More Clerks And Chaos. Why Buying Your Marriage License Isn’t Easy…

This morning I began trying to contact clerks for clients who have their paperwork but can’t find a clerk to buy a license from.

Harris County is still closed to the public. Travis County is too. Bexar County is taking appointments. Tarrant County is booked through May 15th. Dallas County is closed.

Bexar County is booking appointments. For a month now finding a clerks office for my clients has required diligent research.

One of my clients told me that McClennan County is open to the public. Galveston is open to the public.

Your paperwork has a shelf life. We only have 30 days once the Absentee Affidavit is notarized at the law library. Often it takes up to ten days to get the paperwork from the Unit. The clock starts ticking the moment the Absentee Affidavit is signed.

May 1st could possibly be the date that clerks offices reopen but we can’t be sure. Harris, Travis, Dallas and Tarrant County continue to have rising numbers of Covid-19.

If your paperwork expires while trying to find a clerk, you will send another Absentee Affidavit to the clerks office. The Certified Offender Form doesn’t carry the same shelf life as the Absentee Affidavit. It’s valid for one year verses the 30 day timeline of the Affidavit.

I’ve had several clients send me photos of Affidavits sent from the Unit that were not notarized. In order to be legal, an Absentee Affidavit requires a notary stamp and signature. If you have received an Affidavit that hasn’t been notarized, we will need to send the Affidavit back to the Unit.

Stay calm. This Covid-19 situation is temporary. It will pass. Keep the inmates in your prayers as this virus spreads through Units. Sadly, this is by far worse than the Swine Flu which also spread through prisons a few years ago.

A journalist contacted me Saturday asking “how Covid-19 has affected my clients?” How hasn’t it affected us all? I have 51 clients in Texas alone waiting to marry an inmate. Fifty one people who are left holding the bag and waiting. Worrying about their loved ones.

I’m hoping that May reopens the visitation to most Units but we have a large portion of TDCJ Units that are currently on medical lockdown. These Units are on 14 day lockdowns from the date an inmate tests positive. As long as this virus is running through Units, we are unable to begin scheduling.

I’ve had a few former clients that have contacted me regarding parole packets and letters of support. I’m happy to send you the links.

A few clients have encountered visitation suspensions. Remember that’s it essential to prepare your appeal in a timely fashion. If you need assistance preparing your appeal, contact me.

Walker County is preparing Marriage Licenses by mail.

Sadly, I’ve had four clients contact me regarding a divorce. These are trying times for relationships. Before you make a permanent decision regarding a temporary situation, step back and understand that this too shall pass.

Emotions are running wild right now for everyone. As I write this blog, I’m answering texts from a former client who was rope a doped into a Catfish Adoption ring. Sending money to someone she hadn’t met? Yes. Deanna is desperate for a baby. Desperate enough to do anything.

I’m also on the phone with my sister in law, Michelle who had to call the police this weekend because they had both their adult kids and their spouses and all of their grandkids and our father living under one roof in Monroe, North Carolina. Michelle has been having problems with her daughters husband. A shiftless jerk who won’t work. My brother is supporting everyone under his roof. Michelle is doing all of the cooking and cleaning. Jerry and Michelle’s daughters husband is and has been disrespectful and combative to Michelle. Friday night, Hope’s husnand threatened to kill Michelle. This is shocking. Michelle has no choice. The ongoing arguments between her son in law and his stupidity have robbed Jerry and Michelle’s home of any peace. My brother works 6 days a week. Michelle is and has been caring for my dad, her grandkids, her adult children and why her daughter doesn’t see what a Deadbeat she’s married to. Michelle’s daughter manipulates her by using her three children. “If you make him leave, I’m leaving with him and I’m taking the kids with us.”

Michelle had to make a decision. You cannot live in your own home in fear. You cannot be afraid your son in law is going to kill you, your daughter or one of your grandchildren. Cindy and I have advised Michelle to hold her ground. You cannot allow someone violent to live in your home.

Michelle is now being manipulated by her daughter. How? Hope is using her three children. Michelle has been forced into either allowing someone violent in her home or worrying about her daughter and grandchildren. Hope’s husband is a violent, lazy and shiftless bum. Why she had three kids with this loser none of us can understand.

Michelle has been cooking and cleaning singlehandedly for 10 people. My brother, Jerry is supporting an entire household singlehandedly. With shingles no less. Jerry’s stress levels are through the roof. Cindy and I continue to send Jerry and Michelle whatever we can to help our baby brother and his wife. But we can’t control from Texas what’s going on in North Carolina. Michelle has been reaching a boiling point for weeks now.

Jerry was unaware of just how bad it is at his home between Michelle and their son and law. Why? Michelle doesn’t tell Jerry.

Will Hope leave an abuser with a violent temper? We don’t know.

Will Deanna ever find a baby to fill the void losing Delilah left in her life? We don’t know.

But we know this, these are trying times for everyone. Jerry and Michelle’s adult children and their spouses are now out of work. Michelle worries about her grandchildren eating. Her daughter should have left the children with Jerry and Michelle but didn’t. Instead she left with her husband who had just threatened to kill her mom.

Will my sister in law be able to see her grandchildren after all this? I don’t know. I hope so. I pray her daughter sees the light and realizes what’s best for herself and her children…

Prisons, People, Phobias & Fears. Why I’m Not Afraid To Be A Prison Wedding Planner & Officiant…

I answer a lot of questions. Questions from people who disagree with inmate marriage. Questions from people wanting to marry an inmate. Questions from media about whether the Coronavirus will affect me in the future.

For the record, when I walk into the Unit with my client or alone to meet my client or clients in the shakedown area, fear isn’t part of my day.

As a prison wedding officiant, my role is and always will be to remain calm and ensure that my clients wedding day is as pleasant and memorable as possible.

I was at Beto Unit on March 10. A month ago, it was business at usual at Beto. I visited with Chaplain Strange. We waited for my clients fiancée to arrive in the visitation area with an escort.

I’m never in general population with inmates at any Unit in any State, Federal or ICE Detention Facility.

The number of people my client and I are with at a wedding can range from 2 correctional officers to 1 and the Unit Chaplain or several correctional officers based on the day or whether the visitation area is being used for training.

It’s not uncommon for the visitation area to be “in use” on wedding day at many Units. When this occurs, my client an I are often redirected to either another room or we wait for the visitation area to clear.

Generally other than my client and their fiancée, one officer and the chaplain, we are alone.

Prison weddings are remarkably intimate. There are very few people present. Often I have more than one client at the same Unit on the same day. Certain Units will allow all of my clients and I to enter together while other Units only allow me to enter with 1 client at a time while the others wait for me to finish my ceremony then return to the shakedown area with my next client.

I’m often asked “how can you do so many Units in the same day?” This works in Texas and other states based on timing and distance from one Unit to the next. It’s not always possible to pull off a multi Unit day but it happens with frequency the past three years for me. Why? I’m the most sought after prison officiant in the United States. Why? Because I make every clients wedding as special as they are. It’s important to me. From creating a massive inventory of bouquets, tiaras, stylish hats and more to crafting an individual and unique ceremony script for each client, weddings are Life Events to me and a one time shot to get everything as close to perfect as I can under extraordinary circumstances.

“Your twin sister and your niece are also prison officiants. Your son and daughter in law officiate are county jails and BOP facilities. Do you see moving your son and daughter in law into state ceremonies?” For now, my son and his wife are on a paternity leave and generally I’m able to cover all of my clients by stacking Units.

“The visitation ban has affected your booking schedule. Will you be overwhelmed when visitation is reinstated with reschedules?” To a certain extent the answer is yes. My March clients were canceled and will be scheduled first. Bookings in Texas State Facilities are often scheduled on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Mondays and Fridays are rare. They can happen but not on a regular basis.

“How do you map out your day on the road?” I usually start in Tennessee Colony on a Tuesday or Thursday as most Units in Palestine (Beto, Powledge, Gurney) schedule on both days as do Michael and Coffield. Generally I’m in the Tennessee Colony/Palestine area very early in the morning. I then move to Huntsville Units. Frequently, I can also move to Polunsky by evening as they schedule after 5:30PM.

“How many miles do you drive a week as a traveling prison officiant?” In Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, I drive and can easily drive up to 3k miles a week. I fly to other states in order to save time.

“Are you concerned about traveling with Covid-19 being widespread at this time?” To a certain extent a bit but I’m a germaphobic and have always sanitized my area on the plane when I fly as does Cindy.

“Will you be nervous when the visitation ban is lifted and you return to visiting 1-4 prisons on the same day again?” I will follow my same protocol of washing and sanitizing my hands prior to walking into a Unit as well and be aware of everything I touch. I go through 2 gates to enter most Units and these are the same gates that staff and visitors use so I’m well aware of the number of hands touching the gates. I will no longer shake hands in greeting my clients fiancees or the staff at Units to limit what I touch and with whom.

“You don’t bring your own pen into Units? How do you sign marriage licenses?” A pen can be used as a weapon and I’ve always borrowed a pen from the chaplain or an officer in the visitation area. Like the gates though, I will be washing and sanitizing my hands after using a pen on site.

“I’ve read that a small number of clients from your other businesses and venues you are on staff at are alarmed regarding your other clients. How do you address someone who realizes that you officiate LBGT unions or prison weddings?” Well, it’s complicated and rare for another client to express concerns regarding my other clients but it has occurred and may occur again in the future. I cut them loose. I move on. I must focus on my congregation. That congregation being the majority rather than the minority of my client’s. I’ve learned over my lifetime that negativity regarding my diverse client bases is viewed as “the choir.” I turn my back on the choir an focus on the congregation. If someone is concerned about my other clients and people that they will never meet or much less share their event date with then that’s “THEIR luggage and THEIR trip” not mine. I cut them loose and wish them luck. I’m not going to change who I am or who I help based on opinions of others.


“Did you see yourself walking into prisons to conduct wedding ceremonies when you decided to start an event business?” No but I was open to anything as was my twin sister. We wanted to make life event’s affordable to anyone anywhere and we have.

Texas Twins Events was the first people over profit based event endeavor for my twin sister and I. Two years in we recognized and realized that a handful of clients couldn’t afford even low cost options. To solve this problem, we merged Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create a barter option, The Pawning Planners. We were never trying to “be like everyone else.” That market was saturated.

What we wanted to do and have accomplished was to be the people we would like to meet…

TDCJ Coronavirus Updates As Units Lockdown…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“JUST because you READ the BOOK, doesn’t MEAN, you UNDERSTOOD the INSTRUCTIONS, experience MATTERS”

In a world full of fluff, there are several “fake it hoping to make it” folks who think padding their resume or “fluffing their experience” thinking this sham won’t be noticed or revealed. They lack not only experience but more importantly ethics. 

People who lie or fabricate to “fluff up” their background are not only insecure but also unethical. EXPERIENCE MATTERS. 

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I had hoped to find an experienced salesperson only to realize that I knew more about the product I was planning to buy than the salesperson did. Unlike the salesperson, I educated myself. 

I’m the type of person who thrives on transparency. I hate smoke and mirrors and phonies. I’ve met many non transparent people throughout my life and can assure you that transparency wasn’t their strong suit.

Like anyone else, I have noticed over the past year that there are a large number of people who have recently been “saying” or “advertising” that they perform prison weddings who either haven’t actually performed a ceremony or have only performed 1 or 2 if any prison weddings.

Last week while corresponding with someone from TIFA, I was told that so and so had performed weddings at Roach Unit. I knew this to be grossly false and advised her of how I knew. The person she was talking about I married myself. The person she was talking about had only performed four weddings in the past year at Allred. The person she was talking about was deliberately lying about marrying anyone at Roach. Don’t pretend to have done something you haven’t. This is a trust based industry. Don’t “fluff up” experience you don’t have! 

For years now, people have contacted me after learning the person they had hired lied to them and wasn’t certified or approved to walk into the Unit. Before you pay someone, verify their credentials. I can’t stress this enough. 

I’m frequently shocked by the number of people claiming to be experienced in this industry claiming to be experts. Lol you fell into performing one Prison wedding and and NOW you’re an EXPERT? Come on. 

Experts have a history. Experts have experience. Experts are seasoned. Experts are educated. Walking into one Unit doesn’t make you an expert. Snap out of it. I’ve walked into hundreds of Units. Hundreds of times. I’m the only Prison Officiant who has not only the clients but also the stamina to perform up to 8 weddings in one day in three cities at 3 Units.

An even larger number of people who don’t know or understand the prison planning process, the rules or how to assist you if there happens to be an unexpected problem during the planning process show their lack of knowledge when a problem pops up by calling me. Don’t bite off what you can’t chew. If you don’t know what you are doing, do everyone a favor and don’t fake the experience or knowledge you don’t have while dropping a dime on me. I’m busy.

“Your MORALS, are LIKE a GOOD set of TIRES, because EVERYTHING you HAVE, is RIDING on THEM.

If you are “trying to get in the Prison Wedding Business” solely for financial gain, here’s a heads up kids, the people you are attempting to market are single income households. Snap out of it. These families have limited income and resources. 

A few people “trying to break into this business” have even had the audacity to contact me (at THEIR convenience) to ask me to train them to do my job. 

A job that they have no idea how to perform AND think ANYONE can do. Why would I create competition that doesn’t exist? Short answer? I don’t and I won’t. I care about my clients and their journey. They aren’t just clients they are my friends.

For all of the folks “saying” they perform Prison Weddings out there here’s a great question for you fakers “WHERE ARE YOUR CLIENTS?” How about “WHERE ARE PHOTOS OF YOU OR YOUR CLIENTS AT A PRISON?” Can you perform the task people are hiring you to perform? I can. 

If you haven’t educated yourself regarding marriage law and Unit Policy or Procedure, you are not prepared to be a Prison Officiant and much less a Prison Wedding Planner. Educate yourself. 

Saying you do Prison Weddings and actually DOING Prison Weddings are two very different things. “DO YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE?” If you don’t, you won’t get far in this industry. No experience, no clients and hoping business will fall into your lap? Good luck buddy. You are going to need it. 

This isn’t a role you figure out along the way. It’s a role you learn and prepare for. Clients have questions and you had better have the answers. State or Federal? The rules are different. I know the rules. 

Don’t know policy or procedure? You had better learn it because making a mistake in THIS INDUSTRY could put you on the other side of the bars. I’m being serious. Educate yourself. Not just anyone can walk into a prison. If you are walking into a prison, you had better know what’s allowed or authorized and what isn’t. 

I don’t make mistakes. I’m educated and well versed on every aspect of inmate marriage within every state I conduct ceremonies at. I also KEEP MY PROMISES. Honor, integrity, intelligence and passion are my calling cards. 

For years now, I’ve been the second and even third Officiant WHO GOT THE JOB DONE. Stop pretending you know how to do something you don’t. Weddings ARE LIFE EVENTS! 

The other people taking money for a service they either wouldn’t or couldn’t perform have earned their reputations. READ THAT AGAIN. I said EARNED their horrible reputations and I meant it. My stellar reputation is built on my honesty, transparency, dedication and diligence. I have never advertised or needed to. Why? Because my reputation is built on keeping my promises and holding my clients hands throughout a very lengthy and confusing process. This isn’t a job for the person who thinks their role is simply to show up. 

The role of a Prison Wedding Planner and Approved Officiant involves far more than bothering to show up. I’m a friend, a mother, an advisor, a counselor and friendly ear to my clients before, during and after their Prison Wedding. I’m different. I’m driven. I’m passionate and I’m an identical twin. Cindy (like me) is determined to make your Dream Event a Reality. Together we are a Twin Team that care about you and your journey.The number of people who suddenly say they specialize in prison weddings is hilarious. Why? Because even a blind squirrel can find an acorn and because I perform up to 30 prison and jail weddings a month in Texas alone. If these people are performing prison weddings (as they claim they are) where are their clients? 

I am the ONLY Prison Wedding Officiant who maps out up to 5 Units in 3-4 cities in ONE DAY. You won’t find anyone doing this because 1. They don’t have the clients and 2. They don’t have the experience, drive or stamina to handle a day in my life. 

Now, I’m going to move on to people who can’t seem to book any prison weddings finding other ways to get inside your pockets. First, anyone selling a parole packet isn’t a parole attorney. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition offers a FREE that’s right FREE parole packet. Here’s the link… How To Write Parole Packets.

Secondly, anyone selling Letters Of Support are mass producing these letters. Do you REALLY think the parole board doesn’t recognize a mass produced letter? Here’s another FREE link regarding Letters Of Support… Parole Letter Support Suggestions.

Moving on to folks selling the Twogether In Texas at inflated prices. WITHOUT the CERTIFICATE I can assure you that you won’t receive the benefits. I don’t sell additional services and strongly suggest taking the course online from a vendor that 200 plus of my clients have used with NO ISSUES! The cost of the course is $29. You can stop and start as often as you like. Only one of you needs to complete the course. You receive $60 off the cost of the license and the 3 day waiting period is waived. Here’s the link… Twogether In Texas Online Course.

Be aware of the fact that you are a single income household. Protect yourself from con artists and con games. I was recently told “so and so sells parole packets.” I’m aware of “so and so” and her BBB complaints. You should be too. Do your research. Ask questions. There are also parole attorneys who have a zero success rate. RESEARCH I cannot stress this enough!

Remember that if someone is telling you something and can’t prove they have experience or worse any success, there is a reason for their failure. The reason is them. 

“YOU can’t LEAD the CHUCK WAGON, if you DONT know how to COOK, experience MATTERS.” 

I’m at several Units this week and available by phone, text or email. I will always answer phone calls and emails within 2 hours. If I miss you after 9PM, your calls and emails will be returned the following day. 

“Every job is a self portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.” – Vince Lombardi 

Why An Unsworn Declaration In Texas Is Insufficient And Cannot Be Used In Place Of An Absentee Affidavit…

Every few months I run into someone telling me “the law library said they won’t notarize an absentee affidavit and that he or she should use an Unsworn Declaration.” Well folks, an Unsworn Declaration will not be accepted by the county clerk to purchase a marriage license. 

Explaining the necessity of a notary to law libraries continues to be tricky but stay calm. Why? If an Unsworn Declaration is insufficient, a notary request will be granted. However, remember that explaining why the Unsworn Declaration is insufficient is necessary in order to get that I60 Request For Notary Approved. 

Most often, the clerk is new or unaware of the necessary documents needed in order to obtain the marriage license. 

Many of our clients in other states wish they could use an absentee affidavit. Why? Because the expense of transporting an inmate to the clerks office is a tremendous financial burden. 

Only Texas allows the use of an Absentee Affidavit to obtain a marriage license. The absentee affidavit “explains the absence of the other party.” Traditionally, both parties are required to be present to purchase a marriage license. The Absentee Affidavit removes this requirement. 

Let’s review what inmates are and aren’t allowed in terms of law library and notary access… 


BP-03.81 (rev. 4)

August 21, 2019

1 of 17

BP-03.81 (rev. 3) December 15, 2017


IV. Notary Public Services (page 8)

A. Documents: Under both federal law (28 U.S.C. § 1746) and state law (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 132.001), offenders incarcerated in Texas may use an unsworn declaration under penalty of perjury in place of a written declaration, verification, certification, oath, or affidavit sworn before a notary public. Documents will continue to require notary public service if they are destined for another state or country requiring notary public service, notarization is requested by an attorney, or they are specifically exempted from the laws on unsworn declarations.

B. Scheduling: Offenders may request notary public service by submitting an I-60 to the unit ATC supervisor. Offenders requesting notary public service shall explain why an unsworn declaration will not be legally sufficient. Requests shall be acted upon, either denied or provided, within three business days of the receipt of the request.

The absentee affidavit specifically states that Unsworn Declarations will not be accepted… 


The Absentee Affidavit is to be completed if an applicant is unable to appear personally before the County Clerk to apply for a marriage license. The other applicant may apply for a marriage license on behalf of the absent applicant.

The affidavit will be denied if both parties desiring to marry are not in full compliance with the information that follows. The absent party must complete every blank and sign the affidavit. 

In addition, the absent party’s signature must be acknowledged and notarized. 

Photocopies or faxed copies will not be accepted. Unsworn declarations are not accepted. Read that again. UNSWORN DECLARATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. 

1. Print or type all information that is requested on the application. No white-out or obvious alterations will be accepted.

2. The names of both parties must be printed or typed EXACTLY as they appear on the identification that will be used to obtain the marriage license.

3. With the exception of the other applicant, a person may only act as a proxy if they are an adult, 18 or older, and the absent applicant is unable to attend the marriage ceremony and is a member of the armed forces of the United States stationed in another country in support of combat or another military operation.

4. There is a 72-hour waiting period immediately following the issuance of the marriage license unless waived by a court order or proof of active military status.

5. The marriage ceremony must be conducted within 90 days from the date the marriage license is issued or it will expire.

6. An acceptable form of valid, government issued picture identification must be presented by the present party with one of the following for the absent applicant:

-Certified copy of birth certificate. -Valid driver’s license.

-Military id.

-Valid passport.

-Naturalization papers


7. The absentee affidavit expires 30 days from date of signing.

Because I’ve been traveling the past few weeks for Destination Events in California, our office was closed during the holidays and I’ve been trying to catch up on emails, DM’s and mail as well as questions regarding law libraries and the Unsworn Declarations. Generally, I answer emails sent between 6AM and 9PM every few hours. If you are emailing or direct messaging me after 9PM, I will answer you between 6 and 7AM the following day. Running from airport to airport and event to event, it should be noted that if you don’t hear back from me within an hour, I’m on location with another client. 

Please be patient as I have clients for not only inmate Officiant services in several states but also clients from Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners and venues that I’m on staff at. 

Returning your calls, emails, texts and DM’s as soon as possible is important to me but, I work seven days a week and travel nearly everyday. If it’s been a few hours and you haven’t heard from me though I’m either on the road, on location with another client or on a plane traveling to another client. You can rest assured that I will get back to you as soon as possible. Many of you have asked about transportation to your event. A&M Transportation offers transportation and I know her well. She is based in Houston though. If you are based in Dallas and seeking transportation, I have several current and former clients that drive for Lyft or Uber. 

Occasionally I use a driver myself but my driver, Kevin has been with me for twenty years now but he isn’t inexpensive. His rates run from $90- $120 an hour with a two hour minimum so I would strongly suggest finding another option aside from my driver such as A&M, Lyft, Uber, or Greyhound. 

My booking fee does not include your transportation to the Unit. Sorry. I’m based in Fort Worth and cannot commit to picking up and dropping off clients because they have no transportation. 

Meaning.. I cannot drive to your location then to the Unit then back to my own location for free. No one can. My fee is based on distance from my location to the Unit. Please be aware of transportation to the Unit being at your own expense.

I’ve been asked about stacking Units. This frequent occurrence generally happens in other states due to travel expenses. By stacking several clients, my travel expenses are equally distributed to make services affordable in other states. It would be incredibly expensive for me to fly to Ohio for one Unit wedding and due to my schedule and existing clients also unworkable.

Occasionally in Texas, I can move from Unit to Unit on the same day based on the distance between Units. If I can’t and I’m already booked at a Unit on the date given, a reschedule is warranted. I can’t be in two places at the same time. I limit bookings in order to keep a flexible schedule. If you haven’t retained services and used my name to obtain a date and are calling me after the fact, I will contact the Unit and reschedule. I do not bump existing clients for anyone not following my booking procedures. Period.

Bridal or Groom Photography is offered as a courtesy to prison or jail clients only. Texas Twins Events and Pawning Planners Clients pay for photography. Why? Because inmate wedding photos are taken by me after or before the ceremony with my rolling photo booths and are mini shoots taking 15-30 minutes. Traditional bookings and photography require 1-3 hours on location and an hourly fee. 

Many Texas Units offer photos at $3 each. I will buy three Unit photos. If you wish to purchase more, bring $3 for each additional photo.

Jail weddings also require an absentee affidavit. Jails do not have law libraries. Mobile notaries are at the clients expense. Obtaining your marriage license is entirely at your own expense. 

If you wish to take the Twogether In Texas Course, the fee is $29 for an online class and I can send you the link. This course waives the 3 day waiting period and discounts the marriage license by $60 but you must present the certificate when buying the license. 

Tire Trouble, Wet Weather & Winter Weddings At Michael & Beto Units…

Leaving my office this morning at 6:15AM, I was giving myself a wide berth on time since I wasn’t on site at Michael Unit until 10AM with two beautiful brides this morning but a winter frost hit Texas last night dropping temperatures forty degrees. With wet roads and unexpected traffic situations, I prefer to err on the side of caution. Fifteen minutes early is fifteen minutes late. I prefer to be 30 minutes early always. 

Sitting on HWY 20 for 47 minutes to drive less than 12 miles to the 287 exit towards Corsicana, I knew leaving early was a smart decision. 

Rolling through Corsicana, my brother in law, Steve called while I was talking to Cindy from a gas station near the Shell station I had just filled up at. 

The “odds” of my brother in law and I being so close to each other are rare. After all, a few days ago, Steve was in Canada then California then New York then North Dakota. Steve is a truck driver. 

Passing Russell Stover with no time to stop for a candy apple, a text from my 1:30PM Beto Unit bride came through. She was confirming my arrival at Beto. I texted back “I’m at Michael with Audra and Sonja at 10AM and will meet you at Beto at 1PM.” 

I had packed two umbrellas for my brides this morning but needed three lol. “A wet day for a wedding is good luck” I told myself as I walked through puddles to the Unit. Sonja was already waiting for me. Audra was in the parking lot but I couldn’t locate her to hand her my umbrella. Michael is a massive Unit. I’m at Tennessee Colony Units at least once a month. 

My brides and I sat and waited on our escort, Miss Smith together. At 10:32AM, Miss Smith met us and advised us “the Unit camera isn’t working so we won’t have photos today. I’m so sorry.” We were sorry too. No wedding pictures. Miss Smith is an excellent photographer who always takes amazing photos. 

Walking to the Unit, I advised both my brides to use the umbrellas. After all, it was their wedding day and I wanted them beautiful and as dry as possible for their ceremonies. I don’t mind walking in the rain. 

Sadly, Sonja’s Fiancee was G4 which meant a no contact wedding. Audra was married first. We chose the area of the visitation area with a Christmas display for our backdrop which would have been beautiful for wedding photos. 

Following Audra’s wedding ceremony, I signed her license and prepared for Sonja’s ceremony. We both walked to the no contact area and picked up phones. 

I tried not to look at the broken and cracked base of the window separating us. Cracked glass at no contact unit weddings always saddens me. Someone drove for hours to visit an inmate who slammed his fists on the glass. I can’t understand this. The person who had sacrificed their time to visit was met by anger. It’s a tragedy. 

The fact that my couples can’t hold hands or hug is always difficult for me. I wish they could touch. I wish everyone had the benefit of a contact wedding but it’s something I can’t control. I looked past the cracked glass at my bride and groom a love story that would one day have a happy ending long after lock up. 

Sonja began to read her heartfelt vows which would be hard to follow as her voice cracked with emotion. She had so many memories and many things to say. Her fiancé did an amazing job writing his vows too. 

Emotion on both sides of the glass from my couple made me wish they could hold hands or seal the deal with a kiss.

Leaving Michael Unit, our three suv caravan drove to the Tennessee Colony Church for bridal photos. 

I unloaded furs, bouquets and my props. The canopy over the door protected my brides from the pouring rain. They might not have wedding photos but they would have bridal photos.  Loading up and saying goodbye to both of my new brides, I head to Palestine to Beto Unit. 

I’m somewhat hungry and get something to go from the BBQ restaurant near Beto, Gurney and Powledge. 

Returning to my suv, I see a text from my 1:30 bride Taylor. A blow out in Ennis. I check the distance to the unit from Ennis and try calling Beto for Chaplain Strange. The line is busy. Taylor has called Triple AAA. 

I decide to skip lunch and drive to Beto to locate Chaplain Strange and advise him of the situation. My phone never works at Beto, Gurney or Powledge. I have AT&T. No service (as usual). 

I walk up to the guard tower but no one comes out. This is odd. I walk to the gate and hold my State issued ID at the camera and the gate clicks open. 

I walk to the shakedown and remove my shoes, belt and watch. It’s 1PM. I ask the shakedown officer to call Chaplain Strange. I have no idea how late Taylor will be but, I plan to visit with Chaplain Strange until Taylor can make it to the unit. I always enjoy our visits and appreciate him waiting on my bride running late due to an unforeseen problem. 

Inside the Unit as I wait on the Chaplain, I notice the festive tree and Christmas lights in the window as I wait near the vending machines. Beyond the twinkling lights razor wire glistens from the falling rain. It’s a melancholy moment. The festivity Of Christmas marked by the razor wire of the prison. 

I watch officers roll in the shakedown with mail and boxes. Inmates will be spending Christmas at Units as others send cards, gifts and photos to their loved ones locked away. 

It’s not uncommon for units to be decorated for the holidays. Most units are. I recall the wedding at Hughes Unit with a backdrop that read “Merry Christmas!” I listen to the trainees excitedly preparing to start their shifts. The shakedown officer asks another officer how his daughter is doing. All prisons are busy places of employees coming or going. 

Chaplain Strange and I visit for 2 hours before he leaves to call Taylor. The officer who takes photos has left. The transport officer has left. He leaves a message regarding a reschedule on Taylor’s cell phone as I wonder if she has AT&T too?

It’s less than a minute later when I spot Taylor at the guard gate. She’s a vision in pink and white carrying the Manila folder from the clerks office. 

The duty guard is trying to locate the Chaplain while Taylor waits at the gate with 15-20 TDCJ trainees go in and out around her. The Chaplain’s left my side while trying to find a transport officer for the inmate. There will be no wedding photos but there will be a wedding. Chaplain Strange saves the day by finding a volunteer to walk the inmate to visitation. A delay results due to finding the right key. Taylor and I continue to wait. She’s relieved her wedding hasn’t been canceled. I am too. 

Leaving the unit, Taylor follows me back to the BBQ joint I was planning to order lunch from at 12:15 when I read her text about the blow out. I unload items for bridal photos. 

She’s beautiful and happy leaving while  “riding on a donut.” She will drive on to Palestine for a new tire. Palestine is closer than Corsicana. I worry about her getting there in backroads. Driving through Waxahachie, Brandi from North Dakota FaceTimed me. I had talked to Brandi last night regarding her court date next week. I had advised her to sell her truck to cover the cost of her tickets and damage to the apartment building she had driven into a few weeks ago.  Brandi always listens to my advice but rarely takes it. 

Brandi was also upset that Raul was seeing Parole “the day after her court date.” I advised Brandi to focus on solving her problems and let Raul go. He’s married to Valerie now. We shall see how focusing on Brandi works as I worry about her and her well being. 

My daughter in law calls outside of Fort Worth regarding her upcoming baby shower. 

Raymon calls about Smith Unit calling Jeremy to the law library for the absentee affidavit. I’m at Smith Unit on January 17th with another client. I’d love to stack Jeremy and Raymon but without a marriage license I can’t.  

My niece Leigh Ann calls about our trip to CA in a few weeks and is excited about the box Cindy and I sent to Maddy. She texts photos of Alex and Maddy. Cindy had found a little red velvet coat and dress for Maddy. We still shop for her and send care packages every week. My husband calls and asks if he should keep dinner warm. I send him a photo of the clouds as I drive down the freeway and call him to say I will be home late and eat cereal. I’ve been on the road 12 hours and have at least 2 more hours before I’m home. My days are long but I wouldn’t trade my life or the joy I share with clients for anything in the  world.

As I roll into Belltower Chapel and call Taylor to check on her before I meet my next clients. She has a new tire and is headed safely home. I’m relieved. I worry about my clients.

Grooms, Good Times & Keeping The Faith. Prison Marriage Isn’t Limited To Women…

I’m always a little surprised by others assumptions. “What do you mean Wendy?” Well, a call this morning from a reporter interested in statistics and unconcerned about my schedule (as usual) wanted to disrupt my morning of calling to confirm dates at Units with what “he needed.” 

Let’s review how contacting me at your convenience affects me. First, unless you are a client, you aren’t my priority. Your luggage is your trip. Get in line. Email or tell me what you need and I will get back to you at MY CONVENIENCE. 

A few months ago something so preposterous occurred that for those of you who might have missed it, I will revisit this shocking and rampant escapade with a “producer” who contacted me via my Instagram page (@wendywortham) via messages. 

Stay tuned for one of the most fabricated and misleading wastes of my time and patience that I have ever encountered with anyone in the entertainment industry and WHY I’m so bitchy about people contacting me to do their job for them….

In March, 2019, Chris contacted me regarding seeking women for a prison based show. This isn’t unusual. In fact, people seeking prison love stories contact me with alarming regularity and always at “their convenience.” 

Since I’m well aware that a production companies job is “to find and secure the talent,” I am wary of anyone contacting me to do their job for them and advised Chris of this. In fact, I flat out told him to “send me a contract.” Chris probably assumed that I was unfamiliar with contracts but I’m not. 

Chris had emailed me an unsigned contract giving me whatever I asked for without terms pertaining to compensation OR HIS SIGNATURE. That’s right ya all. Chris was a player and thought he would play me. Sitting at his desk while having me perform the work of an unpaid talent scout or and this is ironic…a production company assistant in a volunteer capacity. Humph. 

I am a very busy person and intolerant of smoke and mirrors. I don’t like liars or con artists either. 

Over the course of about a week, Chris consistently “skirted” direct questions from me regarding signing that contract. I was juggling 9 clients during that week since it was March AND wedding season with more demanding phone calls, text and emails  from Chris who wanted and expected me to drop what I was doing and accommodate his needs for me to scour my clients and find “attractive women” then provide him with their information. By the way, all of my clients are attractive. 

NOW you are catching on to why I have such “an attitude” about people contacting me to do their job and especially people contacting me who think or believe that sending me a phony contract AKA carrot to chase their stick in order to bamboozle me to do their job for them will never result in what they expected to happen. Go find someone green enough to fall for your song and dance but don’t assume that someone is me. 

After a week of Chris and his crazy demands from Southern California as well as that phony contract, I blew him off and out of my life. What a colossal waste of time that was. 

I posted a blog warning my clients not to waste their time with Chris. Subsequently, Chris also threatened to sue me for defamation which I found hilarious BECAUSE Chris had failed to realize that I could easily document everything due to first the phony and unsigned contract. Second the emails. Third the text messages and fourth the direct messages on Instagram. 

Defamation and libel lawsuits have idiots unaware of what such suits involve running around screaming lawsuit. Here’s a heads up for ya all, truth is an absolute defense in a court of law. Phony contracts are also fraudulent too. If you are going to send me a phony contract, lie to me them scream lawsuit because I published the facts, you will also have me laughing my a$$ off at your ignorance. Chris did. Don’t threaten to sue someone when you have no idea of the legal process involved and especially when you are at fault. A guilty dog barks first. Barks lawsuit that is. I document everything. I’m also not stupid enough to fabricate anything unlike Chris. 

Sue me for stating the facts? Warning my Prison clients within the US that every person “telling them that they are casting a prison based show” might very well be fabricating the facts? 

Don’t be Chris. Truth is an absolute defense in law. Countersuits for malicious prosecution are real and expensive. It’s now been seven months and after a promise to hear from his attorneys, I have yet to receive anything regarding a threat of a lawsuit from either Chris or his attorney although I have carefully prepared and documented exhibits of the evidence in order to prepare for a countersuit in the event Chris follows through with his threat. I don’t bring a knife to a gunfight and my time is at a bill rate. The entire week I spent dealing with Chris COULD have been spent working and earning. My time isn’t free. Also, simply because I live in Texas, it’s best for anyone to realize that I’m not a hillbilly dazzled by promises of fame or fortune. 

Chris assumed that he could intimidate Chris also underestimated me. I’m not young or dumb. Go blow smoke up someone else’s skirt. If you want me to help you, don’t make up a phony contract to “coerce or entice me” either. Don’t call me and expect me too jump unless you are a client and under contract OR you’ve sent me a valid contract and I have agreed to the terms. 

This isn’t my first rodeo kids. Be honest. I’m busy juggling four businesses, a wide and varied client base, working with venues I’m on staff at, volunteering as a hospice clergy and a premarital counselor. I don’t have time for games. No one does. If you want something from me, get in line and when I have time I will answer you. My clients and my family come first. 

What most folks fail to realize about me is that I’m not stupid. In fact, I’m highly intelligent and spent years in courtrooms. I’ve also represented myself in federal court and won. “What? Why?” I was on an excused medical leave of absence due to thyroid cancer and fired while on leave. My  former employer had  also canceled my health insurance. While undergoing medical treatment? Yes. Stay tuned… 

Subsequently, I sued Chair King. Attorneys for Chair King moved the suit to Federal Court and filed a Motion To Dismiss due to the change of venue. I amended my petition to federal standards. I don’t run around screaming “lawsuit” like Chris. 

In fact, if I was forced to sue anyone, I can assure you that there were valid reasons. I also settled with Chair King for $40k a few weeks after successfully amending my petition to federal standards. Hopefully, they don’t fire anyone else on an excused medical leave AND cancel their health insurance. 

Fun (and shocking) fact from the Chair King lawsuit, one of their attorneys (the same attorney who tried to get a dismissal by moving the case) also turned me into the Supreme Court UPL Committee. I’ve encountered stupid people before. The attorney believed that by forcing me to defend myself against that frivolous UPL complaint that I would be far too busy, scared and intimidated regarding that erroneous UPL complaint to find the time or highly articulate skill set to successfully amend my pro se lawsuit against Chair King. 

Yes, dear readers, I’ve met sneaky attorneys too and I know my rights. If someone files a UPL complaint, you are entitled to a copy of said complaint. Demand it. Frankly, I was as shocked as you are BUT due to the requirement of notifying the respondent, I recognized the attorneys name immediately. I also demanded a copy of the UPL complaint from the Supreme Court and immediately recognized the attorneys name who had filed it. For anyone unaware of the gravity pertaining to a UPL complaint, it’s a felony. It is also a felony to accuse someone of a crime that they have not committed. It is also a breach of attorney conduct. I used that Supreme Court copy of the erroneous complaint “10 ways to Sunday.” Hog tying a rattlesnake ain’t easy but I did. 

After successfully defending myself against that unscrupulous UPL complaint filed by Chair Kings Attorney of record, I also filed a copy of the UPL Complaint and the Complaintant right into my Amended federal lawsuit against Chair King. 

Not surprisingly, the judge was just shocked regarding that an unfounded UPL complaint by opposing council as I was. 

Have you ever noticed that the same people who use sneaky and underhanded tactics to get their way are the very same people who think they are smart? There is a helluva difference between someone smart and someone being a smart ass! I recognize the variation quickly. My life is black or white. I have no grey areas.

People like Chris are the type of people I have no interest in wasting my time talking to. In 2012, I sold Defending Debt Lawsuits LLC. I then created Texas Twins Events. I’m neither gullible or ignorant. People might THINK or even ASSUME that I’m stupid and I let them because it always works to my advantage to do so. 

My twin will tell you flat out “Wendy is scary smart” and effectively warn you. Cindy warmed Chris too. Cindy knew that I was documenting everything pertaining to a contract sent to me that no network would agree to. I saw a wolf in the hen house early on. I document everything. People quickly forget their own lies. Chris did. 

By the end of the week last March, he had sent an email “promising $1k to me for each booked client that I referred to him.” At the same time, he was contacting my clients by clicking their Instagram name from my photos on my page while feeding me yet another line of BS. I called his hand and advised him “my clients are loyal. They told me you contacting them behind my back AFTER emailing me that BS $1k email and AFTER sending me your phony contract you probably laughed drawing up F off.” I meant it too.

At 16 years old, I signed my first contract to film 5 commercials with Mel Tillis for Whataburger. I’m well aware of the entertainment industry, familiar with production and know a BS story when I hear one. 

Cindy and I have filmed numerous televisions shows and our own television pilot. We have also been under contract with numerous production companies. I.E. we know the drill and our worth. Our clients don’t. We inform them. We also protect them from people like Chris willing to lie to get what they want from them. 

Don’t believe everything you hear from “someone in the film industry” get a contract. Make sure the person sending it signs it too. 

Now, back to that pesky reporter… the percentage of men marrying women among my clients is 6-10% the percentage of LBGT clients marrying in prisons is 11-18% the remaining percentage of my client base for inmate weddings is self explanatory. 

For reporters or production companies follow my pages, I do not post photos of ALL of my clients. Privately owned Units do not allow wedding photos. TDCJ photos are purchased for $3 each. Bridal or Groom photos are a courtesy for all of our booked clients. Inventory is provided by me at no cost to them. Prints are mailed to clients as a wedding gift. 

I do not ask anyone why their loved one is incarcerated. I do not share client information with anyone unless I’ve discussed a project with my client and they have shown interest. 

Neither I or Cindy are under contract. Finding the right project, production company and network aren’t a priority to myself or my sister. Our focus is and always will be on our clients…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you’d like to purchase a Renewal Certificate as an anniversary gift, email me 

Learning Curves- When Love Isn’t Enough & Other Factors In The Prison Wedding Planning Process…

For several weeks now, I’ve been talking to one of my brides about not only her concerns but my own as well regarding marrying an inmate that she’s only “known since December.” The inmate is somewhat manipulative and controlling which highly concerns me. 

Yesterday’s phone call came while I was going down the list of calls to Chaplains and law libraries for several clients waiting on I60’s to be processed. I took a break to listen to Samantha’s concerns and scheduling at Jordan Unit. The inmate had requested a transfer to another Unit which effectively puts a “hold” on wedding scheduling. This “hold” would help give Samantha time to re evaluate marrying. 

Samantha had called me to advise me that the transfer had been denied. After twenty minutes of discussing whether or not Samantha wanted to move forward, it was decided that we would “stall this wedding” until July or August due to a number of things that the inmate was doing to control her life from behind bars. 

Let’s go over a few of these “issues” to better grasp the red flags flying high in what should be a joyous journey for the bride on the outside but, in Samantha’s situation, isn’t. 

A few weeks ago, on another phone call, Samantha told me that the inmate had her sending $200 a month “for their future.” I found this not only odd but also manipulative and voiced my concerns. I also listened carefully about other problems in the relationship. What were they? First, the inmate didn’t want Samantha to wear makeup or “look too attractive.” Samantha is a waitress and her appearance is important. Also, the inmate didn’t want Samantha to take her children swimming because “you will be wearing a bathing suit and I don’t want other men hitting on you.” The monetary demands along with Samanthas “life on the outside” were greatly being affected by the inmate who was also in a hurry to get married. The “hurry” was for the inmate to have more control. 

Slowing this wedding down was in Samantha’s best interest. In fact, canceling it would be in her best interest but, I can only give my clients advice. It’s not my role to tell them who not to marry. I carefully advise clients without overstepping bounds. I also point out things they may not realize while I’m at it. With Samantha, I’ve been worrying about her future for a month now. 

Meanwhile, my Diboll Unit bride has decided not to marry. She sent me a text last night wanting to gift her new with tags size 12 petite dress to another bride in an effort “to be part of the reason they smile on wedding day.” I found this selfless act while struggling with her own heartbreak just another reason of why my prison clients are such giving and compassionate individuals. 

For those unaware of this, the person “on the outside” is doing time too. They are pulling the wagon alone. They are paying all of the bills, raising children and making every sacrifice to make their relationship work. It’s astounding how determined and resilient they are. For Gabriella, her desire to give a dress she loved and planned to marry in herself is a wholly generous and selfless proposition. 

My clients are both passionate and perseverant. I pray that one day Gabriella finds someone worthy of her. When she does, I will marry her. 

After months of overcoming a CLM issue at TDCJ Telford Unit, I’m really looking forward to finally meeting my bride in August. CLM or CLW issues DRAMATICALLY slow the usual timelines of 4-6 weeks turnaround down. In fact, we can wait months to resolve an unexpected issue. Patience is a virtue in the prison wedding planning process. Knowing how to overcome an unexpected issue is key to moving forward. I find solutions. 

I’m headed back to Torres Unit in Hondo, Texas and looking forward to meeting two special brides who also plan to marry on the same day. My McConnell brides are too. 

Cindy and I are really looking forward to seeing Amanda again at Ellis Unit. We had met her a few months ago for family photos in Eastland, Texas and had a great time on location with my grandnieces and her children playing together. 

Many of my brides are sending me photos of what they plan to wear. This is always a great idea and I’m happy to go over your outfit with you. My Crain and Woodman Grooms don’t need to do this as they will be wearing dress shirts and slacks well within TDCJ guidelines. Please do not bring paper money on wedding day to purchase photos. Bring quarters. Unit photos are $3 each. I will buy three and make copies for you. If you wish to buy more, bring your quarters in a ziplock bag and do not bring more than $21 into the Unit. No cell phones. No paper money. No cameras. You MUST BRING your state issued ID or Passport AND your marriage license. If you have handwritten vows, hand them to me PRIOR to entry.  

I’d like to wish all of my July clients from years gone by a Happy Anniversary. I remember all too well how nervous and excited you were on wedding day. We’ve shared precious moments together on location. Meeting your families and sharing your joy is a gift to not only myself but also my staff. 

I am often asked “what I remember the most on location at events?” I remember my clients smiles, their joy and their immense gratitude at finding the love of their life. Soul mates are difficult to find but, my clients did. I remember being hugged walking up to you and how happy you were that the day had finally come. 

Weddings are and will always be my favorite events. Vow Renewals are equally joyous as are baptisms but seeing our families again for a celebration whether it’s the birth of a child or a Vow Renewal or even a birthday party is a family reunion for my Team and I. Clients are the fabric of our lives. Many people are surprised at how often previous clients rebook but they shouldn’t be. Our clients have established a bond with us. In many cases even a death in their family is a rebooking for a celebrant and planner at their loved ones memorial. 

I will always remember how joyous Burt and Deanna were on their wedding day. It had been raining in the park they chose to marry in. The tulips hadn’t bloomed so Burt planted imitation tulips. Burt paid attention to the details. Burt and his friends from Carswell AFB had also draped fabric from the trees. 

Two years after marrying Burt & Deanna, an email from Deanna trying to locate me through Gig Salad came in. “You married us and you may not remember us. We are a military couple from Carswell AFB. We need your help. We want you to baptize our baby.” Because Gig Salad limits correspondence unless the client books you, I was unable to share my phone number or contact information with Deanna. But, I easily located her phone number after walking into my home office and pulling files for the three years of weddings to locate my client records for Deanna. 

I keep detailed records of client correspondence and bookings. I quickly sent a text to tell her I would call her. She excitedly told me “we are pregnant and I wouldn’t want anyone but you to baptize our baby. Please tell me you will be available to Bless our child. We are overjoyed at this miracle.” 

Thinking to myself ” I WILL MAKE time,” I checked my schedule. Cindy and I were traveling back and forth to California as we were filming This Time Next Year but I went ahead and told Deanna that “if I needed to catch a flight from LAX to DFW on short notice I could fly to DFW and back to LAX in order to accommodate Burt and Deanna’s request.” 

I’m constantly checking distances and scheduling. The flights from DFW to LAX are easy and quick. I always leave a car at DFW and have a rental waiting at LAX. Fluidity and planning ahead are key to addressing our numerous clients. There isn’t a day that goes by I’m not checking distance from one prison unit to the next to see if I can move from Unit A to B and even C on the same day. I map out my timelines over and over again. If a Unit is within 2 hours of a booked Unit, it’s usually doable. But if the secondary Unit is 3 or more hours from the booked Unit, we must look at the next available date instead. 

Booked Prison Unit Dates are non moveable. Once I’ve confirmed a date, it’s literally “set in stone” at a prison. 

A few months later while in my home office preparing a ceremony for a house blessing, Deanna called me again. This phone call was far from the joyous earlier call. This call was drought with sad news. Deanna was crying. Baby Delilah phone had Trisomy and Deanna needed me to be able to get to Harris Hospital on short notice as Delilah was only expected to live a few short hours. I was crushed. 

In fact, I was speechless. I’d never heard of Trisomy. I grabbed a Merck Manual to educate myself. I can’t imagine how Deanna must have felt at her OB/GYN appointment during that check up. I couldn’t imagine how carrying a child with the odds of survival being so slim would affect anyone as joyous at conceiving as Deanna was could accept this devastating blow. I mourned for her. I grieved for the child that had blessed their marriage. I prayed. I also prepared. 

For a number of years, I was a volunteer hospice clergy at area hospitals. Sadly, the stress and reality of many patients facing death was simply too much for me mentally. I stopped volunteering after at Baylor and Harris. How doctors handle death daily it I have no idea.

Deanna had added “we will also need you to perform the memorial. Burt and I wouldn’t want anyone other than the person who married us to handle such an emotional and important role.” My heart sank. I knew how difficult it must have been for Deanna to place that call to me. I also knew that as she carried the baby she so desperately wanted that she was hoping for a miracle. I did too. I prayed Delilah would defy the odds. I would continue to pray for months. 

A few months later, the call came. Cindy and I were scheduled at Iheart radio in Dallas. We went to see Burt and Deanna first to check timelines of Delilahs possible birth. There was time to run to Dallas and return to Fort Worth. Cindy and I dashed through our interviews to run back to Burt and Deanna. Delilah was tiny. The smallest baby I’ve ever seen. Cindy and I were surprised by the number of Carswell military members in the room. 

Beyond Deanna’s bed were at least 15-20 AFB coworkers of Burt and Deanna. They were all crying. A room packed with crying soldiers is something you won’t forget. The sadness in the room literally sucked the air from my lungs. I tried to breathe deeply and focus on staying professional and remembering my role walking into that room and past the mourners. Hats in hand, their silent tears said it all. You could hear a pin drop and sniffles over the machines and medical equipment. 

Holding my composure and emotions inside in order to perform the bedside baptism was incredibly difficult. At that moment, I still harbored hope that Delilah would make it. Cindy looked at me from the back of the room with the military personnel to give me the “don’t cry. Your role is to comfort” pep talk as she too wiped away her tears. Cindy knew I was terrified of losing my composure. We had discussed it over and over again. 

Minutes after the above photo was taken, Burt and Deanna told me “we only have a few hours.” I was again literally crushed. I was also enlightened as to why Delilah wasn’t in an incubator. 

By the time I lifted baby Delilah to perform her baptism, my sorrow was so profound that my tears dropped silently on the child this couple had so desperately wanted. I couldn’t hide my sadness. 

A few days later, I performed baby Delilahs memorial wearing the same vestment that I had married Burt and Deanna in. Deanna had asked that I wear the same thing I had met them wearing two years prior at Sampson Park. Delilah wore a gown handcrafted from Deanna’s wedding dress. 

I remember staying up all night working on my ceremony. The details of how I had met the Villareals. The moment of Burt happily walking up to me. The look on his face as Deanna approached us. The man gently playing guitar behind us. The sun breaking through the grey summer day bringing light and promise. I remember every aspect of any ceremony that I’ve ever performed. 

Life Events are Life Moments. Saying goodbye to Delilah was the hardest ceremony that I’ve ever performed in my life as an Officiant, Planner and Celebrant. 

My role is to comfort families as a celebrant but, it was difficult to mask my own emotions. Loss always is. Death is a dark stranger but the death of a child is and always will be the most difficult role that I have ever played. 

Deanna never recovered from the loss of Delilah. I doubt she ever will. She has lost the ability to try to conceive again. Burt and Deanna are praying that they can adopt. I’m praying for them. They are wonderful people who would joyously love to parent a child together. 

The relationship I share with my clients is remarkably intimate. They trust myself and my Team to understand their journey. For some, the journey is far more difficult. Surprises. Setbacks. No one expects them but, whether you are planning an elaborate event or planning a prison wedding, there can be extraordinary circumstances that you didn’t expect. Rain at an outdoor venue. A transfer of the inmate less than 24 hours before their scheduled wedding. These things are beyond our control but, we will work through them together. 

For others like Samantha or Gabriella, they might need a kind word or even advice. I’m there for them. I listen to their concerns. I guide them. They need someone to listen. For my prison wedding clients, it’s not uncommon for them to tell me “you are the only person I can talk to.” In many cases, I am. 

Making arrangements and smoothing the path is my specialty. It’s very important to me that clients aren’t worried about things I can address on their behalf. Experience matters. I’m in the Life Events business. There are no do overs. My events are as humanly close to perfect as possible. Cindy and I give others the weddings we never had ourselves. We care far more than anyone realizes because we know how important the details are to our clients. 

I cried at Delilahs memorial and I cried at her baptism. I cried for the child my clients so desperately wanted but couldn’t keep. I will never forget the moments I’ve shared with any of my couples. 

Perhaps I’m different because I care so much but my clients are all like my own children. I want what’s best for all of them. I want them happy. I celebrate their successes and I mourn their losses. I pray Burt and Deanna find a baby to adopt and shower with love.

A special anniversary wish for my ladies who shared a friendship ceremony a few years ago goes out to three amazing ladies. 

Two of these ladies I married to each other and one of these three friends is still waiting to find the right partner. They are out there Lorraine and I know that one day you too will find a life partner.Bouncing from exclusive venues to Prisons, backyards, parks and other interesting and varied locations throughout wedding season keeps me from ever being bored. Cindy and I love to load up and hit the road on our way to meet amazing clients. 

Our Huntsville client who contacted us through The Pawning Planners several weeks ago loves her photos and is still trying to find Mr Right. We never did find a way to effectively “flip the two headed fox stole” she had bartered in exchange for her photo shoot. If you are interested in a two headed fox stole missing an eyeball, PLEASE give us a shout. We ship AND deliver. This stole needs a new home. 

If you missed the blog on the Huntsville client and the unique circumstances of her request for services, here’s the link– The Pawning Planners- Turning Trash Into Treasure. More Flips, Flops & Fun Adventures.

We have several Vow Renewals coming up over the next two years from previous prison clients who have contacted us to schedule. A special shout out of congratulations to my Darrington, Estes, Coffield, Michael, Bridgeport, Estelle, Hobby and Stiles Unit clients who have excitedly shared their good news with me. We look forward to seeing ya all again soon. 

One of my clients from Michael Unit wanted to plan her Vow Renewal for ten years away. This IS UNUSUAL. Another client I married a few months ago who asked me to wear camouflage attire to her wedding also has scheduled for ten years away. Good Lord, I hope I’m still alive. 

Ten years out is a lifetime away but, God willing, my Team and I will honored to see you all again.

From prisons to venues and everywhere in between, I’ve decided to cut back from large over the top events. 2019 will be our last year of chaotic and unpredictable events with too many Indians and not enough Chiefs on location. 

My reasons for declining future “large budget events” is based entirely on years of one surprise after another and clients opting not to hire enough security with open bars on site. From arrests to injuries on location, I have far more fun as does my Team with smaller parties of 200 or less guests.I’ve been asked about groom tossing. This tradition is fun but can also be dangerous. How so? The groom in California became entangled in the lights. He could also have fallen. Because of the liability associated with groom tossing, we ask about traditional aspects when planning your wedding or Vow Renewal to ensure that there aren’t accidents or injuries on location. We want your event seamless and worry free. 

I’m going to once again “go over” guests jumping in front of my photographers to get their own photos on location. For years now, my photographers have complained about trying to angle around guests who jump up to take their own photos. PLEASE REFRAIN from doing this. You are killing the shot for a photographer who has been hired to capture the shot. It’s often impossible to crop guests out of photos they’ve literally jumped into. 

A few weeks ago, this “guest with a phone or camera” scenario jumping into the shot ruined several photos. We have one shot at a photo on location. It’s a moment that cannot be duplicated. 

Please do not jump in front of photographers. If you’d like to take your own photo, give our photographers time to get the shot and THEN take your own photo. This isn’t a competition. It’s a Life Event. 

If you are in a photo taking a photo, it’s not only difficult and occasionally impossible to crop you but also time consuming adding more stress to my photographers during the editing process. Give the couple the opportunity to have beautiful photos of THEIR EVENT. The continued issues of people jumping into a shot roll on but, courtesy would mandate that if you see a photographer trying to capture a photo that you step out of the shot or… put your phone down and strike a pose instead. 

I’m at Ferguson, Ellis, Michael, Coffield & Green Bay Units in the coming weeks and as excited as you are that your wedding day has finally come to fruition. Please remember to err on the side of caution regarding your attire at your prison wedding.

For my California prison clients, the dress code is far more stringent. Be aware of this. If you need me to send you the dress code, I’m happy to do so. No one wants to wear a cafeteria smock. 

For my Arkansas prison clients, the wait is nearly over and we look forward to meeting you very soon at your wedding.

The continued questions regarding guests at weddings because you’ve seen guests in Louisiana at Prisons question keeps coming up. Louisiana allows guests. Texas in nearly ALL cases does not. The ONLY Unit in Texas that has allowed guests present is Sanders Estes Venus, Texas. Requests for guests must be submitted to the Warden by the inmate. BUT, I’ve never had ANY Unit other than Estes Approve a guest of guests at a prison wedding. We cannot bring rings to your prison wedding. Section K of the Administrative Directive pertaining to Offender Property in Texas specifically forbids ring exchanges. I’m sorry but, we follow ALL rules at prison weddings. 

If you’d like to bring friends or family with you to your prison wedding, you can but THEY MUST WAIT in the parking lot. They are WELCOME to join you at your photo shoot with us and I encourage you to bring friends or family with you to incorporate your friends and family into your photos. The more the merrier.Cindy and I will pack my SUV with enough bouquets, tiaras, furs, fascinators, signs and props to accommodate up to 6 other people at your photo shoot. 

I created an inventory that “rolls with me” to your prison wedding. From pink multi to teal multi to red multi bouquets and bouteniers or even mink coats and clothing in your size, my inventory is always a hit with our clients. We think of everything so you don’t have to. If you can’t wear your wedding dress to your Unit wedding, bring it with you and change clothes for your bridal photos. 

If you’d like to change clothes a few times to have a wider variety of photo options, bring additional clothing changes with you as well. Your photo location can be at a courthouse, city street, field, farm, abandoned building or anywhere near the Unit. It CANNOT be on Unit property though. We MUST leave the Unit to find a location nearby. Try to wear something without patterns on the fabric to your photo shoot in order for us to capture a “clean shot.” 

Solid colors are perfect for your photo shoot. Large, bold or busy patterns can be distracting. We have a wide array of tiaras and furs as well as scarves and shawls to add to your attire on photo shoot location events. 

It’s not unusual for our clients to bring their mother, grandmother, children and grandchildren to their photo shoot and we encourage making your photo shoot a family affair and opportunity to capture family photos together sharing your wedding day. 

From best friends to grandmothers and even pets, your photo shoot should incorporate what’s important to you. If there is someone special in your life sharing your journey from the outside, invite them along. We won’t be in the Unit for more than an hour in most cases. 

 Jozette brought her amazing grandmother to Torres Unit in Hondo, Texas. I packed an assortment of evening jackets as well as furs, bouquets and tiaras to bring fun. 

These two ladies were amazing good sports at an abandoned hotel near the Unit that I saw driving to Torres. My Coffield Unit bride loved the building near Tennessee Colony I saw driving past on my way to meet her. If you have noticed a unique old building, storefront or interesting building, just let me know. We will follow you there. 

I’ve been asked about our fascinators. Cindy and I stopped selling them a few years ago. Why? Because our clients love them. We incorporated them into our photo booth props instead. Cindy makes the fascinators by hand. I create the floral designs.  

We add to our inventory year round to keep it fresh and fun. From tiaras to furs to even wedding dresses, having everything our clients need is essential to exceeding their expectations. 

Buildings with murals also make great backdrops for location photography. My Bridgeport bride loved the unique wall art I found on my last trip to Bridgeport Unit and we found a wide array of great photo ops using the landscape of Bridgeport. Just keep your eyes open driving to visit and look for “out of the ordinary” locations. 

The best location for photos in Abilene is Jacobs Dream at Abilene Christian University. It’s perfect. If you are marrying at Robertson Unit, be sure to go by the university and check it out. Cindy and I along with the Texas Twins Events Team look forward to meeting you, your friends, your family and your inmate at your prison wedding soon. 

In unique situations, I become the mother I have never had to clients that need a friend. Samantha is reconsidering her decision to marry. It’s an important decision. Choose carefully. Life partners are worth waiting for. You can’t find the right one if you are “saddled up” with the wrong one… 

“UNLESS you have MADE the JOURNEY, never ATTEMPT to OFFER others, DIRECTIONS for their TRIP”

While going over event details with a client from my home office last night, my husband overheard me suggest hiring an outside bartender and security for an upcoming prom themed birthday party for 110-120 guests in November. My husband was getting a martini at the bar in my office. Occasionally when dealing with other vendors, I need a drink myself which is why I chose one of our three dens with an adjoining bar as my home office. True story. 

Many vendors will chase a dollar to make a dime. They lose businesses everyday over their inability to retain and keep clients. But, I don’t have the time to buy a venue and am therefore cautious with clients needing one. I ask the questions because I need the answers. My role as a planner is to make Events as affordable as possible. Budgeting is key. There are no friends in the events industry that can gain my client based on our relationship of friendship. Here’s how they can though- by offering the best value for my client. Sounds simple but, believe me it isn’t. Brand loyalty is built. 

Years ago, my husband bought not one but two Cadillac’s from me before getting the courage to ask me out to dinner. I also had advised him of ways to cut the costs of buying a luxury vehicle. I’m honest. My clients wouldn’t buy from anyone else at Cadillac, GMC or Hummer. Why? I earned their trust and whenever possible I also found and made the best car deal for them. 

My husband and I met while I was going through a divorce. It was a war. My ex had taken the car I believed he had bought in my name back and effectively left me without a vehicle. I had a son to get to school. I had to get to work. I also had to pay my lecherous attorneys. The solution? Visiting the dealership that serviced my vehicle. You know the one that I thought I owned and didn’t. I pitched myself as a salesperson. I also obtained a position within an industry that I had never worked in before. I had sold furs, jewelry, filmed commercials with Mel Tillis and worked as a high end print and commercial model for over twenty years at the time I married. 

But, I needed a car. Luxury car dealerships provided demos. I needed one. I also needed insurance and an income. Cadillac gave me all three. Building a client base required thinking outside the box. The old dogs on the sales floor had established clients. I needed my own. To overcome this obstacle, I hired my former photographer and ran my own print ads. Not just anywhere though. I ran these ads in area country clubs. Targeting consumers who could afford luxury cars. 

The same people at country clubs just like my rich and soon to be ex husband who played golf at, had drinks in the Men’s Only club at and dined at while I was effectively chasing a dime to make a dollar. 

The first ad at Ridglea Country Club shocked him. “Working as a car salesmen? What are my friends going to think? Come home and stop this. We can work it out. I will give you your Deville back. I don’t like everyone at the club seeing my wife in an evening dress pitching cars!” Hmm, I didn’t care. After all, my ex took the car he claimed to have bought me in my name back leaving me afoot with a son. He did this to force me into crawling back. Instead, I crawled away. 

That first ad sold 11 Cadillac’s, 2 Hummers and 3 GMC SUVs. I was smiling all the way to the bank. My ads brought clients in. My honesty sold them. My reputation earned me award after award. I was sought after. When people walked into the dealership holding a flyer from Ridglea, Colonial, Shady Oaks or Rivercrest Country Club they weren’t looking for my competitors on the sales floor, they were looking for me. If they didn’t have an appointment, they waited on me to be available too. 

I had also done something in the car industry no one had ever done before and I could support myself in style because of it. I didn’t need my Deville back. I needed an income, a vehicle, insurance and independence. Cadillac and my ability to think outside the box gave me all of the things I needed. My history surprises people. I’ve never been lucky. I’ve always been resilient. Did I expect to find a husband at Cadillac? No. I wasn’t looking. It was the first time in my entire life that I wasn’t worried about my future. I didn’t date. I wore my wedding ring to work and even had a photo of my ex in my office. I was all business all the time. 

My current husband had bought an SRX from me a year before walking into the dealership to tell me he hated it. I had another client in my office and asked him to wait in the lobby. I was concerned about him being upside down in the SRX and trying to find a way to save him money while closing a sale on an XLR. My solution? A demo. They are thousands less than new cars and carry a warranty. 

I brought him in and explained why I thought it was in his best interest to flip out of the SRX and into the Cadillac Escalade demo that I had been driving. “I’m not concerned about the cost. The SRX reminds me of my ex wife. Your husband must adore you and be so proud of you. I saw your billboard on the highway. You’re smart, successful, honest and upfront. He is a lucky man.” 

Snap. My faux personal life of being happily married was crushed and exposed. I started crying in my office on the salesfloor in front of all the salesmen. Damnit. My acting skills and my life were off fleek. Caught with my guard down. I had successfully created a faux personal life away from work that was so believable that I nearly believed it myself after years of faking it through my divorce. I’m a helluva actress but, Matthew broke my charade. 

I looked up and explained. “I’m not married. I’m divorced. I pretend to be married because I’m here to sell cars not find a date. It’s easier to pretend to be married.” This was how I met my husband. Shocking but true. I retired from Cadillac a year later. I didn’t need Cadillac anymore and started my own business instead. 

My new husband wanted me off the sales floor 50-60 hours a week and enjoying life with him, my son, my twin sister and new twin grandnieces. 

A few folks in the DFW area may remember my twin ad for Escalade “Got a big family? Get an Escalade.” Yes, even my family members were in my print ads. THAT ad sold the heck out of Escalades for me. Two sets of twins is a big family. My son and his equipment for sports was also used in another ad showing how much room for friends, kids and equipment the SRX had while being a crossover vehicle. 

My entire family became “models” during my years at Cadillac but, the twin ads and ads featuring me were my best car selling advertising. 

No one had ever been as creative at marketing as I was. But, poverty can define you or empower you. It empowered me. I was a survivor. I walked away from two marriages in twenty years with no money. I walked away with no vehicle both times. I would never do it again. All of my vehicles are paid for in cash and in my name. Although I can trust my current husband, I’ve learned to be independent and will never be dependent on anyone again as long as I live. My husband knows where I’ve been and understands that I refuse to be controlled. In fact, my agreement to marry years ago included a few rules. What were they? 1. I would own my own vehicle outright. 2. I would keep my own checking account and credit cards. 3. I would leave if infidelity ever occurred. 4. I would leave if violence ever entered our marriage. I wasn’t going back to where I had been and was very clear about the terms of committing myself to another husband. 

I don’t think like other people because I’ve also been a buyer. What would sell me? What would create brand loyalty? I’ve been a brand spokesperson for twenty years. I’ve pitched furs, jewelry, couture clothing and even Whatsburger. Building value in the product is essential to building a brand though and it’s difficult to create a great salesperson. Exceptional salespeople are born to sell. Although I’ve been in sales my entire life, I’ve never oversold a client. I’ve always tried to save money or offer discounts whenever possible because I’ve been on the other side as a buyer myself. What makes your product valuable? What makes buyers inclined to buy from you? Honor, integrity and treating my clients like family is why and how I outsold my coworkers in ANY industry I have ever worked in. They treated clients like numbers. I treated clients like family. I’m different. I care. If you’ve ever bought from me, you realize this. Previous clients buy and book with me over and over again. They also refer their friends and family to me. I’ve never advertised after leaving Cadillac and starting my own business. I’ve never had to. 

Kelley (a venue owner) had sent me a DM regarding renting her venue. The catch? Kelley REQUIRED using her own bartender and security. This would significantly “up the cost” to my client. Why? Because I have friends that work as bar tenders as well as retired military and police officers that work as security. Negotiating the additional cost to use Kelley’s security and bartender might or might not be a deal breaker but, due to the distance from the city to her venue, she would certainly need to be open to negotiating her “in season” fee. 

A lot of people fail to realize that there is an “off season” in the Events business but there is. Half of the year leaves venues like an abandoned motel, deserted and lonely. An experienced planner uses this knowledge to her clients benefit and, I often do. August is often too hot for anyone to book a venue with an outdoor area. October and November can be “iffy” too vecause Texas weather is unpredictable. 

Kelley was attempting to pad the bill by adding requirements to rent the venue. I knew it and she knew it too. Chasing a dime to make a dollar. This up charging was why I continued to get other bids from other venues. Kelley’s venue is remote. At least thirty minutes from Fort Worth and an hour from Dallas. 

If you have a venue in the country, lower your prices. Convenience is worth the upcharge to my clients and their guests. Seriously. I know a Burleson venue owner as well as an Azle venue owner that constantly call me to send them business. If your venue business is in the boonies though, attempting to charge the same rental rates as city venues is why you aren’t booking events. 

The client I’m planning the October/November event for has a son in the military. He’s coming home from Germany in late October to early November. She wants to celebrate his birthday and since he missed the prom years ago, incorporate the theme. She also wants a bar with beer and wine. She knows a friend with a barbecue restaurant that can handle catering. We need a building. Decorations. Bartender and security. Photography. DJ. We also have a budget and I always stay within my clients budgets. I will locate a building for her and it will be a building that is within her budget. 

Today after Estes Unit, I’m going to 3 venues. I’m also using this “venue hopping” to price out an anniversary party for August 31st for 70 guests with no bar and a budget remarkably close to the prom themed event. Meaning, the Vow Renewal with far fewer guests and no alcohol will be far easier to come in under budget on. An open bar can easily add $2k and up to the overall budget. Catering can run $12-25 per person and the Vow Renewal client is by far well within the budget he’s given. It’s going to be a stretch with the Prom Themed Birthday Party with an Open Bar and up to 120 guests. A tight stretch. A make every penny count stretch. If the client can secure catering outside of the budget she’s given me, it will be far easier to pull this off but, if she can’t, Wendy and Cindy will be shopping venues first and shopping everything else second since the largest expense is the venue rental. 

Both clients need a venue first. The venue being the most expensive investment. One of these days when I have time, Cindy and I will buy our own venue to alleviate the need to find one for clients but it won’t be this year. We are overwhelmed. 

A few years ago, Kelley called me to send her clients. I thought this was funny. Why? Because Kelley has never referred our services that’s why. It’s always ironic to me that folks who never throw you a bone want you to throw them a steak. 

Luckily though, I don’t need referrals from venue owners. I’m on staff at Belltower Chapel and have been for years. I limit my affiliation with other venues. Why? Because Belltower supports ACH and foster children. I donate 70% of my fee to ACH. 

Other venues outside of Belltower are all about the money. That’s okay. It’s business. 

But- my clients ARE MY BUSINESS and therefore, building value for their buck is why I don’t pitch them a venue just because I know the owner. Instead, I shop them. 

My clients warrant value. I don’t have any “friends” owning a venue who can supersede my clients. I don’t want any friends expecting me to pad their pockets at my clients expense either. 

Last year, another venue owner called me. “We are going to go out of business. We doubled our prices and can’t get any bookings.” I sat my coffee down to rerun what I just heard. 

If common sense was spare change, a few folks couldn’t afford a coffee. “Perhaps you should lower your prices. If a product doesn’t sell, you discount it.” The venue owner wasn’t interested in solving her own problems. “Amazingly, you have never advertised and have grown year after year. Send me your clients. We will even take on LBGT couples. We need what you have.” What the? “Take on LBGT clients?” I was offended. 

My affiliation within the LBGT community was EARNED. Also, I don’t pass around my clients like peanuts at a bar. Humph. How to be politically correct in an obviously incorrect conversation? I went to my office bar and poured myself a chocolate martini. 

This was going to be a LENGTHY CONVERSATION. “Our clients are loyal to us because we are loyal to them. Inflating your costs is why you are losing clients. This should be common sense. You cannot squeeze everything WITHIN THEIR BUDGETS OUT of them. Venue rentals are a buyers market. As a seller, you need to be affordable and when building your brand, you need to be open to other events and clients outside of solely weddings. Weddings have a season. Off season though, you can promote corporate events, family reunions, birthday parties, Christmas parties and other bookings to sustain you through the off season.” 

Of course, this “intelligent and knowledgeable advice” fell on deaf ears. As a businessperson, if you are a business owner, wake up. I can’t wake you up. I can however shop your venue in my clients best interests and budget. “Don’t ask me for an apple and expect me to bake you a pie.” 

Other vendors ARE NOT MY CLIENTS OR MY PROBLEM. MY CLIENTS ARE MY PRIORITY. If you haven’t figured this out yet, I can’t help you. Loyalty is always directed at my clients not people AKA vendors who are crazily expecting me to BUILD THEIR BUSINESS. 

This morning while organizing my floral arrangements for Michael and Coffield Units Tuesday, I took a call for Salano State Prison in California. 

Our existing bookings in California are stacked meaning finding time to travel to a Unit 6 hours from LA, San Diego, Santa Barbara or even Lompoc (all cities Cindy and I will be at during our trip to meet clients, film commitments and family) is tricky. I ran the distance several times from several cities. 

This Unit is at least five hours from any city that Cindy and I will be at in August. Normally, this could be factored in to an off day during our travels but we have two destination event bookings as well as a family reunion and meeting our sister at Magic Mountain on one day as well as filming a sizzle reel on another in LA. I.E. this is another jam packed trip for the Texas Twins. If I can get to the Unit and find time though, I will. 

Leigh Ann is taking over California Prison Weddings however, she will be based in San Diego August and September while her husband, Alex is in training at the Naval Base before moving to base housing at Point Mugu. 

California like Texas is a big state. Because of this, my stepsister, Tammy is also going to be handling Prison Weddings. 

Due to Cindy and my schedule while in California on this trip, trying to judge distance from cities on our itinerary to the location of the prison may or may not work out for me to personally officiate your Prison Wedding. However, if I can’t, Leigh Ann or Tammy can. I’m moving my bookings to predominantly Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri as the majority of my bookings are in Texas. 

Because of the burgeoning schedules of Cindy and I, my son and his wife are also coming on board to address Oklahoma and Arkansas bookings as well as county jail requests in Texas. 

I’m going to go over stacking because it’s essential if you are stacked at a Unit that you are on time. Tuesday, I have two clients at Michael and two at Coffield. These two Units are within 7-9 minutes of one another. Because of this, I frequently move from Michael to Coffield or Coffield to Michael. 

However, if you are running late on wedding day, other clients at the same Unit or the Unit I’m moving to are going to be inconvenienced due to your tardiness. Please be considerate of other clients and arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled wedding time.

UPDATE ON MICHAEL UNIT CLOTHING- Dresses are now allowed but you cannot wear solid white. Why? Inmates wear white. Please incorporate color or patterns to white. Please keep hemlines not shorter than 2 inches above the knee. Please wear a cami of your dress reveals any cleavage. Please wear a slip if your clothing is sheer.

I’m off to shop venues, meet clients and looking forward to meeting all of our new clients soon at your Prison Weddings and especially excited to see our former clients at your Vow Renewal Ceremonies with Cindy and our Team in the coming months.

As always, we appreciate your trust and your loyalty. We are thankful for the opportunity to meet amazing people from all walks of life and to have the ability to finally spend time together that my career in sales as well as Cindy’s career took from us both for over twenty years. Texas Twins Events gave us the opportunity to give the gift of Dream Events one family at a time while subsequently giving us time to spend with each other. 

For all of the clients that the twins or Maddy jumping into your photos laughed with us, God Bless You. Our grandkids always thought a camera was meant for them. Maddy still does. 

When I look back over the hundreds of families and good times we’ve shared with ya all over the years on location for your bridal photos with my grandnieces hugging your leg or holding your bouquet, I’m reminded what amazing people you are. The love and kindness you’ve brought to Cindy and I as well as our children and grandchildren is a gift. Creating Texas Twins Events was a partnership. Cindy and I knew affordable options didn’t exist. Cindy was also taking on the responsibility of raising her twin grand daughters. Cindy had given up her income as a salesperson to raise her grandchildren. My twin sister is selfless. She is hilarious and she’s never met a stranger. She is also my best friend. Texas Twins Events gave us the opportunity to load up our kids and grandkids and go off to meet wonderful people who wanted a Dream Event. Amazing people who welcomed not only my Team but our entire family. People who became far more than clients. People who became the fabric of our lives. We love ya all…