TDCJ Coronavirus Updates As Units Lockdown…

An inmate at Telford Unit has died. Sadly with cases on the rise at several Units in Texas, there has also been a death of a TDCJ employee as well.

I’ve been to Telford Unit a number of times. Four TDCJ employees are positive for Covid-19. Currently there are 36 TDCJ Employees, Staff or Contractors and 28 inmates positive for Covid-19 within Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Six prisoners at Beto Unit in Palestine have tested positive. I was just at Beto on March 10th.

How and why this virus has infiltrated Prisons continues to be a question that cannot be answered without looking at Correctional Officers who come and go to work at Units across Texas.

For two months now, I’ve watched the numbers of inmates affected by this virus. Alarmed, I knew that an airborne virus inside a heavily populated Prison or Correctional Facility could and would quite possibly “spread like wildfire.”

Federal Facilities have gone to a 14 day lockdown while state operated detention centers play it by ear medically locking down Units with the highest numbers.

Across the world, inmates are just as affected as nursing homes. Overcrowded and often understaffed, an airborne virus is easily transmitted.

Whether you feel comfortable wearing a mask in public or not, the possibility of being required to wear one is becoming reality. In Laredo, Texas, failure to wear a mask in public will result in a $1k fine.

Governor Abbott has closed state lines. You can no longer just leave Louisiana for Texas or Texas for Louisiana. Tightening the border? Yes. Mandatory quarantine if you are traveling to or from Texas or Louisiana? Yes.

As I wait for this visitation ban to lift, daily I have new inquiries for inmate weddings. Daily, I’m advising these new bookings “to hang onto their deposit” as I’m not taking deposits at this time. Why? Because I have clients from March that were cancelled at Units who had hoped to marry in April.

The possibility of my March and April clients being moved to May exists. Because existing clients will be scheduled first, new bookings are being moved to May, June and July.

Cindy and I won’t be flying to California or NY this year until August due to the current pandemic.

The best advice I can give anyone during a time like this is to stay calm. Try to remain positive.

I continue to take calls, texts and emails from past and current clients who need a friend or just someone to listen. We are all in this together and I hope to see all of you very soon at your prison weddings.

Patience Is A Virtue When Planning Your Prison Wedding. Timelines, Deadlines, People & Places…

The past week has been one surprise after the other. February 5th I’m at Allred Unit at 12:30 with four brides before literally skidaddling on over to Buster Cole Unit in Bonham at 5:30. Due to this “time crunch” and the possibility of Chaplain Redwine adding on another client at Allred, bridal photos will be taken prior to Unit Weddings at Allred due to my schedule. 

“GOOD things take TIME, and GREAT things take PATIENCE.” 

“Perspiration is the perfume of persistence.” 

Planning a Prison Wedding IS A PROCESS. There is paperwork there can be delays. The timeline isn’t something you or I can control. Contact or No Contact Ceremonies are based on an inmates status. “Contact” refers to the glass separating the inmate from my client and I. 

While Arkansas will allow up to 6 guests and ring exchanges, Texas won’t. 

Arkansas like the majority of my other service states also has a 3 month waiting period and the additional burden of transportation costs to the clerks office. 

Texas clients don’t have this expense due to the use of an Absentee Affidavit removing the requirement for an inmate to be transported to the clerks office. 

Every state is different. Every protocol is different. Knowing the variations is key to getting the job done for me. I am the most in demand prison Officiant in this industry. Why? Because I care and it shows. I have never advertised any of my businesses and I will never need to. My reputation is my calling card. When someone contacts me to perform their ceremony they know that I will be determined to make it as worry free and special as humanly possibly under unique circumstances.

I’m frequently contacted by production companies and reporters. I’m leery of reporters seeking sensationalism and controversy or production companies expecting me to send them my clients. Why? I’m not in the referral business of doing a strangers job for them by “finding and or securing the talent.” If you are casting a prison or inmate based show, your job is to find the talent not mine. 

Last year in March, someone contacted me regarding gaining access to Units as well as finding the talent. This “someone” also sent me an unsigned contract and with my burdened schedule expected me to do his job for him. 

Heads up kids, this isn’t my first rodeo with media or production companies. My focus is on my business not yours. If you are sending me a contract for review, you might bother signing it and understand that I’m not interested in being tied down with rope I’m paying for. What? Don’t try to tie me down with what you want at my expense. I’m busy. I don’t have time for smoke and mirrors or bullshit. 

By the way, regarding access to Units since that “someone” was unaware how to obtain it on their own last March, media must go through TDCJ Communications AND requires consent from the inmate. A reporter traveled with me in August to numerous Units and yes I helped Ella gain access. I know policy AND procedure.

For a few years I have posted flyers for Love After Lock Up on my pages and if my clients are interested, I’ve shared the contact info to producers. 

The producers at Sharp Entertainment unlike that “someone casting  a prison show” last year and expecting me to work for him while assuming I was a hillbilly with nothing better to do than his bidding were by far more professional. The producers at Sharp are straight up about why they are contacting me. What they were asking me to do takes a few seconds to post on social media. Candor and transparency go a long way with me. I don’t have hours to educate someone on policy or procedure. If you are contacting me to do something you are too lazy to do on your own, do more research but don’t piggy back your workload this way Buddy. I operate 4 businesses. I’m on staff at 3 venues and I volunteer as a hospice clergy at Baylor and Harris. I.E. I’m busy. 

My clients are fragile and aware that not everyone can understand or accept their choice to marry an inmate. Unlike my “traditional clients,” these clients are unique, driven, passionate and unspoiled. There aren’t any divas marrying an inmate. 

A few months ago, I met my Goree Unit bride and her sister in Huntsville at the Unit. Surprisingly, the Chaplain met me in the parking area to advise me that the marriage would not be taking place due to the inmate being listed as common law married to someone other than my client. 

The CLM issue continues to pop up. In many cases, a Dissolution Agreement and Verification Letter from the state can and do dissolve this inmate status but Goree wouldn’t accept the Dissolution Letter or Verification Letter. Because of this, I will be marrying my couple outside of Walls Unit. 

The frequent occurrence of an on the fly wedding ceremony at Walls Unit after release might surprise a few people but patience is a virtue. 

My Goree Unit client did have time for bridal photos after leaving Goree devastated about her inability to marry. Cindy and I had a great time with these amazing ladies and can’t wait to see them again in May at Walls Unit.For the folks who assume “people only marry inmates to obtain conjugal visits,” ignorance speaks without forethought. Conjugal visits are only allowed in four states. Read that again. Only four states currently allow conjugal visits, otherwise known as extended family visits, and they don’t exist in the federal prison system. The states are California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington. 

Please stop assuming everyone is marrying an inmate solely to obtain a conjugal visit. Educate yourself and THEN CONTACT ME. 

I am consistently surprised by the number of people posting comments or emailing me with radically stupid or uneducated opinions. If you don’t know what you are talking about, please sit down and shut up. Stop emailing, calling and posting comments advertising your opinions. My clients don’t care what you think and I don’t either. 

Other readers and followers have legitimate questions or concerns such as “Wendy why are you occasionally wearing a visitor badge and other times you aren’t?”  Certain Units issue me as well as my client a visitors pass. In exchange for the passes, our state issued ID’s are on file in the shakedown entry area. 

Our ID’s are returned for the visitor passes when leaving. The level of security often dictates whether or not a visitor pass is warranted. “How did your business shift so fluidly To Inmate Ceremonies verses the traditional client?” Good question and observation. 

Four years ago, my bookings were 85-90% “traditional clients” and scheduled on weekends. Jail and Prison visitation is on the weekend and therefore weddings are scheduled during the week. 

Inmate Weddings PERFECTLY fit my existing schedule years ago. I’m happier at a prison than a venue! Why? Because my clients are amazing that’s why. “How did you get so successful in this niche industry? Can you teach me how to do what you do?” No. Why would I create competition that doesn’t exist? Do YOU care about these people and their journey? Are you compassionate? 

If the ONLY reason you want to try breaking into the Prison wedding business is money, this isn’t the business for you. This is a people based industry. By the way, asking someone successful to teach you how to find the success they worked for and earned is the most entitled and narcissistic idea I’ve ever heard of.

“No one has more admiration for a narcissistic person than themselves. Anything not directly related to them isn’t important to them. The only thing good about a narcissistic person is their ability to keep a secret.” Say what? Narcisstic people don’t listen to any conversation unless it’s about them. Hence their ability to keep a secret. 

“Gratitude is the difference between appreciation and a sense of entitlement.”

“Pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.” Never heard this farmers term that lays out greed and throat cutting? It’s a true and accurate statement and term my husband’s father told him for years as a child. This quote dates as far back to the 1800’s. Author Unknown. 

“How many of your clients are still married?” From which business? The Pawning Planners, Texas Twins Events, TDCJ Officiant venues I’m on staff at? The total number of divorces from all of my clients in all of these years is 6. 

“I’ve read that you started Texas Twins Events to give others the wedding you didn’t have and to spend more time with your family. Is that true?” Yes it is. Cindy took on raising her twin granddaughters and gave up her day job. Finding a way to spend time together while helping others was the best decision I’ve ever made. 

“Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.” –Shakespeare

After a long weekend of traveling to Galveston to San Antonio, my Monday started off with a bang back at Solis for my semi annual mammogram Monday morning. Why semi annual? Because over the past ten years I’ve had not one but two lumpectomies. My visits to Solis make me a nervous wreck. At 7:15AM, my shaking hands handed the tablet back to the receptionist at Solis. By 8:12AM, I was disrobed and going through my X-rays. My phone continued to ring. It never stops. For obvious reasons, I ignored the sound of Westminster chimes on my ringtone. 

By 8:37AM, I was walking to the locker to get my clothing and head to the changing area. My phone rang again. It was Cindy. “Stephaney has been kicked out of rehab and is by your house.” My blood pressure shot through the roof. Seventeen years of my niece and her choices have caused more emotional and financial devastation than I could ever put into words. 

Disappointment after disappointment aside, surprise phone calls about Stephaney consistently upset our entire family. Now literally throwing my clothes on to go look for Stephaney AGAIN, I rolled out of Baylor Health Systems to drive to my home wondering what in the Hell we were going to do with Stephaney NOW?! Two months into her 6 month treatment and yet again, sheer despair and disappointment were literally near my doorstep. 

Kicking myself for paying her bond when she was arrested at Dallas Greyhound months ago when I Cindy and I had tried to get Stephaney into what I believed was a rehab in Valdosta, Georgia and she somehow managed to get herself into a brawl that resulted in the Dallas PD finding a revoked bond from Cotton County, Oklahoma regarding Stephaney missing her probation payment. Driving home, I wished I had let Dallas transport Stephaney to Cotton County. Would jail straighten her out? Who knows. 

For three years now, my niece has had relapse after relapse to the point that not only my twin sister but also I have been hospitalized for hypertension. I reach for my Xanax as I drive preparing myself for yet another version of Stephaney blaming everyone but herself for being kicked out of treatment AGAIN. 

A few blocks from home, I pull over and call the treatment center myself. Stephaney is a pathological liar and I know it. Me “my niece called her mother and said she had been released from treatment.” The center “Stephaney volunteered to leave the program by leaving the hospital.” Hmm, I knew it. Two blocks later, I see my niece at the park near my house. I bark “get in.” 

Stephaney starts in with “it wasn’t my fault.” I turn to her and say “your mother has spent 15 years raising your twins. She has sacrificed her life over and over. You have cost us tens of thousands of dollars trying to fix you. You aren’t our priority. Your children are. You are 32 years old and you are killing us. I’m going to find you another rehab and you WILL finish the program!” 

Stephaney barks “I want a cigarette.” My niece is selfish, self destructive and reminds me of pigpen with a whirlwind of chaos constantly surrounding her. I drive to a convenience store. 

I’m deflated and depressed. I’m desperate to catch a break from Stephaney and her stupid choices. I’m determined to protect Cindy and the twins from yet another episode of “trying to Save Stephaney.” I google Oklahoma rehabilitation facilities. I need Stephaney in another state. I need to act quickly too. 

By the time Stephaney walked out of Quick Way, I had located a rehab. I’m nothing if not determined. As usual, Stephaney had excuses. “I lost all of the things you bought me and my ID.” Lit, I said “what are you talking about?” My niece (laughing as usual) said “I signed a waiver giving up my property to the facility.” 

More drama. More chaos. More stress. MORE EXPENSES due to a 32 year old that flat out refuses to get her shit together and be a responsible adult.

Now in order to get Stephaney into treatment, I would have to go buy a birth certificate and then drive her to the DMV as well as go to the bank for a cashiers check for the new facility. Ugh. Facilities (even cash paying facilities since Stephaney doesn’t have insurance) require proper identification. 

Waiting at the clerks office, I book a bus from Fort Worth to Muskogee Oklahoma for Stephaney at 1:58AM. I have less than 12 hours to replace Stephaney’s clothes, shoes, toiletries and other items Cindy and I have replaced again and again. Grrr.

Cindy meets me at Walmart. We are miserable together as Stephaney throws item after item into the buggy. Three hundred plus dollars later, we roll out of Walmart to Fort Worth. I’m exhausted. Cindy’s too tired to cry. 

My son has picked up the twins and taken them home with him so they can spend the night at his house. My son will take the twins to school Tuesday while I take Foxy to the vet and Cindy goes to an appointment. We are up all night Monday getting Stephaney on that bus to Oklahoma.

At midnight, Cindy and I sit for two hours waiting on the bus with Stephaney to make damn sure she gets on it. At 2:15AM, we realize that the bus has come and gone. SOB. I load up and drive Stephaney to Dallas while Cindy takes a nitroglycerin tablet. I swear if anybody ever believed that dealing with our family was easy they have no idea what sheer, raw, hell my niece has brought to our lives. Acting normal is a full time job waiting on the next sucker punch from Stephaney. Literally. 

Tuesday morning, Cindy and I are Green Bay Unit thinking our latest “Stephaney Situation” is solved. 

Leaving Green Bay to Dr Richwine, by the time Cindy’s getting an EKG, Stephaney is calling to say she missed the bus and that the three hundred dollars worth of items we had just bought Monday are on the bus. Good Lord! We are at the doctor because of Stephaney’s latest sucker punch Monday and yet hours after getting her on the bus in Dallas she gets off in Oklahoma and misses the bus? 

Cindy and I both take a Xanax. The doctor wants bloodwork. We have no time. We leave the doctor to drive to Oklahoma and find Stephaney AGAIN. 

Hours from Fort Worth with no sleep after staying up all night to get Stephaney on that damn bus to Muskogee. I’m beyond exhausted. Cindy’s angina is killing her. I worry about Cindy. I’m always worrying about Cindy.

We find Stephaney at Choctaw Too Travel Center. Three hours from the rehab facility. Cindy and I have had less than two hours of sleep. I call the center to pick up Stephaney’s luggage from Greyhound. I want to cry but I can’t. I’m too angry. Stephaney ignores her mother and I by listening to her music. No apologies. No thank you. There never are with Stephaney.

At 4:37PM Tuesday, I cannot find the facility. We are in a corn field. I am having a meltdown. Cindy is silently crying. Stephaney is listening to music. I call the facility and ask them to meet me near Chateau at Hookers Restaurant. 

At 4:42PM, a car with two nice ladies pulls up next to us. Stephaney gets out. They invite Cindy and I to follow them to the facility. I decline by explaining “we are 6 hours from home. Wednesday morning I’m in Huntsville then Woodsville. Thursday, I’m in Pampas. I’m sorry but we have my son looking after Stephaney’s twin daughters and husbands worried about us getting home tonight. Thank you for meeting us.”

Without a goodbye, Stephaney walked to the other car…

Don’t Be Tardy To Your Prison Wedding. TDCJ Ellis To Crain To Hughes To Cleveland Unit…

Next week I’m seeing my Ellis client again after a reschedule due to her being over twenty minutes late to the Unit. I’m going to once again revisit the importance of arriving at least twenty minutes early. Please give yourself a wide window on wedding day. 

Wedding day apparel falls within the visitor dress code guideline. Err on the side of caution. If you are uncertain regarding your attire, text me a photo to review. No one wants to be handed a cafeteria smock!

I arrived at TDCJ Ellis Unit at 8:20AM for a 9:00AM scheduled ceremony. Upon arrival, I sent a text to Melissa to let her know I was in the Prison parking lot. For those who follow me on FB, I also check in as many times I have no cell signal once on Prison property. I will always be driving one of our black SUVs with a banner on the back window to identify my vehicle. 

Cindy will also be driving a black suv with a banner so if either I or Cindy are officiating your wedding, we will be in a black suv. If my son or his wife are conducting your ceremony, they will be driving a black 4×4 truck. 

Surprisingly, I had a good signal and returned emails while waiting on Melissa. At 8:45AM, I sent another text and walked to the guard tower to announce my arrival. 

I then returned to my suv at 8:55AM to call Melissa. She advised me that she was 10-15 minutes from Ellis. This alarmed me. Why? Because Units give a 20 minute Tardy window before cancelling and effectively rescheduling your ceremony. 

Ellis Unit has an inmate count daily that would cause a scheduling issue. At 9:18AM, Melissa arrived. I met her in the lot and returned to the guard tower. At 9:24AM, Chaplain Jasper arrived to escort us into screening. By 9:36AM, Chaplain Jasper left the screening area. 

At 9:40AM, I went to the wardens secretary to inquire about an escort. At 9:43AM, I was advised that the head count would take 1-2 hours. This WAS A PROBLEM. Why? Because I was due at Crain Unit at 1:30PM. Crain is three hours (on a good day with traffic and road construction) from Ellis Unit.

I had advised the wardens secretary of my afternoon commitment and my inability to wait on site 1-2 hours for a same day reschedule. The wardens secretary walked out to advise my client of why a forced reschedule was warranted. 

Had Melissa arrived at 9AM sharp, the inmate could have had the ceremony before being moved for the 10AM head count. 

It is imperative to arrive early on wedding day. I cannot stress this enough. We have waited weeks or months for this day. Please plan accordingly.

Leaving Ellis and my devastated client, I made the three hour drive to Gatesville, Texas to meet Gary at Crain Unit. Gary had booked services last March. Gary and Amee had been trying to marry for months. 

Naturally, Gary was excited and nervous due to the number of setbacks trying to obtain a marriage license. The problem? Coryell County Clerks Office continually changes their requirements. 

Gary made four trips to Gatesville to buy a marriage license. FOUR. Gary finally purchased a marriage license in Harris County. 

Meeting Gary, I told him that “everyone is nervous. Stay calm. I will be by your side every step of the way.” I meant it.Getting Gary and Amee married took months which is unusual but also proves the dedication, perseverance, determination and resilience my clients exhibit in their quest to marry an inmate. 

Love knows no bounds. Gary had emailed me while I was in New York filming with Cindy and Leigh Ann about “getting a date.” I was already booked at Ellis and checked the distance on my iPhone from Huntsville to Gatesville. I knew it would be tight. 

I left home at 5AM to arrive at Ellis early. Huntsville is 3 hours from my location. Why did I leave FOUR hours early? Road construction. I overprepare. Leaving Gatesville, I pull over to reschedule Melissa at Ellis then call her to ensure she will be available. I “go over” meeting me early at the Texas Prison Museum on 10-08-2019. Why? Because Melissa became lost on her previous wedding date and because I am at 3 Huntsville Units on 10-08. I cannot afford for Melissa to be late again due to my schedule AND because a 3rd reschedule will require a new I60. Her marriage license will expire before the paperwork would be approved. To solve this problem and prevent any issues, I’m driving my client from the Prison museum to the Prison. 

Kanani had previously been scheduled to marry at Cleveland Unit. Due to flooding, her Wedding was rescheduled. As usual, I left an hour earlier than necessary. I always do. Thirty minutes early is thirty minutes late for me. I’m from a military family and I was taught at a young age that “being late is stealing and you cannot replace time.” This sage advice has stuck with me my entire life. 

Driving to Cleveland Unit, I answered calls regarding upcoming bookings at Polunsky, Connally, Garza, Michael, Coffield, Ramsey, Jester, Lewis, Allred and Gurney Units. Texas is my busiest booking state.

I do not text or email when I’m on the road. I answer texts when parked waiting on clients. I answer emails in the evening or early mornings prior to heading to locations. Please call during the week. Please text on weekends as I’m on location weekends and driving during the week. 

I’ve had 14 clients rebook for Vow Renewals due to inmate releases this month. I’m as excited as you are to be planning your wedding your way with family and friends, flowers and all of the fun stuff this time around. 

Kanani and her soon to be mother in law were on site early thank God. PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY ON WEDDING DAY. We walked in together. Her mother in law waited in the lobby.

Walking into the visitation area to greet his soon to be bride, my groom nearly cried with relief that wedding day had finally arrived. Why? Because he had started the process at Beto. He had hoped to marry two weeks prior but flooding caused yet another setback.Kanani and her mother in law followed me just outside the Unit for her bridal photos. 

The trees by Cleveland Unit were a beautiful backdrop. I had packed my suv with a wide variety of options for my new bride. Leaving Cleveland, Texas, I took calls from several clients. I look forward to seeing all of you soon at your prison weddings in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Cindy and I will be in California and can’t wait to see our Cali Clients in December. 

I’ve been contacted by a reporter who wants to hear your Prison Love Stories as well as Love After Lock Up producers. If you’d like to apply for Love After Lock Up, The blog link for requirements can be found by visiting this link- Casting Now- Love After Lock Up.

If you are interested in sharing your story with this amazing and passionate journalist, contact me.

Regarding Vow Renewal Certificates, my California Client was already married. To celebrate her anniversary, she contacted me regarding a Vow Renewal. Prisons do not offer Vow Renewals. 

If you’d like to purchase a Renewal Certificate as an anniversary gift, email me wendy@texastwinsevents.com 

Out And About With Clients & More Questions Regarding Out Of State Marriage Licenses…

This morning while preparing to leave Bell Tower Chapel and head to a rehearsal brunch for my previous Coffield Unit clients wedding tonight, another question came through regarding using an out of state marriage license to marry in a Texas Prison. 

Let’s review this ongoing controversy and understand that while a marriage license from Texas CAN LEGALLY be used in other states that a prison Warden makes the final judgment on whether or not to allow an out of state marriage license at a Texas prison or any other prison for that matter.

“Can I use my Texas marriage license to get married in another state?” 

First and foremost- you should know that a Warden can and may refuse to allow you to marry in a Texas Prison with an out of state marriage license. Subsequently, a Prison in another state may refuse to allow you to marry in their state with a marriage license from another state. What’s “widely accepted” outside of Prisons isn’t always “widely accepted” inside Prisons. The Warden can and does make decisions pertaining to the inmate. The Unit also REQUIRES you have a marriage license on wedding day. 

It’s in your best interest to contact the Unit PRIOR to purchasing an out of state marriage license to inquire as to what the Unit requires by asking if an “out of state marriage license will be accepted by the Unit in place of an in state marriage license.” 

This question regarding out of state licenses continues to pop up but, each state has different rules. Each prison Warden makes the final call on what’s accepted and what isn’t. Please check with the clerks office  and ESPECIALLY the Prison Unit itself prior to purchasing an out of state marriage license for a Prison wedding in another state. 

A marriage license issued in the State of Texas can be used for ceremonies in other States. Texas law doesn’t “specifically dictate or mandate Prison Marriage” however and the Warden has the final say on what will be accepted and more importantly what won’t be accepted in terms of your marriage license on wedding day at his or hers Unit. 

Please contact your out-of-state officiate before applying for a State of Texas marriage license. 

Please also keep in mind your license will only be recorded in the County and State in which you applied for the license.

I’m going to once again strongly encourage you to contact the Unit prior to arriving on wedding day in Texas with a Louisiana marriage license or in Oklahoma with a Arkansas marriage license or in California with a Texas marriage license TO MARRY AT A PRISON. As many of you are already well aware, Prisons follow their own protocol. 

If I arrive at a Unit and the Unit denies you entry to marry based on your “out of state marriage license,” you will forfeit my fee as I’ve just driven or traveled several hours to meet you for your Prison wedding. 

If you have arrived with an out of state license “because you read on the internet” that you could do so without contacting the Unit to verify the facts, you did so at your own risk. I cannot stress this enough. 

Marriage licenses are closely scrutinized on wedding day at all prisons and the use of an out of state marriage license has been denied at Texas prisons before. 

The Warden makes the rules. Not the internet or someone posting that “you can use any other states marriage license for your prison wedding in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi.” You can only do what the Unit and the Warden authorize you to do. 

Be aware of false or misleading information as a wedding outside of a prison has BY FAR more flexibility. A wedding inside a Prison follows protocol. 

Call the Unit yourself if you have doubts but stop trusting “whatever you found on the internet to be accurate.” Stop sending me screenshots of what you read on someone else’s site too. She’s selling a service. She’s also pitching her product. She’s also not in Texas. I know who she is and I also know that her information is unverified. Are you willing to have your wedding cancelled because she gave you inaccurate information? No one else is either. Call the UNIT! 

Arriving at Fixe today to meet the wedding party for brunch before our rehearsal, I’d taken a few minutes to review the menu and loved the creative ideas for food options. Of course I opted for a spicy Bloody Mary (as usual). This was a really celebratory day. After two years, seeing my beautiful bride again was a joyous honor for me. I love happy endings. 

The brunch menu was biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits and deviled eggs with sauerkraut and caviar along with a really unique salad featuring blue crab. I’d never tried caviar although my husband loves it and was surprised at the saltiness. 

All in all though, this was a fabulous, fun and memorable brunch. I really enjoyed meeting my brides closest friends, family and children. 

My husband checked in on me as I was preparing to head to the rehearsal. We timed the rehearsal after brunch so the wedding party had plenty of time to get ready for wedding hour on site. 

It’s unusual to have the rehearsal and the wedding on the same day for my clients but due to traveling to and from Fort Worth for the wedding, creativity was in order. My clients are leaving for a cruise from Galveston this evening. 

Cindy and Stephaney were working a Willow Lake Event Center wedding while my son was working a Baptism in Dallas. As usual on weekends, the team was split up. Leigh Ann was working a wedding in San Diego and recovering from her “near kitchen fire” yesterday afternoon at the Inns Of The Marines. Leigh Ann and Alex will be in San Diego for another 49 days before moving to their new home on the base at Point Mugu. Leigh Ann had tried to cook dinner last night for Alex and Maddy with disasterous results in San Diego. 

My niece and grandniece are adjusting to the California move aside from cooking of course and enjoying the beach. My sister, Tammy is meeting Leigh Ann this week and excited about seeing Maddy again. My sister lives in Lompoc and is “still trying to get used to driving in Los Angeles.” 

Although Cindy and I have no fear whatsoever of jumping on the highway, our older sister, Tammy prefers “driving in town.” We are working on getting Tammy comfortable on the 405 and 605. Los Angeles traffic isn’t for the faint hearted or nervous driver. It takes far too long to use the 101 from Santa Barbara all the way up the coast although Tammy loves the 101. 

If you have time to take the 101, it’s worth the drive alongside the ocean but, in the Prison wedding business, making out your location and the timeline is essential to getting to your Unit early which is why I frown on the leisurely 101. Sure, it’s less hectic but it’s also far more time consuming and riddled with red lights. I’ve driven the 101 for thirty years when I’m not in a hurry but prefer the freeway because it’s been years since I’ve had the luxury of taking my time to drive from one location to the next. 

My dog, Foxy Wortham hasn’t adjusted too well after his dental surgery and the bite marks on my fingers from trying to pry his mouth open look like I have poison ivy. 

Looking at my battered manicure while writing this blog, it should be noted that the vet suggested this idea after the ongoing battle to get Foxy to take his meds became just too much. I’ve decided that after Foxy there will be no more pets at WorthamWorld. I travel too much and my husband loves dogs but caring for a dog requires a lot of commitment. Foxy is nearly 13 years old now and set in his ways. Biting me is new but he’s old and cranky. I’ve accepted getting but every morning but it’s a pain I can assure you. 

Tomorrow I’m in Dallas County then headed to Winstar Casino to marry my “second time around senior couple” who met on a gambling trip to the casino. I love learning how my couples met and find their stories fascinating. Cindy and I will be hitting the slots as usual and looking forward to a few hours of fun. 

Tuesday I’m at Hilltop and Crain Units in Gatesville and my husband is joining me. A road trip with my husband isn’t nearly as fun as with my twin sister but, Cindy will be tied up getting the twins ready to go back to school. 

Wednesday I’m back in Parker County and looking forward to buying school supplies for the twins and grabbing a quick lunch with them. 

Thursday I’m at Connally Unit and Friday back at Buster Cole. Next week is jam packed too. I’m looking forward to finally meeting all of you in person to celebrate your wedding day. 

Like everyone else, I’m depressed and shocked at the recent shootings. Cindy and I both attended the garlic festival many times in California. I had told Leigh Ann and Alex not to stop in El Paso when they left for California last week for strong reasons. 

Thirty years ago, Cindy and I had stopped in El Paso on our way to my home in San Clemente and we’re nearly robbed. I am always aware of dangerous areas and the world is becoming a far more dangerous place. 

Tragedy seems to be occurring far more often than when I was younger. Danger lurks at every corner these days and because I’m always asked “why I prefer prison weddings to traditional events,” I will reiterate that I’ve never been hurt at a Prison wedding. I’ve never encountered a drunk on location at a Prison pushing me or being abusive. 

I’ve had some pretty wild and unpredictable occurrences at “traditional events” outside of prisons over the years and I don’t miss the open bars and brawls either. In fact, I will never miss them. My team won’t either. I’m too old to get hurt on location. I’m tired of dealing with Inlaws and Outlaws and parties of 250 and more guests. I’m picky and selective because I can be. I’m dedicated to making your Dream Event a reality and the last thing I need are broken ribs from drunken groomsmen fighting around me on location. Arrests at wedding? Yes. Over and over and over again. I prefer joy. I prefer fun and I prefer my Prison clients! 

Many of our previous clients were alarmed that I had posted pulling back from large events but the pulling back was meant for new clients. Rebookings are the mainstay of our business and Vow Renewals for our previous Prison clients are booked twenty years out. We love seeing all of you again. We are honored to have shared your journey. We are just as excited as you are to marry again long after lock up. The flowers, the friends, the cake, the champagne and all of the things you didn’t have at your Prison wedding are all of the things you will have at your Vow Renewal and we are as thrilled as you are about it. 

It was a long road for you. Many of you have told me “I was doing time too while he or she was inside. I was driving long hours to the Unit. Paying expensive phone calls. Going through the screening process. Waking up alone. Paying the bills alone and paroling out means that I will never have to make that drive along again. I paid my dues.” You’re absolutely right and the sacrifices you’ve made to make your marriage work are amazing. 

You are all warriors. You’ve overcome everything going against you to make your love last and you are the most inspiring and resilient group of amazing people I’ve ever met. I love ya all and I couldn’t be more honored to be sharing your Life Event with you whether it’s in a prison or long after lock up on the other side of the razor wire… 

Crain Unit, Country County Clerks, Chaos & Coming To The Rescue? Travels Of The Texas Twins…

Last night while at the Aladdin movie with my twin sister and twin grandnieces, a text from my Ferguson Unit bride asking “if I ever give rides to my clients” came through. With Makenna telling me “turn off my phone,” I walked out of the theater to call Savannah. In my line of work, there aren’t any “off days.” Cindy followed me out of the theater. We both have tight schedules and getting a text on a holiday is a literal “heads  up Houston because we may have a problem moment.” 

I need to know what’s going on in order to plan and prepare accordingly. All of my clients realize this because I reiterate it over and over again. Keeping me “in the loop” keeps you from encountering problems. I cannot fix what I’m unaware of.  If you are sitting in your car crying because the clerk wouldn’t issue your marriage license, CALL ME. If your car broke down and you don’t know how you are going to get three hours from home to a Unit, CALL ME. If you aren’t sure about what you plan to wear being okay, text me a photo. 

On a handful of occasions (based on the distance and my schedule), I’ve driven a few of my clients to their Unit Wedding and taken them home again. 

Certain clients are also very uncomfortable about driving in the country where deer freely bounce in herds across the road. Just call me, I will pick you up at your hotel near the Unit. I work with you to limit your anxiety. Stay calm. I’m not intimidated by a herd of deer. Cindy isn’t either. 

I also have a friend that has a transportation to and from Prison Unit based business. If you need her contact information, just let me know. She is based out of Houston and owns AM Transportations. She is also happy to help you by driving you to a visit or your wedding. I trust her to take great care of you. Remember though, there is a fee for this rideshare service. 

Based on your distance from my location to you and the Unit, there can be a fee for me to pick you up as well. Sadly, there isn’t a “gas fairy” filling up my tank. 

It’s rare for me to be a shuttle driver but it’s happened before and may happen again. Be aware that I’m based in Fort Worth though so I’m not going to drive to Houston to pick you up to go to Tennessee Colony. If you are more than one hour from my location, I will need you to use public transportation to get as close as possible to the Unit. Your officiant fee DOES NOT cover transportation. I will work with you to find a solution but remember I have several clients that warrant my time and attention. 

No one “plans” car trouble on wedding day. Once I’ve confirmed a wedding date with the Unit, we really need to honor the schedule. If you are having an emergency, please let me know ASAP so that I can notify the Unit and reschedule your date well within 48 hours. 

Rescheduled ceremony dates can and do give cause to the Unit to REQUIRE a new I60 and the entire process of getting permission to marry to start all over again. There’s a reason I frown upon reschedules. The reason is that the clock may very well start ticking all over again. I strongly encourage you to show up on a scheduled and confirmed wedding date because you’ve waited months to get that date. The next date (if you have rescheduled your original date) might not be as “easy to change as you think.” It most cases, it isn’t. Also, my own schedule is quite tight. If I’ve “held a date for you only to have you change it at the last minute,” you are effectively put back in line behind my other clients waiting on dates. There is no line jumping. Confirmed dates are important to the Unit. They are accommodating us into THEIR SCHEDULE. 

Line jumping “because you’ve changed your mind regarding a date” affects everyone else on my books. Please be courteous and understand that you are NOT my ONLY client. 

I’m generally juggling 10-20 clients per month planning prison weddings in Texas alone. We also service county jails and other states as well as Texas Twins Events Clients AND Pawning Planners Clients AS WELL as venues that I’m on staff at. “Changing your mind less than 48 hours before a confirmed event” affects everyone on my books. That “particular date” could have been used for another client after all. 

A few years ago, I needed a ride from Allred Unit myself. It’s highly irregular for me to need a ride. In fact, I doubt it Kay ever happen again. What happened? An ice storm had came through North Texas. I don’t drive on ice and had decided to take a Greyhound bus to Wichita Falls. The bus station in Wichita Falls had closed due to inclement weather and effectively left me afoot. No taxis and bad luck were making it look as if I would be finding a hotel. 

Thankfully, my wonderful new bride and her mother and new mother in law gave me a ride back to Fort Worth and my SUV at the Greyhound station. 

Hitching a ride can work in most cases and only takes a certain amount of “working it out” based on scheduling. If I can’t accommodate your needs, I can help locate public transportation or AM Transportations to get you where you need to be. 

Last year, my Estes bride was coming from Houston on Greyhound and needed a lift to the Unit. We enjoyed breakfast with my family at Ole South Pancake House before driving to Venus, Texas. Estes is nearly an hour from Fort Worth and my new friend and I had a great day together. After leaving Estes, I drove to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden to get bridal photos before driving my client back to Greyhound. 

Occasionally, I’m at more than one Unit on the same day. Taking a moment to look at my schedule next week, I told Savannah “I will need to leave Fort Worth to pick you up in Dallas by 9AM. There’s road construction of 45 so the estimated timeline of 2 and a half hours to Ferguson is incorrect. We need to leave Dallas 3 hours earlier in order to arrive with plenty of time to clear into the Unit.” I’m ALWAYS looking at timelines. 

Savannah had offered to meet me in Grand Prairie which is closer to my location. However, Savannah also wanted me to meet her in Dallas the following day (Thursday) to file her license (because she was uncomfortable having me file it and the clerk mailing it to her) I decided that I would drive her to the Unit and get bridal photos arriving early near Ferguson, perform the wedding, return to Dallas, file the license with her and THEN take her home. 

Thankfully, on the day of her wedding, I’m not scheduled at another Unit. Because I’m not, I have time to accommodate her need for a ride. 

I make exceptions frequently but, my schedule is key to “working it out.” If I have more than one Unit on the same day of another Unit wedding, the client needing a lift will be spending the entire day with me. I cannot “alter my schedule” to run you home. 

Let’s review more than one Unit in one day. I call this “Unit Stacking.” If your Unit is within 1-2 hour of another Unit, I stack the secondary Unit. If there is more than one client at the same Unit, you MUST ARRIVE on time in order to accommodate other clients. 

I’m going to catch everyone up on why I send you to cities to purchase a marriage license ONE MORE TIME. Coryell County Clerk now requires you to have a birth certificate, TDCJ ID and Absentee Affidavit. 

Crain Unit WILL NOT SEND the TDCJ ID or Absentee Affidavit and much less BOTH anywhere other than the courthouse. This is ongoing issue with Crain. On yet another phone call to the law library pertaining to two of my clients needing these documents in order to purchase their marriage licenses, the clerk at Crain literally told me “we will not send an ID to anyone other than the clerks office.” 

My suggestion FOR ALL CRAIN CLIENTS is to have Crain send the documents to ANY clerk other than Coryell County. 

Since April, Gary has been to Coryell County at least three times attempting to purchase a marriage license. The combination of Crain Unit and their refusal to mail the required documents to purchase a marriage license to the grooms (or brides) like every other Unit TDCJ Unit does along with the Coryell County Circus stipulations that no other County Clerk in Texas has have continued to “hold up the prison wedding planning process.” I’ve alerted the Courts In Huntsville to the fiasco regarding Crain refusing to mail the documents necessary to buy a marriage license to the people on the outside attempting to do so. 

Traditionally, the inmate will visit the law library to order a TDCJ ID. The person on the outside will send an Absentee Affidavit which will be notarized in the Law Library and mailed to the person on the outside to purchase the marriage license. 

Why Units “change things up” I have no idea. BUT a few Units do. If we cannot overcome their process, we instead hunker down and spend months going through THEIR process. 

Thankfully, Gary FINALLY has a birth certificate. Eric and Gary, I cannot wait to finally meet you both in person and get you married. Gary it’s been a process and had Crain simply allowed Aimee to mail you her ID and Absentee Affidavit, you could have easily purchased a marriage license in Harris County without going through repeated visits to Coryell. Smaller counties continue to make their own rules.

Last year, another client arrived to meet me at the Coryell County Courthouse for his photo shoot prior to driving to the Unit for the wedding. He had driven from Austin. He had also assumed that I had a “copy” of his license. There are no copies of the ORIGINAL marriage license. Only the person purchasing the marriage license has the marriage license. There is only one marriage license. PLEASE BRING IT WITH YOU. After your marriage license is signed by me AND filed at the clerks office, you can purchase a Certified Copy Of Your Marriage License. 

Since a question of name changing being automatic after marriage “came up” last week, your name is not “automatically changed because you are married.” Changing your name AFTER marriage is a legal process. To perform the process, you will take your marriage license AFTER I’ve signed it and filed it with the clerks office to the DMV to change your name. You will then go to SS to update your name there as well. The DMV has a fee associated with your new drivers license. I.E. it’s not free to change your state issued ID to reflect your new name. 

YOU MUST BRING your VALID ID and MARRIAGE LICENSE to Unit weddings at Prisons. We are on site specifically for a legal marriage. If you do not have the documentation, there will not be a wedding. Your Unit wedding will be rescheduled. Getting married at a prison is a process. However, getting your marriage license shouldn’t be as complicated as “country clerks” and a few TDCJ law libraries are making it out to be. For years now, I’ve sent my clients to CITIES to purchase marriage licenses. Country clerks in small towns are wholly and entirely unfamiliar with inmate marriage. Unless of course, the clerk is in a town near a prison unit in which case they may be aware of the legal rights for inmates to marry but, you are taking a chance if you don’t bother calling first I can assure you. 

A few days ago, my Ellis Unit bride, Amanda went to buy her marriage license in Eastland, Texas. The clerk refused to accept the documentation that ANY city clerk would. Amanda called me. Amanda had also taken the Twogether In Texas course that waives the three day waiting period. Since she’s marrying at Ellis Unit Tuesday, I suggested buying the marriage license from Huntsville on the morning of her wedding scheduled at 1PM and then filing it in Huntsville rather than trying to convince Eastland of her right to purchase a marriage license. 

I send you to cities because I’m all too aware of the issues that country clerks have put other clients through. How? Because like you, everyone else called me when they couldn’t buy a license too. Yes, my phone rings all day long and my role is to solve problems. I excel at problem solving on a regular basis. 

If you are near Dallas or Fort Worth, both counties are familiar with Absentee Affidavits and inmate marriage as is Harris County, Travis County, Bell County and many others. City clerks are friendly and helpful. Country clerks continue to upset clients by telling them they cannot buy a marriage license unless the absent applicant is armed forces. 

There’s a reason I’m sending you to a city. A few months ago, my Hobbs New Mexico bride was having problems getting a license and called me. I mapped out the closest clerks to her location and called them PRIOR to sending her to buy the license. Lubbock County issued the license. 

If you are having problems buying your license, contact me. Officiating your wedding involves FAR MORE THAN SIMPLY SHOWING UP. I cannot stress this point enough to ANYONE planning to marry an inmate. 

Everyone it seems is hopping on the TDCJ Officiant bandwagon but, not everyone knows how to solve unexpected problems. I do. I also keep my promises. The role of an Officiant pertaining to inmate marriage can be and is all encompassing. From a mother figure to the maid of honor to a bridesmaid to a photographer to a planner to an Officiant, my role covers every base. 

I hold your hand through a very confusing and lengthy process because I’m well aware that marrying an inmate isn’t “simple” and much less cut or dry.  A few weeks ago, LeBlanc refused to Approve a wedding for one of my clients because “the inmate is already listed as being married and therefore not entitled to a marriage ceremony.” I called the Chaplain and after a lengthy conversation, called the Courts in Huntsville to overcome the issue. Knowing how to address unexpected issues is part of the prison wedding process. If you are entrusting your prison wedding to someone who THINKS showing up on wedding day encompasses THEIR ROLE, you have hired the wrong person. When you run into a problem though, you will call me. I fix problems. I know how to. I’m seasoned and experienced. I know Procedures and Policies. For everyone else assuming that officiating a prison wedding is easy and they can do it too, good luck to you and please don’t call me to tell you how to perform a task you have no idea to do. 

I’m not in the “training others to compete with me business.” I’m in the wedding and event business and I know every aspect of my job or role. No one trained me. I educated myself to all aspects of any business I’ve ever worked in including prison weddings. I’m not going to train you either. 

For a few years now, other TDCJ Officiants have asked me to refer them my clients. Sorry kids, I trained my family members instead. Two generations of my family now handle prison weddings that I don’t have time to address myself in numerous states. They are educated to unexpected issues as well because I’ve trained them to be. Nearly once a week someone contacts me to “teach them how to do what I do.” I’m not about to create competition that doesn’t exist because you took the time to ask me to do so. I’m busy addressing my clients. 

For months now, undoing a CLM status at Telford Unit in order to obtain Approval to marry was another issue. It was also one that was overcome. Hire someone knowledgeable. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve been the 2nd and even 3rd Officiant my clients hired because they initially hired the wrong person. 

In certain circumstances like Hobby Unit, I’ve been hired AFTER a client has paid “other Officiants” not once but twice. I not only married her but even drove this client from Grand Prairie to Hobby and back again! This poor lady trusted not one but two other Officiants who let her down. I AM RELIABLE and trustworthy. If I tell you I’m going to do something, you can bet that I am. Unlike “other officiants” I exceed my clients expectations which is why I’m so sought after in this industry. I also took my Hobby Unit bride to lunch and shot her bridal photos on the way back to Grand Prairie. I’ve had questions regarding retakes of Unit photos. Please do not complain about the quality of Unit photos. Guards are not professional photographers. They are doing the best they can with the equipment they have. 

Holiday Unit is hit and miss on photos. We may have good photos at one wedding and fuzzy photos at the next. If you are on Instagram looking through Unit photos on my account and not paying attention to the Unit, the reason that Estes photos are clear is that they are emailed. The photo quality of emailed photos is crisper than printed photos.

McConnell does a great job on photos as does Hodge. Michael also has great photos too but, the ONLY photos we are going to have of you with the inmate are going to be Unit photos so please do not send complaints about your Unit photos to the Unit or the Courts. 

Outdoor photos and white clothing create a glare. This cannot be overcome. Overexposed photos are due in part to the camera as well as sunlight. Certain Units like Ferguson now have a disclaimer regarding photo quality they go over with us prior to taking photos at your wedding. They are doing the best that they can. 

Poses for photos. I will pose you for Unit photos. Don’t worry about how to pose at the Unit. I know you are nervous and in certain cases like the photo below, guards will hand me the camera to take the photo myself. I’m very familiar with photography and poses and want you to have the best photos you can at your Unit wedding. 

We cannot control the quality of your Unit photos. What I can do is give you beautiful wedding photos taken with me and my inventory before or after your ceremony to ensure you have beautiful photos to remember your wedding day. I’m at several Units in the coming weeks and looking forward to finally meeting all of you at your prison wedding. While getting your paperwork and buying your license can be somewhat stressful, pat yourself on the back because you’ve finally made it through the process. 

It’s a lengthy process but, you chose an Officiant (me) who walked you through the process and held your hand for weeks or even months and in the Torres Unit case, waited for over a year to finally meet you at your Prison Wedding. We did it. You’re married now. It wasn’t easy and it took time  (a year) but, you made it. Questions about the glass continue to roll in. If the inmate is G4 or G5, there will be glass. Accept this because the glass will be a part of your ceremony. It pains me as much as it pains you that your wedding will not be “sealed with a kiss” but, it’s something that cannot be changed.

I’m back at Holiday Unit in the coming weeks and will once again go over why wearing loose fitting clothing subjects you to a search. Although tight fitting clothing is not permitted, loose fitting clothing can hide many things which is why wearing a loose fitting, flowing garment will require a more thorough pat down in the privacy of the restroom. 

If you arrive at your prison wedding in a oversized garment or dress, be prepared to be asked to go into the restroom. 

Please do not argue with TDCJ personnel regarding this request for a private pat down. It’s actually not a request. 

We are on site and the entire Unit is accommodating your request to marry at a prison. Attire is outlined under the visitation dress code. Your attire on wedding day falls under the same guidelines. If your clothing is loose, you will be asked to go into the bathroom with a guard. If you are wearing an underwire bra or corset, you will also be asked to go into the restroom. You MUST CLEAR INTO THE UNIT. 

If you are wearing a weave, clips, pins or other metal items in your hair, you will be asked to remove them. DO NOT GET UPSET. We must clear into the Unit. 

Veils are allowed but must not cover your face. Veils must be worn in the fashion below with the fabric going over your back not pulled over the front. Hair clips, bobby pins, crowns, tiaras, fascinators, wigs, weaves, hairpieces and extensions containing metal products must be removed. Please be aware of this. You will be allowed to go into the restroom and put your hair back up or on. 

If you need assistance with your hair, I can help you after we’ve both cleared into the Unit. But, clearing the machine is a REQUIREMENT. Any metal products are going to set off the machine. From underwire bras to girdles or corsets, the wires are going to set off the machine. 

Wearing white. I’ve had many questions about my Estes bride wearing all white. She also wore a red scarf into the visitation area that was removed for her ceremony and put back on when leaving the visitation area. 

Inmates wear all white. Because of this, you will need to add another color to your attire on wedding day. Whether it’s a cami, scarf, or other item, it needs to be a color that isn’t white. 

I’m on site all weekend with traditional clients and rather than using FB or Instagram messaging, request that you text or email me as I’m rarely on social media on weekends. Thanks. 

TDCJ Weddings & Adventures With Wendy Wortham- Green Bay To Hughes To Hutchins Unit…

I have several clients waiting on I60’s and although the waiting is the hardest part, when the Chaplain calls to schedule your wedding, please answer unknown calls as it may very well be the Unit calling. Last week, I declined an unknown call myself. Thankfully, the Beto Chaplain left a message to return his call. 

Wednesday morning as I loaded up my SUV to meet two clients on my way to Hughes Unit, Cindy and I were still laughing about the two headed fur we took in trade from Huntsville and what we were going to do with it. “Maddy thinks it’s a stuffed animal and the twins are horrified.” 

If you missed our Huntsville adventure, here’s the blog link– The Pawning Planners On Location. More Flips, Swaps & Barters.

I haven’t had time to shock my furniture reupholstering connection yet with this “latest flip.” Terry will either tell me to trash it or tailor it to remove both heads and the legs. It will be a “wait and see” situation.

Occasionally our Flips ARE Flops instead but, since we don’t limit creative requests, we certainly do have a few hilarious adventures on site at Appraisal Appointments. 

Cindy was covering Jack County Jail clients as well as Parker County and my son was at Green Bay Unit with clients while my niece, Leigh Ann was finishing editing on photos from Tarrant County Jail bride, Payton. I would be “flying solo down the back roads” with Skynard, Donna Summers, ELO, Elton John and the Bee Gee’s keeping my company today. 

Checking in with Cheyenne, I let her know that I was taking the back roads in order to meet two clients on my way to Hughes Unit who wanted help buying their marriage licenses. I map out my travels to accommodate such requests on a regular basis. 

Country towns have creative signage. One air conditioning sign had me laughing out loud remembering my twin sisters firm belief that “hillbillies are geniuses.” The sign? “Do you have a HOT WIFE? Service your A/C and cool her off.” I bet that guy was even funnier in person. 

Passing by the Dairy Queen sign, I thought about my brother in law, Steve Daniel who has fond memories of riding his bike to DQ and fishing on the river in San Antonio. I loved the “howdy ya all” sign. Welcome to the friendly and fun back roads of Texas! The courthouse I was meeting my first client at looked like a Gothic mansion with the overcast sky behind it. 

Settled in a small town with many of the stores closed down, sadly the expensive building was surrounded by smaller shops that had most likely (years ago) had been thriving with customers. The irony wasn’t lost on me. This courthouse ruled the center of Meridian, Texas. After helping my client get her license, I jumped back in to my SUV to head to Coryell County Courthouse and sent Cindy a text from my navigation. 

My Crain Unit client has been having difficulty buying his license and after numerous phone calls back and forth, I had scheduled him into my day to address his apprehension by accompanying him to buy the license. I actually do this for clients frequently by “working them into my road trips to prisons.” 

My timeline to meet my Crain Unit client was perfect since the courthouse was fairly close to Hughes Unit and mapping out meetings is essential to accommodating my schedule and my clients. 

Driving down 6, I sent Cindy a pic of a “report poaching sign.” I’d never seen one before. 

Cindy called me and asked “was that a poaching sign posted? I haven’t seen one of those in years.” I send road trip text photos all of the time if Cindy isn’t with me laughing about the things we see rolling down the road. 

My sister can name every type of cow and admire a ranch fence like nobody else I know. Why? Because while I was traveling the world modeling, Cindy was building a dairy brick by brick in Gordon, Texas. 

Cindy is far more “country” than I will ever be. We are Compensating Personality Twins as are Cindy’s twin granddaughters. It’s rare. Cindy loves “educating me” about goats, horses and cattle on our back roads journeys across Texas and Louisiana as well as Oklahoma. I think all cows look alike. But, Cindy loves to tell me what makes them different. 

I always gas up because finding gas stations can be tricky on back roads. 

By the time, I rolled into Coryell County, Christina had sent me a text regarding running a little behind which perfectly fit my schedule to meet my Crain Unit client before heading to Hughes. 

Arriving at Hughes, I let Christina know where I would be in the parking lot while fielding texts and phone calls from other prison wedding clients. My phone never stops ringing. I dabbed on light makeup as the guard tower watched me change shoes, fix my hair and finally leave my SUV to walk to the main entrance. Lipstick and tinted glasses when leaving WorthamWorld early along with a ponytail are my usual attire. Flip flops are changed into dress shoes once I arrive at a Unit. I always wear a suit to Prisons. 

Sadly, the status of the inmate hadn’t been changed from G4 to G2 which meant he would be behind glass. This upset my client but, it’s my job to calm my clients and I did. Had we known ahead of time the status change would be delayed, we could have rescheduled the wedding but, these things can and do happen. 

No one likes marrying with glass separating them. Christina didn’t either but, we overcame the disappointment of having her fiancée behind the glass and enjoyed a wonderful visit prior to the ceremony. Since Christina didn’t want photos posted, I posed with her husband and bought photos of all three of us as well as one of her and her husband before leaving the Unit for her to keep. 

Headed to Huntsville again, I thought of all the times I’ve driven to Gatesville the past two years. A city that two years ago, I had never heard of that literally is compromised of mostly inmates and prisons. 

It’s shocking how frequently I drive to Gatesville. Many of the Units house females although Hughes Unit is a male Unit surrounded by female Units. Other than Hughes Unit, the majority of my Gatesville clients are males marrying females.San Saba Unit is also a female Unit I frequently make trips to as is Hobby. 

The Hobby Unit clients booking with us are predominantly females marrying females. Since I’m always asked about this, yes, it’s legal for a male to marry a male or a female to marry a female. This question continues to confuse me. The Units I marry inmates in are located in the United States. 

I have no idea why this question comes up pertaining to inmate marriage since same sex marriage has been legal for years now in the United States. 

Tennessee Colony is also one of those towns and a regular trip for my niece, Leigh Ann or I to meet a client at their Prison Wedding. 

Beto, Michael, Coffield and Gurney are regular trips month after month. Tennessee Colony like Gatesville and Huntsville is a “city of prisons.”

I had a surprising text out of the blue from one of my former production company friends asking “are you and Cindy under contract?” I advised Kristen “no, we are too busy for film projects and we’ve expanded inmate weddings to cover several states. 

My niece, Leigh Ann and my stepsister, Tammy are going to be taking on California Prison Weddings by August 2019 with my son and his wife focusing on Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. 

Due to my schedule with traditional as well as prison clients and Pawning Planners Clients, Cindy and I will continue to travel while focusing more on Texas and Louisiana when not traveling for destination bookings through Texas Twins Events.” 

The truth is that although I’m consistently contacted regarding show concepts and inquiries, our clients will always be our priority. Cindy and I put everything we have into taking care of our clients. 

If and when we have the time to take on the task of filming, it won’t be during wedding season. The reason for this is our time. 

Prison weddings and traditional bookings during wedding season leave Cindy and I no time for Skype, voice overs, sizzle reels, conference calls and other time consuming tasks that production companies require. Flying off to pitch meetings in season is out the question for the Texas Twins. 

Arriving back at my home office and preparing my suit for Hutchins Unit, I check in with my niece, Leigh Ann who will be handling photography Thursday for Brandy after her inmate wedding at Hutchins while juggling phone calls, emails and text messages. 

In this type of business, responding quickly and promptly is essential. I respond every 2-3 hours to clients and keep them updated. Clients are anxious. The process to marry an inmate can run from 3-6 weeks or in unusual situations like Torres Unit, over a year. Inmates being moved are generally the reason. 

Bouncing from an appointment with my grandniece, Makenna at Cooks Childrens Hospital for her dermatology appointment and meeting Cindy to take Makenna back to school before parking Leigh Ann’s SUV for her to jump into mine and head to Hutchins Unit. We all have suvs to carry numerous props for photo shoots except my son who drives a 4X4 truck. All of our vehicles are black which makes it easier for clients to find us in jail or prison parking lots. 

My twin grandnieces, Maryssa and Makenna like Cindy and I have completely different health issues. Maryssa unlike Makenna had Precocious Puberty. Makenna unlike Maryssa has eczema and psoriasis. Completely different health issues is unusual for identical twins but, Cindy has had none of my health issues and I’ve had none of hers. 

Makenna is trying a new steroid cream for her outbreaks and we’ve added bleach baths to the mix after her dermatologist suggested it to Cindy and I at her latest appointment.My youngest grandniece, Madyson is a ball of fire and not a twin. Maddy is three and a half but her first two years were spent with hearing issues we were unaware of. 

Maddy has been in speech therapy after ear surgery last year and is now making great strides with verbal communication. Maddy also has wildly curly and unnameable hair. 

My niece, Leigh Ann is the only person in our entire family with curly hair that she regularly flat irons. As a child, Leigh Ann was nicknamed, Shirley Temple due to her reddish curly hair. Maddy looks just like Leigh Ann did years ago. 

Leigh Ann started photography shortly after the birth of Maddy and has worked with me for years. You can trust my niece to make your day as special as you are. 

Like my entire family, Leigh Ann treats each and every client like her only client. From officiating traditional events and ceremonies to inmate weddings and photography, Leigh Ann loves working with our diverse client bases. Maddy also often “jumps in” on photo shoots with clients. 

Did I anticipate our services as inmate wedding Officiants to expand and compromise the largest portion of our bookings? No. Who would? But, this diverse client base has become my favorite type of client. Why? Because unlike our other clients, the clients marrying inmates are far more passionate and thankful for our help making their Dream Event a reality that’s why. 

The interest by media and production companies regarding our prison wedding clients continues to surprise me but, none of my clients are familiar with television and I’m very protective of their journey. 

Standard reality contracts would take advantage of our clients who are often unaware of what the “talent” would actually be giving up if they werent educated by us about reality television and more importantly, standard reality contracts with production companies. 

Thankfully though, Cindy and I are “very familiar with standard reality contracts” and more than happy to educate our clients regarding the pros and cons of reality tv. Our clients are our priority. Thirty percent of them don’t want others to know they are marrying an inmate. In fact, we don’t publish photos in order to protect their privacy as a courtesy.

I’m a multitask expert at all times but taking on filming is simply too much “in season” for me. Cindy and I haven’t had a day off in months. 

Driving in to the guard gate at Hutchins Unit, my Hughes Unit bride called me to check on the status of her marriage license being recorded. I had sent it to San Antonio via 2 day priority mail on my way home from Hughes Unit and quickly tracked the envelope sitting in the parking lot and let her know it would arrive Friday at the clerks office today before 3PM. She was relieved that I sent it with tracking but, I send every marriage license with tracking unless I’m filing it in person. I’m OCD. 

Parking my SUV, I sent a text to Brandy from the Hutchins parking lot to meet me at reception, I left Leigh Ann in my SUV. Brandy looked beautiful. 

Going in to reception, we encountered a secretary who “didn’t know anything about a wedding today. I don’t have an I60.”  Brandy was immediately upset. Who wouldn’t be. We had scheduled this wedding three weeks ago. Once again though, it’s my job to comfort my clients and stay in control. I had Brandy sit down and told the secretary to find the Chaplain. 

Apparently, both Chaplains have retired at Hutchins which was a bit of a problem and thankfully, the volunteer Chaplain, Mike knew what was going on and where the original I60 was. The volunteer, Mike sent a guard to the law library to find a copy of the original I60 to give to the wardens office. This took nearly an hour. 

When waiting on a prison wedding, the wait can be up in the air. From our escorts to locating the inmate to moving to the location, I can be in a Unit 1-2 hours. Rarely though, I’ve waited three hours. It happens. 

When my client and I were finally escorted to the visitation area, my client was thrilled to finally see her fiancée! Although getting to him was exasperating, the wait was worth the joy I witnessed between my couple. 

The stress and setbacks leading up to a prison wedding for clients is the hardest part of the process. Once the wedding is performed though, their relief is evident. Finally, they are married. FINALLY. 

As usual though, the Unit photos were blurry and dissapointing. I had purchased 3. We left one with the Groom and I gave 1 to the bride and kept the photo below. Thanks to Texas humidity, my hair is a hot mess. I had cut my own bangs in my SUV again. Ugh. Wish I had time for a process haircut but it won’t be “in season.” 

Walking out of the Unit, Brandy and I both were surprised at her grainy wedding photos BUT that’s why I pack an entire SUV full of bouquets, tiaras, clothing, furs and more. That’s right. Brandy was going to have a great day with Leigh Ann and I less than 3 miles from Hutchins.

I believe everyone should be able to celebrate their wedding day and my photo shoot and rolling photo booth ensure that they do. Cindy and I had found the blue fur at a junk shopping after leaving San Saba Unit. The fur was a perfect match to Brandy’s outfit. 

We think of everything. Photography by http://www.facebook.com/maddieandmephotography. 

The mahogany fur stole Cindy and I found junk shopping after leaving McConnell Unit a few weeks ago. We are always shopping for client photo shoot ideas, props and fun items. 

Leigh Ann can’t wait to finish editing Brandy’s photos and I can wait to see them. When her husband is released, Brandy is also rebooking us to perform their Vow Renewal. We are looking forward to another celebration of joy and freedom long after Lock Up….