Love Will Find A Way TDCJ Allred Unit To TDCJ Scott Unit Travels Of A TDCJ Officiant..

A few weeks ago, I met Latonya at the Tarrant County Clerks Office to buy her marriage license. Country clerks are far less familiar with inmate marriage. It is not uncommon for me to redirect a client to another clerks office. This “redirection” isn’t limited to Texas either. Experience matters. I know what to do and how to overcome the unforeseen.

The number one reason for an I60 Request For Marriage to be denied is that the inmate is ALREADY listed as Common Law Married to someone other than my client. To overcome this effective suck punch, I created a Dissolution Agreement that I send out to clients with regularity. 

No one planning to marry an inmate expects to find that the inmate has secrets but, more and more frequently in Texas this continues to be the case. In ALL situations this CLM status wasn’t something any inmate forgot about. Why? Because the inmate filed this paperwork solely to have contact (not conjugal as Texas does not allow these types of visits) visits. No one likes the glass. Not the inmates nor the visitors either. This week alone I’ve mailed 9 Dissolution Agreements out. 

A few weeks ago, I had a voice mail regarding TDCJ Henley Unit. I returned the call en route to conduct a memorial in Dallas. This caller was out of state and had a number of questions. Out of state folks should certainly consider taking a Twogether In Texas Course online. Why? Because Texas has a 3 day waiting period. For many of my Texas clients, a three day waiting period won’t interfere with their employment but most people don’t have three days when traveling from another state to “wait around.” The course is $29 but also discounts the cost of the marriage license by $60 as well as waiving the waiting period. 

The number of calls, emails and texts I review on a daily basis from numerous prospects regarding marrying an inmate in our multi state service area shocks everyone. 

I’ve NEVER advertised AND ALWAYS kept my promises. That’s the secret to Cindy and I creating not one but four unique and successful diverse businesses as a Twin Team.

For clients marrying an inmate, buying the marriage license can be an intimidating and frightening ordeal. I ease the stress by holding their hand through the process. When possible, I even meet my clients on site at the clerks office.A few weeks ago, I not only met but also drove my traditional clients, the Andersons to the clerks office to purchase their marriage license. 

Johnnie had made a successful life after lock up. Sharing his journey from TDCJ Michael to Allred to Ramsey, my client literally turned his life around and married Brenda last weekend at his new home in Fort Worth. Johnnie also owns a cleaning company and if you need the job done right the first time, Johnnie’s Onda Spot is your go to DFW service provider. My job has many roles. Parking and finding the right office can be intimidating to my clients so I ease their burden by either meeting them and walking in to the clerks office or picking them up and driving them myself. 

Allred Unit in Iowa Park is just a few miles outside Wichita Falls. Beyond Allred Unit are my other Units lined right up from Roach to Jordan to Clements. My son laughs because I don’t recall the names of cities I travel to. Instead, I recall the names of the Units.

An overcast sky and rain meant wet bridal shoots for Latonya and Cassandra which bothered me but I can’t control the weather although I wish I could for my clients.My Coffield Unit bride, Cassandra who was scheduled to marry in Tennessee Colony a few weeks ago and was advised by the Unit that her loved one had “caught a chain” and wasn’t at Coffield 48 hours prior to her wedding which is also emotionally upsetting but, Wednesday afternoon I married Latonya and Cassandra both at Allred Unit. Love always finds a way. 

Inmate transfers continue to be a shocking surprise to clients who have been waiting for months to marry but, we will be following your loved one and marry you at the new Unit. Don’t panic. Stay calm. You will get married. 

Catching a chain is a setback but a minor setback that can and will be overcome. I pass chain buses everyday and worry that the Unit I’m headed to has put my clients loved one on a chain bus passing me on the highway as I head to a Unit. It’s happened before and may happen again.

Unit photos continue to be less than we could hope for but Unit photos are hit and miss at all Texas Units. Buster Cole won the “worst Prison wedding pic” among my clients a few months ago. Why? Let’s take a look. My brides beautiful dress wasn’t visible in the Unit photo at all. To overcome this issue, I studied the photo to try and decide what exactly made her photo so dark? Was it the camera? By the way, I’ve had good news from my first Buster Cole client that they are finally going to live happily ever after and plan a Vow Renewal very soon. They have a real love story with a back story too. All of my clients have fascinating back stories.

I decided that the window was what caused the dark shadowing of my couple and at my next visit to Buster Cole, moved my clients away from the window. 

At my next visit to Buster Cole, I had another unexpected hurdle with the Unit advising my client that her clothes were too tight. 

To overcome this problem, I went out to my suv and grabbed an outfit from my dry cleaning. My client wore my clothes to her wedding which is why they appear a little large. This occurs more than anyone realizes. I come prepared.Leaving the Unit, I found an old building for her bridal photos. I’m always looking for unique locations near Units for photos. 

Many of you have been following the saga of two brides and one groom. This is a pickle. But, my North Dakota pen pal has moved on. We talk daily and I’ve successfully walked her through the heartache of being duped. The other bride intent on marrying at Ellis Unit sent me a text last night about cold feet. The problem? This wedding is scheduled for 11-12-2019 and right around the corner. 

Since I was driving back from TDCJ Scott Unit, I had my son (who had accompanied me on an all day adventure) answering incoming texts. I instructed Robbie to type my concerns and questions via text to Valerie. 

For someone so determined to marry just a few weeks ago, things have turned sour and I wanted to know why. I discussed at length that love is trust to Valerie and that the inmate specifically hid his pen pal relationship from her. 

If I see flags that you don’t, it’s because I’m old and wise and also because long after the glitter from your wedding has settled, the pain of a divorce will remain. I warn you for solid reasons. I’m every clients mother, advisor, cheerleader and occasionally a shoulder to cry on or the first person they call with good news. I wear many hats. 

Apparently, the Ellis inmate and his attitude are the reason my client (the winner of the two woman battle for one man controversy) is having second thoughts. 

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating so here it goes… if an inmate is controlling you from behind bars, things will not improve when they are in the free world. Establish clear boundaries now. Know YOUR WORTH. Put your needs first. If you don’t who will?

This Ellis inmate “played” the pen pal in North Dakota by pretending to love her. He also financially benefitted from being dishonest with and to her. My new friend in North Dakota was crushed. She was also bullied online because she truly believed the inmate had planned to marry her. 

How did North Dakota find out about San Antonio and the inmate who lied? An online forum for prison support. A posted photo was quickly addressed as someone planning to marry that was the very same photo my North Dakota friend had. Raul was “making the rounds.” 

This inmate was also “busted” when someone in a prison group recognized his photo and his name and told my North Dakota client he was marrying someone else from San Antonio. Wow. Like a movie script with too many plot lines, the hits from this scenario just keep coming. 

 “Pressure can burst a pipe, or pressure can make a diamond” 

Tony Dorsett

Prison Groups are tight and loyal. It should be noted that no one wants to get played. No one wants to get hurt. Protect your heart and your pocketbook folks because this pen pal situation gave not only me but also Brandi and Valerie a real eye opener regarding inmate pen pals and unsuspecting women who can be taken easily be taken advantage of by inmates playing not one but many people in the free world. 

Trust is essential to love. If you cannot trust someone how can you love them? I spent a week going over this with both Valerie and Brandi. But, Valerie was determined to marry Raul.

Valerie’s texts regarding “buying her own ring and paying for her own wedding” were accurate. All of my clients marrying an inmate foot the bills. Dedication, perseverance, loyalty and more are required to love an inmate. Financially the burden can be a heavy cross to bear but if an inmate is playing you for money and money is a driving force, WALK AWAY. 

One Gatesville inmate played a man for so much money that the story was featured in D Magazine. Also, after exhausting his income, this senior was found dead at his apartment in Gatesville after a visit from the inmates daughter to his home. His daughters suspected foul play and they were right.

“If you have to BUY someone’s AFFECTION, it’s not LOVE. You are making a PURCHASE. Know the difference.” 

This mornings phone call to one client involved me talking her out of a payday loan to marry an inmate. Payday loan interest amounts can easily range from 500-800% in Texas. Going into debt to marry an inmate is not in YOUR BEST INTEREST. I advised her to push the wedding back until after tax season instead. My advice is frank and always blunt. The inmate isn’t my client either. The “person on the outside doing it all alone” is my client. Protecting them is important to me.

After traveling with me to Allred Unit Wednesday, my son was in my driveway at 4:30AM yesterday to head to Angleton, TX. Generally Cindy is my copilot but one of my twin grandnieces had collapsed at school Tuesday due to an asthma attack that required hospitalization. The twins both have asthma. 

Maryssa (below next to Cindy far right) has stopped breathing entirely on 3 occcasions at school and required hospitalization. Due to Maryssa nearly dying at school the first time, Cindy and I fought for students in Texas to have the right to carry emergency inhalers and won. 

On a side note, we also fought for parents to choose whether or not to separate multiples in school and Twin Laws were established. Why did we care? We were separated ourselves and knew how traumatic being forcibly separated by school administrators was to multiples. 

Driving through the rain, my son noticed my phone never stops ringing. My son works three jobs and has for many years. He works as a driver for his father at Mr G’s Carpets as well as handling directional advertising for my husband at Mc Bee Homes and for me at Texas Twins Events and TDCJ Officiants. Robert also performs inmate weddings at county jails. Cindy does as well and also performs prison weddings when not traveling with me to Prisons or meeting clients or flipping items together. Cindy and I are almost always together.

Five hours after leaving Fort Worth yesterday, Robbie and I arrived at TDCJ Wayne Scott Unit. My beautiful bride was wearing a 50’s styled dress that I loved! It’s always exciting to finally meet my clients in person. Marcella’s family was waiting for her at the hotel so we followed her back and began unloading items for her bridal photo shoot. My son had a little trouble with my longest veil and the wind lol. People are always surprised at just how many miles I log in a week. Cindy’s Husband is a truck driver who often compares his miles per week with me lol. Steve wins week after week. Steve has been a truck driver 50 plus years. My husband has been a builder 50 plus years.

Cindy and I are celebrating our 55th birthday this weekend because we are working on our birthday this year (as usual). 

Next Tuesday we are at Huntsville Units. Wednesday, we finally meet a filmmaker I’ve been talking to an emailing the past year regarding a documentary about prison relationships and marriage. Elena will fly into Hobby while I’m inside Ramsey Unit with Shenequil and join us for bridal photos following the wedding. 

Wallace-Ware Unit To What’s Next With My Ellis Unit Client, The Inmate & The Pen Pal…

It’s been two weeks of running here, there and everywhere while fielding calls and being positive for one young lady in North Dakota who was swindled by a poison pen bearing inmate at TDCJ Ellis Unit playing her for his own gain. 

In all honesty, I was hoping the other woman STILL actually planning to marry him would have second thoughts. She doesn’t. Blindsided because North Dakota realized she was being played by the inmate, she’s taking it in stride. In fact, the woman the inmate planned to marry and used the pen pal to obtain the necessary paperwork planned to marry next Tuesday. Due to a Lock Down though, this wedding is now on hold and we can only hope that during this period, everyone involved has time to heal from a very unexpected ordeal.

Why the actual fiancée isn’t holding the inmate accountable for his con or doubting his trust after confronting him about North Dakota I have no idea. The pen pal was a pawn and cast aside after months of sending money. 

The inmate had been writing love letters and was also on numerous pen pal forums soliciting new victims who might fall for and believe his sappy scripts of loving them madly. Such scenarios leave victims. Brandi shared these love letters with me as well as the actual fiancé. 

Brandi has been sending four hundred dollars a month to this inmate and believed that he was planning to marry her.

The inmate was also using Brandi to obtain information from me as to how to go about planning and executing a Prison wedding. 

Brandi contacted me in August. I advised her to download an absentee affidavit for Walker county where the inmate is located. 

I didn’t hear back from Brandi until someone on a prison page recognized the inmates name and that he was marrying someone from San Antonio AND that I was the Officiant for not only Brandi but also Valerie. What the? Yep, Brandi hadn’t booked services though which was why I had no idea of the inmates name or that she was planning to marry the same inmate my other client was. 

Such shocking things as this are rare but for the inmate writing pen pals who only care about themselves, the possibility of these widespread script writing prison con artists may be far more common than anyone (especially me) had ever previously thought possible. Let’s face it folks, inmates have a lot of time on their hands. 

Several months ago, a Dutch filmmaker contacted me regarding pen pals from Europe to Texas Death Row Inmates. I didn’t have any pen pal clients from abroad but have kept in contact with her and posted several inquiries on my pages. It’s very rare for me to marry a pen pal. How do I know? My clients share far more information than anyone realizes with me. Brandi and the fiancé didn’t. Hence my surprise. I’m wary of pen pal love stories. 

Traditionally, pen pal marriages of my clients are between United States based males marrying female inmates located at Gatesville, Texas Units. 

For the weeks I’ve spent talking to Brandi while trying to give her insight and advice, it’s become a battle between two women over one man and if it were me, I would drop him like a hot potato but, one woman is hellbent on marrying this inmate. 

Valerie and Brandi have both been contacting me about each other daily for two weeks now. They have also both changed their last names to the inmates last name on social media. The shocking tit for tat went even further when family of the inmate began targeting Brandi who was already a victim of a con game that led her to believe the inmate loved her. I advised Valerie to stop this online bullying immediately after reviewing screenshots sent to me by Brandi. Bullying is never okay. Bullying someone who has already been victimized is despicable. I want this to stop and I’m intolerant of bullies. I’ve become a friend to Brandi. She needs a friend. 

Yesterday while coordinating with a journalist traveling to DFW to interview me and accompany myself and my twin sister to four Units on 10-22-2019, Brandi sent me a text regarding the inmate still being on several pen pal sites. This was alarming because like Brandi I was certain that Valerie should know this information in an effort to prevent yet another “incident” of two women and more drama. There could very well be more than two women involved in the Don Juan due to his numerous pen pal accounts. 

Due to two weeks of vicious online attacks and bullying by the inmates family against Brandi who was already victimized by the inmate, Brandi was once again suicidal. Her last text to me read “she can have him. The real Mrs Fuentes wins.” I was shocked and alarmed and with a client when the text came through. 

I immediately contacted suicide prevention to do a welfare check after being unable to reach Brandi following that very alarming text message. She is now doing okay and knows that she can contact me at any time. 

Bullying hurts everyone. Bullying someone who has been played and had their trust abused is something I cannot and will not tolerate. I advised Valerie to tell everyone concerned to cease messaging Brandi immediately and that if something happened to Brandi due to this bullying that criminal penalties would result. 

For people unaware of this, bullying anyone into suicide is usually documented and easily obtainable by authorities. Brandi had screenshot these messages to me. I in turn sent them to Valerie and told her flat out to stop anyone doing this to cease doing it immediately.

Brandi told me that “I was the mother she had never had.” Brandi deserves someone worthy of her. The inmate and his poison pen need to stop making broken promises. 

This morning after responding to an email from Elena regarding her documentary about pen pals and death row inmates, my Coffield Unit client, Cassandra called me about her fiancée catching a chain out of Coffield. We had been scheduled to have their wedding at Coffield 10-22-2019 @9:30AM. Cassandra and I will now be following the groom. Who knows where this wedding will wind up? 

My beautiful bride, Tiffany met me at Wallace Unit last week. For months trying to undo a CLM status was preventing the wedding from taking place. HOWEVER, the inmate was 17 when he went into the system and by law underage. Tiffany fought for this marriage and deserved to at least hold her Fiancee’s hand but lost the ability due to a charge involving a cell phone photo that he and numerous other inmates happened to be in moved the inmate to a G5 status which effectively put him behind glass. 

Tiffany was devastated about this as anyone planning to hold their loved ones hand would be. She also asked the warden to make an exception. The warden declined to make an exception. Further, I was told that the Unit camera wasn’t working which prevented Tiffany from having wedding photos. 

Weddings are Life Events and due to circumstances beyond Tiffany’s control, her wedding ceremony wasn’t what she had planned. Her bridal shoot was though! Her mother and the grooms family were waiting for her near Wallace Unit and our caravan headed to Colorado City Park together.

Unloading items I had packed in my suv for the photo shoot, it quickly became apparent  that Tiffany’s mom and the children were really going to enjoy playing dress up!Headed back to DFW, I stopped at Parker County Jail to meet a client and catch up my emails and text messages. My Ramsey Unit bride is finally going to marry in November. Cindy’s performing a ceremony in Jacksboro at Lindsey State Jail. 

This weekend I’m back on location with traditional clients and Vow Renewals and preparing for a memorial graveside ceremony in Dallas next weekend. 

Monday I’m in Dallas for a bridal photo shoot with my Holliday Unit Client, Leantrinette at Omni Hotel. 

Tuesday, Cindy and I hit the ground running for four Prisons in three cities in one day.

Can’t wait to see all of you very soon at your Prison Wedding, Vow Renewal, Babtism or other Dream Event. For our California clients, we will see ya all in December.. Leigh Ann has finally moved into her new townhome and is ready to get to work and meet ya all too… 

Comments, Questions & Concerns? Why Prison Weddings Open A Window Of Opinions From Others That Needs To Be Closed…

Late last night, someone who apparently was searching hashtags for prison weddings found me on FB and Instagram. First off, I’d like to express that if “you don’t believe that inmates should have the right to marry,” I am confused as to why you are specifically searching for people marrying an inmate? Are you bored? Nonetheless and anyhow, Donna, this blog is for you. 

Donna, I’m going to address your concerns although I strongly disagree with your opinions regarding inmate marriage because apparently, you felt strongly enough about your opinion to message me. 

First though, I’m going to express how offended I was for my clients regarding your observation of downplaying their dedication by describing their love story as “Jailbirds turned lovebirds.” 

This description is so narrow minded and one sided that I would best describe it as outrageous. It doesn’t even begin to adequately describe the relationships of my clients or their partners. 

Your assumption that most of my clients were pen pals is also far from true. The majority of my clients knew the inmate years prior to incarceration. This is a fact and believe it or not, something my clients choose to share with me. I don’t ask why their loved one is incarcerated either. 

On the flip side of the same coin, I don’t ask my traditional clients from Texas Twins Events or The Pawning Planners or ANY Client booking me through a venue I’m affiliated with if “they or their soon to be spouse has ever committed a crime and if so what it was?” No vendor would ask a question like this and I certainly won’t either. I don’t screen anyone. I’m in the people business. I help people. 

A large percentage of the people my staff and I are helping have no one else to help them. Why? Because they are judged by other vendors and effectively “screened.”

I have several clients that went to school together and even lived in the same town or on the same street. Many were lovebirds as teens and young adults long before lock up. 

I would like to point out statistics first to educate you regarding the number of people incarcerated in the United States who either personally know or have a relative in prison. Cornell University surveyed a representative sample of more than 4000 people. 

The resulting report shows that one in seven adults has had an immediate family member incarcerated for more than one year, and one in 34 has had a loved one incarcerated for 10 years or more.

One in four American adults has had a sibling incarcerated. One in five has had a parent sent to jail or prison. One in eight has had a child incarcerated.

Today, 6.5 million adults have an immediate family member currently in jail or prison.

These are staggering numbers but the above numbers were from 2018. You had stated that “I don’t believe that there are people out there wanting to marry an inmate and if there are, they have reasons other than love for choosing to do so. Prison marriage is a fad. A trend. A plea for attention.” 

This belief and statement is so wildly inaccurate that you should know that as far back as 1996, Prison Weddings were occurring in California. These weddings were not taking place because they were “trendy.” They were taking place because someone was willing to give up their life and commit themselves to someone else who was incarcerated. 

Someone loved someone else SO MUCH that even though they had very little to bring to the marriage, their heart was in the right place. Their belief that love knows no bounds led them to the decision to marry an inmate.

Prison marriage isn’t new or unique and is far from being a trend. Prison marriage REQUIRES COMMITMENT! Prison marriage isn’t for the meek. To be married to an inmate is a difficult path. You raise your children alone. You pay your bills alone. You do everything alone. It’s a very heavy cross to bear to love an inmate and commit your life to loving an inmate by marrying one. People who do not make this decision lightly. They go in with their eyes wide open. How do I know? I have met them. 

Among prison psychologists, it’s widely accepted that marriages between people who had close relationships beforehand are more likely to endure than those between people who met while one was behind bars.

“The marriages that begin in any situation where the woman is sort of aware of the person the inmate is prior to incarceration tend to last,” said Ronald Browne, a former prison psychologist at the U.S. penitentiary in Lompoc and now in private practice in Santa Maria.

The couples I have married “on the inside” have gone through a very lengthy process in order to be legally married. It isn’t something they decided to do on a whim. 

A Prison wedding is one of the very few joyous things that occur “inside” a Prison. While you and others may feel that your opinion has an impact on my clients, their choices or even their families, I can assure you that you are incorrect. 

Getting married is an act of hope. Prison marriages may be the most vivid demonstrations of this because they are undertaken in the most restrictive circumstances and hold for the husband and wife only diminished prospects for togetherness.

Prison marriage may not be for everyone but, love surpasses all things. You may not understand this but, love knows no bounds including the separation and loneliness that anyone who loves an inmate experiences. The dedication of driving every weekend to visit. The phone calls, the letters and the love locked down. 

My clients are the most determined and resilient individuals I’ve ever met or ever will meet planning to marry someone else. Marriage is a merger. It’s a commitment for anyone entering into a marriage.

On the “outside,” my couples and often my brides in particular want the perfect dress, the perfect venue, the perfect cake. 

On the “inside,” my clients cannot have these things. They must carefully choose their clothing. They must remove their shoes and belts. They must follow stringent guidelines. 

In effect, a marriage to an inmate is far more about the other person than the frivolities of couples marrying outside of a prison. 

Donna, since you apparently assume that “all prison weddings END in divorce,” I’m going to educate you with the truth and advise you that your opinion is a myth. None of my clients have filed for divorce and I’ve married many, many people inside prisons. 

On the outside though, three of my couples over the years have divorced. They had everything my Prison Weddings Clients didn’t but they still couldn’t make their marriage work. 

Marriage is give and take. Marriage to an inmate is mostly give for my clients because they are pulling the wagon alone doing time on the outside while the inmate does time on the inside. 

Only a very strong and dedicated individual can overcome all odds and make their marriage last. My clients are very strong individuals. They are passionate and perseverant. 

Long after lock up, these clients call me to schedule a Vow Renewal. That’s right. A celebration with the dress, the cakes, the music and the family who couldn’t attend their inmate wedding. 

For these clients, celebrating freedom of their spouse, the celebration isn’t about impressing others with over the top extravagance. The celebration is of love that endured through a very difficult window. A marriage that made it through the rain and the pain that will finally see a rainbow to begin their life together. No more expensive phone calls, long drives to the Unit on the weekend to stand in line and screen in, no more running to the phone every time it rings to keep from missing a call they’ve waited all day to receive. 

Vow Renewals for my former prison couples are to celebrate my couples freedom, endurance and dedication to one another. They made it through the rain, the loneliness, the pain and the despair. They survived love locked down and their journey together at last is something so exciting that I cannot even begin to put into words the joy of a Vow Renewal after lock up. You wouldn’t understand. 

Donna, what you should understand though is that none of my clients are seeking your acceptance of their choices. None of my clients feel the need or have the desire to explain their decision to you. 

I’m a sucker for a fantastic love story. I’m also a firm believer in second chances and I will go to my grave stating that love is love regardless of who people choose to love or whether or not others accept their choices… 

Headed To TDCJ Hilltop Unit And Gatesville, Texas A City Of Women’s Prisons…

Gatesville is one of the cities I frequent due to the number of Units located there. I had been contacted a few weeks ago by my client wishing to marry there and although this would be my first visit to Hilltop, I knew exactly where it was from passing it numerous times on my way to Hughes, Crain and my other “regular Unit stops.”

Gatesville is a city in and the county seat of Coryell County, Texas, United States. The population was 15,751 at the 2010 census. The city has five of the eight prisons and state jails for women operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Hilltop is the hub of the six prisons in Gatesville. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) described it as “a true prison farm” that “fittingly serves as the headquarters for the area’s agricultural operations.” 

The unit has pigs fed on feeder slabs and sixty horses used by field officers from surrounding prison units. The regional operations and maintenance departments are located at Hilltop. The unit hosts the pre-service and in-service area training facilities. Hilltop is the center of vehicle maintenance and repair work, and it serves as the area fuel depot.

The exteriors of the Hilltop buildings have bright white paint; the TDCJ says that the buildings “sparkle like white diamonds when the light is right.” Many building interiors have moldings dating from the 1890s. Some staircases are topped by pressed tin ceilings from era that the former Gatesville State School was built in. 

The Texas Building of Hilltop Unit was formerly Ferguson Hall; its current name stems from the concrete letters, colored in red, white, and blue, spelling “TEXAS.” The Texas Building’s first floor has classrooms and a library. The upstairs has an auditorium and a walled-in projection room. 

A cemetery containing graves of children of the former state school who died there is located across Business Highway 36.

Hilltop houses a program for female young offenders, located in the main Hilltop school. As of 2002 about 15 girls are in the program. 

The Hackberry Unit houses a Parole Modification and a Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility.

My groom had met his fiancée while visiting another inmate and former church member housed at Hilltop Unit. My groom was very excited to finally be marrying and I was surprised to learn he was from Azle, Texas. 

My husband has numerous developments in the Azle, Springtown, Lake Worth and Saginaw areas and as teens, Cindy and I briefly attended Azle High School. I never ask why an inmate is incarcerated however, my clients always wish to share the details. Delwyn was no exception. 

A deeply religious man, Delwyn arrived initially across the yard from my SUV at the Hilltop Unit but told me that “the visitation entry was on the other side.” Since I hadn’t been to this Unit before, I moved my SUV to follow and parked across from the Regional Directors Offices. Delwyn and I walked inside as Cindy waited in my SUV. We were of course in the wrong building and told to go back over to the main entrance. 

Delwyn and I both drove back to the main entrance at Hilltop and approached the tower guard. Due to the back and forth from one entrance to the next, Delwyn and I were both sweating profusely as we waited in the Texas sun for the guard to come out and count quarters for Unit photos after verifying our ID’s and then instructing us to go back over to the visitation entrance on the other side of the building. This was really unusual as traditionally, I enter through the main building, screen in with my clients and wait for an escort to the visitation area. 

Back parked at the visitation area, Delwyn and I were screened in. We walked across the street with two guards to wait on the gates to be unlocked but one of the keys wasn’t working. If I was overheated at the main entrance, I was really overheating waiting on another guard to come unlock the gate on the other side. But, waiting is the role of a prison wedding Officiant as well as my clients. We waited together as our escorts unlocked the gates and finally met Stacie standing smiling outside the visitation room. 

Upon entering the room, I went over “the rules.” There are strict rules regarding inappropriate contact during a prison wedding. Both parties are allowed two “pec kisses” and allowed to hold hands and briefly hug. 

Since I’m always asked about this, there are no conjugal visits at TDCJ facilities. Marriage ceremonies are generally “contact visits” unless the inmate is G4 or G5 status or for some other reason behind glass. If the inmate is behind glass, there is no contact.

Delwyn had sent me several “poses” he wanted for his wedding photos. I generally prefer to do photos after the ceremony because clients are relieved to get the wedding behind them and far more relaxed. 

Delwyn had also written his vows and the opening for my ceremony which is unusual but I enjoy creative client input. My couple were somewhat nervous as most couples marrying inside a prison are. 

Delwyn had brought a derby hat with him to the ceremony so I reached over to grab it and put it on him for one of their wedding photos together. I loved his bow tie too.

Hilltop didn’t have the painted walls in the visitation area that most Texas Units do but a beautiful tapestry had been hung on the wall which provided a dash of color. 

There are no special visits after a TDCJ wedding ceremony. We have 20-25 minutes inside the visitation area for your wedding. I time my ceremony to incorporate your vows and our timeline to give you sufficient time to say what you would like. If you have handwritten elements, please bring them with you.

As Delwyn and I were escorted back out of the visitation area, we both said goodbye to Stacie to follow the guard to the clearing area to await our photos to print. My favorite was the photo below because it shows just how much love Delwyn has for Stacie. I had decided to use the Coryell County Courthouse for a few groom photos and followed Delwyn there. Since my Grooms rarely take more than a few photos at their shoot, I had packed a few bouteniers and a sign for Delwyn and planned to incorporate his signed wedding license into the photos as well. 

Delwyn and I were both fairly overheated from standing outside Hilltop for over an hour together. I’m really looking forward to seeing Delwyn and Stacie again for their Vow Renewal and honored to have shared their Life Event at Hilltop Unit. Leaving the courthouse, I headed to the Dairy Queen drive through and was as surprised and delighted to see Delwyn standing at the counter across from me as he was to see Cindy and I. Like me, Delwyn had a long drive back to Azle while we were headed to Fort Worth and was thrilled to finally be married after a lengthy process to be granted permission to marry.

I’m at Connally Unit tomorrow with my beautiful bride, Victoria and at Buster Cole with Kelly on Friday. Can’t wait to meet you both.

My San Saba transfer from Plane Unit client had emailed me about August 20th at San Saba but I’m at Estelle Unit on the 20th about four hours from San Saba and due to the distance between both Units had to call San Saba for a secondary date. The first option was August 13th but, I’m at Telford Unit on the 13th so I will finally meet my groom at San Saba on August 27th at 10AM.

I answer a lot of questions about scheduling. The timeline to plan and execute your Prison wedding in Texas is 4-8 weeks. Clients booking first are my first priority. I cannot and will not “move an existing client and confirmed date at another Unit” to accommodate a new booking. What I can do is choose my next available date. As you know, I do not and will not advertise. My reasons for this are to keep my schedule flexible for my booked clients. 

I have other family members Approved to officiate your Texas Prison Wedding however, most clients only want me to officiate their wedding. Because of this, first booked clients take priority. Clients booking mid month are at the end of the month are accommodated based on my existing schedule.

My Gib Lewis booking for next Thursday was “chained out.” We now follow the groom. There are many chains in Texas at this time so when an inmate is “on a chain,” we wait and refill the I60 once the inmate is situated at the next Unit. 

For my Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and California clients, we look forward to meeting ya all soon and like you wish that you had two days per month as an option to marry. However, the limited window available for your Prison Weddings are how I can move from one state to the next. If every state had two days per month to marry, it would be impossible for me to be everywhere on the limited number of days available which is why “stacking” works not only for you but also me. Stacked clients are discounted because I’m at one Unit with more than one client. Because of this, I discount all of my clients as a courtesy. 

It’s another busy weekend coming up with destination wedding in Colorado for our traditional clients who have booked a Vow Renewal. My last visit to Colorado was to spread my father in law’s ashes and I’m looking forward to a joyous visit this time around to Colorado.

Please remember to bring your marriage license, ID and quarters if you wish to buy Unit photos with you to your Texas or other state prison wedding. 

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… 

County Clerks, Ellis Unit, & Ferguson Unit My Role Requires Determination, Dedication & Hours Of Driving…

For months now, getting Amanda a date to marry at Ellis has been a hurdle. Many of my clients encounter clerks who are opinionated and far less than helpful when they realize my client is marrying an inmate. 

One clerk in Eastland actually had the audacity to ask Amanda “why would you want to marry an inmate?” A clerk in Abilene told Amanda that “marrying an inmate was illegal.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. However, I don’t have time to educate clerks and my clients don’t have patience either. If you work at a clerks office and have an attitude, find a new job. 

These people are supposed to understand their job but don’t. If your job is to issue marriage licenses, you are being paid to do so. There’s a reason I send my clients away from county clerks who are obviously untrained and the reason continues to be upsetting for clients. The reason is that being challenged by a clerk who doesn’t know the law or has an attitude when trying to buy a marriage license is the last thing anyone needs. 

Opinions of clerks issuing licenses to the public should be censured and yet they aren’t. The tragedy of both arrogance and ignorance in county clerks offices continues. No one buying a marriage license should be forced to endure “the opinions of a clerk.” Your role is to serve the public.

Clerks aren’t the only people impeding the prison wedding planning process. Last month, Chaplain Jasper informed Amanda fiancé of a date to marry at Ellis Unit. The problem was the Chaplain didn’t bother to notify me or check my schedule. I was already scheduled at a confirmed date at Coffield and Michael Units on the date given to the inmate. 

Obviously I cannot be in two places two hours from each other at the same time. I juggle new inquiries and bookings with existing clients on a daily basis. 

If I’ve bumped your request for an Officiant  to the following month when you were trying to book with me, it was entirely due to my schedule for existing clients. I do not and will not book more than 15 new clients in Texas per month. Why? Because rotating clients awaiting dates take first priority. 

This new trend of Chaplains “notifying the inmate” rather than my client or myself requires me to call the Unit to reschedule when I’m already booked at another Unit on the date in question which I did but this situation would become a fiasco entirely due to the Chaplain. It would also require me to put on my Boss Boots to get Amanda married. Buckle up for yet another bumpy ride and why hiring an Officiant involves far more than the Officiant “bothering to show up” ya all. 

On June 18, 2019 at 9:07AM after calling Chaplain Jasper to explain that I couldn’t be in Tennessee Colony and Huntsville AT THE SAME TIME ON THE SAME DAY and requested that the Chaplain move my Ellis clients to the afternoon which would have given me time to move from Tennessee Colony to Huntsville within about two hours of moving from Coffield to Michael Unit to Ellis. 

Tennessee Colony is two hours from Ellis Unit. The Chaplain told that “an afternoon scheduling won’t work and you will need to move the date.” Ugh. I verbally changed the date to July 9th at 1PM on the phone with Chaplain Jasper and subsequently (as requested by him) also sent an email confirming July 9, 2019 at 1PM. It’s not unusual for me to confirm a date by email to a Unit. In fact, I prefer to do so. 

For those of you unaware of this, I log all phone calls, text messages and emails. I’m OCD. I don’t forget anybody and certainly don’t make mistakes regarding wedding day. Weddings are Life Events. These emails would prove important. Stay tuned. 

On July 9th at 7:48AM, an email from Chaplain Jasper regarding Amanda’s wedding a few hours later came in. Alarmed, I called the Unit and couldn’t locate Chaplain Jasper. What the? On wedding day? 

I also called Amanda who had left home hours ago to drive to Ellis Unit. I THEN DECIDED to drive to Ellis anyway. Why? Why not? This wedding was a confirmed date. Amanda had been planning this day for nearly a month. 

Amanda had also tried to buy her marriage license to but encountered dipshit clerks who didn’t know how to perform their jobs. Amanda had been through the ringer and I wasn’t about to let an email cancelling a confirmed date at Ellis ON WEDDING DAY have me throwing in the towel with my client on the road. In fact, to overcome the marriage license issue, Amanda was going to Huntsville to buy her license an hour prior to meeting me at Ellis. I had sent her the online link to Twogether In Texas. Luckily, Amanda had taken the course. 

For clients and readers unaware of the many “providers” of this course and how they aren’t correctly performing their role, I’m going to jump right in and elaborate as to why I lobbied the online option. First off, as a provider you are supposed to be teaching the 8 hour course not mailing the materials. Secondly, many of these “providers” are failing to provide the certificate which is why consumers are paying you in the first place. As a provider or instructor, this system wasn’t put in place to pad your pockets. It was put in place for premarital education. Because of the misuse of this program, the online option has been available for two years because folks like me argued the fact that providers were not instructing the course and instead selling materials they were provided for free to others. Take the online course. Skip the third party who isn’t teaching the course. What a racket! My Hodge Unit bride paid yet another “other officiant” and never received her certificate. Just go online. I will send you the link myself.  

Throughout my three hour drive to Huntsville, I checked my email. Nothing from Chaplain Jasper. I also checked on Amanda who had bought her marriage license with no issues in Walker County. 

I arrived thirty minutes early to Ellis Unit and returned calls while waiting on Amanda. I had no idea if my barnstorming theory of dressing up and showing up on wedding day would work but I knew this… Amanda had taken a day off that she wouldn’t be able to do again for some time and we needed to do everything possible to attempt to get married on July 9th. You will never get a yes unless you ask for it and we were about to do just that. 

At 12:30PM, Amanda parked beside me. She was also nervous about whether or not we could go ahead with the wedding. We both walked to the guard up in the birdcage to announce our arrival for a wedding. 

The assistant Warden arrived to tell us “I spoke with Chaplain Jasper yesterday and he said that he didn’t have any weddings on the schedule and because he’s not here, I have no paperwork.” 

Calmly and I cannot stress this enough, I elaborated on those emails. I was asked to go get my phone and hand it over to review said emails. Since I had responded to the 7:48AM email, I was also asked “why did you drive out here anyway?” I answered “Amanda left Eastland early this morning and was already on the road and in my opinion, we had nothing to lose since this was a confirmed date.” He was kind enough to consider why we went ahead and drove on. He was also confused as to why the Chaplain had “forgotten” about our wedding and yet managed to email us that “the wedding would be cancelled and the inmate would be advised of a rescheduling.” 

Amanda and I asked if he could try to locate the I60. We were in fact, asking a favor and since the Chaplain hadn’t bothered to tell anyone other than me in that email about the confirmed date, we were blessed by encountering someone who cared about our journey. 

Thankfully, this Warden located the paperwork and the wedding went on. If I had simply taken Chaplain Jasper’s brush off email, Amanda would have taken the day off and driven five hours to Huntsville for the hell of it. 

By being determined and having proof that there was obviously a wedding scheduled, we were truly blessed to find someone who helped us. The fact that I had documentation of those emails literally saved the day. 

God Bless that Warden. Amanda’s Husband was going through emotions himself since he was told he wasn’t getting married. He also knew that the Warden and the guard who took photos were the reason that he was getting married. There are truly good folks working at Prisons. I’ve met them.I’m in and out of Prisons everyday. I also “hear horror stories” from clients but there are good people at Units. 

There are people who care and there are people who understand. That Warden and that guard were two of those people. Leaving Ellis, I followed Amanda to the clerks office. You know, the clerk who was so nice issuing that license hours earlier. Again, stay tuned. We arrived at the clerks office and Amanda handed her the marriage license she had issued earlier. The clerk suddenly got an attitude and said “you can’t get married today there’s a waiting period.” What the? Was this lady kidding? She had processed the paperwork herself. She had also put the waiver on the back of the license. 

I said “she has a Twogether In Texas certificate waiving the waiting period.” The clerk THEN said “that ONLY discounts the license.” I said “the certificate discounts the license AND waives the waiting period.” This clerk needed a new job. She also needed a new attitude. But, naughty or nice, she wasn’t going to intimidate me. 

I’ve been with Twogether in Texas since 2009 and if you are a county clerk attempting to tell people that a certificate specifically put in place to BOTH discount the license AND waive the waiting period is incorrect, I AM happy to educate you and, I will. It’s your job to understand this program. 

A clerks job is to issue marriage licenses so it would make sense to understand your role as a county official and your responsibility to understand the process. 

After I had challenged this clerk to pull the paperwork for the marriage license that she had filed hours earlier, she FINALLY recorded the license. This clerk had also overcharged for a certified copy but after all the things Amanda went through to get that license, I also paid the fee of $37 for a $27 certified copy. I had my reasons for whipping out that bank card though so read on. 

I had asked this clerk for a price sheet since I knew damn well the fee for a certified marriage license was intentionally being inflated. “We don’t have cost or price sheets.” I was told this because she knew darn well that providing me proof on the spot of the cost discrepancy wouldn’t be in her best interest. I played along. I wanted Amanda to get that certified copy. 

I’m in and out of clerks office everyday and can assure you that EVERY county clerk has a price list. It isn’t one price for so and so for George and yet another price for Bobby. County Clerk costs are the same to everyone. 

I know all too well from years ago when dealing with county clerks refusing to issue same sex marriage licenses that the attitudes of certain clerks have not changed in Texas. 

Someone should be secret shopping county clerks and I’m not kidding. 

Let’s review why Twogether In Texas exists… House Bill 2685 during the 2007 legislative session, increases the fee for a marriage license from $30 to $60.00. It also allows couples who complete an eight-hour premarital education course to waive paying the $60 of their marriage license fee, and they will not have to wait 72 hours to get married. Couples who complete a course will receive a certificate that is good for one year. The information can be found in the Texas Administrative Code 2.204 effective September 1. 2008. 

If you want more information from the TEXAS FAMILY CODE on marriage licenses you may access that web site and click on “The Marriage Relationship Chapter 2”. This may answer any questions in more detail about the requirements for the marriage license.

On Walker County’s OWN WEBSITE this information can be found and yet the clerk tried to tell Amanda “you can’t be married today as I just issued the license.” The same license WITH A WAIVER on the back of it. The same license that requires the Twogether certificate to obtain the discount and the waiver the clerk argued “hadn’t been filled out.” I could not believe that this clerk was pointing out something that she herself had failed to complete BUT she was. 

You know, the same license she had issued a few hours earlier. Come on County Clerks with attitude. Get off your high horse and off that personal phone call and start paying attention to your job and the general public. 

What if I HADN’T joined Amanda to file her marriage license at the clerks office? Thankfully, neither I or Amanda were going to be bullied by this clerk who FIRST refused to file the marriage license then also decided to upcharge the fee for a certified license copy to the price of an Informal Marriage just because she thought she could. 

When people tell me “I can do what you do. Can you teach me how?” They literally have no real idea what it actually takes to do my job and the majority of the time they wouldn’t put forth the effort either. I’m driven, determined, passionate and perseverant. I also encounter obstacles on a regular basis. From a CLM status to a lost I60 to an idiotic clerk to an unorganized Chaplain and more, prison weddings can be as chaotic as large traditional events and they are. 

Back to the Huntsville clerk- I went ahead and charged the transaction for a certified license with my Frost Bank card specifically to document the upcharged fee. You know the inflated cost of an Informal Marriage License versus the actual cost of a Certified Marriage License. 

NOW let’s review the posted fee for a certified copy. Don’t be shocked because I was WILLING to pay this upcharge put upon us SOLELY because I challenged this clerk regarding the waiting period waiver and validity of the Twogether in Texas certificate pertaining to Amanda’s license. 

Ten dollars might sound insignificant until you realize that Amanda and I were effectively challenged on getting that license filed AT ALL for twenty minutes. Paying an upcharge AFTER this confrontation was effectively the icing on the cake at that courthouse. 

When it comes to legal issues, especially pertaining to marriage law, I’m educated and well versed and I’m also not easily intimidated. I was well aware of the ACTUAL FEE for a certified marriage copy too. I bit my tongue though as not to upset Amanda. Frankly, it was already upsetting to have a clerk telling you she wouldn’t file and much record the license “due to the waiting period.” Nothing I do is easy. Sure, others think it looks easy. It isn’t. I’m not successful because I’m lucky. I’m successful because I’m perseverant, educated and determined. There’s a difference. I don’t have an easy button. I have a get it done button. 

An Informal Marriage License CANNOT have an Absent Party. An Informal Marriage License doesn’t look like a traditional marriage license either. These two documents are remarkably different. The circumstances and use for both documents are also different. The cost is different. They are two entirely different things but, this clerk decided to upcharge the fee for a certified copy of a marriage license to an Informal Marriage License because SHE THOUGHT Amanda wouldn’t notice and I wouldn’t either. 

The clerk and her coworker might’ve assumed that they were both “getting even” for being challenged about that waiting period waiver. Perhaps they even snickered regarding their private joke. I’ve spent years in clerks offices. I’ve met nice ones and I’ve also met naughty ones who are opinionated about same sex Marriage AND inmates marrying. 

My Texas Twins Events clients remember all too well Kat and Tiffany McKay the same sex couple who couldn’t get a marriage license from Parker County because the clerk “had religious reasons for not issuing one.” My Team and our friends in the LBGT community picketed the courthouse and I also married Kat and Tiffany who were the basis of a news story titled “the first same sex couple issued a marriage license in Parker County marry.” The story in the Parker County Democrat detailed how difficult it was to obtain that marriage license. The story touched upon “Wendy and her team helping them get married” in the same story. Kat and Tiffany contacted me after hearing about Lisa and Terry Williams wedding. They had no flowers, they had no photographers. They had no Officiant. My ENTIRE TEAM gifted them their wedding. I’m that Wendy. I’m that committed. My entire family made their Dream Event a reality. 

The Parker County Clerk had an attitude too but, I have thousands of friends in the LBGT community and I had also found the time to silently protest with sandwich boards the ability for a same sex couple to purchase a marriage license. 

Jeff Mosier had reported in the Dallas Morning News since I was openly LBGT friendly while other vendors were hiding their affiliation in the closet. The story about my site crashing on the day of the Supreme Court ruling was big news but what Jeff didn’t report was how difficult it actually was for my clients to purchase a marriage license. Many Texas clerks refused to issue marriage licenses.

It was so difficult for our clients to find a LBGT friendly clerk to buy a marriage license from that my entire family literally “split up to accompany couples intimidated about the simple process of purchasing a marriage license” to courthouses throughout Texas for not days but WEEKS. 

Seventy percent of my bookings on the day of the Supreme Court ruling a day of much celebration for same sex couples wishing to marry were effectively moved because my clients couldn’t find clerks to issue their marriage licenses. 

So, if you are wondering “why does Wendy Wortham KNOW so much about county clerks?” Here’s your answer- I’ve been in so many courthouses over the years holding my clients hands that it would make your head swim. I’ve met a mixed bag of nuts at clerks offices. I’ve encountered opinionated clerks, discriminatory clerks, mean clerks, nice clerks, arrogant clerks and clerks who don’t believe in same sex marriage OR inmate marriage either.  

You REALLY should have followed up on that story Jeff. The real story was that the hundreds of couples who had been forced to have unification ceremonies rather than marriages who finally thought the ability to marry would be cut and dry were instead impeded in the ability to legally marry due entirely to clerks refusing to issue them a marriage license. 

I’m not shy or a wallflower. But, my dedicated readers already know this. Kat and Tiffany had a legal right to marry. The clerk wanted to grandstand and set an example. During that window of the Supreme Court ruling, I had clients all over Texas requesting my team accompany them to buy their license due to the intimidation they faced. We split up and covered courthouses far and wide to get our clients the marriage licenses numerous Texas clerks refused to issue. True story. 

The Huntsville clerk had actually CHARGED AMANDA for a Declaration of an Informal Marriage RATHER than a Certified Marriage License. What is the difference you might ask? I’m happy to elaborate. 

An Informal Marriage is one where BOTH parties are present and it’s wholly, entirely and completely different from a certified copy of a marriage license too. Obviously, the groom or both parties WERE NOT PRESENT. 

Let’s review Informal Vs Formal Marriage- Section 2.401 of the Texas Family Code establishes the requirements for an informal marriage, without obtaining a marriage license or having a marriage ceremony. One of the ways an informal marriage is established is by registering a duly executed declaration and oath with the county of their residence. Both parties must be present. Rather than buying a traditional or formal license, the couple swear an oath and file an Informal Marriage License. 

Amanda and I left the clerks office and the two idiots working there who attempted to screw up wedding day for Amanda. They are out there. You might just encounter a few of these types of people yourself at the clerks office BUT KNOW THIS- I know marriage law. I am not intimidated and I don’t care how ugly a county clerk is willing to get. I saw plenty of ugliness during a time when same sex couples who wanted to marry couldn’t EVEN AFTER the Supreme Court gave them the right to do so. County clerks impeded the process. Clerks paid to issue marriage licenses who refused to do so. 

I’ve seen too much sadness because a county clerk thought they were God. If I have an attitude, rest assured that I know there are clerks with attitude. I’ve seen them AND I’ve met them. 

If the Huntsville clerk had refused to record the marriage license, I would’ve been on the phone so fast to complain about it you have no idea. She expected us to leave and she underestimated both Amanda and I because we were not leaving without getting what we came for and that was recording the license AND getting a certified copy to mail to inmate records at Ellis. 

That clerk was WAY out of line. I don’t care where you work or who you are, if you think you are God and can do whatever you want, you also leave a paper trail and if you don’t, I’m happy to create one for you just like I did by buying that certified copy in Huntsville. I reported that clerk. 

For every other person going to Walker County planning to marry an inmate, you’re welcome. Maybe this lady “doesn’t think inmates should marry” or that she simply enjoys upsetting folks on wedding day but either way, I can assure you she was surprised to get a phone call about her confusion regarding Twogether in Texas and the fee discrepancy between an Informal Marriage Declaration and a Certified Marriage License Copy. 

My Ferguson Unit bride, Savannah had sent me a text on July 4th. Her truck had been stolen and she needed a ride from Dallas to Ferguson. I picked her up at 9:45AM on July 10, 2019. Together, we drove to the Unit and enjoyed a day full of fun conversation. 

I had packed several veils, bouquets and tiaras as well as a kimono I had sent photos of to Savanah. She loved the kimono and I gifted it to her as a wedding gift. We stopped a few miles from Ferguson for photos. I wanted to incorporate one of my latest veils into her photos. The red shoes were perfect for my kimono. Finding areas near Units for photos occasionally has me in fairly remote areas.While applying some hand location just outside the Unit, Savannah spilled a bit on her blouse but I’m a mom and I have EVERYTHING in my SUV including wet wipes. We cleaned up and adjusted makeup for a few more photos before drivin into the parking lot. I think of everything so you don’t have to. We were a few minutes early and walking up to the birds nest saw a beautiful bride waiting on her Officiant. 

I’m going to go over this again because this “particular Officiant is ALWAYS LATE!” Lacy from Wife and Inmate Connection and I have met up at Allred, Coffield and now Ferguson. My clients and I waited over thirty minutes at Allred because as usual Lacey was late AGAIN. The guards were less than friendly to Lacey’s client based on her tardiness as well. Sadly, the client who showed up on time and was forced to wait outside was being punished for her Officiants unprofessionalism. Left alone in the sun worried her Officiant wouldn’t show up after everything she had gone through to finally get to her wedding day only to be forced to wait alone infuriated me and my client, Savannah. We were angry for that other bride and the position Lacey had left her in. 

At Ferguson Unit, the guard first addressed the hemline of Lacey’s clients dress BEFORE telling her that her wedding would be cancelled if Lacey didn’t show up. How would you feel if you were that lady? You paid someone for a service. You trusted them. On wedding day you didn’t know if they would show up or not and the guard is singling you out because you are alone. Think about it. 

Being late with a bride waiting in the sun and wondering if you are going to bother to show up is the most unprofessional shit that I’ve ever heard of. The bride was advised by the guard “we have a 30 minute policy. If she doesn’t show up your wedding will be cancelled.” The poor bride nearly started crying AFTER being forced to pull down her hemline or change clothes from the guard. 

What kind of stupid idiot Officiant and I use THAT TERM LOOSELY puts a client who has entrusted her through this kind of concern ON THEIR WEDDING DAY?! 

I CANNOT stress this enough… HIRE someone you can trust. Weddings ARE LIFE EVENTS regardless of where they take place.

Since it was 1PM and the bride was scheduled at 1PM with NO Officiant on site, Savannah and I were escorted in ahead while that poor lady ran to her car to call Lacy. 

Ferguson will not allow you to wait inside. You must enter WITH YOUR OFFICIANT. Sadly, that poor bride was forced to wait on the hot pavement as Savannah and I were escorted into the Unit. 

Savannah and I worried that poor lady who had driven hours and probably spent weeks finding the perfect dress was left standing outside wondering if Lacy would bother to show up? In fact, I told the guard “if her Officiant DOESN’T show up, I will marry her myself.” I meant it. We were scheduled at 1:30PM the other bride was scheduled at 1PM. 

The other brides fiancée watched my marry my clients while his bride waited in the blazing Texas sun on Lacey. 

The guard also used a flash that I wished she hadn’t causing red eyes on all of the photos. The guard also checked her watch mid ceremony. I have 20 minutes for my Ceremonies and don’t like to be rushed. 

My clients have waited months to get married. The guard “looking at her watch” not only bothered me but also my clients so I addressed “the elephant in the room” by advising the guard “I time my Wedding Ceremonies and have specifically  incorporated 8-10 minutes for my clients today in order to read their own vows. I know exactly how much time I have and stay well within the guidelines. I’m not going to rush this ceremony.” I meant it. 

If you are a guard that doesn’t know or care what the person marrying an inmate has gone through to get there, I will enlighten you. They’ve jumped through hoops. They’ve filed paperwork. They’ve patiently waited. A few encountered idiotic county clerks trying to buy their marriage license. The LAST THING I will allow is for my clients to be rushed through their marriage ceremony. I operate on a timeline well within my allotment for a ceremony inside the Unit. 

I am a professional but, if you want to tap your watch or attempt to cue me mid ceremony, I am more than happy to enlighten you on my timeline. My timeline is twenty five minutes not five. 

My client and I have just driven 3 hours to the Unit. My client and I have a 3 hour drive back and we are going to enjoy our 20 minute ceremony and wait 3-5 minutes for our photos to print. Thank you very much for your patience and see you next time. I posed my new couple in various shots to capture a wide variety of photos. Why? Because if I don’t, all of your photos will be the same pose that’s why. In an attempt to fix our eyes, I also edited these Unit photos to black and white. At 1:24PM, Lacy finally showed up just as we were leaving and minutes before the brides wedding was cancelled because Lacy apparently doesn’t care about creating stress on wedding day for a client. 

Good Lord, if you are an Officiant, get your shit together! It’s a LIFE EVENT. If you can’t perform the function you’ve been retained to perform, be honest and let your client know firsthand. Don’t leave them standing around wondering WHERE YOU ARE ON WEDDING DAY. 

A wedding day that someone waited weeks or months to finally have. A day very important to them. A day they drove hours to a Unit for. A day they took off work for. Put yourself in your Clients position. Wake up. This is a very important day to your client. They trusted you to be there and yet again you were late. They carefully dressed and applied their makeup. They excitedly drove to the unit. Then they miserably waited on you with a guard telling them their wedding would be cancelled if you didn’t show up. Good Lord do you have any idea what you are doing to the people who trusted you? Get it together or get out of this business. Lacey, you and your snarl at Units while dragging in late again are as miserable to my clients and I as they are to yours. Get an alarm clock. Buy a watch. Answer your phone. 

By the way, of you are reading this “late again Lacey,” the next time my staff or my clients and I are forced to wait on you in order to enter the Unit for the wedding they’ve waited months to have, I’m going to ask to speak to the Warden and complain about it. Waiting for you to fly your broom into a prison parking lot with your anxious client wondering why you won’t answer their calls or if their wedding will be cancelled along with my clients and my staff or myself being forced to wait on you to bother showing up stomping your way into the Unit while wearing your frown is the LAST THING ANY OF US NEED ON WEDDING DAY. Being forced to wait on you is a miserable experience for everyone concerned including the Unit itself. Quite frankly, why certain Units force everyone to wait on the “other Officiant” to arrive I have no idea but, your tardiness and your attitude are aggravating and intolerable. 

A few months ago, my Allred client had to get back to work that day and sitting in the clearing area watching your frazzled client wonder IF YOU were going to bother showing up was unsettling to a three of us Lacey. 

My client was also late returning to work BECAUSE you were late AS USUAL Lacey. Your consistent tardiness on wedding day is shocking and saddening. If you worked for anyone else, you would have been fired. Your clients have waited weeks and sometimes months to marry. Your Ferguson client yesterday was forced to fan herself with her marriage license in the sun with over a hundred degree temperatures on sweltering pavement in heels. 

What bride looks forward to being forced to wait and wonder if their Officiant will show up standing in the sun wearing a beautiful chiffon dress with her hair and makeup melting? Get it together and take some degree of consideration into your clients journey. Or, better yet, let them hire someone who cares about their journey!

Not only I but also my clients are sick and tired of “waiting on Lacy” to arrive late and unfriendly or unapologetic to her client or anyone else for that matter. At Coffield, she stomped out after the wedding and left her bewildered client waiting on wedding photos after the same client had been detained because she had a ring box that wouldn’t clear the Unit. As usual, I had jumped in to advise her to leave the box at the machine. 

NO ONE should be walking in alone on wedding day. The role of an Officiant is all encompassing. What it ISN’T is “bothering to show up late.” If you are one of those “other Officiants” for God’s sakes buy a watch and make your client and THEIR DAY a PRIORITY!

I’m at several Units over the next 6 months and THRILLED to be seeing my previous clients at their Vow Renewals. I’m scheduled the next five years with amazing clients I’ve married at Units and just as excited as you are that we are planning a celebration of resilience and endurance of love long after lock up…  

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…. 

If You DON’T Focus On YOUR Journey To SUCCESS You Will End Up WORKING For The Person Who Did…

For a few months now I’ve been pushing off a press release for an award I was presented. Why? I don’t have time to sit down for a one to two hour interview. My work takes precedence over anything else in my life with family running a close second. 

I’m frequently asked how I became so successful by others who readily realize that I have never advertised or needed to. The answer is by exceeding my clients expectations. If everyone else in the sales industry would put forth the effort with each and every client they too would see amazing results but, sadly we live in a world where sales are similar to taking a number. Once the number is taken, it’s thrown in the trash. 

Relationships outlast the initial sale. I don’t treat clients like sales. I treat them as individuals and make their needs my priority. I’m different because I actually care about my clients. 

My Beto client last week touched my heart. Her journey hasn’t been easy. Both of her parents were sentenced to prison when she was only one year old. She had also just given up her apartment and had her car towed a week prior to her scheduled wedding at Beto. Hearing this news days before the wedding and knowing she had a two year old son touched my heart. How could I find her help for a very stressful situation? I quickly went to my contacts at Womens Haven and Union Gospel Mission as well as deeply discounting my fee and even offering to drive her to Beto myself. 

At her photo shoot, I asked her “what her plans were for her and her son?” My bride had family in East Texas but, her son attended school in Forest Hill and my client didn’t want to pull him out of the school she had fought to get him into. Her son’s school took precedence over any decision she would make to find a new home and job to support herself and her young son. 

It’s not well known but, my twin sister and I were residents at Women’s Haven ourselves at fifteen years old. Homeless and alone, Cindy and I both lived at the center until we could get on our feet again. During my divorce, I worked 2-3 jobs to support myself and my son while paying his Ad Lidem attorney and my own attorney. Without my twin sister helping me by taking care of my son, I have no idea how I would’ve afforded childcare back then. 

I’m driven and determined because I’ve always had to be. I’m compassionate because I’ve learned that caring about others journey is rare but, I care far more than anyone realizes. 

Yesterday as I was driving back from Dallas North Tower and the county clerk, my Beto bride called me regarding filing the license. An issue she faced was that she no longer lived at the address she had given when purchasing her marriage license. If I filed the license for her, it would be mailed to the old address. I spent some time going over a few alternatives with my client that included going to the post office to put a hold on her mail at her old address as well as getting a P.O. Box or filing the license in person. 

If I file a wedding license, it’s mailed directly to the address given by the couple. If a client files the license in person, the license is recorded and handed back. I suggested this option to ensure the license wasn’t lost in the mail and put gas money in the envelope containing her wedding photos to be sure she wouldn’t run out of gas getting to Dallas. I hadn’t heard from her prior to running to Dallas myself yesterday morning and assumed she had filed the license herself last Friday. Otherwise, I would have driven her to Dallas myself to spare her the trip and the expense of gasoline. 

This morning as I prepare for a call from Kate, a journalist on my way to Tarrant County Detention Center, I wonder if my bride has been by my office to pick up her wedding photos and gas money? I wonder if she has found a place to stay or a job and I wonder how the burden of expenses involved to be a Prison wife will affect her life? I worry constantly about my clients. I can’t help myself.

There’s a stack of mail in my office awaiting my attention. There’s also a five page questionnaire for Power Woman Of 2019 awaiting my attention. I have 172 emails to answer and I have a text from Cindy. My day is off to a “roaring start.”

Cindy now has both of her adult daughters and all three of her grandchildren living with her. I’ve talked to Adult Protection Services in Valdosta and Texas. The “Stephaney Situation” is finally blowing over although I may need to testify in Valdosta, Georgia regarding how my niece wound up there and how I realized that there was a problem while at Wynn Unit with my client in Huntsville, Texas. It’s a long story.

Cindy is overwhelmed at “trying to make everyone else happy in my home other than myself.” Cindy does it all and without my help, Cindy would be doing it alone. Maryssa and Makenna argue incessantly and Leigh Ann has a chip on her shoulder regarding her sister, Stephaney moving back home. “Five females fighting” is an ongoing rerun at Cindy’s house. Arguing over the bathrooms, arguing over the chores, arguing about each other. I could go on and on here. Cindy lives at Camp Chaos. Don’t let the happy smile you see Cindy wearing fool you. Cindy spent seventeen years caring for our selfish grandmother. My sister finally snapped over our grandmother and kicked her out after nearly eighteen years. I would have never moved her in. I’m far less tolerant of moochers and morons than Cindy. My twin has the soft heart regarding our family that I possess regarding our clients. It’s a fact. 

Cindy has spent her entire adult life caring for her children and grandchildren and Cindy needs a vacation. Cindy loves leaving her fighting family behind to jump in my SUV and head off to meet clients. Who could blame her? At home, chaos and more chores await my overworked twin sister. 

After listening to Cindy nearly crying while I sat in my SUV at the Tarrant County Clerks Office preparing to file licenses before walking across the street to the county jail, I butt in and suggested “laying down the law. It’s your house. Your adult children are guests. I’m highly concerned about Leigh Ann’s husband, Alex coming to stay from July to August and bringing more chaos. You need to establish rules and guidelines. If you don’t, I will.” Cindy knows I will and it will be far less confrontational if she would snap and start putting her own needs first. If she can’t though, I certainly can.  

My Beto bride sends a text asking “are you home?” I’m twenty minutes from home but at least an hour from attending to filing licenses and meeting my Tarrant County client. I suggest meeting me for lunch at the 7th street Starbucks in an hour after she picks up her wedding photos and gas money. I’m highly concerned about her and her child and have a list of suggestions for her to get back on her feet. I have plenty of time to get to Jack County Jail and Parker County Jail to meet my afternon clients before heading to Willow Lake Event Center with Cindy at 4PM. Leigh Ann will pick up Maryssa and Makenna at 3:30PM and after their incessant arguing this morning on the way to school, Cindy could use a break from the twins and Leigh Ann quite frankly. 

Yesterday, Cindy and I were with our clients at Taylor’s rental looking at bar height tables and chairs for a June graduation party when Leigh Ann sent a group text to Cindy and I regarding Stephaney. I was instantly lit because when my family know we are with clients, the last thing I need are to be blasted with family bickering but, Leigh Ann consistently and repeatedly makes her problems a priority to her mother and I. “Maddy had milk on her mouth and I asked where that milk came from? I went into the living room and Stephaney was eating cereal and had been sharing it with Maddy. I’m so furious about this that my hands are shaking!” 

I walked out of Taylor’s to call Leigh Ann. While she attempted to interrupt me, I interrupted her. “Listen, we are on location with clients. We don’t care about your problems and if Maddy wasn’t hungry she wouldn’t be asking Stephaney to feed her. You need to go feed your daughter and stop disrupting us with stupidity while we are working. We don’t care how mad you are. Now we are mad you bothered to dump your problem on us. Grow up.” I then hung up and practiced smiling in the parking lot before walking back to my clients and sister. 

I abhor disruptions to my carefully orchestrated agenda from family members and everyone realizes it. And yet, the consistent disruptions from my family are a regular and consistent occurrence in not only my life but my twin sisters too. Dash it all. 

What Leigh Ann should have been doing was feeding Maddy first and finishing the Sunday rehearsal photos second. But, explaining prioritizing to my niece is an escapade in futility. 

Meanwhile, my Bridgeport bride had sent me a message on FB that would have to wait until choosing tables and linens and my Allred client wanted to know about the Absentee Affidavit while my Torres client was concerned “about the glass” and my Eastham client wanted to know “how much longer the I60 would take?” My phone never stops ringing and bleeping alerts. 

Preparing myself to text back and answer emails from the Taylors parking lot after happily waving goodbye to my June clients, I turn to Cindy and say “about the California back and forth situation, I’ve come to a decision. We aren’t telling any of our adult children when we are leaving or arriving in California. We need a few days of fun without being drug into drama in San Diego with Leigh Ann, the twins and Alex. We won’t check in on FB. We will pretend we are still in Texas. Wink. Wink.” 

Cindy is shocked by my “plan.” I’m not. I need a break from my family and whether Cindy knows it or not, she does too. My sister is thinking. I jump in before she can respond (as usual) “listen, we are exhausted and overwhelmed. We have a podcast with Karen and then the Twyce Twins, a press release for Power Woman Of The Year, a follow up interview with Kate, and we are juggling 29 clients with new clients each and everyday. We need a vacation and I’m booking us into The Beverly Hills Bungalow for three days of spa, shopping and fun before we hit the bricks on that August wedding in two cities. It’s going to be an ass whipping and if we don’t catch our breath, I’m afraid we will be in the hospital from pure exhaustion. We are bouncing from Louisiana to Arkansas to Oklahoma to California seven times between August and October. It’s time to put our needs in the “front pocket” in order to be camera ready and refreshed for our clients. Our families and their chaos are killing us with stress Pal. Unlike our clients, they dont appreciate our sacrifice today, tomorrow or ever. With them it’s me, me, me, I, I, I. We must hopefully before our 55th birthday in November, learn to put our demanding kids and chaos on the back burner.” 

Warily, and probably feeling guilty (as usual) my twin sister agreed. Traveling gives us the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company but, thanks to cell phones, our family is always a text or phone call away from screwing up the day. It’s a fact.

My son and his wife have been traveling together as an Officiant and photography team the past 4 years. When my son and his wife get into an argument, everyone in my family hears about it. My daughter in law “I can’t drive with him in the car. Nothing I do is right and he makes me nervous.” My son “Stephanie doesn’t pay attention. She’s either driving too slow or driving too fast.” Me “you two are married and work together. Try to stop bickering and work together on learning patience.” Cindy “Robert and Stephanie Hafele are arguing again.” Me “I cannot stop what’s coming. Those two think they are communicating when in fact they are arguing.”

When I’m on location with Leigh Ann as I was last weekend at one of my rehearsals, I’m called “The Boss.” I instruct Leigh Ann on locations for photos and how to pose the wedding party. I wonder how Leigh Ann will handle addressing clients in California when I’m not there telling her what to do? It’s a valid point. I recognize that more flights to California to “save the day” await the Texas Twins. Our adult children are needy and often demanding. Heavy sigh. 

For two years now, I’ve been bouncing between states for inmate weddings. It was essential due to my burgeoning client base to add Leigh Ann as a TDCJ Officiant and to bump county Jail Weddings as well as traditional requests for an Officiant/photographer to Robert and Stephanie. 

Cindy and I are both stretched to the limits. My traditional bookings are now three years out. Weekends and evenings that include holidays are taken up by traditional clients. 

Trying to find a day off is impossible during wedding season. As usual, my anniversary will be bumped into my birthday this year when things slow down. My husband accepts my overwhelming schedule. He knew when he married me that I was an overachiever and accepts it. He’s also fifteen years older than me and turns off his phone from 6PM to 8AM Monday through Friday and altogether on weekends. 

Matthew is “off work when he is off the clock.” We have very different views regarding client needs. I never turn my phone off which may be why my husband is “tuned in” on client needs and family chaos. He hears it all. 

My husband doesn’t have any family to burden him with their problems. I cannot imagine what a worry free blessing that would be to not have adult children or grandchildren and their problems dumped in your lap like my husband doesn’t. Seriously. My husband as well as Cindy’s husband don’t have children which is a remarkable comparison to Cindy and I with our “carnival of chaos kids and grandchildren.” Opposites do attract. Our marriages are proof of that.

I’m going to go over the certified marriage license to address questions about the process of changing an inmate status from single to married. While we are inside a unit, often there will be a copy of the marriage license filed with inmate records. This is not a certified copy. 

What constitutes a certified copy being available has a few caviats. First, the license must be signed by the Officiant AND then filed at the clerks office either in person by the client or via certified mail from me to the clerks office BEFORE a certified copy of the license is available for purchase. 

The certified copy bears a seal deeming it as certified to be true and correct. While the original marriage license (after being signed and filed) can be used for the DMV and SS Office, it CANNOT be used for a change of status to inmate records. 

Only a certified copy of the marriage license can accomplish this task. You will purchase and then mail the certified copy to inmate records at the Unit your spouse is incarcerated at. 

You have 30 days from the date I married you at the Unit to provide a certified copy. You will then need to change your name (if you intend to do so) on your state issued ID for visits to the Unit.

The reason that Units NOW REQUIRE a certified license is to prove the marriage license was filed and is legally binding. 

Apparently, several people were “going through the motions to get married” but, by not filing the license, were effectively not legally married. Due to this issue, certified marriage licenses are now a requirement at many if not all Units.

Reading a text from one of my Coffield Unit brides was truly good news today. The inmate has made parole and will finally be coming home. I cannot wait to Officiate their Vow Renewal with family and friends present to celebrate their new journey of freedom and promise together. God Bless my amazing couple and their resilience. What a blessing.

My Beto bride and sit down together to “go over her plans for her son and their new direction to move to East Texas.” Visiting for a little over an hour before running off to Jack County, I also prayed that this trip would bring my client a new job and positive direction although removing her son from school was somewhat troubling to her. At two years old, her son is resilient enough to change schools now as opposed to being older. I will order her certified license as the Officiant and forward it to her to send to the Unit. 

Since there are many questions about certified marriage licenses, I’m adding a photo of the questionare for Dallas County for your review. 

The cost in Dallas is $10. The cost may vary by county. Tarrant county charges $21. Unlike Dallas county, there is no form online in Tarrant county. Here’s the link– Tarrant County Certified Marriage License Request.

Juggling incoming emails and text messages while sitting in the parking lot of Jack County Jail, my husband sends me a text telling me he loves me. It’s the little things but the stinky skunk development problem is finally over and Matthew is relieved! Thank goodness. We’ve had a month of brain storming to solve the skunk issue and, it’s a month too long. 

I miss my happy go lucky husband. Matthew is actually hilarious when he isn’t stressed out. Cindy and I are looking forward to road tripping to Stiles, San Saba, Crain and Huntsville Units before heading back to Louisiana in May. We love getting away for a day or two and hitting the junk shops together. 

My husband prefers long walks with my feisty Beagle, Foxy Wortham along with the Golf Channel or NASCAR and a dry martini. 

Cindy’s husband left for Canada today so she has 5-6 days before Steve Daniel is back home for a 1-3 day “staycation” at Camp Chaos AKA Cindy and Steve’s house. 

With five females fighting over the bathroom, I’m guessing Steve was “ready to roll.” Fighting for a bathroom isn’t fun at Cindy’s house. I drink a lot of water and coffee and it’s not uncommon for me to stop at Petro on my way to her house to effectively “stand in line.” 

Things will get worse when Alex comes to stay for a month before leaving for San Diego with Leigh Ann, Maddy and the twins. A summer in San Diego will do them all good and an empty house will be a Godsend to Cindy as we bounce all over the place to client bookings. 

In fact, I’m looking forward to Cindy staying at my house for our slumber parties and spook movie nights.

My Saturday clients are so much fun that Leigh Ann and I can’t wait to see them again. I love it when clients at outgoing and spirited at photo shoots.We love our LBGT clients and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the rehearsal photos for Brokk and Ruben. 

Since I’ve been asked, I do stop and start blogs between bookings. I just leave my WordPress app open and pick up where I’ve left off. All of my blogs are typed with one finger on my iPhone. Often, while waiting on a client at a Unit or venue. I spend a lot of time waiting as I’m always early.

I reviewed another email regarding someone else blogging on one of my sites and will once again go over why I have no interest in “guest writers.” First, my content is entirely my own and based on my experiences with clients and my family since they are both combined. 

Secondly, I have no interest in sharing my platform with others. 

Thirdly, I do not allow back links on any of my sites. Sorry, but, I’m not now nor will I ever be interested in having a guest blogger.

I’m off to the Parker County Courthouse and looking forward to meeting all of my new clients in the coming weeks… 

NOBODY Can BREAK Your Spirit UNLESS You HAND Them The REINS…

I’ve been working in film since I was eighteen years old and filmed my first commercial with Mel Tillis in Fort Worth, Texas. Other members of my family AKA Team? Not nearly as long. Certain members of my client bases? Rare if ever. 

I worked as a commercial model for twenty plus years. While some might think this job was exciting, the truth is that I was basically a hangar. I was better at selling high end clothing, jewelry and luxury cars than any of my other coworkers AKA models were. How so? I had the unique ability to have been “born to sell.” 

While other models might have had a better body, I had a by far better personality. Selling is about relationships not seeing someone frowning at buyers and behaving haughty while walking a runway. 

Only twice has my current husband ever seen me “own a room” on the catwalk. The first time he was amazed at how I managed to notice every buyer in the room. I pay attention to details. Walking off the stage, I also walked the buyers tables and gave them an opportunity to touch the fabric or my opinion on why this fur or that evening gown would be a good investment as a timeless treasure to “the right buyer.” I have always learned every aspect of any product that I have ever sold. I still do. It’s essential to be knowledgeable. 

If I believed in a product, I could sell it all day long. If I didn’t believe in the product, I refused to attempt to sell it. I have never been desperate enough to sell a product I wouldn’t buy myself either. I’ve never had to be. Why? Because I’m a helluva salesperson that’s why. 

I don’t see clients as numbers. I see clients as relationships. Friendships with my clients have lasted for years after a sale. My clients are like family to me. 

In today’s world, trying to find anyone in a store that even knows their own inventory is an escapade in futility. A few weeks ago, I went to Academy searching for camo clothing. Three salespeople told me “we don’t have anything because the season is over.” I continued to search and found an entire aisle of camouflage pants, shirts, jackets and accessories. Did I buy? No. But the reason was fit. The pants were cut for a man and I’m an hourglass shape. Why buy something and pay to have it altered? Instead, I went to my tailor and had an outfit made. Manufacturers need to realize that most women are not built straight up and down because we aren’t. 

As a retailer though, it’s essential your staff knows your product. Sadly, this “I don’t know what’s going on” type of scenario has been happening for years within the retail industry due to a consistent high turnover or inadequate pay or even both. 

Go out to a store on your lunch break and try to buy something while asking questions regarding the product and see how it works out for you. No one on the salesfloor has a clue anymore. It’s no wonder why people shop online because at the very least they can find what they are looking for. Think about it. 

In 2004, I was the top Cadillac salesperson over and over for years until I decided to hang up luxury car sales. How did I do this? By educating myself about the product and then bringing clients to me. Not the dealership but specifically my office.

I was willing to think outside the box and did. While other salesmen were reading newspapers or outside smoking or taking personal phone calls, I hired a photographer, bought evening gowns in various colors and ran my own print ads in country clubs. 

Making money takes money. I was investing in myself and knew I could make a profitable return on my investment. 

I was effectively direct marketing consumers who could afford to spend $110k on a Cadillac XLR. That’s right. I studied advertising and marketing and knew that “bringing just anyone” into the dealership wouldn’t sell high end cars. Why? The majority of consumers don’t spend $50k-100k on a vehicle. 

Bringing the “right person” in to the dealership would sell high end cars and, I was right regarding an “idea” that the other salesman found hilarious. I let them laugh. I’m a businesswoman and smarter than the “peanut gallery.” There’s a reason they have the “cheap seats.” 

I am a pioneer. I don’t “fit in any box” and I never will. I laughed all the way to the bank while other salesmen laughed at me. They weren’t laughing long. People often laugh at my ideas or concepts until they realize how thinking outside of the box works. Then, they want my expertise. Then, they want me to train them. But, I don’t work for free. Knowledge is power. Experience is priceless and without risk there are no rewards. 

The number of times someone has contacted me to ask me to “teach them how to do what I did” would astound you. From venue owners to salespeople “who heard about the lady that was a model and created her own print ads” to others who recognized that my success was based entirely on being different. As a child, being different was never “a gift.” As an adult though, my resilience and strength were my formula for success. 

Others have contacted me for years because they “want to learn how to do what I do.” It is surprising. But, the people “asking for an apple and expecting a pie” cannot understand why and how I make anything I involve myself with successful. It’s actually the “key” to my success. 

I am fearless. I’m not afraid. I’ve never been afraid to fail first to succeed second. Ever. I can afford to take risks. When you learn anything the hard way by doing it yourself, you remember every detail. 

Sure, I’ve taken a fall now and then on a bad investment but who hasn’t? I get right back on my horse and ride on. Fear is failure.  

The stock market literally bores me to death. Put me in a casino with lights, music and excitement. I’d rather gamble than watch the stocks. My husband does the long term investments. 

#cindyism “FAILURES are the SEEDS you SOW, before REAPING a HARVEST of SUCCESS” God bless us all.

I have a photographic memory. I’m also dyslexic. I taught myself to read and escaped by reading. I’m different. People who want to do what I do aren’t. They cannot be me because they have never endured the struggles I’ve overcome. 

My sister and I weren’t afraid to leave home at 15 with the clothes on our backs. We weren’t worried about where we would go, where we would sleep or how we would survive. At 15 we were also eating out of trash cans behind convenience stores. Now you can comprehend and fully understand why I’m not afraid to be different. Cindy isn’t either. We had nothing and I mean nothing to go back to. No one to help us. No one who cared about us. Our family? Humph. They didn’t care if we starved. We ran from the Hell we left behind. RAN. Cindy and I don’t owe anyone anything. We are survivors. 

We both jumped into our first marriages and we both regretted our decision. If someone were to try and hit either of us today, I can assure you that it would be a mistake. We left a violent home as teens and assumed every wife was beaten because we didn’t know anything else. Violence was a normal fact of life for us as children. But, we learned as adults that “our normal” was in fact “abnormal.” So, we left again. 

Years ago, other models could not for the life of them understand how I outsold over and over at every single show thought they should sell more solely because “they were thinner.” Being thin doesn’t make you an incredible salesperson whether you are in print or at a style show. It wasn’t unusual in those days for a buyer to purchase whatever I had worn strutting down that catwalk right off my rack. In fact, it was a frequent occurrence. Everyone wanted to be me at a style show. I was the most confident and carefree model I’ve ever met. 

Often I was also wearing heavier makeup to mask a bruised eye or swollen cheek from my jealous husband the day before. No one knew this other than my dresser. I wore Christian Dior butterfly sunglasses daily to hide most of my face walking into make up. 

When I wore something while modeling, I owned it. I made it more than soft, luxurious fur or a piece of expensive fabric or high end jewelry. The moment my dresser said “go,” I was transformed from all of the problems waiting for me at home (I had a violent first marriage) and because of my inate ability to compartmentalize, when I was on a runway or in front of a camera, I was in also in another world. 

Modeling was a world where no one would hit me or call me names. In a world where I was the star of the show while others assumed that they were. I was a chameleon who shed my beaten down victim shell the moment I walked my rack with my dresser. The second I knew each and every change on my rack or racks, I had already decided what liked best about this or least about that. Buyers would ask and I would answer. I knew the fabrics and I knew the products. 

I became an actress rather than a hangar and I walked through those backroom drapes and half dressed models to a room full of buyers as if they had been waiting for me all of their lives. I was “on.” The other models never stood a chance with me. It took time for them to realize this but, they did. 

I’m a paid consultant and whether I advise you for ten minutes or twenty, my bill rate is by the hour. That’s right I get paid to talk and the buyer listens. I’ve marketed and represented Kodak, P&G, and many other other household name based brands that are highly recognized. If you want my advice or insight or direction on how to sell something you call me. But, you also pay me. 

Cindy is a pioneer too. We both had to be our entire lives. Years ago, Cindy was working at Hawk Electronics. She had broken her back in a horrific car accident and couldn’t walk a salesfloor so she took a job scheduling home security alarm appointments. Like me, she was an innovator. Cold calling sucks and to get $25 per sale, Cindy read newspapers and got crime reports to directly find areas of high crime and called them instead of wasting her time and her breath calling the “wrong people.” Cindy had a 99% closing rate but, the “old dogs” aka salesmen she handed the leads to cut her out of the sale and collected $150 for “finding the lead.” Within weeks, Cindy noticed her commissions were going down and went to payroll to question why. When she was told the names of confirmed sales and recognized them as her own leads, she “whipped out her own records.” Because the old dogs “had already been paid on Cindy’s sales,” my sister learned a valuable lesson. 

A few days later, one of the salesmen walked up to her desk and said “have you got got any leads for me?” Smirking Cindy said “no but, I do have a news flash. I’m working with payroll and from now on, I’m giving payroll a list of all of my leads names and phone numbers and addresses as well as the date I contacted them. You won’t be stealing from me anymore.” Two days later, the unethical scoundrel quit. My sister though continued to CYA and got paid to do so.

There aren’t any “friends as coworkers” in the sales industry. Sales are a cut throat business. While other coworkers attempted to copy, replicate or duplicate our ability to outsell them, Cindy and I laughed all the way to the bank. 

Originality and creative thinking as well as our ability to think outside the box are only a few of the reasons we have always been successful in ANY sales based industry. If we failed, we went hungry and we both knew it. 

My experience in film and print modeling propelled me into the strongest selling high end luxury car bracket there was. I also left Cadillac “on top.” 

Looking back, those “old dogs” on the salesfloor needed a wake up call. I literally gave them one by bringing my own people into the dealership rather than waiting for the people to come to the dealership and hoping to “snag” a possible client in a position to buy who was actually only “pulling up to window shop” and effectively wasting my time or my “up.” 

My ads weren’t for the dealership. They were for me and if you saw my ad, you ONLY came to ME. I worked solely by appointment. Yes, I was THAT busy. 

By the way, prior to Cadillac, I had never sold cars in my entire life either. I can look at a business any type of sales driven business and find a niche. 

I’ve been a brand ambassador for so many brands that I’m also an expert consultant for GLG and have been for many years. What people don’t know about me shocks them. But, I’m a survivor. I saw a need for affordable event services and created a People Over Profit based event business. No one else was willing to take such a risk but, I could well afford to and I did. Maybe to a few that was a crazy idea but, while they laughed, my business model became stronger and stronger year after year. I laugh now as I have many times before. I laugh because I’m driven, I’m passionate and I’m determined. I don’t give up. I’m also a twin. Yes, together we actually are unstoppable. 

The continued interest in my client base or even my life garners phone calls, emails and site inquiries week after week after week. The problem? Trying to educate someone who knows very little about me. It’s a really time consuming task. While talking on the phone to them, I almost always have a client attempting to reach me. In other cases, I am on location with a client when one of these inquiries “roll in.” 

I’m the type of person who researches everything. I’m OCD. I’m articulate and I always have a back up plan for disasters in location too. I think in a circle. Literally. 

Today’s blog will go over the most unusual and invasive questions I’ve come across yet. A few of them may surprise you. Others may offend you but, I can assure you that I have no problem being honest, transparent and completely open about my life, my clients and my businesses. I have nothing to hide and neither do they. 

Leaving my office after going through yet another round of inquiries from production companies and Europe based networks, I am going to literally “kick off” today’s blog with enlightening news you can use if you are not BOUND TO ME BY BLOOD OR BUSINESS. 

Listen up and pay attention as I rarely if ever repeat myself. I would repeat myself but I simply don’t have the time during wedding season. I’m far more inclined to be patient when I don’t have a burdened schedule to be honest with you.

Contacting me and assuming that you are going to schedule a Skype interview or conference call at YOUR CONVENIENCE is one of the craziest ideas that I’ve ever heard of yet. You’re busy? You are asking me to drop everything to accommodate your schedule? If I have time for YOU outside my own schedule, such Skype or even phone interviews will be scheduled AT MY CONVENIENCE NOT YOUR OWN. 

Furthermore, asking me to “Face Time” you from the road while traveling or while I’m on location, isn’t going to happen today, tomorrow or forever. The ONLY time I use Face Time is with my grandnieces. 

Frankly, no one (unless you are in your 20’s) looks good on Face Time. I have no desire for anyone to use film from Face Time to either “pitch or promote” me. 

I’m hoping that I’ve clarified the best way to get what YOU want from ME, I will also take a moment to once again ask that anyone attempting to contact me STOP contacting venues I’m on staff at and instead use one of my sites, my email or the same phone number I’ve had for fifteen years to contact me rather than continuing to call me at a business I do not work at on a daily basis. 

I.E. the number you are calling isn’t to CONTACT me instead, the number listed on the internet is to BOOK ME. The venue is busy too. After all, it’s wedding season. 

This “calling me at a venue I’m on staff at” continues to happen and also is continually disruptive to the business you are contacting. Please stop. 

I have five websites with contact us links and my phone number as well as my address are literally “all over the internet.”

Now, let’s get down to today’s parking lot blog and reiterate that all of my blogs are typed with one finger on an iPhone in a parking lot waiting on a client. For those who assume I pay a writer, you couldn’t be further from the truth. I do not hire creative content writers. I create my own content. Also, I have no interest in blogging for someone else because “you need an experienced blogger.” 

Please do not use any of my sites to contact me to either pitch a product or for any reason other than Event Services through Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners or TDCJ Weddings in Texas and outside Texas. 

I don’t need “more clients” or “marketing” or “engaged social media.” I have all of those things and handle my own social media. 

I’m an overachiever and a workaholic that hasn’t needed to work to earn a living in years. I’m also not “relatable” to most people due to the fact that while others were working as little as possible in their twenties, I was working 2-3 jobs. 

Most people don’t put 120-150% into their career. Why? Because they are lazy and entitled. Also, they have a family to fall back ON nearly all of the time too. I didn’t. My sister didn’t. We are DIFFERENT but, the difference between our stellar work ethics and others is based entirely on our unique circumstances and ability to survive and thrive. We thrill our clients. We treat them like the family we weren’t born with. Our clients are and always will be our first priority. Personlized service is difficult to come by these days but, when you book with the Texas Twins, you are the star of our show. 

If you have hired my sister or I in any capacity over the years, you were always surprised at our stellar work ethics. Cindy and I were thrilled to “become the employee you wished you had ten more of.” We were also honored and ecstatic to exceed your expectations because you also paid us to “perform.” This type of dedication is rare. 

However, for my former employers that cut our commissions “because we were making too much money,” we also left you and worked elsewhere. Loyalty is earned. I’m always amazed that expecting someone to sell your products without offering them and incentive or adequate compensation continues to “confuse business owners as to why their numbers are down” but, if you have a helluva salesperson, be smart enough to keep them by compensating them rather than punishing them and effectively “cutting their income.” It’s common sense. 

“Pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.” Cutting your sales staffs commissions is the stupidest and greediest thing I’ve ever encountered. It’s happened to me many times though by managers who were upset that I earned “more than them.” 

If I quit to take another job, you forced me to do so by affecting my earning capacity. I don’t look back. I look forward. 

Work is my salvation. I’m happiest when working. My twin sister is too. 

The Texas Twins Events “umbrella” for Prison Weddings and/or other states outside of Texas inmate Officiant services also fall under Texas because I am based in Texas. I’ve been asked “why don’t you have different sites pertaining to different states you operate within?” The last thing I need is to add more sites for each state I operate within. I already write blogs for five sites and juggle numerous clients and have no need to redirect traffic to another site. I also work solely by referral and always have so there is no need for me to create a new site for a different state we service. In fact, destination event services have been booked through Texas Twins Events for YEARS. 

If you are contacting me or having your freight company contact me regarding a purchase or pick up for Texas Twins Treasures, please do not use TDCJ Officiant to do so. This particular site has nothing to do with Texas Twins Treasures. Items sold at Texas Twins Treasures are scheduled for pick up or delivery through my site or via direct email or phone. Thank you for your attention to this matter. 

Let’s get started on why anyone in the entertainment industry assumes that a bride or groom planning to marry an inmate is either a hillbilly or biker and in either description also uneducated. This “preposterous idea” of anyone marrying an inmate leaving the trailer park to do it is not only offensive to my clients but also myself and my staff. 

My clients know the decision they are entering to marry an inmate is serious. They realize that it will be one sided and they are willing to accept those terms. In nearly all cases, many of my clients never actually “planned to marry a Prisoner.” 

Because of the continued ignorance of others, I’ve decided to use my production site, Texas Twins TV to specifically share the stories of clients who have an interest in even considering auditioning for any type of television format pertaining to their lives, their journeys and their decision to marry an inmate. For a link to Amanda and her journey, click here- Wendy Wortham Interviews TDCJ Client, Amanda.

These individuals are educated, wholesome and passionate. They are also brave, strong and resilient. If you are unaware of this and assume that our California Prison Clients are “beach bums” or that our Texas, Louisiana and other adjoining states Prison Client Bases are hillbillies or swamp people, save your ignorance and spare my time. You are incorrect on all “assumptions.” 

I had one production company ask me last month “can they talk though? Do they speak intelligently?” What? Are you kidding me? Turn off that television and recognize that they have obviously spoken to me and therefore can and do hold intelligent and articulate conversations on a daily basis. Can they talk? WOW. 

I could not believe yet another idiotic statement last week that ironically came (as usual) at the worst possible time for me while on location with a bride having a meltdown at a high end venue from yet another production company “we saw you with shotguns and wearing camo in Texas on the internet. What do you mean you aren’t a hillbilly? You looked like one.” 

Let’s add the photos shall we? I’m the most versatile person you are ever going to encounter. I can go from a barn to an exclusive venue within hours and I do. First- the  camo client had hired my staff specifically for a themed wedding. Do your research. Second- Dream Events are just that. The client wanted to incorporate her daughter into the wedding as the groom had been acting as her father since birth. This was a very emotional ceremony for all concerned. 

The bride had asked me to wear camo and like anyone else asking me to do something outside my usual scope of services, was a referral. I had never previously owned anything camo in my entire life. So, no, I’m not a hillbilly. I don’t live on a farm and I don’t ride a horse to work either. 

I thinks it’s interesting that people jump to conclusions without doing more research but, they do. What is this “I’m a hillbilly” or my clients are “hillbillies” synopsis coming from? Could it be based solely on living in Texas? I’m confused. 

Here are other photos of more “traditional clients” solely to enlighten you. Yes, they are “regular” clients not to say that any of my clients are “irregular” I am actually quoting yet another production company. “But, Wendy do you have any regular people? You know that aren’t LBGT or marrying an inmate or so poor that they have to barter? You know like regular people?” Obviously, that production company employee was either 21-27 or had miserable grades in English and Literary Composition. 

Usually, a production company has someone so young asking the questions that I almost feel sorry for them. Almost. Why? Because they live in a bubble and obviously need to get out more that’s why. Maybe if these “youngsters” would put down their computer or phone and meet real people in real life rather than trolling Instagram, they might realize that being different isn’t weird or antisocial? Just a thought. 

Maturity in your 20’s is obviously not easy to obtain when your world is on social media rather than out in the “real world.” 

Anyway, we do destination events on a regular basis. These are scheduled on weekends and evenings of course because during the week I’m at a jail or prison. I don’t find this nearly as “unique” as production companies do. Why? Because I’m meeting clients I’m simply meeting them at a different location. I book high end end events too. Surprised? Don’t be. I’m not cheap either. If you want to book me or get on my books, you get in line. I’ve had clients reschedule THEIR EVENT to ACCOMMODATE MY CALENDAR. It’s a fact. 

If you want honor, integrity, and a team committed to making your Dream Event a reality regardless of your income because we also barter, then you come to us. We don’t advertise. We never have. We have also never needed to. If I’m cocky- bet your butt I earned the privilege. No one GAVE me a successful business plan. In fact, I created it myself. My family joined me. I wasn’t trying to be like everyone else because obviously that market was entirely saturated. 

When I’m asked about my affiliation with the LBGT Community, it isn’t because I’m LBGT. But, one production company assumed my entire family was? “I saw you and your family at a gay parade on the internet. Does homosexuality run in your family?” Hmm. Again, WOW. Common sense is like breath spray. Most folks don’t realize they actually need it. By the way I did answer “no” before waiting with baited breath on the next question while my twin covered her shocked face. PS- it’s LBGT not gay. That word is offensive to the community as a whole. 

Let’s go over this stupid assumption in a question format regarding my sexual orientation one more time. Production Company– “are you a lesbian? I saw you on CW33 at a LBGT event.” And you assumed everyone there was LBGT why? What about mothers, siblings, friends? Do you believe that every LBGT event is solely for LBGT people? Hmm. 

The photo below was taken by Adam Bouska immediately prior to being cut off attempting to visit friends I recognized at the event by a CW33 NewsFix team and subsequently, they barn stormed my family and I with a camera and microphone stuck right into my face while my grandnieces and sister were being pushed out of the way by CW33 NewsFix at the same time. 

If you HAVE NOT seen the CW33 interview, you missed seeing how terrified my grandnieces were. Don’t look at me. Look to the right at them. Maryssa and Makenna were both shell shocked while Cindy angrily looked on. To enlighten you, in adding the link– Wendy Wortham CW33 NewsFix Interview NOH8 Dallas, Texas.  

The safety of having Cindy and I beside the twins is most likely is why the twins both didn’t start crying or screaming when that herd of reporters came running at me and effectively, pushing at the twins and Cindy at the same time. 

Children who are unfamiliar with reporters are always “uncomfortable.” I can say this though, every production company that we have ever and I mean ever signed with was kind and friendly to our children and grandchildren. It’s very important to me and my twin that film crews understand we have family that includes younger children and even pets that are an intricate fiber of our lives and business. God bless the production companies for realizing we are a family and often with our grandchildren since reporters obviously don’t for one second consider that I have children with me when charging into the scene.

Our children and grandchildren are no longer intimidated or uncertain with barn storming reporters, cameras or microphones. Why? Because they have spent a large amount of time with over 9 production companies and also have been on location for numerous other film projects. The twins are seasoned and no longer concerned about cameras or microphones although someone charging at them might rattle them, it will not intimidate them anymore. 

The difference between the CW33 NewsFix Interview for my grand twins then and today is experience. The twins and my entire family are now (years later) not only familiar with cameras in our faces and microphones in our bras but also more than “used to the process” of filming. It’s just another day for us. 

Reporters this is for you- children are not accustomed to barn storming. If you would like to interview me or my sister, for God’s sake do not corner us when we have our granddaughters with us on location. 

My youngest grandniece, Madyson is 3 and like the twins years ago, completely and wholly unfamiliar with reporters, microphones or the type of barn storming the twins encountered on the CW33 interview. Did they think I planned to run to the nearest exit for a quick getaway? Who knows. I don’t run with children in tow. No one does. 

A few years later at the same NOH8 Campaign, the twins were not nearly as nervous when KTVT approached us at the event. Why? Because by then they had filmed a television pilot and numerous other film productions. I.E. the twins were now “familiar” with cameras in their faces. See photo below…

I’m not a lesbian but I have thousands of friends who are. The “other woman” was my twin sister. Ironic that everyone assuming that we were partners failed to realize we were twins isn’t it? 

For years now, I have sponsored the Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association Parade. You should know that the parade for YEARS was held in the red light districts of LBGT clubs. To make the parade a “family friendly” event where children felt welcome, a group was established, Fairness Fort Worth to fight politicians and get families the opportunity to bring their children. My accountant, Tom Anable started Fairness Fort Worth. Sadly, Tom took his own life after the Raid At The Rainbow Lounge. I miss him. I will always miss him.

“I’ve never met anyone like you and find your use of foul language to be something I didn’t expect.” F Off. I don’t need your approval. My clients don’t need your approval and I don’t give a shit about what might offend you. After all, you contacted me remember? I grew up with a heroin addict for a mother and bumped around with my siblings for years. If you want “fluffy,” find it somewhere else. I’m not fluffy because I’m real.  

“What does “bound to you by blood or business” mean?” It means that unless you are part of the primary concerns in my life, you are a fly in my soup. Don’t attempt to “guide” me during an interview into making me something I’m not. You can’t pay me enough to be fake or phony or worse, your version of what you expected. 

“How do you manage to keep one client base of yours from being offended by the other?” Offended? Hmm. By what I wonder? That I’m in a Prison one day and in location with affluent people the next? They aren’t going to be at the same event together are they? Well then, why would it matter? 

Unlike “other people” who aren’t my clients, the majority of my clients do not and have not ever compared or judged each other or their differences. Except once in all of these years. That’s right. Once. 

In one (that’s right ONE) instance, I had a TDCJ Client effectively fire me due to my affiliation with the LBGT Community. Because of this and the apparent confusion since I’m a well published and public supporter of LBGT families, I refunded the former client and updated each and every Wendy Wortham site to address ANYONE trolling that I not only perform LBGT ceremonies but ALSO PRISON WEDDINGS. If my occupation or client bases offend anyone, it’s NOT MY LUGGAGE NOT MY TRIP. Get over yourself. 

I hope this blog not only educates but more importantly enlightens everyone who spends 2-5 minutes googling me without spending the time to do more research.

As for this weeks brides and grooms, congrats kids! We made it. It wasn’t easy but it’s now time to celebrate. I look forward to seeing you at Units and sharing your joy. 

To all of my Texas Twins Events & Pawning Planners Clients following TDCJ Weddings, I will see ya all in the coming weeks at backyards, venues, and PS, my team and I are excited to once again be back on the tarmac at Carswell AFB on a C-130 officiating another unique and creative wedding ceremony. If you missed the video of our C-130 Wedding on our last visit to Carswell AFB, click here- Wendy Wortham Carswell AFB On Location With Texas Twins Events.

God Bless America and although my staff and our amazing clients may not be what you either assumed or expected, I can assure you that we are all GOING TO SHINE ON regardless of what you think or assume… 

Why Vow Renewals Are Not Offered At TDCJ Prison Units…

This evening after returning home from a long drive to Huntsville, Texas, I had a message through my FB Page, Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham regarding Vow Renewals. 

The Administrative Directive is specific pertaining to inmate marriages and a requirement on “wedding day” is a marriage license from the County Clerk as well as your state issued ID or passport. 

Because you cannot legally marry the same person twice, Vow Renewals are a popular way of celebrating your life together. 

However, since such ceremonies aren’t authorized by TDCJ, I came up with a new way to celebrate Clients anniversaries by having them print a Vow Renewal for their years together or if I’ve married the couple, providing one myself as a courtesy.

There are a number of sites with free downloads to say “I Do” all over again and, inmates are thrilled to receive these certificates in the mail. 

If you’d like to check out one of my favorite sites for free downloadable certificates, here’s the link– I Do Still Free Download Vow Renewal Certificate.

All you need is a computer and if you like, you can buy luxe paper to print on at Office Depot or other retailers. 

Congrats to all of my TDCJ Brides and Grooms on their upcoming anniversaries and looking forward to Vow Renewals for my previous clients who have finally made it through the storm and freedom. My team and I look forward to meeting ya all again at your celebrations this year.

I’m all over in March from Allred to Hobby to Stiles to Bridgeport to Coffield and numerous Units in Huntsville and Tennessee Colony. Mid month bookings have been moved to accommodate existing bookings that already have been assigned dates.

Due to my schedule, bookings are on a first come first book basis. If you are booking mid month, your wedding will be scheduled the following month. The timeline for Prison Wedding Planning is generally 4-6 weeks. 

The ID often takes up to 3 weeks on its own. The TDCJ ID will also need to be notarized. The Law Library at all Units is where the inmate will get the notary seal. You will also need an Absentee Affidavit which will also be notarized in the Law Library. Using both of these documents, you will purchase a marriage license. 

After the inmate has obtained notary seals of both the ID and the Absentee Affidavit, you will have him or her go back to the Law Library to file an I60 Request For Marriage Form. The I60 Form requires up to 6 signatures and your TDCJ Approved Officiant MUST be listed on it or it will NOT be APPROVED. 

Since the I60 Form requires so many signatures, it is passed from signee to signee. If a signer is on vacation or our sick, the form waits for them to return and sign it before passing it to the next signer. Because of this, there is no set timeline for a marriage ceremony to be Approved. The Warden is the last person to sign off on this document before passing it to the Chaplain who then contacts me to go over my availability before “setting” the date and time.

I require all clients to sign a contract. My reasons for this are that I almost never have met my TDCJ Clients in person until wedding day. Your behavior reflects on me as you are my client. Because of this, my TDCJ contract outlines all of the possible “no no” situations ahead of time. From what to wear to what you can or cannot bring to respectful behavior inside a Texas Prison as well as when to arrive, my contract covers all of the bases. This is key to us enjoying a worry free wedding day with no surprises. 

As my client, you will at no time be alone or without me by your side once we enter a Prison or Jail. Unless of course, you need to use the restroom. In such cases, I will wait for you outside the restroom. 

Most clients are nervous on wedding day because no one expected to be marrying at a Texas Prison. You will be okay. I will make sure of it. There will also be guards to escort us and the possibility of the Warden, Chaplain or both witnessing your ceremony. Focus on your fiancée and don’t be nervous. 

There is no open mouth kissing, groping or inappropriate contact allowed. You can hold hands, hug and kiss (closed mouth) at the end of your ceremony.

Certain Units allow a brief visit following the wedding ceremony of 10-20 minutes but, this varies from Unit to Unit. 

Certain Units offer photos of your Prison Wedding. Again, this varies from Unit to Unit. However, if photos are offered, I bring $6 in quarters and purchase 2 photos that I copy and mail clients as a courtesy. Clients can purchase up to 6 photos (if they are offered).

If you are marrying at a Death Row Unit, the circumstances are completely different than those mentioned above. Traditionally, the location is in the Visitation Area. However, Death Row Units often do not allow the inmate to leave the cell area. No photos are allowed in cell areas. Please be aware of this.

The ring issue continues to “come up.” However, the Administrative Directive specifically forbids the exchange of property to an inmate (Section K). 

As my client, I must insist that you DO NOT attempt to sneak anything into the Unit. Such behavior will suspend your marriage and your ability to visit.

Because I’m committed to giving you a worry free wedding day, I’m once again revisiting the wedding ring issue. But, only a special exception from the Warden can override this rule and in three years, I’ve never seen an exception made regarding a ring exchange. 

However, you can wear your ring in and hand it to me mid ceremony thus allowing the inmate to put it upon YOUR finger. If desired, I can also bless your ring as part of the ceremony. I’m happy to do so and love creative input from clients making their ceremony unique and memorable.

I strongly encourage all of my TDCJ Clients to write poetry, scripture, song lyrics or something you haven’t said before in order to make your ceremony as special as you are. By writing something yourself, you extend our time with your fiancée as certain Units only allow us to have the ceremony and then leave without the benefit of a brief visit. By writing things down and handing them to me prior to entry, I can hand them back to you and extend our visit by 5-10 minutes based on the length of your notes. 

Complimentary Bridal or Groom Photography is offered to all of my TDCJ Clients as a courtesy. I have a rolling photo booth of props, bouquets and more to bring fun to your photo shoot. I make double prints of photos as a courtesy so clients can send their new spouse copies.

Wedding dresses are RARELY allowed at Prison or Jail Weddings unless it’s a minimum security Unit. It’s so rare that a bride is allowed to wear a wedding dress that I’m pointing this out. 

However, if you wish to change clothes for your photo shoot with me, I encourage you to bring your dress with you. 

Visitation Attire is expected at your Prison Wedding. Please do not wear tight or revealing clothing. The last thing you want is to be handed a cafeteria smock. It’s happened and it always breaks my heart. I don’t want my brides crying on wedding day so, I strongly discourage anything that might be deemed “risqué.” The Unit has the final call on Attire. 

While guests are rarely allowed at maximum security Units and especially, Death Row Units, occasionally at minimum security Units such as Estes, the guest exception has been granted but, it’s only ever happened at Estes.

If you’d like to bring friends or relatives, I encourage you to because it makes your drive far more pleasant and because they are welcome to join you in photos after we leave the Unit.

Laying Out. What is it and what does it mean? I ask all TDCJ Clients to have the inmate lay out the day prior to the wedding. My reasons for this are that if the inmate is in class or working on wedding day, it’s difficult for staff to locate them on the premises. It’s not uncommon to wait up to 3 hours for a Unit to find the inmate. If the inmate has laid out, they stay in their cell and are easy to locate and move to the Visitation Area. 

You cannot bring a change of clothes for the inmate. This rule is also specifically addressed in the Administrative Directive under “offender property.” I know you’d like your loved one to wear something other than state issued attire but, we cannot change the rules. 

Please do not drink PRIOR to your Prison Wedding or bring anything onto the property that shouldn’t be there. Leave mace, wasp spray and other similar items at home. Your car may very well be searched and the last thing you need on your wedding day is a problem with something in your vehicle. Even if you own a firearm and are licensed to carry it, you CANNOT under ANY circumstances bring a firearm or cell phone into a Prison Unit. 

By knowing what to expect at your Prison Wedding, I’m hoping it makes your day seamless and as close to perfect as we can get it. Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled wedding time to allow a search entering the Unit. 

If you wear a wire bra, corset or other lingerie with metal, you may be asked to go to the bathroom for a private screening. Please be courteous to staff during this process. The guards are following protocol and it will always be a female or if you are a male, a male guard conducting a private search.

Your hands and feet will also be screened. Because of this, I can help you remove your shoes but once cleared, I cannot assist you putting your shoes back on. There are generally benches or seating available to give you a place to sit and put your shoes back on.

Please be aware that expired ID will not be accepted to enter a TDCJ Facility. If your ID is soon to expire, I strongly encourage you to replace it. Passports are accepted as ID as well as state issued drivers licenses.

I always ask clients if they wish for me to file their marriage license? There are valid reasons for this. First, marriage licenses have a shelf life. Once signed by me, they must be filed within 30 days. If you wish to file your license in person on your own, PLEASE do so quickly. If you’ve lost your license, contact me immediately and visit the clerks office as I will need to sign a duplicate. 

It’s best to allow me to file your license as I file them on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week. If your license is from a clerk more than one hour from my location in Fort Worth, Texas, I mail it Certified/Return Receipt in order to track it and ensure it arrived timely and safely to the clerks office. 

If you have any other questions, comments or concerns not addressed in today’s blog, you can email me directly wendy@texastwinsevents.com I answer emails every 1-2 hours. 

Many clients and prospects are messaging me on Instagram (wendywortham) or FB. My FB page alerts me to new messages while Instagram does not if you aren’t following me or I’m not following you, Instagram “hides” your message. Because of this issue, a delay in my responding to you might occur. Please email me or call me (682-229-6838) if you have messaged me on Instagram and more than a few hours have elapsed. My clients are important to me and a priority. The last thing I want is for someone to assume that I’ve overlooked them or weren’t addressing their needs immediately.

I’m inside Units Monday through Friday or traveling to Prisons or Jails. If I don’t answer your call immediately, I assure you as soon as I get back in my vehicle, I will. 

Weekends are workdays for me too as I own Texas Twins Events, Texas Twins Treasures and The Pawning Planners as well as work at numerous DFW based venues I’m on staff at. If you are contacting me on a weekend or evening, I may be working and occasionally, my twin sister, Cindy will field calls and take messages for me.

Responding to all inquiries is important to myself and my staff. Exceeding our clients expectations will always be a priority to us.