"I am not your typical bride" explains a nervous voice over the phone. I can hear the strength it took to pick up the phone and call a wedding dress shop. I can sense the need to explain - the implied apology for a previous marriage less perfect, or the echo of sadness or tragedy.
A lot of appointment booking phone calls start like this. Apprehensive to say the least. At one point, when I started working for my Mother at the tender age of 27, I was approximately the same age as most of my clients. I assumed that one day I would be older than them. Sociology, demographics 'Peter Pan' syndrome, '50 is the new 40' - call it what you will. The fact is I still see lots of brides my age. 45.
When organising the original Fetcham Park shoot I wanted to show this new cool, beautiful, demographic of clients. Women that aren't apologetic for a failed marriage, not remotely worried that haven't ever found 'the one' til their 40's. This is my age group - we idolised Debbie Harry and Siouxsie Sioux. Mariella Frostrup is my age - so is Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry. Madonna is 10 years older.
Step forward Chantelle. Friend, mother to my 17 year old Saturday girl Tegan and (step) Grandmother. Ok - she is very happily married, she has the bod' of a woman a lot younger - but so do masses of women in their 40's and 50's. It is a great age to be and hopefully a few women can start picking up the phone and be confident in celebrating their very good fortune of being in love and engaged - celebrate being 'typical'.
Dress Suzanne Neville at http://www.missbushbridalwear.co.uk/
Headress Jenny Packham at http://www.missbushbridalwear.co.uk/
Jewellry Jon Dibben http://www.jondibben.co.uk/