Wendy Wortham Prison Wedding Officiant, Event Planner, Barter Queen & Realist On Diversity… 

Perhaps being a twin made me less inclined to try to fit in as a child? Who knows but my twin sister, Cindy Daniel has always been my sounding board. The first person I tell anything to. The person who supports each and every idea I have regarding rebranding and expanding as well as the only partner I need. 

Cindy’s husband has been a truck driver for fifty years. Mine is a home builder and developer. They come from completely different backgrounds and yet, get along like brothers. Our husbands both prefer to stay in the background. They always have. 

Both of our husbands are more than happy to wave goodbye to a caravan of black suvs while saying “have fun” and mean it. We are happy to roll out on yet another adventure. 

Hitting the road with my Texas Twins Events Team takes us to a few places we haven’t been and gives us the opportunity to meet amazing people from all walks of life. Cindy and I love the adventure of road trips, rest areas and Life Events. Depending on the amount of inventory an event will require, it’s not unusual to add my son’s truck to our three SUV caravan. From camera equipment to floral designs and rental equipment, loading up for larger events requires more vehicles mainly because clients booked several services including floral designs. 

Frankly, I prefer Prison Weddings. Why? The intimacy of a prison wedding client is by far more of a friendship than with an affluent client. I know you are shocked. Don’t be. After all, I was the first event vendor to be openly LBGT Friendly while others were hiding in the closet “worried about losing business.” Back in those days, being “openly LBGT friendly” wasn’t for the weak. 

Being open, honest and welcoming anyone with open arms was for the strong. The resilient. The fearless. The Texas Twins. We didn’t care what others thought because we were never trying to be like anyone else. All of my businesses are rainbow businesses.When people came to us with no money, we created The Pawning Planners and bartered event services. Yep. We ARE different. We ARE versatile and we ARE diverse. Over and over again people ask why and how something so different so unheard of worked? Well, friends, passion is the plow that turns dreams into reality. 

While folks were scratching their heads about bartering, another direction and creative request would be the reason that I again expanded and rebranded to perform prison weddings. I know you can’t believe it. Well, believe it. We now perform prison weddings in numerous states. Yes, we also perform LBGT prison weddings. Save your opinions though, unless you are bound to me or my staff by blood or business, we don’t care about your opinions. Our clients don’t either. 

When people hear or ask what I do or even Google me, they are stunned regarding “my line of work.” Oh well, I’m having the time of my life meeting amazing people from all walks of life and NOW have the time to spend with my family that 30 years in sales, commercial and print modeling and traveling that didn’t give me time to enjoy my family took from me. That’s right. 

I don’t regret one single decision I made to start Texas Twins Events and make Events affordable to ANYONE. Even people with no money can barter their event service. Yep. I covered every base and my twin sister joined me on the wildest, real life success story in the events industry you can imagine. Twinning IS winning.

I’m constantly asked “would you do anything differently?” The question is funny because I actually DID EVERYTHING DIFFERENTLY by being open minded. Cindy and I welcomed anyone from any background with any income. True story.

Over the years, we’ve been consistently contacted by production companies who wanted to “spin” who we were or what we did into a box. The Texas Twins don’t fit in a box though and because of this, I’ve declined signing with anyone for two years now. I’m working on a contract at this time and currently not interested in new inquiries. 

Since expanding and rebranding to Prison Weddings, my business and clientele has literally shifted to 80-85% prison based bookings. I HAVE NEVER ADVERTISED. In fact, my bookings are solely by referrals. If you happen to be an event vendor, troll or stalker, this too will rattle your cage but, the demand for our services is so great that we’ve never needed to advertise. Exceed your clients expectations and you won’t either. 

From shocked people asking what we do to others finding us on social media or going to Texas Twins Events and finding Prison Wedding links, folks are shocked that prison weddings exist in numerous states. Don’t be. Love bears all things. Since many of you assume that only women marry men in prison, again you’d be mistaken. Men marry women too. “Do you ever ask why they are in prison?” Let’s examine this question. Does Walmart care where you work? No. Does your doctor? No. Does your grocer? No. Are you asked by anyone in any industry when making a purchase if you know anyone in prison? No. So why in the heck would you ask me if I’m going to ask a client such an intrusive question? Would you? Frankly, it’s none of my business and has nothing to do with the service I’ve been retained to conduct. 

The truth is that public information pertaining to inmates is listed on the internet. Do I review this information? No. Why? I’m marrying a couple in love. I don’t ask traditional clients invasive questions and I don’t ask prison clients invasive questions either. I’m a professional. I treat my clients with courtesy and respect. 

Last week, someone emailed me through Texas Twins Events. Not unusual. What was unusual was the request to “teach me how to do what you do. I see you are successful at it and I think I can do it.” Hmm. So you have decided that what I do is easy and you want me to create competition that doesn’t exist by teaching you? Come on. If it were so easy to do wouldn’t everyone else be doing it too? 

Marrying an inmate is VERY COMPLICATED. Each state has policies and procedures. Each situation is different. There may be visitation revocations there may be CLM Statuses that impede the I60. There may be a host of unexpected issues that the Officiant must resolve. Officiating a prison wedding REQUIRES FAR MORE THAN SIMPLY SHOWING UP. In fact all weddings do. There are a number of things any Officiant should know outside of a prison and a host of things an Officiant just know inside a prison. Why? Because if you make a mistake officiating a wedding inside a prison, you may very well find yourself behind bars that’s why. I am well educated to Laws and Policies within any and all states that I perform ceremonies in. 

If you THINK what I do looks easy, try it yourself. It isn’t. Also, if you don’t know what you are doing, this isn’t the line of work you need to even consider being in. There is no error margin. No do overs. Weddings are life events. I don’t make mistakes and I’ve personally trained members of my family to perform prison weddings because I also cannot be everywhere at once. No, we aren’t hiring. I have three generations of family members that compromise “my Team.” 

“Why did you need more inmate Officiants?” Because Federal, State and County Jails in Texas alone are a very large base to cover. I can’t be everywhere at once. What I can do is stack inmate weddings at Units so I’m not driving back and forth to the same unit every two weeks and I do. At any given Unit, I can perform 1-10 ceremonies every 20-30 minutes. Stacking saves me from traveling to the same Unit in the same month. Scheduling is critical. There are no sick days. If I’ve confirmed a date with a Unit, my client, or clients and I arrive 20 minutes early to screen in. 

“How do you keep existing traditional client bookings and inmate bookings separate?” Traditional bookings occur on weekends. Inmate weddings occur during the week. During wedding season, we work seven days a week to service our diverse client bases. 

“Don’t your traditional clients have issues with your OTHER clients?” I get this a lot. The answer is that if they do, they can move on down the road. I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone and if a prospective client thinks they can be derogatory or negative about my other clients, they’ve disqualified themselves from becoming a client. I don’t HAVE to work and I’m therefore selective as to who I work with. 

“You LOAN INVENTORY. Why?” Because many of my clients don’t need to buy inventory if they choose to borrow it. I have an extensive inventory for booked clients to borrow. I also offer free photo shoots with prison wedding clients as a courtesy. I do Events differently. Based on the situation, traditional clients can often afford photography. Prison wedding clients have ONE INCOME. 

A client booking an inmate wedding is pulling the wagon alone. They pay for expensive phone calls. They drive to the unit every weekend and they do it all alone. They also deserve to have beautiful photos. Inmate photos are taken by guards who aren’t professional photographers. Also, they aren’t allowed to bring bouquets and other items inside Units. My photo shoots give them the opportunity to feel like a bride or groom outside the prison walls. They are also welcome to bring friends and family to their photo shoot. Guests are not allowed to witness prison weddings.

“You bring your kids on location?” Yes. My grandnieces are often with Cindy and I on location. If Cindy is officiating an inmate wedding and I’m due across Texas or in Louisiana or another state, it’s not uncommon for my son or niece and even grandnieces to accompany me. Unloading my treasure trove of items and handling photography often requires two people. Madyson is my youngest grandniece and if Leigh Ann (her mother) is handling photography, Maddy is with us on location. 

If Maryssa and Makenna are out of school, they often join us as well. Maryssa and Makenna also work as princess characters at birthday parties and have been flower girls and ring bearers in numerous client weddings. The twins have grown up on location with clients and work well with other children. 

“Did you ever expect that prison weddings would literally shift your client base?” No but, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve traveled to have kept me from ever being bored. It’s been an adventure of amazing people and the honor of planning and officiating their Dream Event regardless of the location is and always will be special to me. 

Each day is a new adventure. Each client is a new friend. Each booking is a new journey. I love what I do and I love that after release our previous clients rebook for Vow Renewals with their friends and families. Our clients are lifelong friends. I’m the first person they call when their loved one is released to schedule a celebration long after Lock Up.

I found the best job in the world. I found it because I wasn’t trying to be like everyone else. I found it because I had a twin sister and neither of us had the wedding we always wanted. What we did have was the knowledge that affordable options didn’t exist. We changed that. We made life Events affordable and we created an opportunity to spend time together making Dream Events a Reality one family or barter at a time from Fort Worth, Texas…