Valentines Day At Estes Unit Venus, Texas…

Valentines Day is one of my busiest days of the year. From Vow Renewals of previous clients to new bookings, juggling new requests required putting my entire team to work. 

Meeting my niece, Leigh Ann and her daughter, Madyson at Blue Bonnet Bakery to pick up the cake for our 3PM wedding, Cindy and I were “buckling up” for a bumpy day as the Texas Twins “hit the road.” 

As usual, Maddy jumped into my SUV to play with the balloons I had bought for my brides photo shoots today. Leigh Ann and Maddy had a full day of events that ended with picking up my twin grandnieces, Maryssa and Makenna from school and a “dinner date” following while Cindy and I were road tripping. 

Of course, Maddy enjoyed her favorite cookies from Blue Bonnet for a treat after her speech therapy early this morning. Maddy’s hearing issues went unnoticed until a year ago. 

After surgery for tubes in her ears, Maddy has picked up speaking but at a slower rate than other toddlers. Because of this, speech therapy is helping to bring her up to speed. It’s great that Leigh Ann and Maddy both enjoy the sessions because Maddy can be a handful now and then.

I had purchased a grouping of Valentines balloons not realizing that one of them was a Minions “I’m with stupid” balloon. Although the s and t had been crossed out, I’m glad that I noticed this and cut the possibly offensive balloon from the bunch. 

Saying goodbye to Leigh Ann and Madyson, Cindy and I checked in with my son and his wife on their schedules officiating at county jails and two venues today. Everyone was running on schedule so Cindy and I hit the highway to head forty minutes away to Venus. 

I frequently check in with my son or niece when the team is split in numerous directions. If I’m unavailable, they call Cindy for advice or insight. Cindy and I have been handling events together for nine years now so it’s hard to surprise us with something unexpected but, it happens. 

Arriving in Venus, Texas, I dropped my saucy twin sister at McDonald’s and headed  ten miles away to Estes Unit. 

My bride looked beautiful and the Grooms parents were excited and thrilled to be able to join us in the visitation area for the ceremony. 

The ceremony was short but sweet and I was surprised to learn that Estes doesn’t sell photos for $3 each anymore. Instead, they mail photos as a courtesy which is a nice surprise but, my bride was a little disappointed to be leaving without wedding photos. Hopefully, they are emailed by next week.

Leaving Estes Unit, my bride and her new parent in laws followed me to pick up Cindy and scout a few locations for photos. 

I found two hotels nearby and decided to make use of their lobbies while fielding calls for new bookings at Coffield, Beto, Garza East, Ferguson and Allred. 

My phone never stops ringing. I handed it to Cindy to field my calls and emails while searching through my traveling photo booth for fun props. Trying to find a beautiful backdrop in Alvarado, I showed my bride how to jump by example. I’m not great at jumping but, occasionally I try to show Clients unique ways to incorporate fun into their photo shoots. 

Cindy and I weren’t “thrilled” with the field as a backdrop and decided that the hotel lobby for Holiday Inn Express and Days Inn would work better and, they did.

It’s not easy finding great locations near Prisons for photos. Often, I use Google to check out locations ahead of time. 

I found several bouquets and props and even decided to make use of the elevator. By 2:00PM, I had a variety of shots with not only the bride but also the Grooms parents. They loved that I had packed tiaras, bouteniers, bouquets and other fun props. It was nearly time for me to pack everything up and head back to Fort Worth. My timeline was pretty tight today. 

Celebrating wedding day after leaving a Prison can be a less than “celebratory” occasion. I change that by offering complimentary photography and an opportunity to “feel like a bride or groom.” My clients love photo shoots with me. Many tell me it was their favorite part of wedding day. 

Heading back to Fort Worth to Bell Tower Chapel, Willow Lake Event Center and Mercado Event Center for an evening of weddings, Cindy and I decided to hit a Starbucks and saw a man selling Bonsai trees nearby. I bought one for my husband hoping he would enjoy it as a Valentines gift. 

Multitasking our way back from Venus, Cindy called to check on Leigh Ann and all three of her granddaughters while I called back prospects and checked in with my husband and son. Our cell phones ringing all the way, Cindy and I had a great day and are looking forward to taking Friday off before gearing up for a busy weekend of Texas Twins Events bookings. It’s rare to have a day off but, when we do, it’s time to recharge our batteries and gear up for more adventures….