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Jailhouse Wedding

By: Simon Heath, Field Producer

We arrived in Anaheim for what we all knew would be probably the most unusual wedding we would ever attend.

Gabriela Zuniga is a charming suburban mother with a gorgeous five year old daughter and another baby on the way. We’re here because today she’s about to marry her childhood sweetheart – who is in jail.

Gabby is used to playing the single mom – her partner Daryl has been in prison eight or nine times. But she thinks getting married will be the catalyst for him to change.

The filming began in her small home in Anaheim. Her daughter Chanel is a cheerful, typical five year-old, despite not having her dad around. They were both very excited for the wedding, and enjoyed getting dressed up for the big day.

We spent a couple of hours at Jailhouse Weddings, the business run by Cyndi Richardson, and she outlined why she’d decided to get into this unusual line of work.

Then, after a quick stop at the beauty salon, it was time for Gabby to get married. We had surveyed the jailhouse the day before and so we knew the space and sound constraints we would have whilst filming there. Seeing Gabby arrive in her dress, walking through the parking lot with Chanel in tow was touching and rather heartbreaking.

The ceremony went without a hitch, so to speak, and despite the thick glass and the circumstances; it was clearly emotional for both the husband and wife.

We departed with best wishes to the happy couple and Gabby went off to face her first night as a married woman alone.

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