The Art Of Appraising- Trash Or Treasure? The Pawning Planners Figure It Out..

Monday through Friday, I’m either at a Texas Prison Wedding or meeting Clients with my twin sister when we aren’t going to Pawning Planner Clients homes to dig through their possessions trying to find something of value to barter in exchange for Event Services.  

Yes, my twin sister and I are almost always together.  Whether we are on location or sifting through someone’s junk, we are having fun because we enjoy spending time together as most twins do.

Occasionally, we don’t find something of value which is when we use funds from Pawning Planners Apparel to fund families out of our own pockets.  

This makes us different from any other vendor in that we are basically working for free but, we care enough to sacrifice our time our talents and even our own profits to help these families no one else is willing to help.

Many of these families have told me “if your family hadn’t helped me, no one would have.” Sadly, they were right.  We are Friends of the Friendless.

The list of our Event Services isn’t limited to Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms, Estate Liquidations or even Birthday Parties or Baby Showers because we are open minded and review surprising requests on a daily basis.  

Cindy and I work as a TwinTeam.  When you hire me, Cindy is my partner as your coordinator, floral designer and entertainment for the guests if I’m also officiating your religious ceremony. 

Twin Event Coordinators? You bet, our largest event had over 400 guests and I could have never addressed every unexpected issue without Cindy “working the other side of the room.”My entire family work with me at Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners & Texas Twins Treasures.  We not only work together but also spend all of our free time together too.

Everyone in my family have (on occasion) found me to be a little “bossy.”  The reason for this is that there are no do overs in the events business. You’ve got to get it right the first time and I’m a bit driven for perfection. Cindy doesn’t think I’m Bossy because she knows (all too well) what it takes to keep things going.  Drama can be surprising when a guest is drunk or someone is trying to object and ruin my perfectly orchestrated ceremony but, it’s happened.  

From the “flasher” at a destination wedding to the broken tooth of a bride or the bee sting that nearly killed the allergic Groom, I have to think in my feet around here.  Saving the day has on more than one occasion required me to whip out an emergency bag loaded with duct tape, Benadryl, Advil, bandaids and even an Ephipen or superglue.  

The broken tooth incident had me at a disadvantage with a bride who couldn’t glue the tooth on herself due to dragon nails and my finger had to be pried from the tooth which was a bit of a shock but, Cindy used a nail file to get the job done in time for the ceremony as walking out with my finger glued to her tooth wouldn’t have been the entrance she was hoping for I’m sure.

If I’m busy on location and a problem comes up, Cindy handles it.  I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times that Cindy has had to run and get something the wedding party forgot or help me repair something on site because it’s a regular occurrence.  

My sister is a self professed Hillbilly who could be a magician with her ingenious ways of finding solutions when we are far from my workroom.  People Can Be Surprising— At a wedding a few years ago, the Bride dropped her bouquet from a balcony and I used lace panties to rebuild the bouquet minutes prior to officiating the wedding because Failure Is Not An Option.  

The bridesmaids weren’t too keen on giving up their panties but, the bride was devastated about her bouquet and I needed something to “fluff the bouquet” with.  

Unlike David Tuttera, I can’t snap my fingers and have others solve an unexpected problem. Quite the contrary- my family and I “figure it out.”

We’ve had a few unexpected “incidents” on location due to Inlaws and/or Outlaws too.  I will never forget the father of the bride getting arrested for drunk driving on the way to the wedding or the Groom that was two hours late because he was getting cold feet.  I drove to pick him up myself.

Cindy and I often team up our talents to address a crisis on location because two heads are better than one.  We are Compensating Personality Twins meaning that while I’m good at one thing, Cindy is good at another.  I can spell anything but have no idea how to fix an overheated car.  Cindy does and has a million ways to fix just about anything.  

Cindy is hilarious and I’m serious.  Trying to be funny is something that I’ve never been good at because I’m too busy planning and executing.  My twin sister is the creator of #Cindyism Quotes used on our Pawning Planners Apparel line because she’s never at a loss for words ya all.I’m OCD and (according to my family), demanding.  My nieces and daughter in law may look like “buddies” but, the jealousy among my team continues to baffle me.  Arguing on location is strictly prohibited but, behind my back, bickering has occurred.  

At one wedding, my daughter in law’s SD card was full from another wedding.  My son tried to help and inadvertently deleted the photos.  They were so mad at each other that by the time I detected a problem, it was getting out of hand.  It was an honest mistake so, I made them get over it and moved on.  We had four weddings that day and everyone was tired.  

Event Stacking is stressful!  In season, nearly every weekend is stacked and often, I have to split everyone up in order to address our schedules.  Not being on site and in charge at events when splitting my teams up, I call or text to make sure there aren’t any “problems” or, arguments.

It’s not uncommon for me to stack Prison Weddings at the same Unit due to the distances I drive on a regular basis.

Everyone in my family considers themselves to be the expert.  Leigh Ann is the only singer I have but my daughter in law loves to sing.  I like to sing too but would never book myself as a singer because everyone would be disappointed.   

My niece Leigh Ann also does photography as does my daughter in law, Stephanie Hafele and the competition regarding “who got the better shot” is an ongoing campaign between my niece, my daughter in law and on occasion, even my son who also does photography.  All three are also Officiants who compare their ceremonies too. Sibling rivalry? I don’t get it. Cindy and I have never competed because we celebrate one another’s achievements. 

Since these continued  requests for an Elvis Officiant surprise me, I’m going to clarify that I’m not a singer or Elvis Impersonator.  Sure, I can dress up and know the words to all of the songs but if you want an Elvis Impersonator that can actually sing, you need to hire one.  

On the rare occasion the DJ lost the entrance music, I have been known to sing but not without the guests joining me.

My son, Robert, is the only male on staff unless Cindy or I need to call our husbands in for help which is rare but, happens from time to time.  

Generally- calling the husbands in is what we call a “Red Flag Emergency.”  One of the suvs broke down or the trellis won’t stand up or we need more manpower setting up or tearing down. 

Prospective Clients choosing to upload an image of what they would like to barter at The Pawning Planners are often unaware of the value by either inflating the value or underestimating the expenses to refurbish and (effectively) flip it at Texas Twins Treasures.

Only I or Cindy make the decision to barter Event Services as her daughters and my son have no experience with Appraisals.  

At the end of the day, it is I who write the checks for refurbishing expenses, truck rentals (to transport trades) and shoulder the responsibility of making everything work.  

Bartering isn’t an inexpensive endeavor due to the expense involved to move items and repair them or make them “marketable.”

Cindy is interested in jewelry and small items also known as “quick Flips.” These type of trades need little or no investment to sell.  I’m interested in larger items that include furniture and more specifically, antiques.  

Cindy is an experienced jewelry designer and makes her own custom designs.  She can repair nearly anything and has a flair for ornate jewelry pieces.  

Cindy was also the first photographer I added to my team when realizing many Clients couldn’t afford a photographer.  

Active or Retired Military, Police, Fire or First Responders always receive Complimentary Photography and other discounted services.  We are a Military Family and dedicated to doing whatever we can to give our Military Clients a beautiful event.Pawning Planners Clients benefit from complimentary photography as a courtesy.  

Texas Twins Events Clients pay $75 an hour for photography which is far below industry pricing. The reason for free Vs low cost is that Texas Twins Events Clients can afford a venue, a caterer and…the “extras” while Pawning Planners Clients cannot.  

For years, I shouldered the expense of paying my photographers and paying for film to be transferred and postage to send Clients a photo disc because everyone claimed they couldn’t pay for photography but, wanted it anyway.  

Thousand of dollars and years later- my generosity has limits.  If you can afford a venue, you can afford to pay my photography team.  It’s far more expensive to flip antiques that require an investment of fabric and labor but, I spent 15 years in upscale furniture sales and because of this experience, know the market.  

Sales of Texas Twins Treasures furniture are substantially more profitable after undergoing a stringent process because I’m very picky about luxurious fabric and fill.

The continued requests to flip an old vehicle or cow continue although I have no mechanic or thousands of dollars to refurbish a vehicle that isn’t running.  Although I live in Texas, I don’t have a “spread” or farm as I live in the city. 

I have nowhere to store cattle or horses or old cars or trucks so please be aware that farm animals and old vehicles are “off the table.”  I would love to refurbish an old truck but, don’t have the disposable income to effectively flip it.Yesterday, I posted a photo of my feisty Beagle, Foxy Wortham on one of my Texas Twins Treasures pieces at home.  

Everyone loved the Berger piece he was sitting on and asked where I bought it but, my funky old favorite piece wasn’t bought in the condition it’s in today.  

At the time I bartered it, the set was missing cushions and had a broken base.  It was a mess and took nearly 700 dollars to reupholster and refurbish between fabric and labor.  I did go a bit crazy on this piece with far more contrasting fabrics than I traditionally would.  

Normally, I use a contrast welt and band with a reversible fabric on the seat if there isn’t an ottoman but wanted to add leopard and polka dots along with stripes which is so rare for me that this set was a first for a full blown overboard mix. My upholsterer, Terry was apprehensive but, I love it.

I sold the mate to this set for $1750 a few years ago and wish I had kept it.  The curved ottoman and wide seat make this one of my favorite chair and ottoman sets.  

Much of my furniture is refurbished and unique but now and then, I review an email with an “offer” that makes me laugh because the writer wants something for nothing.  I can’t sell a piece I have thousands of dollars invested in for a couple of hundred.  At the end of the day, pieces I’ve invested in eventually sell and at the fair price I’ve put on them.  

I don’t have any “Fire Sales” because I don’t need to and often move pieces from my workroom to my home for variety.  I’ve been known to cancel a listing because I can’t bear to part with a piece although my husband thinks I’m a furniture hoarder.  

We live in a very old home with far too much space and he isn’t tripping over any furniture but, loves his ratty old recliner and won’t let me refurbish it no matter how I try to convince him.  “It’s the only piece of furniture in the entire house that may not look beautiful but, is comfortable.” 

My sister and I have a saying “if you haven’t seen it before-it’s expensive” because it’s true.  This would never be said of that rusty old recliner my husband can’t live without. 

Many consumers have no idea of the variations of big box throw away furniture and quality which is why cost surprises them.  Cheap foam and cheaper fabric rarely last 1-3 years.  This throwaway type of furniture is a bad investment.  Why? By the time you continue to replace it, you could’ve bought quality furniture that would stand the test of time.  I only use the highest quality fabrics and I buy quality foam and fill.  For me, a wonderful piece of furniture should last through generations.

A few years ago, I sold this unique powder blue sofa.  I loved the lines on height.  I wanted to keep it but, my husband thought we had too many sofas although (at the time) we only had five in the house.  Many of my “treasures” are bought from someone in California or New York as this piece was.  

Buyers don’t bicker about the price because a comparable piece in NY or CA would be three times as much.  They happily pay freight and packaging too.  My repeat buyers are always from NY or CA.It’s not unusual for me to fall in love with a refurbished piece and keep it which is why my home is so eclectic and, according to my husband, crowded.

I loved the celery velvet fabric on this loveseat but sold it with our old house.  Rarely do I pay the upcharge on tufted buttons because it’s quite a bump but, occasionally, I do.  Buttons and tufting made this loveseat “stand out.” I had thought about mixing fabrics and nixed the idea on this piece.  Initially, I thought a stripe on the sides and the back would bring character but, my upholsterer Terry talked me out of it.  I’ve used Terry for 20 plus years and he rarely bats an eye at my ideas but held firm on a solid color choice for this piece.

The fill on furniture is very important because good fill won’t “fall in” or bottom out as cheap fill always does.  I don’t cheap out in details and have developed a great reputation for quality.  If I wouldn’t buy it myself- I don’t sell it.

Easy flips are solid wood or metal.  They require very little to be storefront ready.  For me, the condition of the wood is essential to the value.  It’s very rare to find a wood piece that isn’t damaged to some extent.  

Last night, my grandniece Makenna asked if she could work at upcoming events to make some extra money.  My sisters grandtwins have been in over 200 weddings as ring bearers, flower girls and ushers but for the past two years been “taking a break.”  Since they were two years old, the twins have been doing Events and weddings.

At 13, their friends, tennis lessons and other factors have been keeping them busy.  Their best friends Mia and Melanie think doing events all the time would be fun but, the twins know that events are work.  Little Madyson has accompanied us to events the past few years.  Madyson is two years old and also called our Latest Little Pawner.  

Since every weekend is event filled for us, the twins have opted to stay with my husband or Cindy’s husband at events they weren’t working for tips or Flips at.  Maryssa and Makenna like to work but only if they are getting paid.  They love working but the Tennis Team became pretty time consuming.

Maryssa and Makenna are both interested in photography and videography now and often volunteer with our photography teams to gain experience when they aren’t booked at events because they’ve learned that it pays better than flower girl tips.  Growing up too fast the twins are! Clients hiring my niece, Leigh Ann Blais for photography realize that Madyson goes wherever Leigh Ann does and it’s a “package deal.”  All of my Clients expect the entire family to show up and “feel like they know everyone” from social media, websites and blog posts. Since bartering for Prison Wedding Officiant services “pops up,” it should be noted that it’s rare for me to barter my services but, I make exceptions.  

There are very few Texas Department Of Criminal Justice Approved Officiants, I am one of them.  Not just anyone is Authorized to walk into a Prison and Officiate a Marriage Ceremony.  

It’s not for the faint hearted.  I wanted to add more TDCJ Officiants to address the number of requests but, no one on my team was “comfortable” about walking into a Prison. My niece told me she would have a heart attack.  

Since many wonder why I took on the responsibility and rebranded (yet again), this blog will explain why I chose to add Texas Prison Weddings– Reverend Wendy Wortham TDCJ Wedding Officiant.

Prison Weddings have a very short window and traditionally, bartering services through The Pawning Planners require 30 days notice.  

Photography services at Texas Prison Weddings with Wendy Wortham are offered as a courtesy AFTER leaving the Unit.  

On site photography is occasionally offered at $3 a photo (in quarters) but, many Clients are dissatisfied with Prison Wedding photos because guards aren’t professional photographers.  

The differences between Bridal Photography and Prison Photography are obvious.Bridal or Groom Photography for Texas Prison Wedding Clients is Complimentary.  My reasons for this are to make Prison Brides or Grooms enjoy their wedding day regardless of how “different” it may be.“Celebrating” your wedding in a Texas Prison Visitation Area is far more somber than a venue, backyard or other location.  

Since I created an inventory of bouquets, bouteniers, and other items to “loan” Pawning Planners Clients three years ago, I decided to load items up and do impromptu photo shoots near Texas Prison Wedding locations as a courtesy and, Clients love the fun filled hours spent with me and permanent photo memories.Locations near Prison Units often include a dirt road, highway, motel and park using “props” from my inventory that include signs, flower petals and even bouquets- Brides or Grooms have an opportunity to feel like celebrating their wedding day.A few months ago, I had a flood of emails regarding a pregnant bride.  It should be noted that I do not judge anyone for any reason. A year ago, my websites were flooded regarding an “ugly bride.” I have no idea why the internet has created cyber bullies but, all of my Brides are Beautiful.Joanna was wearing a wedding dress that I gave her from my Inventory and felt beautiful. My team spent hours on Joanna’s hair and makeup. I not only gave her a wedding dress, I also bought her shoes and jewelry as well as her sons clothing. Yes- I went to the trouble and expense to sponsor Joanna’s wedding and although I was helpless to fix her teeth on short notice, my family and I did everything to make her feel like the Princess she was.

Not everyone can afford a dentist so, please bear that in mind prior to sending me a nasty email asking where I find ugly people.  My businesses are a melting pot of people from rich to poor.

All of our Clients are beautiful because we make them feel beautiful.  From their clothes to their shoes, many clients borrow far more than flowers from me. Many Pawning Planners Events take place at area parks because they are free.  Texas Twins Events Clients often have a venue.

There are very few LBGT Friendly Officiants in Texas. My staff has 5 of them.  All Wendy Wortham Business are LBGT Friendly and, always have been.I believe everyone deserves to celebrate their wedding day.  Our Clients are from a variety of religious backgrounds and economic variations.  Many are Military. 

Finding creative ways to help anyone wasn’t easy.  Selling my Dream Home to start a People Over Profit based business gives you an idea of just how passionate and determined I was.  No one else was willing to do it so, I did.  We help anyone regardless of their income or ability to pay for services.  That’s right.  I’ve never turned anyone away.

My commitment was to “changing the wedding and events industry one family (or barter) at a time.” 

My family joined me on a unique journey that will soon be available on Amazon “Paying It Forward-The Pawning Planners Philosophy.”

Rev Wendy M Wortham