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If their own space is any indication, I’m pretty sure Nic Teasley, custom home builder, has found his calling. The home he shares with his wife, Meredith, is beautiful (those wood floors!), but also incredibly inviting (and that’s by design!). I know you’ll love this peek inside their modern farmhouse in Tennessee as much as you’ll love their thoughts about the ways marriage has refined them, why they love their home’s layout, and why a budget is important to them!

The couple: Meredith (34) and Nic (32) Teasley
Years married: It’ll be 7 years this September!
Children’s names and ages: Rachel (2 ½) and David (6 months)
Where you live: We live in Brentwood, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Nic is a custom home builder and Meredith is a work-from-home mom and a wedding/family photographer.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Living on opposite sides of the country (Nic in California and Meredith in coastal Virginia), we got matched online, met in person five weeks later, were engaged six months after we met, and tied the knot in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, just five months later.
What is your favorite part of being married? Hands down, our friendship. We really do love hanging out together. Now that we have two small kids, we cherish our date nights and time away together even more.

Tell us a little bit about where you live. We built our home in a fun little 8-acre forest in Brentwood. I wanted to live in a neighborhood, and Nic wanted to live out in the country. Where we are is the perfect mix of both! We are in a subdivision, two minutes from the grocery store, but our home feels like we’re far away from everyone! I would love to stay here a long time and raise our kids here, but I knew marrying a home builder most likely meant building multiple homes and moving several times. Our future plans include building again, potentially moving into a fixer upper, and investing in future rental properties.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Discuss what’s really important to one another, and be willing to compromise on everything else! I like to fold towels a certain way and Nic likes to do dishes a certain way, so we have tried to keep a teachable spirit with one another, focus on the big priorities, and enjoy figuring out what it means to make our home reflect both of our styles.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? We love our open-concept living room and kitchen. We host our church small group here. We can watch college football in the fall while making dinner. The kids can play while we clean up the kitchen. Friends congregate around our big island. It’s just laid back and comfortable, which really fits us well.

What most makes your house feel like home? The people inside make it home for us. We are learning to hold everything with open hands, including our house, which means we make less fuss about the details and more about our family relationships and community.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? We splurged on some of our furniture, and saved by finding items Nic can build himself, like both of our office desks. We also have several family heirloom furniture pieces that we hope will always be a part of our home. For unique additions to our home, we love the Nashville flea market and local shops, and have really tried to incorporate family pieces when we can!

How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have photos displayed, and an album that even our two-year-old daughter loves to enjoy. At our wedding, we provided small towels at the beach for our guests to use with sandy feet. Several years later, my sweet mom sewed baby bibs out of those same towels. We get to think of our beach wedding each time we use those bibs!
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? We would register for fewer items, but would be more specific with those we do place on the registry. Because we registered for so much, we ended up with a hodge podge of incomplete (and sometimes unnecessary) sets of items.

How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? Um, yes. Truth be told, as two self-employed small business owners, we geek out on the budget! Financial freedom is incredibly important to us. We both struggle with living within the budget at times, but we also both value it immensely. We went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University as newlyweds and worked to pay off debt together, while learning to prioritize giving, saving, and eliminating frivolous spending. Our next big goal is to live in a paid-for home with no mortgage, and our budget really helps us stay on track with that goal.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Rather than registering for fine china, we opted to register for everyday white Fiesta dishes, and we still use them daily! We have always wanted our home to be laid back and welcoming, so we don’t regret that decision at all.
Who cooks dinner? We both would say, “I do!” and it honestly depends on the day, because we cook quite a bit. We are both self-employed and work from home, so there are days when I do the cooking and other days when Nic takes charge in the kitchen. We would both claim that Nic is definitely the better chef! ;)

What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We cook some form of a Mexican dish at least twice a week. Our favorite right now is chicken tacos on corn tortillas with pineapple salsa. On the weekend, we love to grill on our Big Green Egg and invite friends to dine with us.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? I recently started reading 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake. She includes lots of great recipes, and I love how she teaches about nutrition throughout the first half of the book!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? Communicate! We believe communication has been one of the most important factors in making our marriage work. When you’re on the same page with life priorities, it helps you have grace with one another as you work together to balance those things and set expectations. When in doubt, talk it out together.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Honestly, we would say you just need to go out and have a date, even if it’s last-minute or unplanned. In the first few weeks/months after a new baby, our favorite date night was always a casual dinner out (usually Mexican!) and a stroll through Target with a Starbucks drink in hand!

What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? It’s amazing how much humility and selflessness are required to really make your marriage work! We were both a bit surprised by this. It’s also surprising how much God uses both marriage and parenting to sanctify us!
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Nic is definitely a handyman, and I can’t count the number of times he’s fixed something for me or helped me tackle a project he had no interest in, because he knows I’d be frustrated and up a creek without his help. I try to serve Nic by keeping up with the laundry, because it’s one chore we both really dislike.

Do you have children? We have two small children. Rachel is two and a half, and David is six months old. Life is crazy for us at this stage, but they are both an absolute joy!
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… spend your money wisely and save, but go on lots of adventures, big or small, before kids come along. Now that we have a toddler and baby, we spend a lot more time at home. We love being home, but wish we had taken advantage of date nights that don’t require a babysitter, walks through the neighborhood when it’s not kid bedtime, and other fun adventures while life was a bit simpler!

This year, our family is most excited about… believe it or not, planning our next house adventure!
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? Our home is imperfect, just like us, but it always will be, and we are okay with that. Our faith in God is the most important things to us, so we want our home not to be about us, but about sharing His love in our home. We are slowly learning that everything we have belongs to God, and we have to work daily to shift our focus from earthly things to an eternal perspective. When we do, it changes the way we see everything, from our conversations with one another to the way we parent to how hard we work to how decluttered our home is before we invite guests in. Perspective really does change everything! Completely unrelated… our floors are the single most asked-about item in our home. They are 10″ Alabama heart pine, a request I made to have a small piece of Alabama in our home.

We’re so grateful to Meredith and Nic for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with Meredith on her blog and on Instagram.

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily

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Whether you’ve been reading Southern Weddings for years, or you’re new around these parts, one thing we hope you know is that we’re big believers in the importance of date nights. We could talk about how essential quality time with your beau is until the cows come home, but the truth is, it’s just as hard for us to put into practice as I know it is for many of you! That’s why last year, at our annual team Christmas dinner, Lara gave us a fun challenge: a list of 12 date ideas that we are each supposed to go on in 2016, one per month. Now that we’re coming up to the halfway point in the year (!!), we thought we’d share a little update and invite y’all to join us for the second half of the year!

Clockwise from top left: Kristin, Kristin, Emily, Lisa

So far, a unanimous favorite thing about the challenge is how much choosing an item off of the list makes a date seem so much more “official.” Even something as easy as grabbing a pizza from your favorite takeout place really feels like a date night, simple because you’re calling it a date–and that alone is motivation to turn the TV off or tuck your phones away and focus on each other!

Clockwise from top: Jess, Emily, Emily, Lisa, Jess

We’d love for you to download our Year of Date Nights list (the same one we’re all using!) and join us! Can you guess what some of the dates above are? Brunch, dessert, a double date for barbecue, a fancy date (bow tie encouraged!), a picnic, and an al fresco dining date are a few we’ve checked off so far, but there are still lots more to go!

P.S. A word of encouragement to any single readers–you can join us too! We love the idea of using these ideas for friend dates, sister dates, mom dates, and more!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  2. avatar Marilisa Schachinger reply

    I love this! My husband and I are about to move from Athens (we’ve been here since undergrad for almost 9 years!) and are trying to be sure to visit each of our favorite date spots before moving :)

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My husband and I celebrated our first anniversary (!!) earlier this month, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I felt around this time a year ago. Excited was the number one adjective, of course, but if I’m being totally honest, I was a little bit nervous, too–I had heard so many times that “the first year of marriage is the hardest.” A year later, I can confidently and gratefully say that this year has been the best of my life. There were hard moments, certainly, but thanks to the preparation we did before our wedding day and the commitment we had made to living out our vows daily, I’m so proud to have made it to our first anniversary more in love with my husband than ever. As we’ve heard time and time again in real wedding interviews, preparing for marriage intentionally plays a big role in setting couples up for success once they make their sparkler exit and real life settles in. You can find tons of inspiration and ideas for marriage prep in this year’s Sweet Tea Sunday series, and today, we thought we’d round up some favorite reads from our team, plus some friends, that helped us prepare for marriage!

Photo by Anna Paschal

Love Does. While there are so many great books to help prepare for marriage, Love Does is one of my all-time favorite books, period. It’s full of sweet stories of love in action, and the faith it takes to not only love someone, but take action on that love. One of the best lessons to learn pre-marriage! – Marissa

I actually read His Needs, Her Needs a few years after getting married, but I’d recommend it for engaged couples as well as those married longer–not necessarily because I agreed with everything the author said (I didn’t), but because it is guaranteed to prompt interesting and lively conversation about lots of sticky subjects if you read it together. I appreciated the author’s practical approach and emphasis on making changes yourself instead of “working on” your spouse! – Emily

This recommendation is especially for my Catholic sisters :) I first read Theology of the Body Explained for Beginners (Christopher West’s synopsis of Pope John Paul II’s Man and Woman He Created Them) in college, and it was a game-changer in the way I viewed the meaning and purpose of marriage. Dave and I both re-read it while we were engaged, and it definitely helped us enter into marriage with our minds and hearts in the right place. – Lisa

The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. I discovered this book several years into our marriage and I wish I had had it from the beginning! This book is a wonderful resource full of practical advice for navigating common struggles in marriage and strengthening your relationship through the power of prayer. – Amber

The Five Love Languages. KPW and I met in a Interpersonal Communication class and fell in love over a shared interested in Tar Heel basketball and communication theory. We love learning about ways to communicate better and the reasons why we communicate the way to we do. Learning about the different love languages and how to use them to love each other better was a powerful lesson during our marriage prep and something we still refer to on a regular basis! – Kristin

The Love Languages Devotional Bible. This is our favorite devotional to read together. It has really helped us to carve out time together to be still, while strengthening our relationship. Learning each other’s love language and how we can each show love in that specific way, has made our marriage more intentional, fun and has helped us “rekindle the flame” when life gets hectic! – Laura

The book that I would recommend is kind of more for after you’re married, but it is one of my favorites and I think it would be worth digging into even before getting married. The title of the book is Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I was gifted the book by my brother and sister-in-law for my birthday shortly after getting married and it holds so much amazing content. It is all about looking at the true purpose of marriage and how it can be a way to grow closer to God. It has been a great way for me to connect on a deeper level with my husband and grow in my own faith. – Rachel Green

I loved reading The Meaning of Marriage because it allowed me to see my marriage with new perspective. So often, couples think that it is their spouse’s duty to make them “happy” and that is simply not true. That mindset and expectation will have horrible repercussions down the road in any relationship. That is a lot of pressure and responsibility for your husband/wife to carry and it’s nearly impossible to achieve. The Meaning of Marriage taught me that my view of marriage had always been so self-focused, and it needed to change. I find purpose as a wife and as a woman through my relationship with God. He gives me purpose and peace that passes all understanding, and because of that, I have the freedom to love Michael without expecting ridiculous things in return from him. This book lives in my bedside table and has changed my life. I HIGHLY recommend it to ANY couple! – Katelyn James

What books would you add to this list? We’d love to hear!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  2. avatar Annie – The Ranting Latina reply

    I’d also recommend ‘The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands’ and ‘The Proper Care & Feeding of Marriage” both by Dr. Laura. They’re SO good!
    I’ve read them as a fiancé and I like how they match the way I was raised and how commonsense their teachings are for treating a partner in marriage. We’re not married yet but I’ve been able to implement what they advocate to help ensure a good, nurturing union and engagement period.
    If the guy wants his own, then he can also read ‘The Proper Care & Feeding of Wives.’
    I’m bookmarking this list. Thanks for sharing :).

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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