This morning while preparing to fly from LAX to DFW, a call from Waco, Texas came in. The caller was planning to marry at TDCJ Robertson Unit. I take calls 7 days a week from 6AM to 9PM. Robertson is slow to or process paperwork. A few of my TDCJ Units are. How do I know? I have 7 clients waiting on paperwork or dates at Robertson and others waiting months at a handful of Units. Lock Downs stop paperwork. Patience in the planning process is a must.
The Certified Offender ID takes weeks and occasionally months to come in. Once it does, a copy takes an additional few weeks. It’s time consuming to wait on paperwork. Occasionally for my clients, it’s frustrating too.
Planning your Prison Wedding requires paperwork and if you’ve never done this before, someone patient to lay out the process. I’m that person.
While McClennan County will allow you to purchase a marriage license with a certified birth certificate and Absentee Affidavit, there are a number of counties who require the TDCJ Certified Inmate ID. Obtaining this ID can take weeks to months. Know this “going in.”
For many clients, it’s by far easier to obtain a certified birth certificate but if you can’t, the long wait on an ID in Texas begins. Buckle up and be patient.
You can go to ANY clerks office in Texas to buy a marriage license. Remember though that you cannot buy a marriage license in Texas without both parties being present UNLESS you have a notarized absentee affidavit explaining the absence of the other party.
The absentee affidavit is critical to getting that license. While the option of an inmate ID or birth certificate exist there are no options regarding the absentee affidavit.
A few clerks offices require the ID, Absentee Affidavit and Certified Birth Certificate. This is why having options to go to another clerks office are important.
For a number of folks who think that ANYONE can officiate a Prison Wedding, it should be noted that only a handful of people actually can. That person must be authorized to walk into a Unit. That person should also know and follow all rules of procedure. That person should be reliable, honest and transparent. That person should also have a stellar track record. That person is me.
Because the planning process can easily take 4-6 weeks in Texas, there are rolling clients on my books at any given time. Because of this, I limit new bookings and I don’t advertise. I am sought after for inmate Officiant services more than anyone else in this industry. Why? Because I care and because I know what I’m doing. I also know the ins and outs.
A few people were surprised that LBGT prison weddings aren’t uncommon. Others offended about my diverse clients. Some of these people voice their opinions to me. Opinions are not my luggage and not my trip.
If you are hiring a Prison Wedding Officiant, their role involves far more than just showing up. They should be holding your hand throughout a confusing planning process too. I do. My clients are important to me.What can you wear? From pantsuits to skirts and dresses to slacks, wear what’s within the guideline and what you feel comfortable in. You can wear ornamental headpieces but we must clear the Unit. You may be asked to remove hairpieces to enter the Unit. Don’t panic I will help you redress after clearing into the Unit. Who files the license? You can but I prefer to. Why? Because a license must be filed within 30 days of me signing it. I file licenses three days a week in person or by certified mail. I’m OCD. If you forget to file your license, we can request a duplicate or amend the license but it’s a lot of trouble. It’s easier for me to file it for you and I’m happy to do so.Why do you need a certified copy? The Unit and Inmate Records require a filed copy of your marriage license. While a copy is a few dollars cheaper it isn’t a legal copy. Please request a certified copy and mail it to the attention of inmate records at your Loved Ones Unit.
Why are some Unit photos better than others? Each Unit is different. One Unit has better equipment or a more skilled Correctional Officer taking photos.
You offer free photos with your extensive inventory as a courtesy. Why? Because weddings are Life Events. I want my clients to have the flowers, the furs, the tiaras, the fascinators, the signs and fun they deserve on wedding day. I want them to have an opportunity to celebrate their marriage.My clients are warriors. They make their love story last. They endure. They persevere. They overcome all obstacles placed in their path. They are the strongest people I have ever met…