Port Macquarie celebrants have been recognised for their dedication to newlyweds at the Brides Choice Awards 2021.
Marriage celebrants Julie Ash and Kip Harris received high praise at the Australian wedding industry awards night streamed online on April 27.
Ms Ash won the highly commended second place award and Mrs Harris collected a top five finish, in a competition traditionally dominated by Coffs Harbour celebrants.
"To have two celebrants from Port Macquarie is just awesome because usually the major awards are won by Coffs Harbour," Ms Ash said.
"For a couple getting married they are looking for a good celebrant who will go beyond the call of duty. A good celebrant can make or break a big day.
"I think celebrants need to be able to communicate and gel with the couple to help personalise parts of the ceremony to follow their lives and journey together.
"We are pretty stoked to have been recognised for these awards this year."
Mrs Harris, who has been a celebrant for four years and moved to Port Macquarie in 2014, said she made the change to become a celebrant after being a project manager in Sydney.
"Once I'd moved to Port Macquarie I was having an existential crisis and I didn't want to work in an office again. I love the outdoors and didn't like being stuck in an office," she said.
"I was volunteering as a tour guide at the Koala Hospital and another volunteer suggested I could use my public speaking to become a marriage celebrant.
"I'd finally found what I was meant to do. I'm working outside but also it incorporates project management and organising the big picture for weddings. By the end of this year I will have done about a hundred weddings.
"Celebrants are all very supportive of each other and by nature we are very social.
"Although I have a huge amount of respect for the awards, I do it because I want couples to love their wedding and when that happens that's all I need."
Mrs Harris said Port Macquarie is a wedding destination with world-class wedding services.
Sails Port Macquarie was honoured as the winner of the 4-4.5 star hotel and wedding venue coordinator awards on the night.
Settlers Inn was recognised as the best boutique hotel wedding venue and Hibbard Sports Club claimed the win as the best licensed club wedding venue.
Little Fish Cafe won best restaurant wedding venue and Tacking Point SLSC collected the award for best surf club wedding venue.
Cassegrain Wines was selected as highly commended in the winery wedding venue category and Longview Farm was highly commended for farm and country wedding venues.
Port Macquarie Day Spa was recognised as the winner of the day spa category and Harry's Lookout Port Macquarie claimed the coveted title of best chapel, church and ceremony location.
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