Nearly everyday I hear from someone interested in a Prison or Jail Wedding. The number of inquiries would surprise you but, there are many people in love with an inmate and although the majority of my Client base for Texas Prison Weddings is compromised of females, there are also males marrying female inmates.
After reading the flyer, I agreed to share it on my FB Page– Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham. I also asked OHM “if LBGT Couples were invited to apply since a large portion of my TDCJ clients happen to be LBGT.” OHM answered that “all families are invited to apply.”
I’m familiar with OHM because they worked on a sizzle reel three years ago about my family owned and operated event businesses, Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners as well as documenting how our Texas Twins Treasures storefront effectively “flips” trades bartered through The Pawning Planners.
The barter option continues to surprise people but finding ways for ANYONE to afford services was the reason that I decided to create The Pawning Planners by merging Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures together.
Families who couldn’t “write a check,” scheduled an Appraisal Appointment and invited my twin sister and I into their homes to “find something of value instead.” Cindy and I love digging through trash to find treasure. Especially when our hunt is to help a family.
Three years ago, prison Weddings weren’t “part of our event service options.” Regardless though, OHM did a great job trying to tie together a package aka my family into a 3 minute video also known as a “sizzle reel.”
I became a TDCJ Officiant shortly after Our House Media created a sizzle reel outlining how four generations of my family work together to make Dream Events a reality.
My twin sister is my partner and my son and his wife work together as an Officiant/Photography team while my niece, Leigh Ann works as an Officiant or Photographer at event bookings.
My twin grandnieces worked as flower girls and ring bearers for years for “tips or flips” but now work as princess characters at birthday parties.
Evolving, expanding and rebranding was essential to our growth and also how a creative request three years ago for “an Officiant at Sanders Estes Unit” would bring a new change and direction to our already wide array of options at Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners.
Misty was having difficulty finding anyone willing to Officiate her wedding. The problem? First, it was at a Prison and secondly, it was an interracial marriage. It’s sad to me that anyone would “judge” or “screen” but the truth is that there are a number of Officiants and even photographers who regularly turn away prospects solely because “they are different.”
My family and I have always welcomed anyone and while Misty’s situation was unique, I was willing to undergo the process to become a TDCJ Approved Officiant.
Did I know that my business was about to boom with Prison Weddings? No. Who would? I had no idea that there were so many consumers seeking inmate weddings. But, my weekdays are now spent at Texas Prisons and County Jails.
Before inmate weddings, my weekdays were spent evaluating trades or delivering Texas Twins Treasures sold items when not meeting new clients.
Three years ago, all of our bookings were either on weekends or in the evening. Today, my entire team work seven days a week due to the new bookings at Texas Prisons and County Jails.
My son, daughter in law and niece traditionally handle county jail weddings while I address all Texas Prison bookings. Cindy and I travel across Texas on a daily basis to Texas Prisons as a Twin Team.
While I’m inside a prison, Cindy shops for bargains at area thrift and junk stores for new Texas Twins Treasures items.
After the ceremony is over at the prison, my Client and I meet back up with my sister for impromptu photo shoots that all of our TDCJ Clients enjoy. Photo shoots are fun and bring the celebration to wedding day.
Cindy and I pack a number of bouquets and props as well as clothing changes to keep our shoots fun and full of variety. Over the years, my twin sister, Cindy and I have filmed several sizzle reels with production companies. But, finding a production company that can “successfully” tie my unique blend of businesses into a box hasn’t been easy.
Obviously my “wide array of services” doesn’t fit in a box. I’ve been told that “prison weddings” are controversial but, real life isn’t controversial and love isn’t either.
My TDCJ clients are all educated and fully accept the challenges that loving an inmate brings to their lives. It’s not an easy path. Loving an inmate is expensive for the person or family “on the outside.” The phone calls and long drives to visit are tough on families.
Last week, I was once again at Sanders Estes Unit. This time for a wedding ceremony on Valentines Day which was unusual since wedding ceremonies normally take place on Friday’s twice a month.
The wardens secretary told me she had asked if the wedding could take place on Valentines Day because “it would be more romantic.” My Sanders Estes Client had arrived with the Grooms parents and was thrilled about the Warden allowing the mother and father to join us in the visitation area for the ceremony. The Warden at Estes literally made this families day after a long drive from Austin, Texas to Estes in Venus.
There ARE FAMILIES awaiting the release of inmates. There ARE FAMILIES who live together while waiting for the release of an inmate. OHM has a great idea to document the visits, the phone calls and even, the lengthy process of waiting. The waiting is the hardest part.
Prison Marriage or even Prison Love might be “controversial” to people who cannot understand the concept but, controversial or not, Prison Visitation Areas are becoming wedding chapels two days a month in Texas and other states.
Inmate marriages are on the rise and as families and loved ones await the next visit, the next phone call and finally on the day of release, there are also happy endings…