Last month I learnt that I was a finalist in the inaugural Australian Rural Business Awards for my work as a remote celebrant.
It was so exciting to receive the email about it because I'm not really into the whole "awards" thing. There are many awards across the wedding industry, some offered by pricy industry bodies that I'm not a part of and unlikely to join.
I certainly don't encourage my clients to enter competitions run by some of these bodies which require entrants to rate or rank their wedding vendors in return for the chance to win a cash or other prize. But I do celebrate with my colleagues when I learn they've been nominated for industry awards. Celebrants, like other wedding industry vendors, do work very hard and deserve the recognition, in my view.
So I was a little excited to be a finalist in these new awards designed to recognise rural businesses. There was one other business in my shire, the Quentin Park Alpacas and Studio Gallery at Tomingley, who also made the finals in business to watch and also in the people's choice category. I was a finalist in the service-based business of the year award.
The awards were announced at a virtual dinner on 24 June. My husband and I joined a great group of people representing the Quentin Park team, including Aimee and Shaun Dennis, the QP proprietors, at the Milestone Hotel in Dubbo. We had a wonderful meal and watched the awards on the big screen in one of the Milestone's iconic below-ground rooms.
I didn't walk away with any of the gongs in my category on the night, but it was great to sit back and reflect on what the nomination really meant to me.
After spending half my almost 18-year career as a celebrant working in remote communities, it was wonderful to know that a team of judges felt that was worth acknowledging. And I'm very grateful. It has encouraged me to continue to do what I do, and to make myself available for ceremonies in remote communities in the central west.
As I said to someone just today, it doesn't matter where you live in Australia, you deserve to have a lovely wedding. And that is certainly possible. So I'm happy that my bespoke ceremonies are continuing to find a place in remote and out of the way places, now in the central west NSW.
It remains an honour and a privilege to do this work and I thank everyone who has has asked me to be a part of their special days.