For eight years, I’ve had an ongoing issue of “someone being late to their own event.”
Because of this continuing “tardy” issue, I’m updating Late Fees.
My Texas Twins Events Team and I are often booked at numerous venues on the same day and I’m always booked during the week at Texas Prison Weddings with many of my Prison Weddings being “stacked” weddings at the same unit or at several units on the same day.
My weekends are booked up to a year in advance and I’m on staff at numerous venues so, to say “my schedule is tight” would be an understatement.Due to tardiness ruining not only my schedule, but occasionally my Teams schedules too, late fees are listed at Texas Twins Events and titled as ” Late Fees.” Every 15 minutes of tardiness is $25. Why? Because having a Client late to their Event often causes me (or my staff) to be in a hurry to get to the next Event.
I’m OCD and operate on strict timelines. While I allow plenty of time for the service I or my staff had been hired for, timing the distance from one location to the next is often based on the time spent at each other location.
A Tardy Party can and is a problem for scheduling. Since people are unpredictable, I traditionally double the amount of time necessary for me to be on site at an Event.
My twin sister, Cindy will tell you that no wedding has ever started on time and it’s not far from true. Prison Weddings as well as Military Weddings both operate on strict schedules.
I’ve never had a Military Client arrive late to an Event and suspect that I never will. Military members and families compromise a fairly large part of my Event base and there is never any drama.
This “drama free predictability” at Military Events is a rarity in my line of work where I’ve had more than a few guests at an Event can get drunk and unruly or the groomsmen get into a fist fight and arrested.
If alcohol is being served at your Event I always suggest paying for security ALWAYS. People are unpredictable.
People who have been drinking are REALLY unpredictable. Inlaws and Outlaws are the new family you gain when you marry. Some are a gift while others are a curse.
Everyone has that one relative that is embarrassing in public including, me. Even I cannot hide a few “loose wheels” of surprising behavior from one of my family members and generally speaking, most other families can’t either.
A few years ago, I had one bride who was not only Tardy to her own wedding by over an hour and a half but, also lied to get a Police Discount although she had NO AFFILIATION with a Police Organization.
By being late to her own wedding and lying to get a Police Discount, the Bride caused me to be nearly be late to a fundraiser I was scheduled to do following the Tardy Party Wedding.
The second Event involved a family who had lost everything in a fire. They had nothing and when they contacted me to help them, I literally kicked myself because the Diva had already been booked with a Police Discount.
Ordinarily, it would’ve worked with the first wedding stating on time at 1PM (I was on site at 12) and the second Event at 3:30 and only 22 minutes from the first Event.
To pull off the Fundraiser on time since I was also doing the decorations, at 2:45PM, I sent an Emergency Text to my son and his wife to unload my SUV and take it to the second location.
I have to think on my feet when a Client is late. It’s like a house of cards caving in if I don’t problem solve the rest of my day. Late fees are in place for a good reason. When I’m scheduled to do 2-3 Events on the same day, it’s a juggling act. Because of this, I often limit myself to 2 Events on the same day and split my team up to handle other Events.
We have two photography teams because someone is always with me at an Event and the other Team often booked at another. With five Officiants on staff, you would think my schedule would lighten up but, it hasn’t because Clients always choose me first and only after explaining that I can’t take on new Clients but, have other Officiants to handle their Religious Ceremony of service do they choose another Officiant.
I can’t be everywhere at the same time so please be aware that my schedule is often heavy especially from April-September on weekends.
After dealing with the Tardy Party Diva, I had my web designer, Michael update all Wendy Wortham Websites to include Clauses addressing Bridezillas and/or Guestzillas, Late Fees and the time I’m on site are all addressed on my Contract. I will not work any event without a Contract.
I no longer wait nearly two hours on a Client either. It’s actually happened twice. At the other wedding, the Groom was two hours late and, I went to find him and drove him to the wedding myself.
When you put as much time and organization into an Event as I do, you are far more determined to “pull it off.” If that Groom was having second thoughts, he should’ve told me in the first place.
My entire staff was at his Event and after having a stern conversation about not showing up, he decided to get in my SUV and go to the wedding.
If you don’t want to get married, tell someone before your wedding. Don’t wait until the day of the wedding to do it. Since I’m always asked if I’ve ever had a Bride or Groom fail to appear, the answer is no. However, on a handful of occasions, I have had a few nervous moments of it happening.
I allow for one hour on site if I’m only Officiating your Event at a venue, park or other location. If I’m coordinating AND Officiating, I do not book other Events on the same day.
Coordinating an Event can often take weeks or months prior to the Event date. Because of this, a flat fee and hourly fee option exist.
Please remember that I’m juggling other Clients and don’t take it personally if I take a pass. I bump Clients on a regular basis to other Vendors when my staff can’t take them on.
Years ago, when I had a difficult or needy client calling at all hours of the day, I sucked it up but, I’m far more selective with Clients now.
Coordinating an Event requires me to spend a lot of time meeting a Client and communicating with them which takes me away from my other obligations.
I rarely take on new Clients needing Coordination “In Season” unless they have been referred by a previous Client.
My reason for this is that I generally have less than three months to handle everything and, I’m usually creating the decorations too as well as orchestrating the rehearsal and occasionally, Officiating the ceremony.
Unless you’ve worked as an Event Planner, you will never know the amount of work (or drama) involved.
It’s not like selling a car and going home- the “sale” goes on for months and often Inlaws or Outlaws butt in during the process.
Friends and relatives of Clients are often the “drama” part. I can handle a Client calling me a bit too much but, when their friends and relatives start calling with suggestions or ideas- it’s a bit too much.
I’m selective for a reason, my husband likes me to come home happy and I don’t “have” to work. This luxury gives me the ability to pick and choose Clients I enjoy working with. I enjoy working and have been working since I was 15 years old.
If you are requesting a discount for Active or a Retired Military, Police, Fire or First Responder, I require proof of your Affiliation as does any other Vendor.
LBGT Discounts DO NOT require verification or validation for obvious reasons. Half of all Clients from Texas Twins Events, Texas Prison Weddings & The Pawning Planners are LBGT. We support numerous organizations including our friends in the LBGT Community.
If you cannot afford Event Services, I often sponsor numerous Event Requests each year NOT related to Texas Prison Weddings.
My reasons for this are distance, time and wear and tear on my vehicle to a Texas Prison.
I live in Westover Hills and therefore am at least 1 hour from the nearest TDCJ Unit and at least 3-5 hours from most Units of the Texas Department Of Criminal Justice Prison.
Bartering Prison Weddings is an option but, SPONSORING a Texas Prison Wedding is OUT OF THE QUESTION as I’m often on the road for 6 to 12 hours and inside the Unit an hour with a brief photo session with Clients taking at least an hour.
Sponsored Events are within the DFW Area ONLY and REQUIRE an Appraisal Appointment in order to evaluate whether you are truly needy or just want free services. The reason for this is experience.
Over the years, I’ve sponsored hundreds of Events and, on the rare occasion, discovered that a Client had lied to me about their financial situation.
You can imagine my shock to find a social media post about a trip to Europe from a former Sponsored Client who had claimed to be poor.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars to Sponsor Clients who actually were needy so, if you aren’t and claim to be, a visit to your home gives me far more insight.
If you are driving a new Mercedes, you aren’t poor. If you are living in a $350k home, you are not poor.
For years, every Client who came to me claimed to have no money. To get around “this claim,” I merged Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners.
By creating a Barter Option, all the folks claiming to have no money can offer something else of value. Surprisingly, when prospects realize that a Sponsored Event involves a home visit, they find the resources.
Prior to creating The Pawning Planners nearly every email from someone claiming to have no money became a real problem for me. A few requests were fairly unique as my dedicated readers already know.
If your fence fell down, I will find panels and poles but, I WILL NOT buy you a new fence. I teach folks how to fish but, please “don’t ask me for an apple and expect me to bake the pie.” #Cindyism Quotes used on Pawning Planners Apparel are based on our experiences with Redneck Flair. My twin sister has a million of hilarious yet truthful Quotes.
The option to barter is listed on my Texas Twins Events site and families with no money upload a photo and add their Event Request.
The Pawning Planners was a real cash saver for me and my kind heart. I felt sorry for everyone who contacted me for YEARS. Based on what they told me, I took their word to be true and, this wasn’t always the case.
My word is my reputation but, not everyone is honest with me and a few people have taken advantage of me.
I created The Pawning Planners to specifically address all of the “I want this but, I don’t have any money” folks.
Putting some skin in the game for Clients who “heard” that we will help anyone for free really was a Game Changer. Sometimes, people hear what they want to hear.
No one helps everyone for free and we don’t either. We aren’t rich and have bills and expenses to pay just like anyone else.
Cindy and I both go to Appraisal Appointments for Pawning Planners Clients or a request for a Sponsored Event Clients home to evaluate whether they have anything of value or not.
These meetings are referred to as “Appraisal Appointments.” Sponsored or Bartered Events REQUIRE an Appraisal Appointment.
It doesn’t take us too long to find out who is lying and more importantly, who isn’t about their finances. The Pawning Planners Client base compromises about 10% of all bookings.
Due to Brides or Grooms arriving late to Units, Texas Prison Weddings with Reverend Wendy Wortham will now charge $50 for each 15 minutes of tardiness at your TDCJ Unit Wedding.
My reasons for this will be explained in this blog. Being tardy when an entire Unit are accommodating your Prison Wedding is unacceptable and, your tardiness upsets the entire Unit.
When an entire staff at a Prison are graciously allowing you to enjoy a wedding, you must be on time and respectful of the staff’s time too.
Do not wear revealing clothing to your Texas Prison Wedding or bring children. Weddings are not Visitation. Unless the Unit has Approved you to bring a guest, you can’t. If you aren’t allowed to wear your wedding dress to the wedding, you can change clothes after leaving for your photo shoot with me.
Rules are in place at Texas Prison Weddings for a reason and, I expect you to follow them as does TDCJ Personnel. Be respectful and courteous at the Unit.
Unexpected calls from a Warden or Chaplain asking me about a Wedding or Client I’m unaware of continue to be a surprise. “Pulling my name off the internet” is a bad idea but, it continues to occur which is one of the reasons I’m addressing the issue. Units have your name when calling me to verify your I60. If I don’t know your name, it’s a real “Red Flag.”
Any person I’ve emailed with or spoken to is warned against using my name without my conscent. Finding out about this misuse of my credentials is from a phone call with the Chaplain is happening far too much lately.
There is a right way and wrong way to do things. Follow the rules at Units and we will get along just fine. Protocol is essential to Texas Prison Weddings. There are no cutting corners along the way and, you aren’t in charge of the process, the Warden and Chaplain are.
Although I’ve warned Brides and Grooms about being late, it continues to happen for a few. The problem (it’s a big one) is that the entire Unit is accommodating your Texas Prison Wedding and by being late, you offset the Prison Staff’s schedule.
Last Sunday I took a call regarding a date for TDCJ George Beto Unit. The caller told me “we were scheduled for Thursday.” The “surprise” was that I had no idea who she was.
When you email or talk to as many people as I do, you don’t keep records of “general”conversations, you keep records of Booked Clients. If you are not a Booked Client you know you aren’t and, I do too.
I don’t delete business emails in order to reference them when needed. Occasionally, I forward correspondence to Chaplains regarding the folks that (for some reason) thought listing me was okay. These emails clearly show any and all conversations I’ve had with you and none of them contain an Agreement.
After quickly double checking my email and found that there were over 17 emails regarding marrying at Beto Unit from different people over the past year. None of whom had a current Contract with me.
I answer over 100 emails regarding information about Texas Prison Weddings every month along with daily phone calls requesting more information about Texas Prison Weddings.
Many of these “prospects” are planning a wedding down the road and contact me later to come to terms. Simply because you’ve called or emailed me doesn’t make you my Client.
Everyone interested in a Texas Prison Wedding email me because I’m on top of Google and effectively, the first Authorized Officiant they find. Others prospects call me but, until we have an Agreement, you aren’t my Client.
Do not list my name as your Authorized Prison Wedding Officiant if we do not have an Agreement in place under ANY circumstances.
I called the Chaplain regarding the Beto Unit and was told there was no paperwork for TDCJ Wedding scheduled on Thursday.
Like me, he was confused as to who had given her a date. I immediately contacted the Bride and told her there were a few problems.
First, the Bride had put my name on a government document without notifying me. This continues to happen and because “you’ve pulled my name from the internet or even spoken or emailed me” doesn’t constitute an Agreement. Everyday I speak with or email someone and I can assure you that all of these people know they are not a Client. I am advising you now that unless we have an Agreement in place, you are not my client.
Falsifying your I60 to Request A Marriage Ceremony with my name is never a good idea. Why? Because the Chaplain and/or Warden often call to verify the details with me. Your Texas Prison Wedding will be canceled without an Approved Officiant.
Texas Prison Units don’t have time for shenanigans and neither do I. Simply because you decided to erroneously list my name on the I60 doesn’t mean I’m going to just show up. I won’t.
A few months ago, the Chaplain at TDCJ Hodge Unit left me a message regarding a scheduled wedding. The problem? I had no idea who she was and had to search emails to find out what was going on.
After emailing back and forth, I called the Chaplain at TDCJ Hodge Unit and advised him that the Bride (like so many others) had used my name after finding it on an internet search without notifying me and worst of all, having no Agreement with me.
The end result was that the Wedding at Hodge Unit was canceled. There are no Weddings at Prisons WITHOUT an Approved Officiant. I have no idea what the lady using my name expected to happen on the Hodge Unit Wedding. That I would just drive four hours one way? That’s not how this works.
Please do not attempt to get permission to marry at a Texas Prison using my Authorized name without my permission and consent.
Many Units now REQUIRE my Social Security Number to ensure that we have an Agreement in place. You will not find this information anywhere on the internet.
My Social Security number and Drivers License are on file with the Courts in Huntsville as well as on file at all Texas Department Of Criminal Justice computers. Yes. They have all my information including contact information.
Both Wardens and Chaplains have my email and phone number and yes, they call to confirm information regarding a Texas Prison Wedding with me. It happens more than anyone realizes.
Lying on an I60 about your Authorized and Approved Officiant is even worse than being late to your own wedding with an entire Prison waiting on you along with, me. I’m NEVER LATE.
Now back to TDCJ Beto Unit in Tennessee Colony, the Bride who chose to list me on her I60 called again saying “They won’t give me a date unless you talk to them and confirm you will be there.” Hmm, this surprises her but, it shouldn’t have. I had already informed the Chaplain that I finally found the correspondence but certainly had not retained her as a Client. The Prospect was surprised the Chaplain wanted to speak with me first but, this is how Prison Weddings roll. They are “by the book.”
Of course the Chaplain was going to confirm with me prior to scheduling a time. Why this surprises Prison Brides or Grooms confuses me. The Prison is trying to accommodate your request. It’s a good idea to be honest and, I strongly suggest that you are.
Due to the issues of the prospect at Beto Unit, Chaplain suggested moving the Wedding to April to “sort it out.” Since my schedule is already full for April, I committed to Thursday and called the Bride to instruct her that she would need to make a commitment to me prior to driving to TDCJ Beto Unit. She did which is why I was at Beto Unit waiting on her.
Apparently, the Bride had made several phone calls that I was (most assuredly) unaware of and, effectively received a date and time at TDCJ Beto Unit for her marriage ceremony. The Chaplain also told me how disruptive these phone calls were.
Had I known that earlier, I would have never taken her on as a Client. I don’t like drama and I like Diva’s even less. Often, the first time I meet a Client for a Prison Wedding is at the Unit so, I know very little about them. If they’ve been “acting up” at a Unit, I have no idea about it until someone tells me.
Complaining about a Warden or Chaplain when your fiancée is incarcerated is NEVER a good idea. I don’t like surprises and especially surprises about Clients who have issues with TDCJ Personnel.
Please do not disrespect Texas Prison Employees for any reason whatsoever. If I hear about you having a bad attitude, I will refund you immediately and drop you as a Client. Your “bad behavior” reflects (ironically) on me.
I had made plans to meet the Beto Bride at the Tennessee Colony Church and ride together to TDCJ Beto Unit Thursday. The problem? Her phone had been shut off. Unable to communicate with her, I waited from 12:15-1:15 for her to show up then left the meeting location to head to the Unit. I assumed she would be late and, I was right.
I arrived at TDCJ Beto Unit at 1:45 due to navigation lady sending me in the wrong direction for twenty miles. P.S. this is why I’m always early. Navigation doesn’t work well in the country. I leave 1-2 hours earlier than necessary to ensure I’m never late.
Arriving on site at TDCJ Beto Unit alone, I told the Tower guard that I was here for a 2PM Wedding. As usual, the guard asked where my client was. Being unable to call her, I admitted that I had no idea. Prison Units prefer that I arrive with my Client which was why I had planned to meet my Beto Bride and drive her into the Unit but, I can’t control her phone being turned off.
Having your phone turned off on your Texas Prison Wedding Day is a problem for me. I must know where you are to honestly advise Prison Personnel of your ETA.
At 2:35PM, still waiting at the guard shack, the Bride finally arrived. Perhaps because she was late after calling in complaints about the Unit, we waited. Being “bumped” because a client is late literally ruins my schedule. I was three hours from home (due to road construction) and my dog was waiting for me to walk him.
At approximately 3:08PM, we left Beto Unit and the Bride was disappointed with her wedding photos. Texas Prison Guards are not professional photographers. Because of this, I offer complimentary photos as a courtesy and bring a wide variety of “props.” Texas Prison Photos are not free. Bring three dollars in quarters for each photo in a ziploc bag as you would at Visitation.
If you are unhappy with your Prison Photos, please don’t complain in front of the staff. They are doing the best they can to accommodate you. I’m adding a sample of the TDCJ Beto Unit Wedding to better show you. The Bride was unhappy that the Grooms “head was cut off in the photos.” Unit photos are a courtesy and, not all Texas Prisons ALLOW photos.
If you want a photo of you and your spouse, the ONLY way to get one is at the Prison.Now, I will add the photos taken after leaving TDCJ Beto Unit to give you a better idea of why I include Complimentary Photography. After leaving a Unit, regardless of how a Client acted inside, I “shake it off” and head to a few locations for photos.
All Texas Prison Wedding Clients LOVE impromptu photos and enjoy posing with loaned bouquets and other items from my Texas Twins Treasures Inventory.Being late for your own Event also effects my ability to spend 1-2 hours with you for your photography session after the wedding. Finding a great place for photos hear a Prison isn’t easy. I’m adding a video of how it goes– Tennessee Colony Photo Shoot.
Because my Bride was late to TDCJ Beto Unit, our photo time was cut short in order for me to drive home and arrive before 7PM.
I had initially left home Thursday morning at 10:30AM in order to get to Tennessee Colony and meet my Bride so, as you can see, a Texas Prison Wedding actually is an “all day Event” due to driving and other aspects.
If I have instructed you to meet me at a location prior to the wedding at a certain time, it’s essential that you do. Whether your phone has been shut off or not, I WILL NOT BE LATE CHECKING IN to ANY UNIT for ANYONE.
Checking in at a Unit by arriving early is more important to me than an entire Unit assuming that I WAS LATE because I was waiting on YOU.
If you do not arrive or return phone calls at our scheduled meeting place, I will leave the meeting place and go to the Unit alone.
Luckily, my Bride for TDCJ Estes Unit was a breath of fresh air after all the drama on Thursday in Tennessee Colony!
My schedule prevented me from meeting her at the bus station since she was arriving at 8AM as I was orchestrating a rehearsal in Fort Worth but, immediately after finishing up, I headed to Greyhound to pick her up at 10AM.
Driving a Client to a Texas Prison Wedding is unusual but, I often assist with transportation issues.
Because my Bride didn’t want to get her wedding dress dirty on the bus, I took her to breakfast and then, to my home to change clothes.
I know a few of you are wondering about my safety so, I will once again assure you that at no time am I ever concerned about a Client hurting me.
I’ve been in a few unusual situations over the years but never to the point I was concerned for my safety. Pawning Parties, Rent Parties and even Prison Weddings REQUIRE me to meet complete strangers everyday.
All of my Clients are friendly at Appraisal Appointments, meetings or Events.
After all we are helping them when no one else would. Many of my Clients are turned away by “traditional” vendors. We will help anyone regardless of their background, lifestyle or income. My goal to “change the wedding and events industry one family at a time has never changed.”
Imagine what would happen if you called any other Vendor requesting services and added “by the way I don’t have ANY money.” My family and I helped those people and worked out a way to do it that not only benefits us but also the Clients.
I operate four unique businesses that work together which is why year after year, my staff and I stay busy and don’t need to pay for advertising to do it. I haven’t advertised in years.
Texas Twins Treasures sells refurbished Flips taken in trade through The Pawning Planners. Texas Twins Events is my low cost People Over Profit based business. The Pawning Planners take trades in exchange for event services for clients who cannot afford to pay for services. Texas Prison Weddings is an extension of Texas Twins Events.
Arriving at TDCJ Estes Unit twenty minutes early for our 1PM Wedding Friday, I escorted my client inside to check us in. Lutniva had a 4:30 departure time at Greyhound and we were on a fairly tight schedule.
Sadly, Estes Unit had several meetings with prospective employers in the Visitation Area which is beautiful. Because of this, we waited 25 minutes for the Unit to locate another area for the ceremony.
At 1:30 with my client panicking about getting to her bus on time some 50 minutes from the Unit, I told her we would be okay and to stay calm.
At 1:37, we were escorted into the Unit which made us both nervous to a training room with three students inside. When I tell you an entire Unit is accommodating your request- know that they are.
While the location was “unusual,” the three students stepped out to give us a little privacy and my favorite guard moved tables and chairs to give us space and were friendly to both my Client and I. Throughout Prisons across Texas, I have always been treated with kindness by Prison Personnel.
Since traditionally, the camera is the same at Units, with everything else going on, the guard was using a different camera and, my Bride didn’t leave with the photos she desperately wanted. I asked the secretary to email them to me so that I could text then to the Bride.
Leaving Estes Unit, we literally were “on the dash” as I wanted to get a few nice photos with her so she had something to take home on the bus. Here they are..Since Lutniva was hungry, I drove through a Jack In The Box and bought her lunch for her ride back to Houston on Greyhound. Shocking right? Wrong. I’m different than every other vendor I have ever met. I listen to Clients stories and I care about them.
I didn’t want my Bride returning to Houston on any empty stomach and although I had bought her breakfast at 10:30, it was a long day for both of us. Riding a bus home hungry isn’t fun for anyone.
Driving my Client to a Unit and back? Why not? Believe it or not, my personal touches and Client Referrals are the reason that I haven’t advertised in years.
Client Referrals keep us booked and so busy that we often turn away business. If I can’t “work it” into my schedule, I bump new business to my twin sister, son, my daughter in law, my stepdaughter or niece.
The only service that only I can perform are Prison Weddings and floral design. Anything else based on scheduling can (most often) be handled by my team unless they too are booked.
She was so thankful for her wedding day and although we had a few hiccups with Unit Photos, I’m certain the Chaplain will email them to me shortly.
Respecting TDCJ Personnel is an essential aspect of having an incarcerated spouse. I cannot stress this enough. My family were compromised of Navy, Air Force and Army. Everyone I speak to is ma’am or sir.
I’m never late to anything because I believe that being late is “stealing time.” You cannot repay time to anyone and, it’s a priceless commodity…