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Toni Torquato has been a licensed massage therapist since 1975, and like most people in the field, she has an entrepreneur’s spirit.
In 2006, Torquato, a resident of San Diego, California, discovered the Celebrant USA Foundation, a nonprofit educational institute that trains civil celebrants to officiate at ceremonies marking life’s milestones, and found both a way to supplement her income and interact with people outside her session room.
Today, Torquato is one of 400 certified celebrants in North America. She specializes in weddings as well as ceremonies of loss, transition and healing.
“I’ll never give up doing massage—I can’t imagine life without it," she said. "That’s why celebrancy has truly been the answer to my dream. It’s the perfect complement to my skills as a massage therapist.”
The celebrant profession started in Australia in the early 1970s. Charlotte Eulette, a former marketing executive, brought the celebrancy movement to America in 2001, when she founded the Celebrant USA Foundation.
“There’s a need for rituals to mark important life stages," said Eulette. "People are tired of cookie-cutter ceremonies. People want to have their stories told."
Eulette believes celebrancy complements what massage therapists do very well, and it helps their businesses.
“You form unique bonds with your massage clients, and ritual and ceremony are already very much a part of our profession,” explained Torquato. “So, creating personalized rituals and celebrations for our clientele tends to come naturally for us.”
She also believes massage therapists are especially good