The next group training is September 15 and 16. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant-training

 

Private training is available at mutually convenient times all year round.

 

I’d love to share my skills and experience with you.

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YES

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the smallest words, like ‘yes’ and ‘love’, have the biggest, most life-changing meanings.

 

Yes is an open door. It says “I’m going through”, unlike no which says “Go no further. No exit. Stop. No entry. THE END.”

 

Such different energies. Such different life paths.

 

 

Every day our lives are based on yes and no. Every single day.

 

Are you aware of how many times you’ve said yes today? How about no? Do you even hear yourself saying them? Every single time we say them, we are moving in one direction or another.

 

As a wedding celebrant, I meet couples because someone has said “yes!” Someone has said “I want to walk through that door with you.”

Weddings are joyous occasions, and are such a delight to be part of. And for me, always an honour.

 

When my couples and I agree to work together, one of the things that happens is that I take the time to get to know them so that I can tell their love story. After all, I want their ceremony to be unique to them.

 

This working relationship begins by asking them a series of questions. They have plenty of time (usually) to answer these, but I ask that they send me their answers independently without sharing them with their partner (though obviously they’ll see what their beloved has written when I send the script back).

 

It is quite a process. I’m not, by any means, a marriage counsellor. I’m a celebrant. However, I do take my role seriously. Some of my clients really revel in answering the questions and truly ‘get’ the process. Others get quite stuck. Why? Because one of the first questions I ask is “Why are you getting married?”

 

You’d be amazed how difficult that question is for some people to answer.

 

The question and answer process makes couples think. And, from my perspective, I learn a huge amount by how much thought and care goes into the answers.

 

I’ve been officiating weddings since 1995. One of my first weddings was for a young couple with a baby daughter. When I asked my question/s, his reply was that he was marrying her because “she had great legs!” Maybe I’m just a bit too serious for my own good, but even then (in my mid twenties), I’d have hoped for a more solid answer. To my incredible sadness, not long after their wedding, he committed suicide. The relationship wasn’t as he had hoped. It still haunts me.

 

My job isn’t, at any level, to say whether a couple should or shouldn’t get married. My job is to celebrate their love, their love story, and wish them all the best for a wonderful future. To honour their YES.

 

 

I hope, when couples go through the process of answering my questions, that they truly understand what the journey of marriage is about (you know, other than asking each other what you want for dinner every day for years on end!).

Marriage is a dance. What happens if we have two left feet? What happens if each person hears a different tune? What if one person loves to dance, and the other is a wallflower? Could it be that you love bellydancing and he loves rock ‘n’ roll?

What if one person has a free spirit and the other needs routine? Can an introvert and extrovert co-exist? So many questions!

Marriage is a constant course in personal growth. We are invited, daily, to learn more about ourselves. It is about give and take. It is about we and us. Me and you. Indeed, it is a balancing act that no one can ever tutor you in. Looking into the mirror of relationship means we are always receiving feedback about who we are, and what we expect. What do we project onto our partner? How much do we expect them to fill certain needs?

 

Sometimes people start out on the same page (like my parents), and then as the years roll on, one of them changes. And they keep changing until eventually there is too much distance to keep them under the same roof.

 

But this is a ‘yes’, too. When we say ‘no’ to another, we are saying ‘yes’ to ourselves. The door to self awareness is the first door we should walk through.

 

Yes. It’s a beautiful word. Life affirming. Encouraging. It’s an invitation to something better. Maybe it’s someone holding your hand inviting you to somewhere you’ve never been before.

 

Perhaps, when crafting vows for couples to answer, we, as celebrants, would serve them best if we asked questions in such a way as to see if the answer is ‘yes’ rather than “I will” or “I do”.

 

Yes, for as long as love shall last.

Yes, for better or worse.

Yes, in sickness and health.

Yes, because in that moment, when we’re wrapped in the power of love, we truly believe we can step through the door into a future together.

 

Yes.

 

Yes.

 

Yes!

 

Three simple letters.

One word.

One syllable.

It says “I want to walk through the door…”

 

More importantly, it speaks of hope. And in this life, hope is something we all need.

 

Winter Weddings in Cumbria

It might seem a little odd to blog about Winter Weddings just when I’m working on my Summer tan, but…

There’s a tendency to set wedding dates from Spring through to Autumn, but actually there are some really good reasons to choose a Winter wedding in Cumbria.

In no particular order:

A wedding is a time of joy, celebration and delight! Why not warm up Winter by choosing this time to say “I do”? Banish the grey gloom of Winter with one simple thing: a wedding date!

 

You can add a festive theme to your celebrations.

 

It’s beautiful and cosy indoors, and you can create a truly intimate setting for your special day with fairylights, open fires, and candlelight.

 

 

Being out of season, means you’ve got more chance of getting your first choice of venue, photographer, videographer, florist and CELEBRANT.

 

 

 

Think of all the lovely things about Winter: hot chocolate, woolly blankets, cosy lighting, comfort food. Incorporating these into your wedding day will make it a celebration like no other.

 

 

 

There are some absolutely FAB wedding venues in Cumbria, such as Askham Hall, the quirky ancient ruin Kirklinton Hall, and then there are places like any of those owned by Rowley Estates. And, best of all, if you choose a celebrant to create, write and officiate your wedding day, you can have it where you want, when you want, and how you want.

 

Celebrant Training: Creating Beautiful Ceremonies in your Community

In a few weeks from now, it will be the 22nd anniversary since I trained as a celebrant in beautiful New Zealand. I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my daughter, Beth, as I officiated my first wedding in a public garden in Auckland. I remember ceremonies from back then as clearly as I remember the wedding I officiated yesterday here in Cumbria.

 

 

Being a celebrant is a deeply rewarding vocation, and I would like to share that with others. This September shall see the first intake of students at Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training.
This is a comprehensive and in-depth practical training course in creative, heart-led, authentic celebrancy. You will learn to create, write and officiate all types of ceremonies with confidence.

 

If you’d love to learn more, keep reading! Love, Veronika xx

 

16th and 17th September, 2017
Glassonby, near Penrith, Cumbria

7.30am to 8.30pm both days

Places strictly limited.

Applicants
Applications are invited from people who are committed to developing awareness of self and others, willing to train to an excellent level, are creative, independent, inspirational, authentic and courageous, and wish to consciously create beautiful ceremonies in their community.
Unlike any other training course in England, this focuses on the importance of personal development, and takes a mind, body and soul approach to celebrancy and ceremonies, as well as recognising the importance of ongoing skill building.

 

The foundation of this celebrant training is based on integrity and self-awareness.

 

 

Facilitators
Veronika Robinson is a professionally trained and experienced full-time celebrant. She trained in New Zealand in 1995, where she was registered to officiate legal wedding ceremonies, and has been officiating ceremonies ever since. Veronika has had the privilege of officiating in New Zealand, Australia and England.

 

 

 

Veronika has officiated all manner of ceremonies, including weddings, handfastings, blessingways, namings, divorce healing, miscarriage memorial, conscious conception, funerals, memorials, Wise Crone, menarche, and house warmings.

 

 

She’s also an author (fiction and non-fiction), journalist, public speaker, workshop leader, psychological astrologer, and metaphysician. Veronika is delighted to be a celebrant for Gift of a Wedding, a charity which provides weddings for couples where one of them is terminally ill.

 

She is the founder and facilitator of Penrith’s first Death Café, A Meaningful Farewell, which seeks to open up honest discussion around death and dying.

 

Veronika is also a committee member for the Association of Independent Celebrants.

 

 

 

Paul Robinson has enjoyed a rich career as an actor, broadcaster, compere, voice over, ventriloquist, voice coach, singer and celebrant. He’s deeply passionate about self-development, and utilises the Enneagram of Personality Types as a path of personal growth. http://paulrobinsonproductions.co.uk/

 

Together, they combine skills to offer a one-of-a-kind training in heart-led, authentic celebrancy.

 

Celebrant Training fee
£650 (20% [£130] non-refundable deposit required upon booking). Balance due no later than August 16th. (You will easily recoup the cost of your course after officiating two or three ceremonies.)

This fee includes:
[] Two-day intensive and practical tuition on all aspects of celebrancy: 7.30am to 8.30pm both days
[] A copy of the book Heart-led Ceremonies (the art and soulful practice of creating, writing and officiating ceremonies) by Veronika and Paul Robinson. This complete guide to celebrancy is available exclusively through this training course.
[] Nourishing wholefood plant-based meals and refreshments (breakfast through to dinner, both days)
[] Two follow-up Skype sessions (or face to face in Cumbria)
[] Certificate (upon written completion of three ceremonies and presentations, and active participation in the training course)
[] Upon satisfactory completion of the course, participants are eligible to join the Association Of Independent Celebrants, and immediately receive professional and indemnity insurance for celebrancy work worldwide.
[] Extensive list of readings for all types of ceremonies
[] Extensive list of music for all types of ceremonies

 

This comprehensive course is set over a two-day weekend, and includes:
Learning to create and define space, both indoors and outdoors
What it means to ‘hold the space’
Setting intention
Understanding symbols and rituals
Crafting personalised ceremonies
Ceremonies: Blessingways, namings, weddings, funerals, memorials, housewarmings, etc.
Word Medicine
Voice work
Presentation
Body awareness
Skills of a celebrant
Qualities of a celebrant
Emotional quotient
The metaphysics of marketing yourself as a celebrant
Sacred connections: your ideal client
Care of the celebrant
The creative celebrant
The intuitive celebrant

Please note this is an interactive weekend, and all participants will be required to take part in role play, voice development, presentation, and video work.

Training Venue
We are pleased to host Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training at Glassonby Old Hall, Glassonby, near Penrith, Cumbria CA10 1DU

This five-star luxury venue is a Grade II listed traditional Cumbrian long house. It has original features including old ship-timber oak beams, oak-mullion windows, flagged stone floors, open fires and stone staircases.

Glassonby Old Hall is on one of the higher hills in the Eden Valley with amazing views towards the Pennines.

Glassonby Hall has a galleried dining room with a massive stone fireplace, a sitting room with wood-burning cast-iron stove and a large breakfasting kitchen with four-oven Aga.

 

Local accommodation options:

Bed & Breakfast
www.scalehousefarm.com (3 miles from Glassonby)

Caravans, tents, camping, bunk barns
(1 mile from Glassonby) http://www.edenvalleycaravansite.co.uk

Glassonby Old Hall (why not stay on site?)

[] a four poster Master Bedroom suite
[] a twin bedroom
[] third double bedroom with a 5′ bed.

If you’re happy to share a bedroom, or share a bed with a partner or friend to share the cost, this can be arranged. Contact Veronika directly for prices, and to book (a 20% deposit required, and balance due no later than July 20th)

 

Celebrant Training Booking Form
If you wish to receive a booking form for the Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training, please email:
veronikarobinson AT Hotmail DOT com (make sure you spell veronika with a k and not a c)

Tying the Knot: Handfastings in Cumbria

Have you ever wondered where the expression “to tie the knot” comes from? It has its origins in the ancient Celtic ritual of handfasting.

“Marian and Dave’s handfasting in Cumbria”

 

 

As an independent celebrant, more and more of my clients wish to include handfasting as part of their ceremony rituals. It’s a beautiful yet simple symbolism and is as old as the first couple who ever ‘tied the knot’, and as recent as the one I’m officiating. It symbolises marriage vows, and can be done instead of, or as well as, the exchange of wedding rings.

 

 

“My celebrant basket with handfasting cord, candles, bells, Celtic love knot, feathers, moss, water, ceremony script”

 

 

Handfasting represents the commitment of an intimate partnership.
From Old Norse: hand-festa, which means to strike a bargain by joining hands. The notion of a handshake comes from the old tradition of hand fasting; and even today, let’s shake on it, can represent a vow of sorts.

When I bind a couple’s hands together, I remind them their lives and spirits are held by the symbol of a knot.

 

 

They may choose to make the cord themselves, or with the help of family and friends, or if they prefer, I can make it for them from their favourite colours or in colours to match the theme of the wedding. Because the cord is as unique as the couple it can be made from pretty much anything. It can be from the most luxurious of ribbons or from farmer’s baling twine. Whatever it’s made from, it is the intent that’s important. Regardless of what it’s made from, it contains all the hopes and wishes of the friends and family who have gathered to witness the marriage.

 

“Sara and Michael tying the knot”

 

Some couples choose to have the knot in place just for the ceremony, while others like to keep the knot in the cord permanently and simply slip their hands out of it near the end of the ceremony.

 

“Officiating Dave and Marian’s beautiful wedding ceremony in a meadow by a babbling brook” #Cumbrianweddings

 

Either way, I finish with the words: “May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last.”
Some couples like to have this traditional handfasting prayer included in their ceremony. It’s called The Hands of the Couple.

“Above you are stars, and below you is earth. Like stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

May these hands be blessed this day.
May this cord draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger.

May the vows you have spoken never grow bitter in your mouths.

May they build a relationship founded in love, and rich in caring. May these hands be healer, protector, shelter, and guide for each other”.

Veronika Robinson is an independent celebrant who is available to officiate wedding ceremonies throughout Cumbria. She adores watching couples come together before friends and family to declare their love, and has been officiating ceremonies since 1995. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant 

 

“Michael and Sara flew from Australia to Cumbria for their destination wedding which I had the honour of officiating.”

The Power of Ceremony

There’s a simple question that I ask myself every time I head off to officiate a ceremony: how will the guests choose to be involved? Will they watch and witness with respect and love, sitting in silence and reverence, or will they chatter amongst themselves as if just watching a TV show?

A ceremony—whether it’s a funeral, naming, wedding or other rite of passage—is a small moment in time (anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes) in which we have permission to slow down, to step away from bustle of daily life; and we can choose to honour the art of ritual when we’re invited into that sacred space ~ or, we can act as if it’s just another mundane event.

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Four-element altar for Sara and Michael’s Wedding. Amethyst, candle, feather, and water infused under the Full Moon. Celtic cross, and handfasting ribbon. The rings were on a twig of rosemary for remembrance. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

In an ideal world, and it’s certainly something I try to do in my daily life, we would see each day (and each moment) as sacrosanct, and be mindful of how we experience time and space and symbolism. But this world isn’t ideal. We, as a culture, have been corrupted by devices that remove us from our true nature. We often watch two screens at once: phone and TV. Have you ever gone to lunch with a friend and they spend their whole time looking at their phone? This is the world we’ve created, but it doesn’t have to be this way. These are choices we make. We can learn to be still. We can learn to listen, and learn to be present.

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Without question, my favourite wedding ceremony in 21 years. What a truly gorgeous couple. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

ceremonyflowergirl

Beautiful flower girl at Sara and Michael’s wedding ceremony www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

As adults, we are role models teaching children how to be witnesses or participants in sacred ceremonies.

As a celebrant, children are always welcome at my ceremonies. I don’t have expectations of them sitting still for long, but I do always hope that parents will be mindful of how they and their children may impact on a ceremony. So, some simple tips for being a mindful guest at a ceremony:

ceremonysara

I present to you Mrs Sara Pearson. What a beautiful wedding! (if I do say so myself) www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

1. Arrive on time! If you are late, do not walk into the ceremonial space. Stay outside or at the side.

2. Understand that this is a sacred space, and just because you may not be in a church or chapel with a priest, it doesn’t mean talking should continue after the ceremony has started. This is particularly true during moments of ritual, such as candle lighting or exchange of vows or tying the handfasting cord. Honour what is happening by being a conscious witness to the rituals, symbols and word medicine. Know that for this person/couple/family, they will never get this moment back again.

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3. Be particularly mindful of young children, and how they may end up becoming centre stage and taking the focus away from the person/family for whom the ceremony is happening. Ensure their needs are met (for food/drink/comfort/amusement/toilet) before the ceremony starts. 4. Ensure your phone/pager is off or down. Don’t assume it’s okay to take photos during the ceremony. Flash lights, the click of a camera, etc., are not conducive to sacred space. 5. Go to the toilet before the ceremony starts. Allow yourself to be truly present. Let your heart really feel into the moment, and give and receive love with those around you, and those who you are witnessing.

 

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Such an honour to officiate Sibella’s naming ceremony. What a wonderful family. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

 

Ceremonies are beautiful and powerful rites of passage. They are made even more sacred when guests are there as mindful witnesses, whether they are giving a reading, singing a song, or simply witnessing through their quiet, respectful presence. It’s a role, though silent, that shouldn’t be underestimated.

 

Veronika Robinson is a celebrant who officiates weddings and Celtic handfastings, funerals, namings, housewarmings, blessingways, and other rites of passage, such as New to the Moon (menarche) and Creative Crone (menopause). She has had the honour of officiating ceremonies since 1995. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant She is available throughout Cumbria, north Lancashire and Yorkshire, and Southern Scotland (to within 100 miles of Penrith).

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A little bit of love that I left on my husband’s wood-chopping block.

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Choosing a time of day to marry

There are so many decisions to make for your wedding day, but have you ever given any thought to the energies of the different times of day during which to ‘tie the knot’?

 

brougham

Depending on your vision of where the ceremony and reception will take place, you may feel you don’t have much choice in terms of picking a suitable time of day. Maybe you need to allow time for people to travel to the venue, or for the hair and make-up artists to work on their beautification project. Or perhaps the venue makes the decision for you.

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The energies of the day mirror the seasonal energies.

Morning represents Springtime, and is ruled by Aries. It’s filled with the spirit of “let’s do this!” There’s a dynamic, powerful, and definite liveliness to morning. Think of the power and determination of all those Spring bulbs finding their way through the cold dark soil, and blessing us with their incredible beauty. They give us hope! And what of sunrise? How incredible is that energy? To marry at this time of day will infuse your marriage with a positive and energetic tone.

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How many brides do you know of who married in the early part of the day? I did!

 

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Over the years since that beautiful day in New Zealand two decades ago, I’ve often thought: “What was I thinking getting up so early to get my hair and make-up done?” In hindsight, I’m so grateful that I chose morning, and that by the time the ceremony was done we were able to celebrate with brunch.

 

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To marry in the middle of the day, when the Sun is high in the sky, represents Summer. It is infused with a mature energy. Astrologically, this is identified by the Mother archetype of Cancer. Your marriage may bring this theme into rather sharp focus. Make sure you’re not marrying your mother (just joking!).

 

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Late afternoon brings with it the energies of diplomatic Libra. We would assign the season of Autumn to this time of day. It is symbolic of a ‘gathering in’ sort of energy. A time for inner reflection. Given this energy, think about Autumn and what it means for you.

 

And what of night? To marry in the evening is symbolic of Winter: Energetically, it is Capricorn, ruled by Saturn. This is represented by storage and building our legacy. Saturn, when understood well, brings us discipline, structure and endurance. Perhaps these are energies you’d like to bring to the long-term nature of marriage.

 

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So, perhaps you’re clear on what time of day would be best for your marriage. If you’d like help deciding a great day, astrologically, for your marriage, then feel free to book an astrology reading with me. I can do readings which focus on your synastry (what each of you bring to the relationship) or to help choose a great wedding day. www.veronikarobinson.com

Veronika Robinson has been officiating ceremonies since 1995. She has a deep love of the sacred, and derives great joy from creating, writing and officiating ceremonies for people. She specialises in handfastings, but is equally at home conducting more formal weddings in five-star venues, as well as namings, home blessings, blessingways, vow renewals and funerals. Veronika officiates sacred and inspirational ceremonies throughout Cumbria, northern Lancashire and Southern Scotland, and is particularly fond of outdoor ceremonies. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

A vegetarian wedding

As a long-term vegetarian, and someone who truly enjoys creating good-tasting food, the idea of a vegetarian wedding really appeals to me.

 

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My own wedding was: in lieu of presents, please bring a home-made vegetarian meal to share. It was fantastic, and really brought the guests together in their shared commitment to honour our wedding day in this way. For twenty years I’ve held this memory with deep gratitude and joy.

Unless you absolutely know that a wedding venue can meet your needs, brace yourself for disappointment or another choice of venue. If the venue you’ve chosen isn’t capable of providing you with a first-class vegetarian reception, ask to bring in your own caterers.

 

veganfood2

 

I recently attended a local wedding venue that was featuring a new room. As a marriage celebrant, I was most excited to see this space. Well, it sure did look beautiful! However, I paid £15 for the honour of trying their gourmet canapés. Well in advance I put in my request for gluten-free vegetarian. Imagine my disappointment (and, to be honest, some seething ‘wtf?’) when I was pointed to olives (which I could have bought at the supermarket) and nuts. Seriously? I can hand on heart say I felt duped.

Vegetarian meals at most weddings may fall under the following categories: improvised, salads, sides, buffets that feature a couple of plant-based options. Check that your venue is skilled at vegetarian-only menus and that they treat it with the respect and care it deserves rather than as a last-minute thought or attachment.

Buckland Hall is the only all-vegetarian wedding venue in Britain.

See their mouthwatering menu here: http://www.bucklandhall.co.uk/wedding_content.php?art_id=73

If that doesn’t inspire you to choose a vegetarian menu, nothing will.

veggiefood

 

Some venues can be downright rude and unfriendly when you say you want a wedding sans dead animals.

No matter if your choice for a vegetarian wedding is based on a desire for a low eco footprint, animal ethics, or a wish to keep things simple, this is YOUR wedding day, and you have the right to create it in the way that is comfortable for you. Don’t be scared to shop around and make other plans if you feel you’re not being heard.

Some brides feel pressured by guests into having meat options at their wedding. Your guests are there to honour your commitment to love another person. The wedding is a template of who you are, and your values. If you feel strongly about having a cruelty-free menu, then stand your ground. If a guest feels that they can’t go one meal without meat, then perhaps they could eat a burger before arriving at the wedding?

Contrary to the argument that meat eaters offer vegetarian meals (ha! barely) at their weddings, so it should be the same for veggies to offer a meat option, it isn’t as simple as that. Choosing to not be part of the loss of an animal’s life speaks to the heart of a person. It defines an aspect of who they are. Why would any guest expect someone with such heart-felt beliefs not to be true to themselves on what is considered by many to be the most important day of their lives?

If the chef in question needs inspiring, send him samples of vegetarian wedding meals such as those of Buckland Hall. Why not choose a wedding away from a hotel, and ask your guests to bring a home-made vegetarian meal? Or you could hire a vegetarian food van (such as a falafel truck), and keep it really casual.

Food is such an important element and ritual of ceremonies. It is natural that your food ethics would be reflected in your wedding day.

Planning a wedding is a good test for married life. Every step of the way is about compromise: season, style, venue, catered or not catered, colours, themes, guests, music, flowers and so on. Compromise, however, is about what feels good for the soul, and shouldn’t be about sacrifice. If you walk gently on this Earth by not eating animals, and want your wedding to be an example of that, then be true to your core values.

 

veganfood

 

Vegetarian food, when made with love, care and flair, is deeply nourishing, tasty and fulfilling. Don’t be fobbed off with anything less than the best.

My motto is: Your Day, Your Way.

Veronika Robinson has been officiating weddings since 1995. She trained at Unity Church in Auckland, New Zealand, and was authorised to conduct legal weddings under the New Thought Ministries umbrella. She has a deep love of the sacred, and derives great joy from creating, writing and officiating personalised ceremonies for people. She specialises in handfastings, but is equally at home conducting more formal weddings, as well as namings, blessingways, vow renewals and funerals. Veronika officiates inspirational ceremonies throughout Cumbria, northern Lancashire and Southern Scotland, and is particularly fond of outdoor ceremonies. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

WHY are you getting married?

 

I wonder how often a bride and groom ask themselves: why am I getting married?
Yes, the obvious answer is because you love each other and want to make a formal commitment to your relationship. So, why then, do so few couples give much thought to the actual ceremony and its content when getting married? Thousands of pounds (or dollars) are typically spent on weddings: the dress, hair & make-up, tuxedos, bridesmaids’ dresses and shoes, flowers, cake, venue, catering, music & entertainment, invitations, rings, photographer or videographer… Actually, the list can be endless.

Last Sunday I was at a wedding fayre to promote my business as an independent celebrant in Cumbria: Ceremonies from the Heart.

 

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During the afternoon, the local marriage registrar came up to me and said “I just wanted to come and meet the competition.” If she’d said it jokingly or with humour, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog today. I was quick to point out that I was not competition of any description. But, even if I was, surely the world is big enough for everyone’s dreams and talents?

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I did wonder: is that really how the majority of registrars in England see independent celebrants? I’m baffled as to why. We’re not competition on any level. If someone is planning to become married they either need to have a church wedding or go to the registrar for it to be considered ‘legal’. A celebrant is not a ‘necessity’ to getting married. Some may even think it’s a waste of time and money.

Here is why I feel an independent celebrant is the most important investment you can make in your wedding day. It comes back to the question I asked earlier: why are you getting married?

 

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Last year my husband and I renewed our vows in honour of our twenty years together. Although I wrote the ceremony myself, when choosing the celebrant I was clear about three things: I wanted someone with a lovely speaking voice; someone who was comfortable speaking in front of people; and most importantly of all (for me), I wanted someone who believed in love and was a living example of a positive and happy marriage. Talk about narrow down the choices! However, on an energetic level, this felt vital to the celebration.

 

celebrant

 

As we planned our day, the heart of the celebration at all times rested on the actual ceremony: the words and their meaning, the readings our friends would share, the songs which would be sung, the rituals to be included, and the witnessing of our vows by friends and family. There’s no question that the celebration afterwards was wonderful, but what we took away was that small window of time when we shared our love with those people who are closest to us.

On our wedding day, we were blessed to have our ceremony officiated by the lady who trained me to be a celebrant a year earlier.

stone

Long Meg Druids’ Circle

 

 

Having an independent celebrant allows you to create the ceremony of your dreams: one which represents your relationship, your love and your hopes. A church wedding, while it can be beautiful, is based on a script focussed on religion rather than the couple’s love. Why can’t it include both? Celebrant-led ceremonies can be infused with your love for the divine and your love for a human.

 

A blustery day: Green Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.

A blustery day: Green Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.

 

 

A registrar’s service is not religious, but at the same time it allows no room for those who would like to include what is meaningful to them, whether that is religious, spiritual, holistic, humorous or other.

When I work with clients, I listen to their stories and create a ceremony based on what is important to them individually and as a couple. There is complete freedom in terms of the length of the ceremony, the location, the readings, the music, the vows, the rituals and symbols, and of course, the script I write forms the foundation of their ceremony.

THIS is what

friends and family

who witness your ceremony

will remember.

 

In their hearts, what they’ll take away from a wedding day is how they felt when they were included in what can be a truly beautiful, personal and intimate ceremony. I believe a wedding day is, first and foremost, about the couple, but it’s also an opportunity for everyone involved to have their heart opened a little more. Hearts are opened when we can resonate with the beauty and meaning we feel within the carefully chosen words.

On a personal level, one of my core values in life is: beauty. When I look around this world, I choose to see beauty.

 

heart

On a professional level, as a celebrant, my goal is to infuse beauty into each ceremony I write. This is my gift. This is my passion. That I have loved a man so deeply and profoundly for more than twenty years means that I understand what it is to enter into a lifelong commitment, and what it takes to walk that path. And I hope, as your wedding dress goes back onto the coat hanger after your wedding day, and those gorgeous flowers eventually wither away, that the ceremony of love that was created from my heart, to honour the two hearts of the couple I’ve married, lives on and on and on.

Veronika Robinson has been a marriage celebrant since 1995. She was trained through Unity Church, Auckland, New Zealand, and was registered to perform legal ceremonies in New Zealand with New Thought Ministries. She is available throughout Cumbria to create, write and officiate weddings, handfastings, same-sex unions, vow renewals, funerals & memorials, blessingways, namings and other rites of passage. She is a registered member of the Association of Independent Celebrants, and a preferred supplier on Easy Weddings. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

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