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Dave and I recently started chatting about which decor pieces we’ll be bringing into our newlywed home next year, and to say that we have different ideas is a bit of understatement. It is a great comfort to hear that when Caroline and Aaron moved in together, their home was the “biggest, most ridiculous mash-up of furniture and styles you’ve ever seen,” but over time, their tastes have meshed to result in the effortlessly cool apartment they’ve shared with us today. Along with the reassurance that totally different decor preferences can come together so beautifully, I’m also so inspired by Caroline and Aaron’s unique budgeting system and their commitment to spending lots of quality time together.

P.S. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Caroline and Aaron’s adorable whippet, who makes a few cameos in their home tour! :)

Years married: 2.5
Where you live: Austin, Texas
Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met in high school (he was the cool senior, I was the super nerdy sophomore, too shy to say hi), reconnected after college, fell in love on our first date, and were married eight months later. *sigh* I love our story.
What is your favorite part of being married? Every. Single. Bit of it. I love that we’re creating a life and legacy together–something that wouldn’t have existed in this world otherwise. I love that we’re better people just by being together.

Do you rent or own? We rent. We just signed another lease for a second year in our tiny 600 sq. ft. apartment and we could not be more happy, content, and excited. After living in an 1800 sq. ft. house during our first year of marriage, we wondered if there was another way, so we downsized. We’ve never looked back! This past year has totally changed our perspective on space and how much we actually need. Renting often gets a bad rap, and we definitely went through an intense phase early in our marriage when ALL we could think about was buying a house of our own. All our friends were, and we felt behind for renting. But there’s something to be said for listening to your inner compass and buying at the right time for you. Having experienced both renting and owning, I have to say, there are so many lovely things about living in an apartment that often go overlooked–the pool, the gym that’s steps out my door, the free coffee at the office when we run out at home, and the ability to pick up and move to Paris for a few months should we feel so inclined. ;)

Tell us about the process of moving in together. At first, our home was the biggest, most ridiculous mash-up of furniture and styles you’ve ever seen. My style was shabby chic meets glam and Aaron’s style was dark, heavy, and manly. Awkward mental picture, right? But over time, our tastes and styles changed and meshed together. Now we’re both into midcentury modern and California cool. Honestly, my best tip for blending styles is simply this: don’t worry if your house isn’t styled perfectly right away. Embrace the messy mash-up at first–it’s like a fun little rite of passage. We’ve all been there.
What most makes your house feel like home? Consider yourself warned because this gets cheesy, but to me, our apartment feels like a home because of my husband. It’s like that song, “Home is wherever I’m with you.” It’s true. (#aww)

Who cooks dinner? Aaron! I’m the luckiest girl ever because he’s an amazing chef. Me… not so much.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We love Mexican food and will typically throw together a taco salad when we need an easy weeknight dinner with lots of veggies. We use fresh greens, bell peppers, avocado, tomatoes, corn, jicama, onions, and chicken fajita meat.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Our favorite cookbook is the Kinfolk Table, but we also get a lot of inspiration from restaurants in Austin.

How does your family handle finances? We absolutely live by a budget, and we manage it using a hybrid approach to Dave Ramsey’s cash system. It goes like this: all our bills, groceries, and gas are budgeted and paid by debit card, but then we each get a monthly allowance in cash. We’re each responsible for budgeting our allowances for eating out, entertainment, clothes shopping, hobbies, etc. It cuts out the, “You spent what on what?!” moments, because we give each other the freedom to spend our allowances however we like. It’s kind of a different approach, but it works for us and we love it.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? When we downsized, we discovered something cool: if you have less space, you can buy fewer, better things to fill it. So, in a way, our tiny space is how we save, because we don’t have to buy much. For what we do buy, however, we can splurge a little. I love it! For furniture, we love West Elm (especially the outlet!) and Ikea. We also like mixing in handmade pieces from Austin artists and decor from designers like Jonathan Adler.

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our little patio is my favorite spot. It’s the tiniest space ever, but it’s magical. We strung up big bulb lights, and in the summertime, we love to eat dinner out there.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We try to have shared hobbies as much as possible so we can spend time together doing things that thrill us, challenge us, and help us to grow together. I’m currently working up the nerve to join Aaron in his most recent hobby–Crossfit (yikes!). We also like to invite each other along for menial tasks, like grocery shopping or running to the post office. That time adds up and it can be really sweet.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? We love doing a food truck crawl, which is when we eat appetizers at one food truck, dinner at another, and dessert at another. It’s a blast!

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? One tiny little way I love on Aaron is by hanging out with him in the kitchen while he’s making dinner, goofing off with him, cleaning up along the way, and making sure his wine glass gets a refill.
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? The books that have helped Aaron and I most in our marriage are Mindset by Carol Dweck (it helped us understand ourselves and how we approach hard things) and The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander (the chapter “Telling The We Story” changed everything for us).

We’re so grateful to Caroline and Aaron for sharing their hearts and home with us! If you love their style as much as we do, be sure to follow Caroline’s lovely photography here, her inspiring capsule wardrobe blog here, and her day-to-day life on Instagram.

Home photos: Caroline Joy / Family photos: Michelle Boyd

Michelle Boyd is a delightful member of the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
13 Comments
  1. avatar Leanne Caroline reply

    Oh my word, I want your home! Homely simplicity. Perfect. And I love that you love marriage. So very inspiring. Caroline, you’re a gorgeous role model.

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Y’all have come a long way from “ridiculous mash-up” – your home couldn’t look more cohesive or perfect for you two now. And I love Steve Z on your pillows :)

  3. avatar Caroline Joy reply

    Oh sweet ladies of SW, this just makes my heart so happy! Thank you so much for inviting us to be a part of Southern Newlywed. It’s such an honor! Xoxo Caroline

  4. avatar Erin reply

    My goodness, what a beautiful home and such an amazing inspiration for a lovely marriage!

  5. avatar jame reply

    lovely lovely home. :)
    caroline do you mind sharing (or remember) where your patio lights (and the ones around the mirror) came from? those look like they are better quality than the ones you can buy at christmas.

  6. avatar Katie reply

    I love this! Caroline is such an inspiration and encouragement for simple living. She truly examples a life filled with what matters most. Thanks, Caroline and I adore your home. Especially all those succulents! :)

  7. avatar Kat reply

    I love it!! I love how they have blended their styles together, and I love her advice to just “embrace the messy mash-up” because that’s what I feel like our house looks like right now!!

  8. avatar Sydni reply

    I love everything about this post!! What a beautiful home. We also love renting (going on our 3rd year) in order to save money to put 20% down on a house in PA, and having fewer things. Also, love that print in the bathroom – ha!

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  10. avatar Carri Pryor reply

    Caroline and Aaron have such a beautiful home. I was hoping to check out Caroline’s photography but clicked on the link and it is now a dead link (http://carolinejoy.com/) Just wanted to let you know!

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Whitney + Layne’s wedding is a perfect example of a ballroom wedding done beautifully! Their minimal decorations and baby blue color scheme looks so Southern and delicate. It’s welcome change from some of the more glamorous receptions that often take place in ballrooms, especially since W + L decided to include yummy Oreo milkshakes in their dessert lineup.

Take a look through these lovely photos from Caroline Joy. I’ve already picked out a few sweet moments that will serve as my future wedding inspiration!

I saw my dress online on the Priscilla of Boston website. I loved it and subscribed to their email updates. Soon, I got an email that after 60 years of business they were closing! Of course, I freaked out and searched for the wedding dress in Dallas, Austin, and Houston stores. The Dallas store had it! But we weren’t engaged yet. After a little convincing my parents, my dad agreed that I was going to get married someday even if not to Layne in the next year. So he let me go get it with my future maid-of-honor!

Describe your wedding flowers: We used blue hydrangeas and white roses mostly. My bouquet was an assortment of blue flowers that the florist copied from a picture I found online. It was perfect!

I will never tire of prayer photos. This one by Caroline Joy is particularly sweet.

For Whitney + Layne, doing a “first look” was more advantageous than not. It was a special moment for the couple and allowed them to head straight to the reception to spend time with guests!

This is one of my favorite photos from this wedding! One of Whitney’s most memorable moments was walking down the aisle with her daddy.

Did you write your own vows? No, I knew I would cry too much and wouldn’t be able to get a word out! So we stuck with traditional, even though we both love to write.
What readings did you have at your ceremony? We had 1 John 4:7-12, 19. “We love because He first loved us.” This was especially important to us, because we know that we cannot love each other fully without experiencing the love of Jesus Christ. True love is sacrifice for one another, and the ultimate display of sacrifice was that of God sending his son to die for us as it says in 1 John.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “Dawn” and “Stars and Butterflies” from the Pride and Prejudice movie. It is both my favorite movie and my favorite book, so I was so excited to use it in my wedding! It’s beautiful piano music. We used “Love on Top” by Beyonce for walking back up the aisle. We wanted to get the crowd excited for a celebration afterwards. We were finally married! Our first dance was “Marry Me” by Train. Slow, sweet, and sentimental. We practiced dancing to this on the rooftop of a parking garage at Baylor — I’ll never forget it!

Our wedding cake was blue with white flowers, and each layer was a different flavor. The wedding topper was a skiing bride and groom with parkas over their wedding clothes! The groom’s “cake” was his favorite dessert: Oreo milkshakes!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met at a Christmas dance party during our freshman year at Baylor University. Layne and his friends choreographed a dance to “Forever” by Chris Brown and performed for the crowd. His dance moves were so good that I just HAD to talk to him. Ha! But we talked and became instant friends. We spent eight months of “friendship” playing basketball together, going dancing in any empty cul-de-sac we could find, skiing in New Mexico, and living our crazy freshman life at Baylor. He asked me to be his girlfriend that summer on the beach and under the stars of Pensacola, Florida.
Describe the proposal. Over Christmas break of senior year, we went with 10 of our friends to Layne’s cabin in New Mexico for a ski trip. In the middle of the last day at Taos, he wanted to hike to the top of the peak for pictures of the great view. It was beautiful! You could see all of Colorado and New Mexico from there. After a long trek in high altitudes with all of our friends, Layne dropped to one knee during a photo and told me for the first time that he loved me with all of his heart. Then, he asked me to be his wife. I said yes!
In what month did you get married? June 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? 300
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The blue and white flowers and our coordinating leaving clothes! It was on accident, but my champagne BCBG dress matched his new champagne suit. He looked great.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I loved our names monogrammed, so I used that as much as I could. I designed the napkins and the programs myself. I also loved our little barefoot flower girls with matching white and blue headbands that a lady in England made. The flower girls were two of my cousins Brighton and Morgan. The service was in a very old Baptist church with beautiful ceilings and stained glass. We took bridal portraits on a ranch in Texas, and our rehearsal dinner had a country band to which we two-stepped the night away. Since I’ve only lived in Mississippi and Texas, all I know are Southern weddings.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? We came in right at $25,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? I am happy that I splurged on the dress and the bouquet. Let’s face it, those are the two things that are in the most of the pictures! I absolutely loved my flowers! They did a great job. Even though I had the dress about 9 months in advance, I saw many other dresses and never once regretted my decision. Other than that, the photography and video were both totally worth it. Those are the two things that will last the longest and help you remember every detail of the day you spent months planning for.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t make it all about yourself. Yes, it is your wedding, but in the end, it’s still just another day, another 24 hours. Be excited to spend time celebrating with other people. Focus on the joy and happiness of the day. It’s finally here and it’s time to party! If something doesn’t go right, it’s not a big deal. Don’t sacrifice your kindness, attitude, joy, friendships, and others’ opinions of you for minute details.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are living in Ft. Worth for the summer and then moving to Louisville, Kentucky for masters degrees. We will both be attending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Layne will get a master’s in Theology and I will get a masters in Counseling.

Love this wedding? Take look at these!
Hillary + Kyle’s monogrammed ballroom wedding.
Our Blue Wedding Details Pinterest Board

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
7 Comments
  1. avatar Taylor reply

    That picture of daddy giving his little girl away… oh, I cried. What a beautiful, special portrait.

  2. avatar Madi reply

    Beautiful wedding! Loved hearing that you had 300 guests and still were able to come in at $25,000 on budget! Would love more information or any tips/tricks on how you made this possible. Planning a wedding on the same budget and guest count and am having trouble making it all work!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Thanks so much for sharing this gorgeous wedding! The details of this wedding were stunning. I loved Whitney’s advice to share. I look forward to keeping that in mind when it comes time to plan for such a special day!

  4. avatar Kelli Taylor/Daniel Taylor Photography reply

    Love this simple, yet elegant wedding! And that cake topper is just too funny.

  5. avatar Lauren Townes reply

    I don’t understand the comment about ballroom receptions done right. Many ballroom receptions are beautiful. SWMag shows so many weddings with the same theme-outdoors, on a barn, rustic-y. As I bride-to-be I found that many ballrooms offered more affordable and practical options for brides (at hotels there’s usually no charge beyond food+drink, you can get married in the winter months, no chair and table rentals you don’t have to worry about bathrooms!). So I think SWMag should open up their minds some, also show a greater variety of weddings-the ‘fancier’ weddings are sometimes actually much easier to orchestrate then someone’s backyard :-)

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for your feedback! I think what Nicole was getting at is that unfortunately, many hotel ballrooms have outdated carpets, lighting fixtures, furniture, wall coverings, etc. that don’t mesh with the simple, classic style our brides tend to love. That’s why we wanted to celebrate this one! We do our best to show a variety of weddings, and LOVE showing ballroom weddings!! Also, I totally agree with you that ballroom/hotel weddings can often be less expensive and easier to organize than outdoor weddings!

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Y’all, long distance is hard — I mean both long distance relationships and long distance wedding planning. I am in awe of how beautifully Audrey + Jordan’s turned out considering that they planned it while overseas in Asia working for a college ministry AND while they were both five hours apart from each other. Their wedding day came together with what looks like the ease, comfort and elegance of the best Southern soirees. These photos by Caroline Joy convinces us that not only are Audrey + Jordan a gorgeous couple, but that they must also be superheroes.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I went shopping three months before the wedding because for the first 2 months of our engagement, I was overseas and couldn’t shop yet! My mother and stepmother and I went to some stores in Birmingham, found one dress I loved. We made the decision to get that one, but decided to wait and look around more that day. My mom urged me to go to a shop in Hartselle, Alabama, the next day just to look. When I went in, the first dress I tried on was the exact dress I had been looking for! We bought that one immediately! It had a sash that tied around my waist, which matched the ivory dress, but when I went for my dress fitting, I realized it just wasn’t the look I wanted — it was all too white and shiny. I wanted a softer, more natural look so a family friend dyed the sash a tan/light cocoa color and it was perfect!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we wanted our first time to see each other to be an intimate setting without people around- and it was way more practical as far as picture-taking goes.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our food! We had pulled pork, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, corn pudding, black eyed pea slaw, apple crisp, pecan pies and mint sweet tea with vodka. Our decorations included quilts, hat boxes, mason jars, dough bowls, rustic wooden serving pieces that looked like they came from a barn. And the outdoor barn setting was Southern!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Our cake was two gigantic round layers with a collection of flowers similar to our bouquets on top of the cake. The cake was placed on a giant wooden stand and had a messy buttercream frosting that looked rustic!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met in college at the University of Alabama. I saw Jordan onstage playing music for a college ministry we both were going to. I had a crush on him for a few weeks before we met at a concert. We hit it off instantly and spent every day together after that.
Describe the proposal. We were in East Asia, working for a college ministry there. I had gone to visit Jordan in his city and we were supposed to go to a friend’s house for dinner that night. I was called to go to someone else’s apartment to grab some wine for the dinner. Upon arrival, I found Jordan on a rooftop garden with flowers and candles everywhere. We wrote our names on some Chinese lanterns and were going to set them off, when I found the engagement ring tied to the bottom of one! He asked me to marry him then!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Emotional, peaceful, natural.
In what month did you get married? October
How many guests attended your wedding? About 300
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The ceremony began at sunset and we were married under a giant oak tree on my family farm.
Describe your wedding flowers: They were pastel colors- peaches, greens, creams, a lot of dahlias and some berry looking plants. I wanted them to have a wildflower look. I pretty much gave our florist/decorator my wedding invitation from Rifle Paper Co. and told them to use the flowers illustrated. The flowers were tied with some lace, and my bouquet was tied with an old piece of knitted fabric I found at a second hand store.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000 -50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Over-communicate about details to be sure you have everything taken care of and know who is doing what!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Establishing our life together in Birmingham and enjoying each other as husband and wife. We are looking forward to knowing each other more intimately and having more and more fun every day.

Photographer: Caroline Joy Photography // Planner: Randy Roper // Venue: Private residence // Florist: In Bloom, Huntsville, Alabama // Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Cake by Cakes, etc, Desserts by Mary Lynn Carlton // Caterer: Mary Lynn Carlton // Rentals: Limestone Bay Trading Company // Lighting: In Bloom // Paper Products: Invitations from Rifle Paper Company // Bride’s Dress: Robert Bullock via Something Blue Bridal Shoppe // Bride’s Shoes: Pour Le Victoire // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Urban Outfitters

If you love this wedding, might we suggest these?
Holly + Chase’s homemade Alabama wedding here
Melissa + Eric’s peach, green and grey wedding here and here
Lauren + Tommy’s outdoor ranch wedding here and here

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
12 Comments
  1. avatar NatalieG reply

    I love the BM dresses!!!! Please share!!!!! :)

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Natalie! I love those bridesmaids’ dresses, too! They’re from Urban Outfitters :)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Love those mini pecan pies – so cute!

  3. avatar Madelynne Miller reply

    SO wonderfully southern! And what a handsome couple! Congrats to y’all for a beautiful wedding and for the start of a beautiful life together!

  4. avatar Marissa, Foldable shoes reply

    wow! what cute wedding! love the photos :)

  5. avatar Kristine {In Love, Engaged} reply

    I love the feel of the outdoor venue. So relaxed, peaceful, and fun. All the antique details are so fun too. What a great wedding!

  6. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    Love love love the her dress and the bridesmaids dresses! What a cute couple!

  7. avatar Natalie reply

    Wow! This was an absolutely gorgeous wedding! And the pictures… Beautiful!

  8. avatar Honey reply

    Love the pics- looks like a great wedding! Where did y’all find the getaway car?

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