Oldham based, UK Celebrant Selina Harrison is a newly trained wedding celebrant with a huge heart and even bigger ambitions. With her new celebrant business underway, Ceremonies By Selina, she cannot wait to start working with her first couples. To create amazing bespoke wedding ceremonies for them, full of fun, love, joy and smiles. The best types of ceremonies! Read on for more about the lovely Selina and her fabulous journey into the celebrant world.
What did you do before becoming a celebrant or in addition to being a celebrant now?
I currently work for an Independent Jewellers and have worked in the retail jewellery industry for the past 15 years.
What experiences or past skills do you think helped you with being a celebrant?
In my 39 years on this earth (I still feel about 15 sometimes) I feel I have clocked up a good assortment of life experience. I have definitely loved and lost and loved again. I've had to say goodbye to people much younger than myself, I've become a mum of two and a step mum of four (Your maths is correct. Yes that's six! and yes, I am crazy.) I've performed Shakespeare on stage and I've packed toilet freshener for a living! I've studied person-centered counselling and I've spent the last 15 years helping people to choose the perfect engagement rings and their wedding rings, and answered all sorts of weird and wonderful requests which comes part and parcel of retail jewellery!!
I love learning about people (nosy yes!) But I'm a sensitive soul really and I want everyone to have the experience and service that I would like to have. After feeling pressure from family to christen my first born (I'm not even religious!) I created and wrote a naming day ceremony for my daughter and I'm so so glad I did. Everyone loved it too! What I have been able to take from all of this is copious amounts of; compassion , empathy, insight, patience and all of those things which make us human and think, 'you have to laugh or you'll cry' and I want to celebrate every good thing because, why not!?
What made you want to train to become a celebrant?
I feel the driving force was that for a long time I'd been looking for an extension to the satisfaction I get from helping people at the jewellers. I love it when they find the perfect engagement ring and seeing the excitement (and relief) on their faces when they decide on their wedding rings. I always want to know more about the plans for their day, their story, how long has this been in the making? How do they feel about it all!? I love it when my couple come back in and show me photos from their wedding and I've even had a few invites in the past. Sometimes the circumstances are sad too and I just want to help in any way I can. I've felt quite lost during the pandemic and so one random night whilst watching a wedding on Married at First Sight (AUS) I saw the celebrant and I had a pingy light bulb moment!! "Thats it!! Thats what I want to do!!" And here we are.
What did your friends and family think of your decision to become a celebrant?
I didn't tell many people to begin with. It was something I wanted to do for myself. I needed to believe I could do it without anyone else's thoughts on it. The few people who did know were very excited and supportive and once I qualified I announced it on my social media and the response I received was overwhelmingly reassuring and amazing!! Some weren't quite sure themselves what a celebrant even does exactly ha ha, but all agreed it was a perfect fit for me.
Why did you choose to train with the Celebrants Collective?
Easy!! They felt like my kind of people! I took some advice from a seasoned celebrant (everyone is so kind anyway!) and she said "you have to go with what feels right for you" . I was looking for a smiley face, friendly exchanges, patience, a positive and open learning style which would match my outlook. The opportunity to study from home and at my own pace, consistent and fun communication. Natasha and Claire answered questions I didn't even know I had and if all of that wasn't enough, they were so highly recommended. Everyday, I'm so glad that I've made this choice!
Did you have any worries about being a celebrant which the course has helped you resolve?
Oh god yes! Knowing you'd love to do something and then actually doing it can feel worlds apart for me sometimes. Natasha and Claire have really helped me to bridge that gap. The course is really enjoyable to follow, there's a wealth of support and information at your fingertips and my fellow CC students (now friends) are always on hand to open up a discussion about any thoughts or niggles that come up. Claire gave me such detailed and reassuring feedback on my assignment, it really helped my confidence and the twice weekly Zoom meets are great for keeping me focused! I just know that when I get my first booking they'll be here for me all the way. !
What was your most favorite part of the course and why?
I have loved starting writing again. Winding up the creative cogs! Learning that "there's no right or wrong" and the freedom it gives to truly explore what could be! I've really enjoyed submitting my assignments (teachers pet ha ha) and mainly that as much as this will be all about my couple in the end, it's also something I'm doing for me.
How has your training with the Celebrants Collective help you to become a confident celebrant?
I'm yet to take my first bite out of the celebrant pie (Is it dinner time yet?) But I feel confident already that I have the tools and support to make a fantastic go of this!
What’s been your biggest takeaway so far about training to be a celebrant?
That perhaps I've always been suited to this! It sits so comfortably with me. It evokes excitement that I've not had before from a role and I haven't even started yet really!! It reaffirms my belief that "it's never too late to try."
What kind of celebrant do you think you’re shaping up to be?
One that needs to brush up on all things technical!! Ha ha I guess I'd say I'm very down to earth, I like to listen and learn about my couple. I'm very light hearted and love to make things humorous if I can but I'll never lose sight of sentiment. I will take my couples' story and look after it as if it were my own. I'll be invested. I want to make 'em cry at weddings and laugh at funerals (where appropriate of course!) I want to help people celebrate their lives no matter what stage they're at, arrivals, mergers and departures, it's all precious and all worth it. I don't know what kind this makes me but this is where I'm at.
How have you been making a name for yourself since as a celebrant trainee?
I'm taking advantage of Instagram and Facebook at the moment as I use both on a daily basis anyway! I have a good friend who is a booked solid wedding singer who is going to post a section about me on her platforms which is exciting! I'm currently furloughed but once I'm back with my lovely engagement/wedding ring customers I'll be sharing my journey (fantastic rapport would have been built first of course!) and as most of the friends I've gained over the past decade still work in the jewellery trade I'll be hoping they might put in a good word for me with their customers too!
What would be your advice to someone looking to train to be a wedding or funeral celebrant?
Do it! If you feel you have something to share with the world which could make someone's day a little brighter, a bit more fun, a lot more fun then do it! There's so much to gain! There's a big world of endless possibilities and ways to celebrate people's lives and occasions and milestones and they don't even know! Heck, I'm only just learning about these things!
Isn't Selina AMAZING! We knew she was the perfect fit for a Celebrants Collective celebrant from her first communication with us and you can absolutely see why! Yay!