Baby Showers, Birthday Parties, Life Events And Losing A Loved One…

Marriage blends families. Most of the time, these families blend together and consider their stepchildren “bonus kids.” Ann was my bonus kid. 

Although Ann was a few months older than me, I welcomed Ann into my life and into my businesses as a friend rather than as a step parent. From fundraisers to hillbilly baby showers, barbecue based family reunions and everything in between, Ann jumped on our Texas Twins Events bandwagon with gusto and a smile pitching in to do whatever was necessary to “help pull off a Dream Event.” Reaching out to me years ago, Ann was apprehensive because her relationship with my husband had deteriorated and wanted a second chance. My open heart and open mind gave Ann and Matthew the chance to once again reestablish their relationship.

I immediately took her up on becoming part of my Texas Twins Events Team and including her in all of our family events. It’s not well known that occasionally my friends Tammi and Angela or both have also joined us on location too. When we need another set of hands, I have friends that also help out.

Over the years, the rift that had separated Ann and my husband finally healed but, the years lost due to hard feelings can never be restored. Ann died a few days before our dinner date with her last Thursday. 

I had been planning a surprise birthday party for her this year and couldn’t have been more shocked. 

The adventures Ann shared with my Team ranged from hillbilly affairs to over the top events. One thing that kept her laughing was guessing where we were headed next. From a Prison to a Park to a Karate Studio to a Parking Lot or Exclusive Venue, a few of the locations for our events are unheard of in the “traditional” events industry. 

Cindy and I were in California for a Destination Wedding with Leigh Ann and baby Madyson last September when my friend, Julie contacted me because her other Officiant had backed out. I quickly called Ann and my son to decide who could handle Cali’s Wedding while we were in California. Ann was thrilled and my son and his wife drove her to the venue for her first “traditional” Wedding. 

We laughed and laughed that she had forgotten to tell everyone to be seated. It happens. Ann was so nervous and thrilled that by the time the couple made it to the altar, her focus was on them rather than the guests.Julie and Cali were thrilled to have Ann Officiate and no one bothered to even mention forgetting to have the guests be seated. I will always remember Ann coming to my home to search for a vestment to wear to that wedding while I was busy packing for our Destination Wedding. We sat in my home office going over details. 

It was the first time Ann would be on location without me and, she was nervous. I loaned her one of my wedding books and vestment and reminded her to take a lot of notes and care when signing the license. 

I’ve coordinated and officiated over 1,300 events so, it’s pretty hard to surprise me but while in California, there were a few surprises going on for Cindy and I. Even the best laid plans can have a few surprises.

At a wedding in Fort Worth, the mother of the bride wore white which caused a bit of a ruckus. The Bride shook it off and the wedding went on.At the Karate Studio Wedding, everything went wrong! Maryssa and Makenna were flower girls in that wedding and the parents of the groom were over an hour late. The a/c went out causing the cake to melt and the wrong chairs were delivered. But, the wedding went on.Overcoming problems on location when you don’t have a magic wand isn’t easy which is why we have a team. From the people to unexpected issues to the bride or groom not showing up to the witness marking out her address on the license, the past eight years have been an eye opener of fixing a problem and moving on.

One of the most important aspects of Officiating a wedding is signing the license and filing it. In California, one of my witnesses voided the license by scribbling out her address. I filed an Amended Petition in person the following month. It’s the first and only time that something like that has ever happened but, everything was going wrong at the same time which took my attention from the License to the groom caught in the lights and baby Maddy locking herself into my rental while a drunk guest flashed other guests and the wedding party before passing out under the groom caught in the rented patio lights. 

Yes, all of these things happened at the same time and with only Cindy, Leigh Ann and I On Location, it was an escapade. But, the wedding went on regardless of everything going wrong. We got the groom down, we sent the drunk guest home with her husband, we unlocked the rental and saved Maddy and I fixed the marriage license. Failure is never an option in the event business! 

When Ann had told me of forgetting to ask the guests to sit down, I related what had happened at our wedding and she couldn’t stop laughing. Ann had seen a lot of crazy at events with us but, nothing compared to the California Wedding. 

I doubt any event will exceed the “everything going wrong at the same time” incident again. It may happen but, the Wildest Wedding Ever in all of these years was while Ann was Officiating Cali’s Wedding in Texas. At yet another event, Ann helped me hot glue a bouquet that fell off the balcony. In weatherford, the florist forgot to deliver the chair bows while Ann and I worked furiously to create our own designs. Ann was never afraid to get her hands dirty.

Ann loved meeting my best friends Tammi Leggett, Virginia Malone and Angela Rodden as well as establishing a very close relationship with my son, Robbie and his wife, Stephanie as well as my twin sister and twin grandnieces. We became Ann’s bonus family. 

Ann was an amazing artist who could paint, sketch and create art in an instant. Flying by the seat of her pants with my family on location, Ann had more fun these past years at hundreds of events with us than she could recall. 

The road trips and rest areas on our way to meet new friends of my Texas Twins Events Team with arguments over the radio station or restaurant were almost always settled with a coin toss. 

I was always everyone’s mother for my Team and on location or en route, The Fearless Leader, The Boss Lady or The Captain. 

When I was busy handling other problems, my twin sister was in charge bringing her comedic talents to her role as the leader. Ann’s first road trip with three suvs was to San Antonio, Texas. My twin grandnieces were flower girls in the wedding as they had been in hundreds of other weddings. 

Maryssa and Makenna are now nearly fourteen and work as Princesses for birthday parties and other events but, for a number of years, they were flower girls, ring bearers and ushers. 

Whenever I needed an extra hand creating floral arrangements, Ann was “all in.” At a Carswell AFB Base Wedding on the Tarmac in a C130, Ann pitched in to help with the Brides makeup as well as helping my son with the photography.Ann always looked after Maryssa and Makenna while Cindy worked with me coordinating or decorating the venue. 

The twins like all of us are going to miss Ann and her smile.Yesterday at the Memorial for Ann, my niece Leigh Ann brought our latest Little Pawnee, Madyson along with Maryssa and Makenna. 

Leigh Ann had worked alongside Ann at numerous events and Ann would have loved spending time with young Maddie as she always enjoyed being around children.

Two years ago, I became a Texas Department Of Criminal Justice Approved Officiant. Adding Prison Weddings surprised many folks including Ann but, a creative request for an Officiant at a Texas Prison took my Team in another direction. 

While I was Officiating at Prisons, Leigh Ann, Ann and my son were Officiating at County Jails. Although intimidated at first, my team quickly learned that while the location was different, the couples were average people wanting to get married.

I’m always asked about hillbillies and country folk. My twin sister is infamous for her Redneck Reality Quotes AKA #Cindyism used on Pawning Planners Apparel sold at Texas Twins Treasures. We created our apparel line after realizing that a few Pawning Planners Clients didn’t have anything of value to barter. Sales from Pawning Planners Apparel fund these families. 

On top of our wild variety of clients, we also offer a barter option. The Pawning Planners offers anyone the opportunity for a Dream Event. Ann helped Cindy and I in our workroom refurbishing trades. One of those trades was a coffee table that Ann wanted for her apartment. 

It’s not unusual for me to refurbish a flip and gift it to one of my family members or keep it for my home. I don’t sell everything we take in trade including cars or trucks because often, someone in my family needs this or that.

Moving forward with my scheduled events in August will be difficult for me but, I will always be thankful that I opened my heart to Ann and had years of fun and laughs with her. 

I’m certain that Ann never expected to find herself in the many unique locations, hotels and road trips with us that she experienced when first asking me to be a part of Texas Twins Events. 

Every year in support of our LBGT Clients, Ann joined our parade entry for Texas Twins Events/The Pawning Planners. 

Half of all of my Clients from Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners, Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham and Texas Twins Treasures are LBGT. 

Ann looked forward to seeing all of our friends every year for the Parade in Fort Worth.Even I had never planned on rebranding and expanding to include the barter option or refurbishing trades and much less offering Prison Weddings but, having an opportunity to spend time with my family while making Dream Events a Reality from Fort Worth, Texas was the best investment I’ve ever made. 

We will miss Ann and cherish the years she spent being part of our Team and, part of our lives…