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Real Cheltonian On The Cover!

Ali Chapman crack

When Ali Chapman smiles, it lights up her whole face. She is a natural in front of the camera and her friendly nature comes across in the photos as you can clearly see. It’s important, she says, to be seen as welcoming because she runs her own wedding business called Cotswold Bride. She has a shop in Gloucester Business Park and a website at www.cotswoldbride.com. She needs to look the best she can when she is in the shop, as she gives advice to brides-to-be on how to look great on their special day and they need to trust her judgement.

Ali says, ‘Your wedding dress is the most important dress you will ever purchase and therefore it’s crucial that you select the right one. You should find a dress that you not only love, but it loves you, in the way that it reflects your personality and makes the best of your figure. We’re here to help you choose the right dress whilst ensuring you enjoy your experience. You’ll be welcomed with a glass of Champagne or fruit juice and we’ll guide you through the fabulous dresses we have available.’

Her own appearance is key when helping brides-to-be choose their outfits and Ali has a real eye for style. With her slim figure and great posture, she looks fantastic in the fashionable outfits she has brought with her for the shoot.

As well as wedding dresses and accessories, Cotswold Bride also stocks the latest collection of men’s wear from Cameron Ross, one of the UK’s leading formal hire companies.

Ali is a busy lady and as well as running the wedding shop, she helps husband Nick with his own business Medical Graphics UK, which provides diagnostic medical services and respiratory measurement equipment. The company sells, analyses and fixes equipment which is used by the NHS, Sports Science Institutes and even Liverpool Football Club.

33-year old Ali had not planned to enter the Face of The Cheltonian competition. She was out shopping in the Beechwood Arcade with Nick and their two boys aged six and two, when she was asked if the children would like their picture taken for the magazine and she said OK. Initially she wasn’t keen to have hers taken as well, let alone be entered in the 30-50 age group, but when she was told she would get her hair and make-up done she soon changed her mind. She never expected to end up in the top three, let alone be the joint winner! Once she was chosen though, she found herself becoming quite competitive.

‘Once I made the top three,’ she jokes, ‘I wanted to win!’

Ali comes from Gloucester, but the family now live in Birdlip. She originally trained as a make-up artist for photographers’ make-overs, which is why she was confident in applying her own make-up for the shoot.

However, after working briefly at Blushes Hair Salon, she changed her career path and ended up working for Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society for 11 years. It taught her a lot about business and she has put this to good use by looking after the finances and the admin for Medical Graphics UK.

As well as running two businesses and raising the children, she owns a horse which is on ‘full livery’, in other words it is fed and exercised when she is too busy to ride, over at Postlip Racing Stables near Winchcombe. She has wanted to ride since she was five years old and admits that one of the beauties of keeping the horse at Postlip is that she can ride over Cleeve Hill. When things quieten down, she laughs, she will have more time to spend looking after the horse herself. That could be some time, what with the businesses, two growing boys, a little pony called Sweetie who lives in the garden, plus two dogs
- Monty the all-white German Shepherd and a Beagle puppy called Jasper. Oh yes, and a cat!

Winning the competition has been lots of fun and has given Ali the opportunity to have some time to herself. Ali believes you have to work hard to be successful and while she and Nick are both focussed on running their businesses, it has to be balanced with a happy family life and it certainly seems to be working.

The photographs were taken by John Moore of Two Front Teeth Photography in Cheltenham.
Tel: 01242 708 468

Ali’s hair was styled by Mondo of Montpellier.
Tel: 01242 245 744