JO STOTT sold her award-winning, North East bridal salon, in 2019 and since then has embarked on a new career as an international bridal consultant and celebrant. Today her expertise has taken her around the world, working with some of the biggest names in the industry, and with laws likely to change to grant celebrants legal rights to perform weddings in England and Wales within the next year or so, business is booming.
She’s even had Sam Fender ask ‘when he gets married can she do it’.
After a career in HR, Jo founded her incredible bridal store in 2010 in homage to her late precious parents (the name means You Are Precious, a nod to her Dad’s affectionate sign off in cards and letters for 60 years) The store went on to be one of the largest and acclaimed boutiques in the UK and when Jo sold the business in 2019 she wanted to continue to help couples celebrate in the most unique ways.
Now expert bridal consultant, Jo has worked with bridal boutiques in London, Los Angeles and Melbourne as well as her native North East, to elevate their brand experience, mentor staff and provide personalised stylist development for world-class design houses including Maggie Sottero, but it is with her work as a celebrant with Love Jo Ceremonies that Jo really wants to lead change in the sector.
Post-pandemic Jo has seen a 100 percent increase in bookings for her services as a celebrant and is already booked well into 2023 and 2024, with couples looking to really personalise their big day and put their love story at the heart of the celebrations, and she is now planning to expand to meet the rising demand.
Speaking about the possibility of law reform for celebrants, Jo said, “I believe that the industry needs a bit of a shake-up when it comes to the laws afforded to celebrants; leaving couples unsure of when the changes are coming in as they plan their big day adds additional stress and pressure. If celebrants are afforded legal powers to perform weddings, this will also open up new markets for venues who don’t currently hold a licence – giving a much needed boost to the hospitality sector in the North East after a turbulent few years.”
“After over 10 years working with couples planning their ceremonies, I know what is important to them and what they will look back on after the day itself is over. The pandemic made us all reflect on what is important to us and there has been a real shift in couples looking to put their own personalities, at the heart of their wedding day and relive their love story with their loved ones.
“Google searches for ‘wedding celebrant’ have overtaken ‘wedding registrar’ in the UK recently and with the laws in the cusp of changing, it is so important for couples to have options while they are planning where and how they celebrate their relationship. As the business grows I’m looking to partner with more venues to open up access to their spaces and I am currently working with a North East meditation specialist on a package which couples can access ahead of their wedding day, keeping them calm and relaxed so they can really enjoy it.
“The rise in popularity comes from couples wanting ancient love traditions with in-jokes and personal stories to create a ceremony that puts love right at the centre. If you would like a ceremony that is unique, not typically traditional, which allows you to style and build in elements of meaning to you and your partner, choosing a celebrant to lead your ceremony is great option.”
Speaking of her celebrity encounter, Jo laughs, “Sam Fender was a guest at a ceremony I performed in 2022 and he really enjoyed how personal it was, we had a chat afterwards and he said when he gets married would I perform the service! I think he was joking but of course I would be there in a heartbeat!’
On 19th July 2022, the Law Commission published its final report into wedding law reform in England & Wales. It is now in the hands of the Ministry of Justice, which has until July 2023 to submit its full response which could see wedding celebrants granted legal powers to perform weddings in England and Wales.