A CELEBRANT who feared her business might not survive the pandemic has been nominated for 11 industry awards.

Sarah Boalch, 34, who owns the The North Wales Celebrant, is in the running for Best National Wedding Celebrant; Best National Funeral Celebrant; Wedding Industry Favourite and Funeral Industry Favourite [to name a few] in the 2021 Celebrant Industry Awards.

The awards are designed to recognise those delivering excellence within industry.

Sarah, who is married to Dan, is one of the youngest celebrants in North Wales.

She qualified as a wedding, naming and funeral celebrant in 2017 and prides herself on her "down to earth" approach. She spends times getting to know couples, families and individuals and aims to create ceremonies with 'personality'.

Sarah, of Old Colwyn said: "I received an email from The Celebrant Industry Awards to notify me of my nominations. I was absolutely blown away and actually a little tearful as it has been a really tough year for my little business.

"It means so much to know that my dedication to my clients has been recognised and appreciated, and even if I don't win I'm still over the moon with my nominations - which incidentally have now been vetted and approved by The Celebrant Industry Awards (TCIA) to go through to the voting stage, so it is all very exciting.

Rhyl Journal: hotographs courtesy of Sally Smart of Blue Bug Photographyhotographs courtesy of Sally Smart of Blue Bug Photography

"I haven't won any awards in the past but I've been nominated for several wedding business awards over the years. The difficulty is, none of them have a celebrant category so celebrants are often overlooked sadly but the TCIA is a huge step forward in rectifying this."

Sarah, who is currently studying towards a Masters in Theatre [a part time distance course with Surrey University], said the pandemic has impacted her business hugely.

After having to postpone all her weddings to 2021, she was left with no income "at all".

She was also forced to shield; Sarah has several chronic health conditions. She suffered from kidney failure in 2018 and had to learn to walk again.

"The pandemic nearly ended my business," Sarah said.

"With also having to shield, I couldn't even take on funeral work for almost 12 months.

"It was a really tough time for my clients too who I kept in regular contact with to offer support and reassurance.

"It has been so hard trying to navigate through the restrictions but finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I'm busier than ever.

"It's so great to get that wedding buzz again with couples and their families finally feeling they can get excited again.

"The biggest challenge for me was not receiving any funding at all in 2020 as I work from home so didn't qualify for any help.

"Thankfully in January 2021 local restriction grants took us smaller businesses into consideration and I qualified for a little funding - just as my savings had run out.

"It was a close call, I could have lost my business."

Sarah, who was born in Liverpool and moved to North Wales in 1996 with her parents, sister and grandmother, said her husband has been her "absolute rock".

"I would have been lost without him during the pandemic," she added.

"He kept me hopeful and positive, he's amazing.

"The road has definitely not been smooth but with the support of my husband and my loving family I am exactly where I am meant to be and these awards are just the beacon of hope that I needed."

Voting will open on Monday, May 17 and run until Friday, May 21. After the voting stage, the top five celebrants for each category will be chosen and will go through to third stage.

The third stage is the judging panel and on Monday, May 31, the winners will be notified.

Jennifer Claire Constant, founder of TCIA and The Celebrant Directory, said: “I am so excited to finally launch these awards to shout loudly about our fantastic Celebrant community and really recognise the talent we have.

"The past year has shown how integral celebrants are within the funeral and weddings industry, working and supporting families through life-changing events.

"I’m really proud of how our members have come together and have made a difference in times of such hardship in 2020-2021.”

Click here to vote for Sarah and to learn more about the awards.