I perform wedding ceremonies at Senior Centers as well as venues I’m on staff at including Bell Tower Chapel and Gardens.
From a beautiful venue to a backyard, parking lot and yes, Prisons across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, I have a unique opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.
One of my “most memorable” brides was so much fun that a recent post garnered a lot of attention due to her age.
I found this a bit surprising because no one is too old to find love although younger people might expect that they are the only ones planning a wedding, times have changed and a large percentage of clients are either marrying again or, renewing their vows at the wedding they couldn’t afford years before or after losing their spouse and finding someone new to spend their life with.
Senior brides are a lot of fun because they aren’t worried about everything being perfect. There are no bridezillas and, there is no drama other than on occasion, their children objecting to the “new marriage” and role of step parent changing the dynamics of their family.
Grown children can sometimes resent “someone new” marrying their mother or father. It’s rare but, it’s happened. Working through “challenges” of Inlaws or Outlaws isn’t “new” to me. I’ve muddled through it with a client hundreds of times over the years.
Second time around Brides are thrilled to find love and a partner to spend their life with. They are happy Planning and excited during the ceremony.Yes. They wear wedding dresses too. The rules regarding the color of the wedding gown have changed and white is and always will be the preferred hue of a wedding dress.
I brought my niece Leigh Ann Blais of Maddie & Me Photography when the bride told me they didn’t have a photographer. “Gifting photos” shocks my competition but, I go the extra mile and treat every client with “extras” that no one in the events industry would consider doing for free.
From loaned bouquets to bouteniers to ring pillows, cake stands and Complimentary photos- I do Events differently because I can afford to. I don’t “have to take every job” that comes to me and it’s not unusual to bump a client to another Officiant on my staff since everyone contacting me wants me to coordinate and Officiate, it should be noted that my schedule is tight year round which is why I added 4 other Officiants.
Upon hearing that the Bride wanted to include photos of the son she had lost who she so desperately wanted present her wedding, I was quite sad for her. My son is 28 years old and I cannot imagine my life without him in it.
All of my clients are encouraged to bring photos of they’ve lost a loved one to include them in their ceremony. Leigh Ann loves working with clients to get a variety of photos and it was rare for me to grab her camera and take a photo of her instead because she’s usually “behind the camera.”My niece (like me) loves it when Clients bring photos of a loved one they’ve lost. Last year at Bell Tower Chapel, the father of the bride was crushed that his wife had died only a few months prior to the wedding she had carefully planned for their daughter.
When I was asked about bringing a photo of the mother to the ceremony, I not only encouraged it but, also suggested that Leigh Ann capture photos of the wedding party with the father holding the photo of his wife, his life partner and his best friend.I made quick friends with the father and suggested Grief Counseling because I could see that he was still struggling to accept the loss of his wife. In my line of work, I witness a lot of grief because on top of coordinating and officiating weddings, I also Officiate many funerals or give Last Rites as a Hospice Clergy.
It’s ironic that I can be celebrating love and life with a client one minute and in the next praying with someone else or officiating a Memorial.
The fragility of life isn’t lost on me, I see it everyday and although my role as a Celebrant is to comfort families and not grieve myself, once in the comfort of home, I often cry about a life that was cut short far too early. Funerals are Final.
Standing by a coffin and eulogizing someone is a difficult position in a room full of grieving families. My role is to comfort and not to cry. Often, visiting someone who is near death, I’m asked to give Communion which is not unusual.
For those who know the end is near, this is almost always a very important part of my visit with them. Leaving an ailing patient is difficult for me because I realize that it may be not only my first meeting but, also my last.
Some find it surprising that I also Officiate pet funerals but for pet owners, their pet was viewed as their child. Memorials for pets have become a way for pet owners to find closure.
I’m a pet owner myself and know that one day, my sassy Beagle Mr Foxy Wortham will leave us but choose to treasure everyday with him rather than plan for the end. He’s quite old now at 13 and the same age as my twin granddaughters.
Foxy views himself as “one of the kids” and still acts like it. When my grandnieces come visit, the spark returns to him and lounging on the sofa flies out the window at WorthamWorld.
My dog loves it when the twins come over so much that he skips his nighttime bed in the master bedroom and sleeps on the pillow bed and blankets the twins set out near the guest bed. Foxy has grown up around the twins and is happiest when they are here.My husband will be as devastated as our neighbor was at losing his buddy. The twins will also be impacted and I will be lonely in a house without Foxy following me hoping for a bite to eat.
Pets are family. I’ve considered getting another Beagle but Foxy has had 13 years of being the only child and doesn’t do well around other dogs.
Hopefully, we have many years left with little Mr Wortham. I understand the grief of pet owners and their need for closure.
I Officiate a lot of weddings at Bell Tower as an “on staff” Officiant and love the stained glass windows and patio area of this venue along with the knowledge that weddings and events benefit orphaned children. Over half my fee is donated to fund children living on site at Bell Tower Chapel.
One of my brides at Bell Tower was delighted to hear that I was a twin. Sadly, she had lost her sister years prior to her wedding. My heart ached for her.
She managed to move past the absence of having her twin present at her wedding though and, I was glad she had a very large new family to welcome her and celebrate her wedding.Losing a twin is the most frightening thing that can happen to a multiple. My twin is my best friend and has shared my entire life with me.
We’ve shared heartbreak and struggle and we’ve helped over 1,000 families enjoy a Dream Event. We are also happiest when we are together. From Pawning Parties to weddings, birthday parties, funerals, baptism and any other event you could imagine, my twin and I stay busy!
Anytime I hear of a twin losing “their other half,” the fear of losing my twin haunts me. It’s something no twin wants to even consider!
My twin can make me laugh and pick me up when I’m down. We tell each other anything and everything in our no holds barred relationship. There are no secrets between twins.How close are we? Close enough to divorce two husbands who were jealous of our relationship. A husband is replaceable but, a twin isn’t.
Cindy’s daughters and my son will tell you they have two mothers because they do. We raised my son and her daughters as a team. When Cindy was working, I picked up the kids and made dinner and when I was working, she picked up the kids and cooked dinner.
Cindy’s twin granddaughters call us both MeMe and her youngest granddaughter (for some reason), calls us both Daddy.
We aren’t sure why young Maddy thinks that’s our name and continue to correct her but, Daddy seems to be her favorite name for both my sister and I.Unlike the twins, Maddy has red curly hair just like my twin sister and I. The Irish side traditionally is red hair and green eyes but, young Madyson has blue eyes which is very rare.
The twins have blonde hair and green eyes but many facial features are similar between the twins and baby Maddy.Like their relationship with Foxy Wortham, the twins have spent Maddy’s entire life of two years with her.My niece moved home to my sisters house three years ago pregnant on a one way ticket.
I had picked her up at DFW Airport with my sister and was surprised about this “announcement” but, after hearing that it was a high risk pregnancy, understood why Leigh Ann left the base in Seattle to move home and have the twins OB/GYN handle her pregnancy.
Maryssa and Makenna were in NICU for months after they were born early. The twins mother, Stephaney had such a high risk pregnancy (at 15), that she was bedridden in the hospital for seven months of her pregnancy.
Having your fifteen year old daughter pregnant with twins was surprising for my sister but, we were together at the hospital with Stephaney assuming she had food poisoning when we found out the “big news.”
As usual, my twin sister and I made a pact to raise the twins and shoulder the financial needs as a team. All of our children and grandchildrens needs were met because we circled our wagons as a TwinTeam.
The twins mother, Stephaney returned to school while Cindy and I navigated trying to learn how to use the 6 different double strollers we had purchased.
Finding a “user friendly” stroller for twins is impossible.Raising twins in your 40’s with a husband that was working in Iraq at Camp Anaconda wasn’t easy for Cindy but, she took on the task single handedly while I worked as much as possible to help her financially and had her over on my days off to give her a break.
Cindy has never benefitted from child support and the twins have never wanted for anything because our families rallied around to raise the twins as a family.
While many believe twins or multiples have nothing to do with genetics, our family has 8 generations of twins. Twin births occur every other generation in our family.
There haven’t been male twins in our family since our grandfather and his twin brother. For some reason, all other multiple births have been female.
For years, the twins accompanied us to weddings and other events and continue to do so. Maddy was at Bell Tower Chapel playing on the altar while Leigh Ann handled wedding photos. All of our clients know my entire family work events including our children and grandchildren.
Since I’ve been asked what percentage of my clients are Military, it’s 30% of all bookings.
My family are Military and we believe every Military couple deserve a beautiful event.
I would be happy if all of my clients were Military because Military Clients treat my staff and I well and there has never been a drunk in law or outrageous guest at a Military Wedding either.Whether you’re young or old, finding a Life Mate is a gift. I’ve performed numerous vow Renewals and wedding ceremonies for couples well over 50 years old and I can promise you that they were thrilled to find a partner to share their “Golden Years” with.
Love doesn’t know age. Love doesn’t discriminate. Love is a gift that keeps on giving…Every Bride is beautiful. Every Bride is excited because love and a life together go hand in hand. Weddings are filled with promise and are to be celebrated with the joy they bring to families.
Since officiating Prison Weddings raises a few eyebrows, it should be noted that up until Friday, all of my brides or Grooms knew their fiancées long before they were incarcerated.
This Friday’s Bride at Estes Unit is the first “Pen Pal” Bride I will ever have married. Due to this, I attempted to talk her out of it.
My reasons for this are that I’m well aware that Brides can be taken advantage of and the life of a Prison Bride or Groom comes with a lot of work and expense for the person “on the outside.”Every Bride is as different as every Groom coming to me for help finding a TDCJ Authorized Officiant. Like seniors, they face judgment from friends and family that won’t understand their choices.
On the flip side, LBGT Couples also face the same discrimination. Whether my clients are LBGT or marrying at a Prison, for some reason, their choices are at an alternative lifestyle aren’t always well received by their friends or their families a wide percent of the time. Because of this, many who are marrying a prisoner request that I don’t publish their photos on the internet.
Every family is as different as every couple and while my own family is often viewed as “too close” or a Modern Family because we share the responsibilities of raising children and grandchildren as two mothers doing the best we can, it should be noted that every family won’t mirror your own but, at the end of the day, families are families regardless of how different they may be….