A group wedding is a group of different couples marrying at the same time in the same place.
For me, as an Officiant, traveling back and forth to various states would be unduly cumbersome to my schedule and also financially not feasible to my clients. Because of this and the fact that many states only allow inmate weddings 1 or 2 days a year, performing a large number of weddings on the same day dependent on the number of couples involved also doesn’t always work.
When does a group wedding work and why am I familiar with group weddings? Years ago, I began performing group weddings due to the many people wanting to marry after the Supreme Court ruling. The start of group weddings for me began then.
I was the first openly LBGT friendly events vendor in Texas. While other vendors were hiding in the closet fearing retaliation, I was one of the many front runners championing same sex marriage. Frankly, many of my friends had waited a lifetime to marry and died never having the chance.
I have worked in the entertainment industry for a number of years and subsequently had many friends who were LBGT.
A lifetime of discrimination was endured by many LBGT couples. They had no rights to insurance or even burial decisions of their partners. They had no tax breaks.
Many years before the Supreme Court ruling, my friends Charles and Dewitt who died of cancer without the benefit of insurance from his partner of forty years, Charles was working long after emphysema prevented Dewitt from working.
The loss of Dewitt’s income combined with his medical expenses and the inability of Charles to add Dewitt to his insurance crushed Charles who would never see the day of LBGT weddings becoming legal during his lifetime. I’ve seen the tragedy of couples who were committed to each other but could never be legally committed for years before the ruling. In fact, I published numerous blogs warning LBGT couples to obtain legal documents for their own protection which included a Body Disposition Affidavit. Without it, loved ones and partners were effectively skipped over by the next of kin to make burial decisions. Probate Courts didn’t recognize non legal unions. Survivors were stripped of community property as well.
Charles and Dewitt are only one example of a couple who never had a chance to benefit from the health insurance or tax breaks of other “traditional” couples. Their lifestyles were often frowned on. Charles and Dewitt were twenty years older than me and longtime friends.
For my friend, Charles, I also was occasionally the “beard” at formal social events acting as his “date.” Why could Charles and Dewitt not be seen as a couple? Because back in those days, their partnership would have never been accepted. In fact, cat calling and other types of discrimination or whispers were “normal” to Charles and Dewitt. They felt forced into accepting being treated differently.
As a child, it wasn’t uncommon for someone to refuse to wait on my family. Why? My grandmother was light skinned while my grandfather was dark skinned. In the 60’s, such unions were publicly frowned upon. Many of my family members are “mixed.”
Dewitt’s family never accepted Charles. Charles was never able to help Dewitt who had no health insurance. After Dewitt’s death, Charles faded away. His own health deteriorated. Rarely I was still able to get him out of the house to go dinner with me at my country club but, his heart was broken. Less than a month after Dewitt’s death, his family went to the home of Charles and Dewitt and ransacked their combined possessions. Charles did nothing because he was powerless to stop Dewitt’s family.
Charles was unable to make burial decisions because Dewitt and Charles both were unaware of the necessity of a Body Disposition Affidavit and Power Of Attorney. Because they weren’t married, Charles had no legal rights to make burial decisions or keep community property belonging to Dewitt.
If I sound biased, it’s because I’ve seen far too much in my lifetime. I’ve heard whispers about my friends. These whispers were almost always from self professed Christians frowning on purple unions or alternative lifestyles. A few of these naysayers were my own family members. They didn’t “approve of my friends or clients.” I didn’t approve of their opinions. This rift between certain family members didn’t affect my belief that everyone deserves to find love and have love.
I’ve also had death threats sent to my office over the years from people who had read about me in the Dallas Morning News and had strong opinions about my rainbow clients. I had choices. I chose to be open to anyone when I began Texas Twins Events.
These haters underestimated my passion and determination. I could have been bullied into changing my businesses if I was a weaker person but I’m not. I don’t see differences in my clients. I see people. People from every background. People from every lifestyle. I welcomed diversity.
People who know me are well aware of the fact that my life has never been easy. I left home with my twin sister at 15. We’ve been homeless. We’ve been poor. We’ve struggled and we’ve learned compassion and empathy firsthand. How? Our childhood lacked both.
My mother was a heroin addict and my father didn’t want to be burdened by four children. We didn’t ask to be born. We were somehow “always in the way.”
Bounced from relative to relative. Abused at a young age, my sister and I chose being homeless at 15. We have never regretted our decision.
For the first few years of LBGT marriage being legal, I performed group weddings on the courthouse steps in numerous cities. Why? I couldn’t be everywhere at once.
For the first few years officiating jail weddings, I would literally bounce from one cubicle to the next at county jails.
For the first few years of prison weddings, the hate mail and death threats I had endured after the Supreme Court ruling returned. I wasn’t intimidated. Instead, was infuriated.
Who the heck were these people who believed their opinions or beliefs affected my clients? Stay tuned and buckle up for one TDCJ client who was SO OFFENDED that I perform LBGT marriages that she effectively fired me last year and is the reason that EVERY WENDY WORTHAM website blatantly displays BOTH LBGT and Prison Wedding Services.
If you are on any of my sites and don’t realize this you are either blind or illiterate.
One TDCJ Prison client took up a lot of my valuable time. I had talked to, emailed and texted her for months before she “realized I was LBGT friendly.” I reworked all of my sites through my developer specifically to prevent anyone else wasting my time again. You didn’t know I perform inmate weddings or LBGT inmate weddings or biracial weddings and you have a problem with my other clients? Get lost.
My time is valuable and spent on people worthy of it. I operate four businesses and I’m on staff at several venues. I’m also a consultant for GLG and a volunteer hospice clergy. I work seven days a week and have a very tight schedule.
I regularly turn down large events due to drama and chaos. I don’t work because I have to. I work because I want to. I service several states including Texas as my home base.
I don’t advertise and I’ve never needed to. If I’ve spent months walking you through the very complicated process of marrying an inmate, I’ve dropped whatever else I was doing at the time you called, emailed or texted me. Your questions or concerns were important enough to me to do so.
If another client from a venue I’m on staff at or who is booking through Texas Twins Events or The Pawning Planners “has an issue” with my Prison or jail or LBGT client bases, I FIRE THEM and have for years now.
Had I known that one TDCJ client “had an issue with my other clients,” I would have cut her loose early and spared myself her opinions and the justification of her opinions upon “realizing” that I married same sex couples.
Experience is a great teacher. I’ve learned to direct my time and talent to only those who are worthy of my attention. I’m selective about who I work with. I prefer one on one weddings but I’ve performed many group weddings in numerous states when my schedule and the clients income prevented me from flying here or there for one wedding and one set of clients.
I have flown to another state with my staff many times for one client but the client could and did pay for travel expenses. It’s rare I book large events out of state these days due to the time involved. When I do, the client was a referral. I always try to stack other clients in the same states to defer travel expenses. But, this requires other clients waiting or willing to change their date.
Recently, a number of my prison clients were shocked to hear that I’ve had YEARS of experience with “jerky clerks.” I was on the news over an over again in Texas during a “wild window county clerks refusing to issue licenses to same sex couples.” I orchestrated picket lines and personally walked my intimidated clients into the clerks offices throughout Texas. I was angry that so many couples who had waited so long to marry couldn’t get a license to marry because clerks paid to issue licenses refused to do so “for religious reasons.” What the? I refused to accept this as a wall. If you are paid to perform a function and refuse to perform that function, quit or for goodness sakes do your job and leave your religious reasons BS at home. You work for consumers. Your job is to issue marriage licenses. It’s none of your business if the couple are LBGT or someone is planning to marry an inmate. Zip up your opinion. Review the documents and issue the license buddy.
For years prior to the ruling, my team and I traveled to states where same sex marriage was legal to accommodate our clients. I’m not shy. I don’t have a problem voicing my belief that love is love either. If people have a problem with my clients, their opinion is of no concern to my staff, myself or our clients.
Charles and Dewitt were forced to hide their love story. My clients are my friends. Prison or Jail clients are thrilled to marry too. They don’t care about opinions. They have a love story. A journey. A story to tell.