Just over 12 months ago I was sitting quietly at my desk editing a portrait sitting when the phone rang.
On the other end of the line was a frantic female voice who - in the space of about three minutes - and without so much as pausing for breath - told me:
She was getting married.
And Gary hated being photographed.
And that might be a problem.
And she hadn't booked a photographer.
Because she didn't want a photographer.
But should she have a photographer?
I'd been recommended.
And was I free anyway?
At such short notice.
What did I think?
Did I think she was too old to have wedding photographs?
And there it was.
That last line.
That phrase that every photographer on every side of the planet hears every day from just about every female client.
I'm too old.
What? To be in a photograph?!
Girls.......come ON! This needs to stop. How can we EVER be too old to be photographed with the people we love?
I assured Jayne that - given that we were the same age - and that I was still waiting for an engagement ring let alone a wedding - then she couldn't possibly be too old to be a bride! Because, if she was ....then I was in SERIOUS trouble!
With the wedding literally just weeks away we decided to meet up on the day she had her make-up trial to do an 'engagement shoot' and to get Gary a little happier in front of the camera. The whole thing was nearly a complete disaster. Jayne hated the way her make-up had been done. Gary meanwhile had decided the photographer was slightly tapped having endured a conversation with her about golf (the game) when he was actually talking about his golf (the car).
Things were not looking good. The photographer now had a bride who had decided that - not being 20 - meant she was too old to be a bride. And, on top of this, she was on complete melt-down as she was a week away from her wedding and had to find a new make-up artist who was free, and prepared to work, between Christmas and New Year.
Well - here's the thing! Drum roll please for my lovely sister in law who - with no warning and very little preparation - stepped into the breach. Becky from Beautiful By Becky was dragged away from maternity leave secure in the knowledge that things must be desperate if the bride had even asked ME if I could do her make-up (And for those who know me.....yes! Seriously!! ME....a make-up artist!!!)
So - on this -Jayne and Garys First Wedding Anniversary - I want to share some thoughts with all you ladies out there and perhaps give you something to think about as we approach another New Year and being another year older:-
Girls. We are only 20 for twelve little months. We are only 'in our twenties' for ten short years. If we are lucky we get to see many more birthdays and many more decades.
We do not have to be twenty to be a bride. We do not have to be twenty to exist in photographs.
Just because we aren't in our 20's does that mean that we are really no longer 'good enough' to have that beautiful dress we always dreamt of having?
Does it really mean we can't have a wedding day? Be beautiful? And shine?
Does being older mean that we have no friends? No one to share the Prosecco with on our wedding morning? No one to laugh with?
Or (if we truly take time to think about it) does it just mean that we are blessed?
Blessed with older friends who have stood the test of time with us. So the funny things are funnier.....
And the laughter more real.
Does being older REALLY mean that it is no longer 'worth' being photographed with our friends?
That we aren't worth it?
That THEY aren't worth it?!!
And that 20 year old who IS with you now wherever you are in life?
Is that not just absolutely precious that she is there because she is your niece? That you have had all those years to not only love her Mum (who is your sister-in-law and best friend) but to love her too?
To see her grow. And blossom into the most beautiful young woman.
Why is 'being older' so bad?? Being 'older' means you have seen this happen!
Being 'older' means you have watched your nephews grow into men.
And get to be kissed by them on your wedding day!
Being 'older' means your Mum is even older!!
But does that mean she is less beautiful? Less elegant? Less worthy of being photographed?
Or....when she stands next to her Grandaughter (that 20 year old who we all long to be) ... do you not just see that beauty is ageless and timeless?
That it is something that is IN us. It is not something superficial. That vanishes over time
You are not too old. You may be 'older' but that is a blessing. Not a curse.
You must learn to exist in photographs again. You must be photographed with the people you love.
Your Family. Your Partner.
You will never get this time back again. Love who you are NOW.
Because the older you are - the more beautiful and blessed you have become.
To Gary and Jayne - a very happy First Wedding Anniversary
And to everyone a very happy, healthy and BEAUTIFUL New Year.