TWO Saddleworth ladies who dedicated their lives to making other people’s big day just perfect have enjoyed a special moment of their own.
Toni Frost, from Springhead, and Selina Walker, from Greenfield, are celebrants – performing or officiates ceremonies such as weddings, baby namings or funerals.
And recently they were both nominated in the Rising Star category of the 2021 Celebrant Industry Awards.
Here, the Independent’s Hayley Bromley looks at both ladies and their business success so far.
WEDDINGS are the happiest day of any couple’s life, but for many it was nothing more than a pipe dream when the coronavirus pandemic erupted.
But for Greenfield resident Selina Walker, 40, being furloughed from her job afforded her the time to discover her passion for making other people’s special days even more special.
She said: “When we first went into lockdown I was put on furlough, and because I had a lot of time to myself I went on a bit of a soul-searching journey.
“I started binge-watching wedding programs and having worked in a jewellers for most of my working life, I’ve always had a massive interest in wedding ceremonies.
“Just to be a part of someone’s special day by selling them their wedding rings made me very happy. I’m a big romantic at heart and I love to hear people’s stories.
“That got me thinking about my future and what I really wanted to do, so I started looking into it and discovered the world of the wedding celebrants.”
After a month of intensive training, Selina completed her celebrant course in March of this year and wasted no time in diving right in with her new venture.
Setting herself up with a website and social media presence, she soon found herself fielding bookings from lots of happy couples looking to tie the knot.
So impressed were they with her service that she was put forward in the Rising Star category of the 2021 Celebrant Industry Awards, which recognises talent in the celebrant industry worldwide.
And although she didn’t win, she felt honoured just to have been nominated.
She continued: “It just blew me away. I’ve only just dipped my toe into the pool and people already feel I deserve recognition. I don’t mind that I didn’t win, I was amazing just to be nominated.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how the business will develop. I’m still employed with the jeweller, which is amazing because the two tie in very nicely.
“But I would love to make my celebrant business my full-time occupation one day. It’s something I’m really passionate about and I’m prepared to work hard to achieve my dream.”
• Any happy couples who would like to speak to Selina about their special day can contact her via her website at ceremoniesbysel.com
AS the UK holds its breath ahead of taking the final step out of lockdown measures, more and more people are feeling confident enough to start planning the biggest of their big days.
There’s no day more special for happy couples than their wedding day, and for those who have the privilege to share it with them it is equally amazing.
Facilitating such a joyous occasion was all the encouragement celebrant Toni Frost, who lives in Springhead, needed to get involved in a profession that is fast becoming in high demand.
She said: “One of the things I love most about being a celebrant is that I can bring a more personal touch to people’s wedding days that you wouldn’t get with a registrar.
“This is a profession that is becoming more popular for this very reason. I can create a bespoke ceremony that gets to the heart of the relationship between the happy couples.”
A police officer for over 20 years, her new venture is a far cry from her previous professions, yet they have contributed so much to her early successes.
Toni continued: “I’ve been living overseas for the past seven years, working in events, operations and communications in the Middle East, and came back to the UK in 2020.
“I’ve always worked in positions of trust, but I’m also such a sap for romance and when I settled in Springhead, I decided I wanted to pursue a venture that was joyous to be a part of.
“I didn’t immediately set out to become a celebrant. It was simply mentioned in passing and it piqued my interest, so I started googling celebrants and different training academies.”
After finishing her training in March this year, only two months after dipping her toe into the world of celebrants, Toni was nominated as a Rising Star in the 2021 Celebrant Industry Awards.
She continued: “I never expected to win but I was thrilled to even just be nominated. I was so much newer than all of the other nominees it was quite a surprise when I found out.
“I’m so excited to be part of such a beautiful industry and it’s encouraging for me, having been nominated, because it means people see the value in what I can offer their special day.
“I’ve still got a lot of work to do, building up my reputation and developing the business, but so far the signs are very positive and I am hopeful that I can make this a big success.”
• Any happy couples who would like to speak to Toni about their special day can contact her via her website at esquiressceremonies.com or search Esquiress Ceremonies on Facebook and Instagram.