Why The Event Business Isn’t For The Faint Hearted…Lights, Cameras, Action…
Yesterday, I did a phone interview regarding the many successes and setbacks of merging Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners as well as why I decided to expand Texas Twins Events by adding Texas Prison Weddings.
Many of my dedicated subscribers are well aware that my blogs are often a surprising mix of flying by the seat of my pants along with the sometimes surprising behavior of guests and Inlaws or Outlaws that make it to my blog posts.
People are unpredictable. Inlaws are the new family you gain when your son or daughter marry. Outlaws are the new family you gain that you wish you could give back! People are unpredictable but, People at a Life Event with an open bar are really unpredictable.
My first wedding ceremony years ago was a literal Trial By Fire. What happened? What didn’t happen? The arbor kept falling down and a suburban driven by the Grooms mother continued to circle the park only slowing down for the mother to scream “don’t marry that bitch!” I was more than a little uncomfortable with the suburban circling the park as I’m sure was everyone else present for the wedding.
Not surprisingly, my husband who had accompanied me to handle photography was not only shocked but, also concerned about my safety. How my husband continued to act normal with everything going wrong at the same time was amazing.
The wedding still took place with all of these intrusions regardless and, I’m happy to say that the couple are still married all of these years later.
My third wedding ceremony had me creating all of the floral designs, Coordinating and Officiating a very large and subsequently expensive affair in downtown Fort Worth.
Everything was going well until the photographer had the Bride pose on the balcony of her hotel suite and lay her bouquet on the banister.
The problem? The bouquet fell several stories and in midair began to fall apart before hitting the parking lot. By the time I was notified to run downstairs and interrupted from passing out bouteniers to the groomsmen, someone had run over the bouquet making it an actual eyesore of drama with only two hours before the wedding ceremony.
Thinking on my feet, I carried what was left of the bouquet upstairs and asked the bridesmaids if anyone was wearing lace panties? Luckily, I had three pairs of pace panties to cut up and got glue in order to “fluff out” the bouquet.
Any floral designer will understand why “building a bouquet” up can be time consuming when you are experiencing a time crunch with a crying bride but, finding a solution to a problem on location for years and years has taught me to be calm, resilient and effectively, Mrs. Fix It.
My twin sister is also quite crafty at resolving problems and brings a wide array of items to events that include a Tide Stick for stains, a sewing kit for tattered hems, Benadryl for allergic reactions, my hot glue gun, jewelry if someone lost theirs, a wide array of bouteniers and bouquets in the Event the florist “shorted the order” and more.
Thinking of everything isn’t easy but it’s necessary after over 1,000 events where working with other vendors has taught us that “Fixing The Problem” is essential to saving the day even when it’s another Vendors issue or shortcoming. Failure is not an option in the event Business.
Asked what some of my most hilarious On Location surprises were, I took a moment before answering.
Why? There have been so many “Incidents” that considering which were funny or surprising.
Thinking back over all of these years for the most interesting event isn’t as easy as it may sound.
The Broken Tooth/Bouncing Check Bride and The Banjo Playing Boyfriend immediately came to mind. The Banjo Playing Boyfriend disrupted my Marriage Ceremony by busting into the Chapel to serranade the bride.
Needless to say, standing at the altar and pleased that everything was going so well, I was instantly lit when the bride told me she hadn’t hired a singer and the Banjo Playing Baffoon was actually her old boyfriend!
The Broken Tooth Bride had written me two hot checks by the time I arrived at her venue. With a coordinator escorting me quickly to the restroom because “the bride broke her tooth and locked herself inside,” I was far more interested in discussing her penchant for writing bad checks than repairing her tooth but, as usual, decided to solve her issue first.
I quickly went to my SUV and grabbed my super glue out of my quick fix kit and returned to the restroom where I attempted to glue her veneer back on. The problem? My finger was glued to the veneer and my step daughter Ann had to use a nail file from her purse to “unstick” my finger.
I went ahead officiated the wedding and left the venue without ever being paid and later sent her a bill for services which she never bothered to settle. We can all hope she used the money she owed me to fix her tooth and her ethics.
Every reader remembers all too well The Flasher at a Destination Wedding with a guest who had “a few too many.” This guest was full of fun and although I had assumed she was simply outgoing, totally intoxicated.
Wearing a short dress to the wedding, she also forgot to wear panties. On one of the only occasions at an event that I have ever been asked to dance at, my partner happened to be high kicking her way to disrupting everyone else while at her side were my twin sister and I oblivious to the show.
Frankly, putting an emoji on the wedding video was an idea “tossed around” by the videographer before I strongly suggested editing his video to exclude any raucous dancing scenes if he wanted to get paid.
Occasionally, other vendors need to realize that videos at weddings need to be edited in a way that their clients can enjoy rather than be upset by.
Videography is an editing process and if I’m not opposed to making suggestions especially if I’m coordinating! Covering up an issue with an emoji was the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.
At a California Wedding, the guests honored a tradition of bouncing the groom into the air. The problem? The rented patio lights “caught him.” This issue was resolved by safely getting the Groom back on the dance floor but during the moments of him being entangled, one of the strands of rented lights were broken.
Arriving at a scheduled Wedding Ceremony at the Water Gardens in Fort Worth, my agenda was to get paid first with an LBGT Couple who had requested a Wedding Officiant and Photography Package. After weeks of emailing the bride to pay her deposit, I was more than a little determined to get paid.
Arriving with my twin sister, we had more than one surprise coming. Both Brides hadn’t brought any money and even more surprising, a wedding license either! I advised them that I don’t provide wedding licenses and don’t work for free either.
Upset that I had traveled to work a gig that was a “volunteer effort,” Cindy summed up this Incident with a #Cindyism Quote “Don’t plan a picnic if you don’t intend to provide the food- you can’t eat an idea!”
We cannot make this stuff up ya all. After a few years of operating Texas Twins Events, we thought we had seen it all when we arrived in Burleson for a wedding rehearsal. The problem? The father who was divorced from the mother was arguing with his ex wife about her “role” at the rehearsal.
Since there wasn’t actually a “role” for the mother, this rehearsal took two hours. Why? Because the mother decided to direct the rehearsal since there wasn’t a role for her.
After leaving the venue, the father was arrested for drunk driving and the mother finally won the “role” she had wanted so badly by escorting her daughter to the altar.
Arrests for drunken brawling on location have become such a regular occurrence that I now require security at Events with open bars.
I’ve yet to have an “Incident Free” Event where drinking is involved and believe it or not, often know that something is going to happen with a free flowing bar and a few guests that don’t know when to stop.
Security keeps your Event from getting out of hand and your guests from ruining your celebration. It’s an investment but, one that will keep your event from becoming a Riot Zone.
At a wedding in Willow Park, Texas, the bridesmaids were unhappy with the size of their loaned bouquets. The problem? I had created the bouquets as a courtesy as this was a Pawning Planners Event and the couple weren’t paying for services and couldn’t afford to provide their own floral designs.
I’m going to refer to this incident as “the bitchy bridesmaids.” If all you’ve bothered to do is show up and start shit– do us all a favor and stay home.
Having a lengthy discussion with the bridesmaids that included advising them that helping their friend when no one else would put a heavy financial burden on not only me but also my entire family who were volunteering their efforts at the event without compensation.
Providing the flowers, the photography, clothing for the flower girls, cakes for the bride and groom and more wasn’t an inexpensive endeavor.
If I’m helping you when no one else will— “don’t complain about the dinner on the table if you didn’t pay for the food in the fridge!” Many of Cindy’s Redneck Reality Quotes are based on both our Clients and our own families.
Rich couples crying poor mouth? Yes. It’s happened and is the primary reason that I merged Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners.
A few years ago, I emailed back and forth with a bride who told me the mother of the grooms dying wish was to see her son married. This was a requested sponsored event. What does that mean? It means we pay for everything because the client cannot afford to.
Arriving at the house in an upscale neighborhood, I double checked the address with a brand new Mercedes in the driveway with paper plates. The dying mother was nowhere to be found and the couple were as far from poor as I have ever seen! Cindy wrote a blog about this incident titled “Mansions, Moochers and Morons.” We were shocked but I don’t back out of a commitment and conducted the ceremony and provided the photos and floral designs anyway.
After creating The Pawning Planners, I now require an Appraisal Appointment for requested sponsored events with my sister to see whether you are living in a mansion and driving an $80k car. If you are, get out your checkbook because you don’t qualify for free services.
For years I took everyone contacting me for free services word for their financial situation. After spending over $30k of my own money fund others Dream Event for four years, I no longer commit myself without seeing where you live or what you drive.
Rich people pretending to be poor came to a quick hault thanks to The Pawning Planners and a contract that allows us to dig through your stuff looking for something of value. The Pawning Planners require clients to effectively “put some skin in the game!”
It’s been a rare occurrence for me to worry about a no show bride or groom but, I’ve had a few moments while standing at the altar for two hours wondering what the Hell was going on?
I quickly left the venue to drive to the groom who was hiding out with second thoughts and drove him myself. Why? The wedding was a sponsored event. His bride was wearing a $400 wedding dress that I had provided.
My team had spent four hours on her hair and makeup and watching her continuously beg him to show up pissed me off! The only requirement and expense he had was to bother show up.
There were more surprises at that event when the brides brother showed up drunk and continued to hit on my hair and makeup team while belittling his sister and threatening to object during the ceremony. I don’t offer objections and I don’t suffer fools.
If you are at one of my events to object- don’t come. After suffering through the tirading brothers bullying, he grabbed handfuls of cake and smashed them into the brides face and dress as well as the grooms. The wedding was ruined by a big mouthed brother who was hellbent on bullying his sister. Why she invited him in the first place I will never know as I’m certain he didn’t “save” his bad behavior for a wedding. There’s a reason I now often bring security to events.
While other vendors scratch their heads about why I’ve rebranded and expanded over and over, it should be noted that there were reasons for my expansions and changes throughout the years. If everyone coming to you for services claimed to have no money, you would find a way to force them to put some skin in the game too.
After all, my goal was to make Event devices affordable to anyone. Our prices are far below our competition for a very good reason, accessibility. If you cannot afford low cost options at Texas Twins Events, you can barter through The Pawning Planners. If you have nothing of value to barter, we consider sponsoring your event. Yes. We have worked for free far more times than anyone actually realizes. What types of events?
Traditionally, funeral ceremonies and flowers, weddings with loaned floral designs and complimentary photography, Baptisms and rent parties for families facing homelessness. Yes. There have been some very sad situations for hundreds of families that no one else would’ve helped. What makes us different from others is that I’m willing to listen to your pitfalls and try to find a solution when no one else will. Why? Because I had no one to help me.
My entire family is dedicated to making your Dream Event a reality and everyone has their own unique set of talents. We work together and occasionally, split up in order to address numerous bookings on the same day.
I’m open minded but even I have limits. All contracts now contain a Bridezilla/Guestzilla Clause for a very good reason, we cannot work with chaos surrounding us.
While Cindy and I are well equipped to handle nearly any situation, having people scream objections or drunkenly exhibit bad behavior at an event can be too much for anyone.
I love the structure of a Military or Prison Wedding because there are no Inlaws or Outlaws to disrupt my carefully orchestrated Ceremony.
At Military Events, everyone is respectful, courteous and on time. At Prison or Jail Weddings, the guards, Chaplain and occasionally, Warden are in the room with the couple and I which considerably limits anyone jumping in to object or cracking jokes at a ceremony. Inmate Weddings are very intimate with a handful of us alone in the room.
While the nervous couple may laugh, no one else is and, I’ve only had one incident at TDCJ Beto Unit where my carefully orchestrated ceremony hit a bump in the road. The reason? The Bride was intoxicated and continued to laugh throughout the ceremony.
Since she was late to the Unit, I was already a little high strung by the time we were cleared to enter the Visitation Area and assumed that her wobbly walk was due to high heels but, I was sadly mistaken.
I have four set rules for Prison Weddings. 1. Arrive Early. 2. Dress appropriately. 3. Be respectful of the TDCJ Staff. 4. Do not drink prior to your TDCJ Wedding Ceremony.
While it would be impossible for me to control every Clients behavior, it should be noted that I’m intolerant of “Rule Breakers” at Prison Weddings as your conduct reflects on being my client and I therefore require you to behave yourself as part of my Agreement with you.
I offer year round discounts to all active or retired military members as well as police, fire and first responders. I also offer year round LBGT discounts for services as my merged client bases are over 50% LBGT Clients and I’ve never had a stressful “incident” at an LBGT Event.
We love our Military, Prison and LBGT Clients because they are easy to work with and always have been.
I can’t predict a bride with a bloody nose but, I can fix it on location. I can’t predict an old boyfriend showing up at a wedding but, I can fix it. I can’t predict parents upset about who their child is marrying but, I can sloth frazzled nerves.
A DJ forgetting the Bridal entrance music? I’m not a singer but, I can convince the guests to join me in singing. My team and I are committed to changing the wedding and events industry one family at a time but, even we aren’t magicians. I’m going to suggest leaving people you know will create chaos at home because I’m honest and knowledgeable about issues on location.
Unexpected incidents may have caught me off guard more than once but, I can assure you that my team and I banded together, resolved the issue and effectively, marched on…