Whose Wedding Is This? Meddling Mothers, Mediation & Moving Forward…

Every now and then, I encounter a mother who is so gung ho about the way “she wants things” that I have to step back and find a way of granting the brides wishes while not stepping on any toes since the mother is often footing the bill.

My sister and I usually have an exceptional sense of humor but now and then even we can be at our whits end when others “butt in” with ideas or expectations that weren’t a part of our participation.  Cindy gets some of her best material from these buttinsckie types for her #Cindyism Quotes used on Pawning Planners Apparel.  

Cindy Daniel & Wendy Wortham- The Pawning Planners

Last week one of these “meddlers” was so intent on running the show that the rehearsal took over an hour and a half because she wanted to be more involved.  The problem? She wasn’t in the wedding party and she felt “left out.”  We finally decided that she would give the bride away with the father (although they were divorced) in order for her to feel she played a bigger role.

At another wedding, the mother of the groom wanted her favorite Scriptures read during the ceremony.  The problem? The mother of the bride who wanted no religious references made since “she was paying for everything and would prefer for the other mother not to talk to me about what she wants because she wasn’t paying me.”  More often than not, both sets of parents have very strong views regarding religious reference.  

Since it is well known that a large percentage of my clients from Texas Twins Events & The Pawning Planners are LBGTQ, I will address concerns from those contacting me about their “issues regarding same sex marriage” by reaffirming my belief that Love Is Love and these types of emails will not sway my belief that every client is treated with respect and courtesy regardless of their Religious Beliefs, Lifestyle or anything else that might make them “different.”  

I’ve been asked why I offer year round discounts to LBGTQ clients, Military, Fire, Police and other organizations- the answer is that many of my family members are active or retired Military and/or Fire, Rescue or First Responders and many of my friends are LBGTQ but also because these clients are courteous and easy to work with which (in this industry) is priceless.  Working with Clients that appreciate your efforts makes our jobs easier and more importantly, a pleasant experience for everyone involved. 

I have never had to argue or “stand my ground” with an unruly guest or relative at these events and therefore, go to great lengths to accommodate them including offering year round discounts to Active or Retired Military, Police, Fire or First Responders. 

A few years ago, I nearly quit a wedding after encountering a “tipsy” mother at the rehearsal who was determined to make all the rules, choosing the exact location and expecting me to provide tables and chairs.  The problem?  I was hired to officiate and coordinate with my team handling photography along with loaned bouquets and bouteniers, a cake stand and champagne flutes and don’t rent chairs or tables.  I go over every detail at client meetings and adding chairs and or tables was never discussed with the couple.  

I suggested the mother go to Taylor’s Rentals and rent the tables and chairs if they were important to her because obviously, her daughter saw no need for tables and chairs.  The cost of transporting tables and chairs along with the rental fee was easily $250 which surprised the mother somewhat but transporting and setting up tables and chairs isn’t free for me or anyone else.

A few of the photos from that event will give you far more insight than anything I could say to describe the combative attitude my team and I faced trying to get through the wedding process.  The mother is under the couple in the photo below.  

It takes a lot for me to walk away from an event but—this site lists Bridezilla and Guestzilla Clauses for a very good reason- experience!  It doesn’t take me long to figure out who wants to “stir the chili” at an event because when you’ve been in this business as long as I have- you’ve seen nearly everything.

The next issue involved with that wedding was my loaned bouquets for the wedding party.  The mother wanted to keep hers because “it’s my daughters wedding and I want a souvenier to remember it with.” After explaining that I loan bouquets and bouteniers to hundreds of clients every year and I couldn’t afford to “give away” my inventory, I offered to sell it to her for $175.00 and another argument ensued over what her daughter had paid me for and “why can’t you just throw this bouquet in?” 

In a world where everyone wants something for nothing or believes that they should get more than what they have paid for,  I knew the mother of the bride was a problem at the rehearsal, and would most likely challenge me on wedding day so,  I brought a copy of the contract to the wedding that not only outlined exactly what my team and I were hired to do but also what I was loaning for the wedding and the terms involved to borrow inventory that include lost or damaged floral designs and a fee.  

After reading the contract, the mother finally stopped giving me reasons that she deserved to keep her loaned bouquet.  As a consolation prize, I offered to mail a photo disc to the mother so she would have her own photos and effectively won the battle.

Keeping my inventory has become an issue on more times than anyone realizes which is why I don’t allow tossing a loaned bouquet.  A few years ago, a Pawning Planners Bride tossed her loaned bouquet (although I had asked her not to in order to prevent damage)  and the guest who caught it decided that it was now hers because “she caught it fair and square.”  

After detailing my reasons for loaning bouquets and bouteniers to this unruly guest, I added that no one else in the world would have loaned everything to pull that wedding together and I have never met a Flower Fairy who replaced my designs simply because everyone wanted to keep them which was a bit of a surprise to this unruly guest but I wasn’t leaving without my inventory and whether she liked it or not, I wasn’t going to allow her to keep something just because she felt entitled to it.

Creating an inventory took time and money on my end no one gave me the supplies or spent hours creating my designs but for some reason, I continue to run across folks who think they should get what they want regardless of whether they paid for the item or not.

If I’m loaning centerpieces, bouquets or bouteniers, cake trays, champagne flutes, tablecloths, napkins, serving sets, etc. I require a signed contract detailing exactly what I’m loaning, the number of items I’m loaning and the cost to replace lost or broken items for clients of Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners.

Normally, I do not loan any inventory to anyone not booking through Texas Twins Events or The Pawning Planners.  My reasons for these “rules” are that I created an inventory as a courtesy to My Clients and not strangers.  On rare occasions, I bend my own rules based on the situation but it’s not an everyday occurrence.  Exceptions involve fundraising for numerous charitable organizations that my team and I are affiliated with.

It should be noted that my team and I “dance with the one that brought us” at events and have learned over the years that there are often far too many Chiefs on site now and then aka Inlaws & Outlaws but the person (or persons) who are actually in charge are the one (or ones) that hired myself and/or my team and not the person (or persons) who bothered to show up at an event and assumed they were in a position of power.  

Everyone on my team has a role at our events and those roles are dictated by me not by anyone else.  Please don’t “direct” my staff if you are not the client or ask them to do something that we were not hired to do.  

I’m going to give a few examples of such requests to enlighten other vendors who often read my blogs-  “the caterer is short staffed.  I need you to go serve food.”  Here’s another good one, “the toilet won’t flush- I need you to go take care of it.”  

If we are at a venue, the venue owner is going to handle plumbing or a/c issues not my team.  If you hired a caterer, you (hopefully) discussed having enough servers on hand too.  

It’s impossible for us to do the job we were hired to do and be expected to “fix” everything else that can (and does) go wrong on location.  

We don’t mind helping but we do have limits.  On far too many occasions, we have “fixed” problems that were not our responsibility that have included short orders from florists who forgot the bouteniers or repairing a gown that was torn or mend a broken zipper along with a host of other unexpected “incidents.”  One of the most memorable “Incidents” Would be the Broken Tooth Bouncing Checks Bride.  She had written me a hot check for her deposit and a second hot check for her balance and had broken her front tooth minutes prior to the wedding.  Attempting to glue her tooth back on, my finger became glued to the tooth while I advised her that she would need to “settle her account” and preferably in cash.  A nail file was used to free my bloody finger and the second hot check was put in an envelope and handed to my assistant Anne.  Yes, I’ve seen a lot, experienced a lot and learned a lot so, if I sound “salty,” I have my reasons. 

Due to the ongoing issue of who makes the rules or who is in charge at events, my contracts now list (in order) clients first, second and third “Lead Person” if they are unavailable to make a decision or too busy. 

Having 3 to 4 people tell me what they “think” so and so wants isn’t accurate or detailed enough and the client answered three pages of questions detailing exactly what they wanted and more importantly, exactly what they were paying for and could expect from myself or my team.  The client is well aware of the terms when booking with Texas Twins Events or bartering through The Pawning Planners even when their guests or Inlaws may not be aware of the details themselves.

The curiosity of TDCJ (Texas Department Of Criminal Justice) Weddings continues to pop up and more than a few readers doubt the longevity of my clients commitment, so today I’m including two photos of happy couples.  Yes, yes, I know many of you cannot understand why they are happy but believe me they are.

These couples are families just like any other family that I’ve married and although it may seem odd to a few folks, I talked to each client extensively regarding their choice to marry a prisoner and the hurdles they would face.  These couples aren’t planning for the present- they are planning for the future and many of them knew each other long before Prison.  

These families were honored and delighted that I Officiated their weddings and while the location may not have been “ideal,” we made the most of it with Bridal photo shoots so every bride felt as special as they are.  Giving them an opportunity to “feel like a bride” is the reason we offer a service at no cost to them.  All of my TDCJ Brides find the “highlight” of their wedding day to be at the impromptu photo shoots we stage near Prison Units.

Coffield Unit- Mr & Mrs Fontenot
Sanders Estes Unit- Mr & Mrs Madison

I review emails regarding Prison Marriage on a regular basis and although it may not be for everyone, my Brides are happy and well adjusted and know what they are getting into. 

Officiating at a Prison is quite different than a venue, backyard or barn.  There are no “Meddlers” on site because the process is strictly outlined.  Relatives accompanying a bride are quite friendly and honored that I’m helping their daughter to have the wedding she wants.  

No one is telling me what they want me to say or what they want other than the couple which makes the task far easier for me.  Everyone is happy, friendly and very cordial at a Prison and treat me with respect that every now and then, I don’t find at other traditional weddings or events.  The truth is that I enjoy the structure of a Prison Wedding because there are never any surprises.  I know what to expect, the clients know what to expect and things flow smoothly for all concerned.

I’ve also officiated at Military Bases and have noticed that both Military & Prison Weddings have the structure and discipline that many other “traditional” weddings do not.  Both have someone in charge and everyone else follows the rules.  There are no drunken guests or outrageous behavior going on at a Military Base or Prison I can assure you.  There aren’t ever unruly guests (or relatives) at a base or Prison and if there are, I’ve never encountered them.

Truthfully, when you work with the public, you are dealing with sometimes unreasonable people…coming to terms with what will or won’t work isn’t an easy conversation for anyone but, it’s an important aspect of Event Planning & Officiating that must be addressed for any client (or their families) when planning and executing a Dream Event or any other service we offer.  Conflict Resolution often comes in handy for me when dealing with two completely different families that often have different ideas or desires for their son or daughter.