If you have found a wedding venue that you have absolutely fallen in love with but it doesn’t come with a legal ceremony license then this is a must read post for you.
My Perfect Ceremony, owned by celebrant Jo Clarke, offer bespoke wedding, renewal of vows and naming ceremonies that are all individually tailored to each of their couples. If you have been dreaming of a ceremony that is completely unique and against the norm then My Perfect Ceremony will be right up your alley! They will help and guide you in creating a wedding ceremony based around your ideas, passions and love story. The best part is that there are very few restrictions with a personal/bespoke ceremony which is why we can’t get enough of them on Festival Brides. The freedom they give you is awesome and some of my favourite featured weddings have been those with personal blessings.
We asked Jo a few questions about My Perfect Ceremony, how it all works, how to make it legal and the service you can expect.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I would describe myself as being very smiley, quite chilled and an ‘outdoorsy’ person. I am creative, with a love for sport. I am lucky enough to live in the countryside of North Leicestershire, so have lots of lovely places to visit right on my doorstep, which is quite handy, as I have 3 gorgeous and very energetic boys, who have inherited my love of the outdoors too (thankfully!)
Since leaving University, I always knew that I wanted to work for myself; I just wasn’t sure what it would be that I would do.
I have done various jobs which I enjoyed and managed to learn something from each that I still benefit from today, even if it’s understanding what I should avoid!
I learnt early on, that I loved interacting with people and enjoy doing presentations ( I remember the night before a presentation at University, I would bore my housemates by making them listen to me again and again until I felt confident enough for my hands to stop shaking and me get my words out properly. Thankfully, I have come a long way since then! ) I understand why people who know me would laugh at this now, but I used to be very shy!
If you had the chance to go to any music festival, which one would it be and why?
This is a really tricky question and I have spent way too much time deliberating over which one to choose than I am sure you intended me to when you asked that question. I have narrowed it down to 2, is that ok?
My 1st choice is the Lake of Stars festival in Malawi. It goes without saying that the location is absolutely stunning. How can you not feel uber-chilled here? I love the sound of African drums and this festival is a perfect showcase for the best of the best. I also like where the festival is going, as founder Will Jameson wants to use it as a platform to inspire people, which is all good in my eyes.
My 2nd choice is The Governors Ball at Randall’s Island Park in New York, which is completely different. Again the location is fantastic, it attracts a very impressive line up of high energy performers and had a great urban feels about it, being styled by street artists, so a complete feast for the eyes.
You can see now why I couldn’t choose one right?!
What made you decide to start My Perfect Ceremony?
I never lost the urge to want to work for myself. I worked as a Registrar for 8 years, which is a job I really enjoyed doing. Without question, my favourite part of the job was conducting the ceremonies- I loved them from the word go.
Over time, I became frustrated with the restrictions that have to be put in place and the overall formality. I am a glass half-full type of person and not formal, so found it annoying to have to say no to couples who came in with really great ideas for their ceremony.
I love being with people, writing and conducting ceremonies and so once my youngest son started school, I decided that I would put the 3 things I like together and set up on my own. Scary, but without doubt, professionally it has been the best decision I have made.
What sort of wedding ceremonies do you offer to brides and grooms?
We conduct bespoke Wedding, Renewal of Vows and Naming Ceremonies. As part of these you can include a sand ceremony, hand-fasting, candle ceremony or any other element you wish to include.
Can you explain the benefits of having a personal ceremony?
They are SO much nicer! (ok, I know I am biased, but they really are!) The benefit of a personal ceremony is that you have complete control over your ceremony and it is designed so that it is perfect for you. Everybody has different ideas of how they would like their day to be and often this includes the ceremony.
It can be traditional, relaxed, long, short, involve religious elements, singing (not by me, definitely not my strong point!!) You have complete freedom to include what suits you and have it written so that you are happy with it and actually looking forward to it.
Is a personal or humanist ceremony legal?
In England and Wales, personal and humanist ceremonies are not legally binding ceremonies; you need to do the ‘legal bit’ at the Register Office or a licensed venue. This can be a very short ceremony, which does not have to include the exchange of rings and only requires 2 witnesses along with the Bride and Groom.
Most couples choose to do this on the quiet, a few days before they have their Official Wedding Day with all the celebrations.
What type of venues are best suited to a My Perfect Ceremony?
I would say that venues that do not have a license are best suited to My Perfect Ceremony, as we can offer their couples the freedom of having a bespoke ceremony, wherever they wish all in one place.
We have a wealth of experience in outdoor ceremonies, so anywhere outdoors, whether it be a farm, a beautiful plot of land or a garden is right up our street. We have loads of handy tips to share with our couples.
What sort of service can brides expect if they were to book you as their celebrant?
We pride ourselves on offering an extremely high level of service. We find out what works best for each couple in terms of communication and guidance needed, aiming to always exceed expectations.
Each ceremony is bespoke to the couple and it is really important to us that each couple are completely happy with the end result. Each couple can be involved as much or as little as they wish with the content until their perfect ceremony is created.
Jo was an absolute pleasure to work with, right from the start. She understood our vision of a non-religious but detailed, personal & special wedding ceremony and was able to deliver 110%! She was supportive of our ideas and was able to contribute helpfully to planning our ‘perfect ceremony.’ So many people who were at our wedding have since spoken to us about Jo and her professionalism, friendliness and lovely demeanour.
Mrs Abby Withers (Lester)
Finally, what’s your life quote/motto?
The most important things in life aren’t things.
Still looking for a venue? Make sure you check out our gorgeous preferred wedding venues on our Land Hire and Venue Page.
Big Wedding Ceremony Love