Driving to meet Joel yesterday, I felt as if I had known him for years. His journey was one of resilience and faith. Joel works with veterans struggling with PTSD. A few years ago, Joel was one of those vets himself. He now also works as a DJ on Road To Hope Radio discussing topics pertaining to veterans as well as being an outreach coordinator at the PTSD Corporation of America.
Joel is dedicated to making a difference and changing the lives of veterans struggling with PTSD.
I could relate to Joel’s passion as my brother, Jerry was in several wars during his twenty years in the Navy and my brother in law, Steve Daniel spent eight years at Camp Anaconda as well as being one of the fuel tank drivers under attack during the Good Friday roadside bombing in Iraq.
At the time, Steve had only been at Camp Anaconda a few short months. Delivering jet fuel in Iraq was far more dangerous than trucking groceries across America but, work for truck drivers was so slow in 2003 that Steve felt he had no choice but to take on work in Iraq with his hazardous materials truck driving credentials. I spoke with Joel about my brother, my brother in law and my niece, Leigh Ann’s husband, Alex who is currently preparing to station in Oxnard, California after a few months training in San Diego this July.
Joel had a smile and excitement that was contagious. While driving to the Unit, rain and lightning were the furthest thought I had on Tuesday that started out beautifully in Fort Worth but within 30 minutes of San Saba the weather changed quickly and dramatically for the Texas Twins who were as usual traveling together to a Texas Prison.
Our road trips are fun, full of adventure and always interesting. There’s nothing we enjoy more than “hitting the road.” From junk shops to out of the way cafes, Cindy and I love having the time together that 30 years in sales took from us while working for different companies.
Joel had sent me a text that read “hope you brought an umbrella.” We were seeing light drizzle and lightening miles away but completely unprepared for the sudden downpour that made it difficult to see clearly.
I had Cindy answer Joel for me “I not only brought an umbrella for me but one for you too buddy see you soon.” I plan ahead. I’m “everyone’s mother.” If my SUV doesn’t come well stocked with whatever I need hours from home, it’s difficult to find the one thing I forgot. Because of this, I make detailed lists. I don’t forget anything because I’m OCD.
Rolling into the visitor lot at San Saba, it was a hike in the downpour to get to the Unit but, Joel and I laughed and jumped puddles together to get there a little soaked but ready to “get the wedding going” he had waited for. Planning a prison wedding can be a time consuming process.
Joel’s rainy day wedding was literally a “Rainbow In The Dark” on a cold and dreary day.
Joel loved the boutenier I had created with bling and pink accents to coordinate with his shirt and jacket.
I had a wide variety of other props but due to the rain only chose a few to keep him from getting drenched outside my SUV parked next to his. I commissioned a wooden “Mr” sign as a surprise gift to send him with his wedding photos. I love surprising and delighting my clients with unexpected gifts. Joel’s fiancée was beaming as she entered the conference room and a bit nervous as three guards watched the ceremony. She was beautiful and excited. I love my clients and making their day special.
By the time we finally meet whether it’s at a venue for my traditional clients or a Prison, I know a lot about them and they know a lot about me.
More often than not, my clients and I have spent weeks and occasionally even months on the phone or texting when not emailing updates to each other up to wedding day. Leaving the Unit, my happy new clients both gave me a hug. The relief at finally being married after the long and arduous prison planning process is always evident with my clients. They are finally married and finally through the process.
Joel is looking forward to planning their vow renewal upon the release of his beautiful bride with my team as am I.
Vow Renewals are a literal celebration of freedom, resilience and strength for my TDCJ clients as well as my other inmate marriage clients. Whenever possible, I meet my former clients on release day at the Walls Unit. It’s truly a celebration. Driving back to Fort Worth, I check in with my Ferguson bride about timelines to meet her today. I had three clients at three Units in the same day. My first was at Ferguson some three hours from my location but, my client meeting held me up this morning getting me off to a later start than I had planned.
I was planning to arrive an hour early at Ferguson to handle bridal photos before heading to the Unit at 1PM but didn’t arrive until 12:30 at Ferguson for my 1PM wedding. No matter, we headed in together to clear and get ready to meet the Groom.
My bride looked stunning in white slacks and heels. I wore heels years ago as a clothing, print and commercial model but these days prefer flats.
While waiting, my bride told me she was nervous as the guard told us both “we aren’t professional photographers.” I laughed as did my client since I’m well aware that guards are doing the best they can regarding inmate photos.
The Groom couldn’t stop smiling. He was thrilled and excited. I love what I do. The happiest moments at a Prison are releases and prison weddings.
Posing for photos was so much fun with my newly married couple! The love and the journey to finally get married are often emotional for my clients. The Groom touching his heart and reading his vows was a sweet and precious moment for the bride and I although at Ferguson Unit our “backdrop” were open cages and scattered chairs. Moving away from the cages used for non contact visits in order to “cut them” from the wedding photos, my clients nervously held hands.
Contact is within strict guidelines. Holding hands, two closed mouth kisses, one hug. Inappropriate contact is strictly prohibited.
I love handwritten vows and creative input from clients making their wedding as special as they are.
Finding good lighting inside a Unit for photos is difficult but, I think our guard did an amazing job quite frankly.
My rolling photo booth changes frequently and I’m constantly adding or replacing inventory. The sequin veil was an instant hit as were the tiaras and fascinators. From lanterns to signs to bouquets, flower balls, banners and more, my SUV is often a treasure trove of fun items that make photo shoots as creative as my clients imaginations are. I love an opportunity to share the joy of clients on wedding day. Jumping back into my SUV to head over to Huntsville, Texas to meet my next client, I ran over a retread that had come off a semi and luckily didn’t blow out my own tire doing so. My suvs are road warriors.
I’ve had a few escapades on back roads to Texas Prisons and once even hitched a ride after hitting a deer with a truck driver in Tennessee Colony. Nothing and I mean nothing keeps me from showing up for my clients! Whether it’s with a buzzard sticking out of my broken windshield or the horrific smell of an errant skunk I was unable to keep from running over, my clients know they can count on me.
Backroads are full of semi trucks throwing rocks, work boots, tires and more. Staying alert while fielding calls from my Texas Twins Events Clients as well as my TDCJ Clients usually takes a copilot but today, Cindy was working Parker County Jail.
My son and his wife were covering Louisiana prison weddings and my niece was still editing photos from last weekend. Two weddings on Mother’s Day with family photos thrown in had her swamped and everyone else was at another booking. I don’t mind driving alone I simply don’t answer emails or texts until I’m in a parking lot and off the road.
Leigh Ann’s family photos were as usual hilarious with our family. My husband was busy dealing with one of his developments and Cindy’s husband was on the road in New York so, as usual the lone male in our family of females on Sunday was my son. He’s a bit of a ham.
My youngest grandniece, Madyson adores my son though and my son has decided not to have children since he “has four dogs and will have twins like everyone else.”
The truth is that twins run on both sides of our family and my son isn’t too far off. However, his wife does want children and one day this “baby discussion” is going to come up again for my son and his wife. My niece, Stephaney is doing well and back on track again. We’ve paved a tough road with my grandnieces mother but, once again, we’ve got her back on track.
With two sets of twins, young Madyson, Leigh Ann and her younger sister, Stephaney, my son was more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it but, we managed to get a few photos just the same.
I’m off to Green Bay Unit and Palo Pinto County Jail tomorrow and as usual, back at venues all weekend with Hughes Unit, Hutchins Unit, Robertson Unit, Torres Unit, Allred Unit, Beto Unit and Stiles Unit over the next few weeks.
My niece, Leigh Ann will handle both Texas overflow inmate clients as well as photography, notary services and predominately California inmate weddings after July 27th.
Cindy and I will continue to handle mainly Texas based inmate weddings as well as traditional bookings and county jail requests based on our schedules. We will still take on prison weddings and destination weddings in other states but, book early as our schedules are often burdened.
Traditional events can run up to 2 years out for my calendar and short notice bookings or requests will be bumped to my son and his wife who work as a team and handle booking in several states as well as traditional requests for an Officiant/photography team.
My twin grandnieces, Maryssa and Makenna are available as princess characters at birthday parties as well as flower girls and are both studying videography and photography.
The twins work together as a team on location as do Cindy and I. Maryssa and Makenna both enjoy working with younger children on location and have been on site with my Team since they were two years old. I’ve had several model inquiries regarding Maryssa and Makenna so it should be noted that they are both currently already under contract with an agency and not interested in signing with a new company at this time. Please check back in 2020 for model or promotional inquiries for Makenna and Maryssa.
Young Madyson is also a model for several brands and managed by her mother, Leigh Ann. For inquiries, please use the contact us link at Texas Twins Events regarding commercial or print booking information.There will as usual be more road trips, rest areas, memorable clients and great times in store for the Texas Twins. We are now handling prison weddings in several states but, our main states will continue to be California, Texas, & Louisiana although destination inmate services are still available upon special request.
I will be offline Thursday for Iheart radio interviews with Cindy then radio interviews with Silver Linings Inspired Radio before running to Palo Printon and Parker County bookings as well as in and out of venues Friday through Sunday night.
If you need to speak with me or anyone on my team about your inmate wedding, traditional event or media inquiry, please leave a detailed message or email me email@example.com we look forward to meeting ya all soon…