I was thrilled to hear from my TDCJ Estes Unit Bride, Priscilla that her husband is being released in December.
Nearly all of my former TDCJ (Texas Department Of Criminal Justice) clients opt for a Vow Renewal in order to have a “traditional ceremony.”
These Bookings are on a first come first serve basis due to my schedule if clients choose to have me Officiate and Coordinate.
Simply put, a vow renewal is a way to celebrate your marriage. Perhaps you’ve made it to 2, 5, 10, 25 or 50 years together and you want the world to know you’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Maybe you want to reaffirm your commitment to each other after a rough period in your relationship. There’s no wrong reason to renew.
How Soon Can You Renew?
A reaffirmation can take place anytime after your actual wedding–from the next day to 30 years late. Some couples don’t want to renew too soon or too often, while others do it every year (seriously!).
Many couples host their own renewals, and some have their children do the honors. One trend we love is the couple’s closest friends, perhaps the original maid of honor and best man, choosing to host the event. And don’t feel like you have to find a secular event hall or an outdoor space to hold the ceremony–many traditional halls of worship make wonderful, meaningful venues.
Where Should It Be?
You can renew your vows in a house of worship, at home, on the beach, in a pretty garden or park, on a mountaintop or on a cruise–basically, anywhere that has sentimental meaning for both of you.
Keeping the cost of your Vow Renewal low would mean using a free location such as a park, backyard or other location.If I married you at a TDCJ Unit, the only photos of you and your incarcerated spouse together were taken inside the Prison.
After leaving the Unit Wedding, if you want Bridal Photos, we find a location near the Unit to take photos with loaned inventory from me that include bouteniers, bouquets, bubbles, props and other items to make your photo shoot fun. The missing element to these outdoor photos is actually, the inmate.
When I married Priscilla and Joe, the ceremony took place in the Visitation Area. These photos are often not as clear and “picture perfect” as our location shoots are.
Two years ago, I decided to offer complimentary photography to ensure that my booked TDCJ brides or grooms had an opportunity to feel like it was a real wedding day while having fun on location with complimentary photos to remember their day.
Please note that complimentary photos are ONLY offered to TDCJ Clients and/or Pawning Planners Clients as a courtesy. Clients booked through Texas Twins Events DO NOT benefit from free photography and/or photos.
Why? Texas Twins Events Clients can afford to pay for photography. The circumstances of TDCJ Clients and Pawning Planners Clients are significantly different based on unique situations for TDCJ Clients and Pawning Planners Clients are bartering Event Services which is why they cannot afford to pay for photography since they cannot afford to pay for services.
Bartered Event Services must be agreed on at least 30 days prior to the Event.
Prison Weddings aren’t “fun.” Why? They are very structured and everyone is nervous due to the location. Occasionally, the bride isn’t allowed to wear a wedding dress. Because of this, many brides change clothes after their wedding as Trishelle did.
TDCJ Michael Unit would only allow jeans and a T-Shirt for Trishelle’s Wedding Ceremony.
The wedding photos were remarkably different from the bridal photos for a few reasons. First, the clothing. Second, her friends and family joined her and borrowed inventory from me to make the photo shoot fun, and third, her husband was not included. Here are the before and after photos of Trishelle.Trishelle brought two dresses and changed beside our suvs from her formal wedding dress to her informal wedding dress.Last night, my latest Michael Unit bride asked what was allowed and what wasn’t. Clothing must be conservative at a Unit Wedding.
While some Units allow a wedding dress, others don’t. Privately owned Units have different guidelines than State Owned Prisons.
Next month, I’m at TDCJ MCCONNELL Unit which has a bit of a reputation. I’m nervous about my first visit there but, I’m always nervous walking into Maximum Security Units. Who isn’t? Wikipedia’s description of MCCONNELL Unit (yes, I always google new Units) isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy so, I’m adding the link that describes most inmates as having forty five years to life sentences.
No. I never ask why an inmate is in the “system” since many of you are wondering about it. Here’s the link– TDCJ MCCONNELL UNIT.
I’m also at the TDCJ Holliday Transfer Unit in September located in Huntsville, Texas. Huntsville is “known” for Prisons and, has several located within the city.
Much like Tennessee Colony, Huntsville has numerous Units. Here’s the link to the Holliday Transfer Unit– TDCJ HOLLIDAY TRANSFER UNIT HUNTSVILLE, TX.
Tennessee Colony AND Huntsville both have numerous TDCJ Prisons located within the city limits.
I’ve had so many requests for TDCJ Polunsky Unit that I’m now stacking clients at this Death Row TDCJ Prison Unit.
On Thanksgiving Day 1998, when seven condemned prisoners escaped from the Ellis Unit, security measures were updated.
Six of the Inmates were quickly captured and the seventh committed suicide soon after leaving the prison, but the security breach led the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to crack down. Prison officials suspected the seven planned their escape during work duty.
So in 1999, when the agency moved death row about an hour east from Huntsville to the more modern Polunsky Unit in Livingston, department officials eliminated the work program and ensured that death row inmates were isolated.
Most states keep death row prisoners in permanent solitary confinement. But Texas is one of two states—Oklahoma is the other—that doesn’t allow death row inmates to watch television, according to a survey by the Northwestern University Law School.
Eleven states permit contact visits with death row prisoners. In Texas, contact visits of Death Row Inmates are never allowed. For more information on Polunsky, visit this link– ALLAN B. POLUNSKY UNIT.
Since I’ve been asked, no Prisoner is executed at Polunsky. Prisoners are Transfered to The Walls Unit in Huntsville as their final destination —TDCJ Walls Unit.
I strongly suggest that ALL of my TDCJ Clients arrive early AND appropriately dressed to ANY TDCJ Unit Wedding Ceremony as per your TDCJ Contract with me.
If you are a Polunsky Client- I cannot stress being early for your Prison Wedding enough.
While other Units may be lenient about tardiness or offer clothing items to cover you up if you are not within the dress code, Polunsky will cancel your wedding.
If you are a “stacked client” at a TDCJ Unit Prison Wedding, you MUST ARRIVE EARLY as being tardy can and will result in your wedding being cancelled or rescheduled.
I’m always asked about Death Row Inmates. The truth is I know very little about the Prisoner and far more about the “person on the outside” who hired me as I do not at any time prior to the wedding speak to an Inmate. Only upon entering a Unit do I ever speak to the Inmate. Any and all contact is handled by the person who hired me from the “free world.”
The Texas Tribune published information regarding Death Row Inmates to those who are curious. Here’s the link– Texas Tribune-Texas Death Row Prisoners.
I’m hoping to have a little free time while in Huntsville, to visit The Texas Prison Museum. Why? I’m a bit of a history buff and love museums and libraries alike.
The Warden at TDCJ STILES UNIT Unit had a cafeteria smock sent to the intake area for one Bride to wear into the Prison. Why? The clothing my bride wore into the Unit wasn’t within the Visitation Dress Code.
My Bride was upset regarding covering up prior to walking into the Unit but, Wardens make the Rules and wearing the cafeteria smock was a MUST in that particular situation. It wasn’t a request.
I’m adding a photo of my Stiles Unit Bride to give you a better idea of the problems below. The Warden was concerned about the “cut” of the dress and it being transparent or see through which made the dress an actual “two fer.”
Once inside the area for the ceremony, I asked if the Bride could remove the cafeteria smock for her wedding ceremony since my Bride was more than a little upset about wearing it.
Thankfully, the Warden allowed her to remove the smock for the ceremony only and put it back on to walk through the Unit when leaving. Being “sexy” at a Prison is strictly prohibited.These white spandex dresses are becoming quite popular but, they aren’t within the Visitation Dress Code set forth by TDCJ.
Also, white is sheer and can pose a problem with the Warden Approving or Denying your Wedding at the Unit based on your attire or give you something to wear to effectively cover up that you will be upset about.
I love to laugh and my sister is usually cracking me up. Now and then, Clients send me something funny.
One Client used the Dos Equis Man to send me a funny meme. I laughed so hard that I posted it on my Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham FB Page and Instagram.
When you walk into Prisons to Officiate Weddings on a regular basis, you take humor where you can find it because nothing is funny about Prison. Nothing.
You will never find me dressed in anything revealing, low cut or sheer. I dress for Prison Weddings as if I were dressing for Court in a suit and usually kitten heels but occasionally cowboy boots based on the Unit and often, my mood. After all, I do live in Texas and have numerous pairs of boots to perfectly match my western suits.
My Estes Unit Bride wore a similar white spandex dress to my Stiles Unit Brides only it was short. Quite short and even stretched or pulled down, far from three inches above the knee. The minute I saw the dress, I knew it would be an issue.
I know what’s acceptable and what isn’t because I’m in Prisons on a regular basis. I actually told her flat out that she couldn’t marry in the dress she had brought from Houston. No kidding ya all, I hate surprises which is why I pack numerous jackets, skirts, scarves and other items in the event someone needs to borrow clothes for their Prison Wedding.
My contract specifically addresses clothing and conduct regarding your TDCJ Prison Wedding. Why? Because I’ve seen it all and, I’ve seen one Bride arrested.
You don’t want to spend your honeymoon in jail and I don’t want you to either. Please remember that Prisons aren’t the time to Party. No club clothes, no intoxicated Brides or Grooms arriving to meet me and, no surprises. Please. I’m serious about this. Common sense can solve a lot of chaos.
I have a few Rules and Reasons for my Rules are as follows: “Refer to every employee at a Unit as Sir or Ma’am and treat the staff with respect.”
Why? Because as my client, your behavior reflects on me. I have earned the respect of Wardens and Chaplains because 1. I’m from a Military Family and use manners on a daily basis and 2. I never disrespect anyone for any reason and 3. I’m early and ready to work which means I’m reliable, respectful, honest and dependable.
Being late to your Prison Wedding is disrespectful to the entire Unit who have gone to great lengths to accommodate your Prison Wedding Request. Please be courteous and sober as well as appropriately dressed and we won’t have any problems.
First let’s take look at my TDCJ Estes Unit Brides photos without my loaned bolero jacket. This ensemble would have never been deemed appropriate.
Why? Her dress was outside the visitation dress code. I always wear a suit to TDCJ Weddings. My top will cover any cleavage. Modesty is essential at a TDCJ Wedding.
I’m adding the Visitation Dress Code Guidelines for TDCJ Clients unaware that the same rules apply to Wedding Ceremonies as they do for visitation– TDCJ Visitation Dress Code.
Kissing is closed mouthed. No inappropriate contact is allowed. Couples can hold hands and hug with a simple kiss after the ceremony.
My first Prison Wedding at Estes Unit with Misty a few years ago had no photos because back then, many Units weren’t offering photos at Prison Weddings. Even today, privately owned Units DO NOT OFFER PHOTOS please be aware of this.
Misty wore a wedding dress to the Unit Wedding but, she also borrowed the same white bolero jacket because her dress was deemed “too revealing.”
Misty had a bridal photo shoot with me and wore the wedding dress that didn’t seem to be too revealing but, we don’t make the rules on what’s appropriate or inappropriate- TDCJ Wardens do.
Bridal shoots involve several wardrobe changes when requested. We want you to be thrilled with your photos. When I married Priscilla at Estes, I had two weddings on the same day scheduled. Many Units “stack” my bookings as a courtesy due to travel.
If your TDCJ Wedding is “stacked,” we will do a number of photos with you and even with your new friend (or friends) marrying on the same day at the same Unit with you like we did with both brides near Estes Unit.
I perform up to five weddings at Units on the same day. Due to travel and distance, I don’t schedule more than five in order to make it home.
I don’t post photos of all of my TDCJ Clients if the client has asked me not to do so in order to respect their privacy. Not everyone wants the public (or their family) to know that they are marrying an inmate.
Priscilla and Joe have booked us for their Vow Renewal December 5, 2019. We couldn’t be happier for our latest booking and a celebration of love. I’m officiating and Coordinating with Cindy while Leigh Ann (my niece) handles the photography.
Yes, yes, I realize that other Officiants Event Coordinators and Photographers are shocked at our prices.
I don’t HAVE to work. I don’t HAVE to take new clients. I work because I enjoy working and my family enjoy the additional income they earn by working for me and meeting new clients.
My husband earns a very good living and my desire to create a business that helped people wasn’t to get rich. By creating these unique businesses, I gave my entire family an opportunity to earn additional income.
The “Rules” for four generations of my family branching out or taking on clients through any of my businesses were that the fees stayed affordable.
We haven’t had a price jump in nearly eight years because quite frankly, by being affordable, we haven’t needed to.
If you have hired Cindy and I as well as additional Team Members for your event, they often “hitch a ride” with either Cindy or I to keep their expenses low.
I’m normally the driver and therefore, cover travel expenses unless flights are involved. If flight and hotel expenses are incurred, travel expenses for Texas Twins Events clients are included.
Due to my schedule and since I “don’t ONLY book TDCJ clients,” it’s best to book far in advance of your event to ensure my availability.
I’ve performed so many Prison Weddings over the years that my brides now often text or email a photo to ensure they are within the necessary moderate guidelines. Prison Weddings now take up 60-70% of my bookings.
While other members of my staff are regularly booked at “traditional events,” I work during the week traveling to Prisons, meeting new clients from Texas Twins Events or bookings at venues I am on staff at or meeting clients booking through The Pawning Planners at Appraisal Appointments with my twin sister or refurbishing trades taken through The Pawning Planners that are effectively Flipped at Texas Twins Treasures.
I.E. I’m more than a little busy with existing clients which is why Coordinator requests are only accepted via a referral.
In the time it takes me to coordinate ONE event, I can easily perform 40-60 TDCJ Weddings, Traditional Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms and other Events.
Tying up my schedule for one client simply doesn’t make sense to me. Clients booking me as a Coordinator benefit by having two for the price of one since Cindy and I always work together. I’m very picky about taking on Coordinator Requests based solely on the amount of time and stress involved.
I rarely take on new clients seeking an Event Coordinator based on the number of clients I’m always juggling year round since TDCJ Weddings don’t follow a “season.”
Refurbishing trades taken through The Pawning Planners also keeps Cindy and I busy year round as well. Cindy and I make deliveries of refurbished Pawning Planners trades for Texas Twins Treasures during the week as our weekends are booked months in advance. Deliveries are worked around existing commitments and have a fee associated. If you wish to pick up items in your own, please schedule with me in advance.
Whether clients are booking though Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners and/or deliveries for Texas Twins Treasures as well as bookings at other venues I’m on staff at and, there is only one of me so, if it’s a short notice booking, you may be “bumped” to my twin sister, son, niece or father Officiating your wedding or Vow Renewal or other Religious Service or Ceremony.
We offer a wide array of services including Estate Liquidation, Rent Parties and even Princess Characters for Birthday Parties.
Many of you have asked about photo cds. All event photos are available on a cd for $25. We do not sell photos as I believe everyone should have their photos either via email or text at no charge or on a photo cd. Photo cds are quite popular. You can print or save to computer as we do not copyright any event photos.
Yes, I realize that booking a photographer for $75 is FAR BELOW industry standards. My reasons for our price points being low are to help anyone at prices they CAN AFFORD. I know what everyone else is charging, I just don’t care.
There is a reason that our fees haven’t gone up over the years and the reason is me. No one else was willing to reduce their rates so I created a business that would start low and stay there. Sure, I could raise our prices but why? We are booked out because we are affordable.
Since this question frequently comes up, I will adddress it as well, “What if my fiancée is behind glass at visits? Can I touch him at the wedding ceremony?”
If the Prisoner is behind glass, he or she will REMAIN behind glass during a TDCJ wedding ceremony.
The inmate behind glass can both hear and understand the ceremony and what is being said. Prison Weddings are a legal commitment meaning that once your license is filed, you are LEGALLY MARRIED.
Please be aware of this as a marriage requires a divorce whether it took place at a Prison or outside Prison Walls.
If you are uncertain about making such a legal and binding commitment, you shouldn’t be getting married.
Every Prison Bride that I have married thought long and hard before deciding to marry. None of my TDCJ Prison Brides or Grooms entered into a Prison Wedding lightly. They knew the relationship would face expensive struggles as the person “on the outside.”
It’s not easy to be a Prison Bride or Groom. It’s expensive and lonely. If you are choosing to marry an inmate, you realize that love has no bounds. You may feel alone in your decision and have little or no support from friends and family members who cannot understand your choices.
Give yourself time to evaluate whether a Prison Marriage is right for you.
I never “planned” on Officiating Prison Weddings. I never “planned” on bartering Event Services either. Many of you never “planned” on marrying in a Texas Prison.
Your anxiety or nervousness inside a Prison marrying a Prisoner are to be expected. All of us are nervous. Stay calm and dress appropriately. Treat the staff with courtesy and respect and we will get through the process together.
You’re not going to be alone- I am going to walk in with you and walk you through the process. You will never at any time be without me by your side inside a Texas Prison unless of course, you are using the Unit restroom.
In rare cases, Texas weather and icy roads on your Texas Prison Wedding Day will have me either “Going Greyhound” or “Riding the Rails with Amtrak” as I do not drive on ice.
My TDCJ Allred Unit Bride and her family literally saved the day last winter when the Greyhound Terminal closed. If you missed the blog, here’s the link– The Texas Twins Hitch A Ride To Wichita Falls.
We don’t care how we get there but, rest assured, we WILL find a way to get there! I’ve never missed an event and don’t plan to start.
Half of all my clients from Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham, Texas Twins Events, And The Pawning Planners are LBGT.
I have thousands of friends within the LBGT Community and because of this, offer year round discounts to Active or Retired Military, Police, Fire, Teachers, First Responders as well as LBGT Couples. Many of you have questioned my affiliation with the LBGT Community and why I offer discounts.
I believe that Love Is Love and regardless of your circumstances, my belief that everyone deserves to be loved and find love is so strong that I started a low cost event business (Texas Twins Events) years ago to address anyone regardless of their income.
Why? I didn’t have parents to pay for my wedding. My twin sister didn’t either. Based on our knowledge and own experiences, our desire to address people who like us were on their own trying to afford a Dream Event, needed someone to help them.
My twin sister, Cindy and I created Texas Twins Events to specifically help people like us who either didn’t have parents to help them or were struggling to afford their Life Event.
Our pricing is 50-65% less than competitors intentionally. We help people that no one else will. Bartering event services? Yes. The Pawning Planners was created as an option to families who had no money and wanted to offer something in exchange for Event Services.
We are different because we care when other vendors don’t. Texas Twins Events, Texas Prison Weddings & The Pawning Planners are ALL RAINBOW BUSINESSES that welcome anyone from any background.
Interfaith couples, Interracial Couples, LBGT Couples and others flocked to us because we were affordable and because we cared. We treated anyone who came to us for help as if they were family.
Going above and beyond, we also created a stellar reputation for exceeding clients expectations and earned a huge amount of referral business.
We are back at the beautiful Willow Lake Event Center and if you haven’t heard about our Valentines Day Special at this rustic venue, we will be performing wedding ceremonies with complimentary photos for eight hours on site at $75 per ceremony with three photos emailed to clients.
Check out my FB Page for Texas Twins Events to find out more. Here’s the link– Texas Twins Events-Find Us On FB. The Valentines Day special includes use of either building at Willow Lake Event Center for your ceremony, an Officiant and photographer and use of my loaned Texas Twins Treasures Inventory of bouquets and bouteniers. Reservations are limited so please reserve your spot early. We will have 6 Officiants on site to serve you.
I realize that no one in this industry loans floral designs or provides complimentary photography but, we do things differently which is why continue to grow and expand without advertising.
Referral businesses keeps us booked and busy and we are thankful for our loyal client bases spreading the word about our family owned businesses “changing the wedding and events industry one family or barter at a time from Fort Worth, Texas…