This morning after scouting a few locations and loading my SUV with photo props, I met Misty in Lake Worth, Texas. My niece Leigh Ann and Maddy joined us as we jumped to several different locations in our caravan.
Cindy and I had found a great spot in Sampson Park and I suggested after hitting a few wooded areas in Lake Worth that we head to River Oaks at Inspiration Point.
As we headed to the location, I took a moment to ask how Misty had met Carl. She told me that very few people knew how they had actually met but that she had a chance meeting while working as a guard in Breckenridge. Misty would wait a full year later before becoming a pen pal and visiting Carl after he was transferred to Estes Unit in Venus, Texas.
Although I was careful not to “bring up” the circumstances, Misty voluntarily told me why Carl had spent over 10 years in the system. Carl had been involved in an accident while intoxicated that took 2 lives. I’m certain it’s something no one would ever think could happen when getting behind the wheel after drinking and thankful that no one in my family is a drinker.
Misty was a good sport as Leigh Ann and I positioned her for the lake photos. The photos in this blog were shot on my iPhone because all three of our photographers take days to edit their photos. I like to give families instant gratification with a few photos even though the quality of my phone is far from perfect or crystal clear as my nieces $1200 Nikon camera can capture.
We started the shoot in street clothes so after the lake and River Oaks poses, we made a pit stop to my home aka WorthamWorld to give Misty a chance to change into her wedding dress before heading to the Botanic Gardens which my niece was pretty insistent about although I warily reminded her of being “Booted out of the Botanic Gardens-The Harvey Family Adventure Begins.” If you haven’t read the blog on the Harvey Family, visit this link-Booted Out Of The Botanic Garden, I Think On The Fly & Figure It Out!
A few years ago, I had barely left my vehicle before being stopped and asked for a permit to officiate a wedding or a permit for photography.” I was unaware of this strict rule and my client couldn’t afford the fees of $450 so, we were escorted out of the park. I found a beautiful area anyway and we got some great photos because they were willing to trust my instincts and devastated they couldn’t afford the gardens. I’m passionate enough to fix an unexpected issue even when it means spending a lot more time than I had expected to save the day! I explained to Leigh Ann and Misty that we “might get caught and kicked out,” but they decided to wing it and we did-in and out in 20 minutes. We were as lucky as I was when my husband and I married there without ever knowing “the rules.” I would have been horrified to have been caught and endure a walk of shame with my family and aunt witnessing an escort out for not having the permits.
Leaving the Botanic Garden, I called my niece and suggested she head over to Uncle Julio’s and order lunch while I ran home so Misty could change back into her street clothes. She loved the tiara I had bought her and while driving home- I had an idea to pose her in front of neighborhood houses and click a few shots on my iPhone.
Surprisingly, she loved my idea and said she had the most fun she’s ever had as I pulled over and said lets go!
Back at my home, we both laughed and laughed about our little excursion as I helped Misty out of her dress and corset. We were ready to eat by the time we met up with Leigh Ann and showed her our “I just live here photos” on my phone.
I never planned on officiating at prisons but like everything else in my life- it happened. My web designer, Michael Brylinski is currently making changes for other “people on the outside” wanting an officiant. Michael handles all of my websites and has been with me since starting Texas Twins Events 7 years ago.
Michael also creates my logos so folks wanting to “help me with my websites or traffic,” I have to tell ya all that I am loyal to a fault and not interested in making any changes but appreciate you reaching out to me. It’s essential that my web developer is just a text or phone call away for me. Yesterday, Michael updated this website for people like Misty with nowhere to turn. To view my latest expansion or for more information, visit this link-Information Regarding Inmate Weddings With Wendy Wortham.
Expanding and rebranding to take on Prison Weddings is something that I never expected to happen because I had no idea of the need existed but it does and sometimes any business venture is surprising with new twist and turns. I rebranded and expanded Texas Twins Events & Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners when families came to me with no money so rebranding and expanding to address Prison Weddings isn’t the first “surprising” thing that has happened the past 7 years.
When I started this business, Cindy traveled with me to capture photos as a courtesy to clients after I realized they couldn’t afford to hire a photographer on their own. A few years later, my son and his wife joined to handle photography after I realized that Cindy was often busy helping me with event coordination.
Last weekend while leaving a wedding in Saginaw, I asked if my daughter in law, Stephanie Hafele had located any photos of Lisa Williams and her grandfather who had died recently. Lisa had “reached out” and wanted to know if we had additional photos that hadn’t been posted two years ago. I was shocked and upset to hear that Stephanie had “held back” a photo because she thought it was too good to share with the family! An argument quickly ensued with me advising her that I had spent well over $80k to establish Texas Twins Events, Texas Twins Treasures & The Pawning Planners businesses and websites, copyrights & trademarks, advertising and other expenses that included the camera equipment used to “get the shot” and no one on my team was going to hold back a photo on my watch. I gave Stephanie a 24 hour to post that photo for the grieving family on FB and (as usual) my son who knew that I was lit about this, did it for her.
For anyone unaware of the importance of having photos of their event (whether they can afford them or not) it should be noted that whenever the family hasn’t hired a photographer, I bring my own photographers & put photos on a disc at no cost to them and have for 7 years. Stephanie’s plan to sell a photo back that she had edited and added a copyright on to the grieving family rather than giving it to them goes against everything I have set out to do. We haven’t spoken to each other since last Saturday’s wedding either.
Stephanie also takes weeks to edit photos and clients would like their photos ASAP, because of this–I always have a spare camera and disc to upload photos myself for families. Her “idea” to edit photos and add my Texas Twins Events logo would prevent clients from printing photos. I don’t do that so I’m not going to let anyone else do it either.
Being an “open and honest” person and blogger, I always “thrown in” accurate details of team conflict and never sugar coat the head butting “incidents” with Stephanie Hafele because she has problems getting along with everyone on my team–IE: not just me.
Stephanie told me that she plans to start her own FB photography page and book her own clients. Which translates to “I’m not coming to events with you anymore and I’m planning to make a living on my own.” I told her that’s great because the last year, she was rarely on location due to her new to me demand of $250 an hour. I don’t have to use Stephanie-I have my son, my sister, my niece and myself that all are capable of taking photos on location.
Several months ago, I wanted “all hands on deck” for a once in a lifetime opportunity to officiate a wedding at Carswell AFB on the Tarmac and in a C130. Naturally, Stephanie was busy and unavailable to join us at the wedding. My son, sister, step daughter and I handled the hair and make up, photography and officiating ourselves. While it is true that we may have “missed a shot” because we were short handed because Leigh Ann was in California, we still managed to get video and photos for our thrilled couple as evidenced in this blog-Carswell AFB Dream Wedding With My Team.
For years, the ongoing battle of who is the best photographer around here continues! Last weekend my twin sister took this photo of me and I said it was one of my favorites while Stephanie disagreed and advised me that “cell phone photos are never great photos.
To hear it from her, I would be lost without her skill set. But after learning she had held onto that photo of Lisa for two years without handing it over, I am willing to risk it. Head butting for 5 years with Stephanie continues to wear me out and I list who accompanied me to events to point out when Stephanie doesn’t which lights her up. With my daughter in law it’s “all about the money!” She loses sight of the fact that half my business is with people who have very little or no money.
I told my niece Leigh Ann what had happened over the Lisa Williams photo and asked for her help with Misty because (for obvious reasons), I wasn’t going to ask Stephanie Hafele!
Stephanie “thinks” she should get paid $250 an hour because she works at Smiley’s Photography and considers herself a professional photographer BUT the clients who benefit from complimentary photography don’t have $250 an hour and why on earth should my daughter in law expect to be paid more than I am? After all, without my businesses and equipment-there wouldn’t be an opportunity to keep a photo taken at my event and with my equipment!
Arguments with my daughter in law who lacks the compassion that I do and my vision are a regular occurence. My son was raised to put others before himself-he is compassionate about their story and our journey but his wife is another story altogether. I make the rules not Stephanie and trying to convince her is an ongoing battle.
A week prior to the photo shoot with Misty, I had told her Stephanie would do her photos but after our argument, I had to explain why Leigh Ann was taking her place. After hearing my reasons why-Misty looked at me and said “if you hadn’t done this for me, no one would. My friends asked what you are charging me for all of this and hours of your time and I told them you weren’t. They couldn’t believe that anyone would go out of their way to provide a free photo shoot and photos. But you’re different-you actually care.” She was right, I don’t try “to stick it to anyone” and I never will.
While driving Misty back to her car, I admitted that I’m melancholy about Friday since the location is far from joyous but assured her that one day when Carl is released, my team and I will meet her and shoot traditional wedding photos.
Since many are interested in what I charged Misty for today’s photo shoot and lunch–we didn’t. Her circumstances and situation warranted our help. I go above and beyond because I care and my niece understands the importance of photos. She started out shooting her daughter Maddy for the numerous brands young Madyson represents and loved photography so much that she decided to help me while building her own portfolio. Coming Soon- Maddy & Me Photography Sessions with Leigh Ann Blais.
Friday I will see Misty again at Estes Unit in Venus, Texas. Although I’ve read your comments and concerns regarding Inmate or Prison Weddings and understand your feelings, these couples may have extenuating circumstances but they are couples and they are planning for a future together beyond the bars…
Wendy M Wortham