Long before I joined the Southern Weddings team, I loved following the Southern Newlywed features on the blog. While the photos each week are beautiful, the newlywed interviews are unlike any I’ve seen elsewhere on the web, because it captures the story behind the images. The combination of Christine’s background in design with both their hearts for hospitality is evident in both the images and interview below, and I hope you find inspiration for both your home and marriages below!
Big thanks to Britt Latz Photography for these lovely images!
The Couple: Christine (32) and Drew (32)
Years Married: Three
Children: Ellie Kate, 12 months
Where They Live: Historic Fairmount in Fort Worth, TX
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. We have been married three years, and our life is a constant adventure. One minute we are planning a couples’ obscure competition party with friends and the next one of us has locked our keys in the car. Something just always seems to be going on. Drew works with high school and middle school students at Watermark Community Church, and I am the owner and lead designer of an interior design firm, Christine Zeiler Interiors, while also trying to spend as much time as possible at home with (our daughter) Ellie Kate. We love to try new restaurants, take our German shorthaired pointer to the park, and have family dance parties.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. After many failed attempts to be set up on a date by a mutual friend, Drew predicted we would get married after our first date; one year later we were married.
What is your favorite part of being married? We get to see each other at our very best and our very worst but in spite of our imperfections, we are radically committed to each other. That’s been remarkable.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? Although we only knew each other for one year before getting married, there have not been a lot of surprises when it comes to knowing the other person. We talked a lot during engagement about our lives, expectations, and experiences, so we knew fairly well what we were getting ourselves into ;)
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? We splurged on a very beautiful vintage rug from NYC for our living room. We have been fortunate to be able to trade services like photography for our bigger upholstery pieces like our sofa and bed and other custom built pieces like our dining table and coffee table. Additionally, window treatments were gifted from the workroom in Nashville I worked with. A lot of smaller things such as lamps, side tables and dressers we have purchased from IKEA and upgraded by performing IKEA “hacks” or gotten from Target. Other pieces of furniture have been acquired at flea markets or are family heirlooms.
Do you rent or own? We own. We love our home. We moved to Fort Worth and were determined to find our house in two days, which was the window of time we had to visit before we would move one month later. Miraculously, we found what was relatively the home of our dreams by searching cool coffee shops in town and looking for houses in those neighborhoods. In the last 2.5 years the housing market in our area has exploded. We would love to either add on to our house or find a larger house in our neighborhood that we can renovate so we can raise our family here and host friends, family, and the students and families we serve.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Does our front porch count? We love our porch! Also, to our surprise, we have really loved our daughter’s nursery. Before she was born we rarely went in that room but now It’s a place we often gather and hang out. It is the only room in our house we bought all new furniture for and got to make a complete design plan for. The room has great natural light and the daybed is super cozy. The wall sconces above it are the perfect lighting for reading stories at night too.
Our house feels most like home because our furniture pieces that have stories behind them and personal photos throughout our house. We try to decorate with items that can also be used or have meaning behind them and not just stuff we quickly find to fill up empty spaces. A lot of our lives are lived in our home and we are amassing a lot of life together in our home. It is our home because of game nights we have had, the family dinners we have hosted, the ministry we have done with our friends, and the children we are raising here.
Who cooks dinner? I cook, and Drew cleans up afterwards. Drew has occasionally cooked his go-to spaghetti or what he thinks is his award-winning chili, but in reality he got the recipe from me.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? The Crunchy Kale Bowl from Joy the Baker is a staple and amazing. We add Trader Joe’s chicken sausage to it to add some meat. A regular weekend meal would be eating out at Torchies Tacos.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Joy the Baker and The Defined Dish are some of my favorite online places for new recipes. I also like asking my friends for their favorite go-to recipes. That’s actually how I have found all of my favorite recipes! They are rarely a flop.
How does your family handle finances? We go back and forth with who manages the budget, and right now Drew is taking one for the team and updating it. We use every dollar which is great but pretty time-consuming. However, it works really well for us because we know where literally every dollar is going. :) There’s also a great feature where you can create funds for budgets that you may not make purchases for every month or occasionally overspend on monthly but it keeps track of what you have left for the year, which we really love.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We find that life priorities are like other things in life. When you put the biggest things in first and the then the next biggest thing in second and so forth, the rest sort of takes care itself. Matthew 6:33 states an important principle for our lives and our marriage: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things we be added unto you.” Practically, we try to go on a weekly date night. Drew gets off on Friday so we try to spend the day together as a family either Friday or Saturday. It is also very important to us to stay connected to our friends. We try to allow our marriage and our lives to be an open book so that the people who know us best can speak truth to us when we start to live selfishly and center our lives on ourselves rather than the other person.
We like to try and come up with creative date nights. One idea we really liked was we had to imagine that our first date was in Fort Worth. (It was actually in Nashville.) If our first date was in Fort Worth, where would we take the other person, what would we do, and what sort of questions would we ask each other? We thought for sure that conversation would seem redundant because we are married, but we were surprised how fun conversation was talking to each other like we were just meeting.
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our Nespresso coffee machine, white plates and dishes from Williams Sonoma and our Vitamix.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? We got married in our late 20’s so we kind of knew what we wanted. And our friends and family were very generous so I don’t think we would change anything.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Every Sunday we sit down with our weekly schedules and talk through the week- it really helps us set expectations for the week and communicate when we can get good time together, split up some of the chores that need to be done, as well as make sure we are resting well and planning fun activities with our family and friends.
Do you have children? We have the sweetest little 1-year-old! We know our family is not complete yet, but I am looking forward to taking some time to enjoy Ellie Kate before getting pregnant again.
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… Every season of life has really sweet aspects, but there are new aspects of life in marriage that are amazing and you can’t experience as a single person.
This year, our family is most excited about… Enjoying our backyard! After the photos of our house were taken we took on the big project of re-landscaping our backyard, and we can’t wait to enjoy it now! We have a gas firepit, long farm table with string lights that go over our entire backyard, grass, and native Texas plants! Our dog tore up our yard before so we are now reclaiming it as our shared space with Cooper. We are also looking forward to family vacations this summer at the lake.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Our first dance at our wedding was really special to both of us. We danced to the song “All I Want is You” by Tristan Prettyman.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? Pictures mostly. Each year on our anniversary we watch our wedding slide show and reminisce on the beautiful evening from the comfort of our living room while drinking our wine from our wedding. The décor we had at our reception is also scattered around our house: cake plates, a box with photos, blue mason jars, etc. We have three of our favorite photos from our wedding hanging on the wall in our bedroom too.
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? When many people think of a home they think of the things that go in them, but we hope when people think of our home, people think about the memories that happened here, the stories shared, the lessons learned, the meals shared. Don’t get me wrong, as an interior designer, I definitely care about how our house looks, how we use our space intentionally, and that each room functions well, but if we had a beautiful house with no one to share it with, it wouldn’t feel like home to us, it would just feel like a pretty showroom. I loved the book Bread and Wine and often have to remind myself to have people over even if there is a big mess in the kitchen or even if I didn’t have the time to cook a gourmet meal. Just light a candle and turn on some music and enjoy the moment with the people around you.
Thanks so much for sharing your hearts and home with us, Christine and Drew! If you want to see more of Christine’s lovely design work, be sure to check out her website.