If you’ve been reading Southern Weddings for awhile, chances are, you’ve fallen in love with a Katelyn James Photography wedding or two! Katelyn and Michael are a husband and wife photography team, and as well as shooting pretty weddings (see a few of our favorites here, here, and here!), they also love decorating their home in Richmond, Virginia, where they live with their ridiculously adorable bichpoo, Bokeh. Their passion for opening up their home and gathering family and friends together is the driving force behind the design and decor in their house, and we have a feeling y’all are going to love this peek inside as much as we do!
Tell us your love story in one sentence. After dating for eight years, I married my high school sweetheart, best friend, and greatest gift from God… life couldn’t be any sweeter!
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? I think we’re constantly going through different changes in our marriage. The most recent change in our life is that we are now a full-time husband and wife photography team! I’ve been so surprised with what we are capable of accomplishing as a team. We’re so much better together than we are apart!
Do you rent or own? We actually do both. We bought a very small Cape Cod when we first got married in 2010, and we recently built more of a family-sized home in our area! We currently rent our first home out to friends from church.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? Michael and I grew up together, went on family vacations together, and have known each other since we were toddlers, so there were very few things that shocked us after moving in together. I am learning not to have unrealistic expectations about how tidy our house should be. Messes stress me out… Michael doesn’t seem to mind them :) However, over the last three years, Michael has learned that I’m in a much better mood when the house is somewhat put together, so he makes that a priority, and I love him for it!
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? We splurge on big ticket items that need to last forever. For example, when we moved into the new house, we knew that we wanted to invest in a couch that we could use for 10+ years. However, we bought more affordable end tables and a coffee table, because those can easily be replaced. Our accent pieces and guest bedroom sets are mostly from IKEA–we love the Liatorp Collection! We don’t splurge on lamps or small decor pieces, simply because there are awesome options at HomeGoods and Target. Why spend $250 on one lamp when you can decorate a whole room with that money?
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We love our vacuum and our luggage! Those were two big items on our registry that we’re SO thankful for.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? Why did I get fine china?! Our everyday dishes are white ceramic sets from Crate and Barrel and they are beautiful. We registered for a full set of fine china and only received about 1/3 of what we registered for. The sad part is that Crate and Barrel discontinued that pattern before we saved up to complete the collection, so now we’re stuck with a few pieces of fine china that we never use! I wish we had saved that money and invested in some more awesome serving dishes instead, since we like to entertain.
Who cooks dinner? Michael cooks, thank goodness! I’m a horrible chef.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? When we don’t know what to make, we have pasta! It’s easy and always readily available. We also grill chicken quite often and save the leftovers for my salads during the week. Our weekends are normally our “date nights,” so we usually eat out.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Our moms! Michael is constantly getting recipes from our moms. Whether we’re having a Southwest stew or some type of casserole, chances are, the recipe probably came from home.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? I would that say that we both love our living room the most! It’s where we spend most of our time relaxing at home. When we have friends over or events at the house, everyone gathers in that space. Great memories are made in that room!
What most makes your house feel like home? People. I love to decorate, but even the prettiest decor can’t make a house feel like a home. Our house feels most like a home when both of our families are here visiting with us!
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? This is going to sound like such a small thing, but Michael and I serve each other by taking the dog out to use the bathroom. He takes Bokeh out when I’m entrenched in emails, and I take him out it in the middle of the night when Michael is asleep.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We have learned that we’ll never have time off if we don’t schedule it. I try to mark off at least 2-3 “stay at home” days per week, two to three months in advance.
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… to not have expectations for my own marriage based on other people’s marriages.
How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? Our financial life has changed quite a bit in the last three years since we got married. Now that we’re self-employed and are running a photography business, we have sporadic annual income–no month is the same. We have found that designating 1/4 for business savings, 1/4 for business checking, 1/4 for personal savings and 1/4 to live on works well for us. However, we have just changed the business to an “S-Corp,” so we’ll be receiving payroll for the first time, and we plan on starting a budget based off of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace curriculum!
Do you have children? No children quite yet, but we hope to have several in the future! Michael loves kids and I’m so excited to see him as a dad one day! We are really enjoying life as a married couple without kids right now, but we’re excited for that season whenever it comes.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Michael and I love going on car rides in the evenings and looking at large, historic Richmond homes. It’s cheap and it never gets old! We recently bought an old convertible that we have coined our “fun car.” It’s the perfect ride for these outings downtown!
What is your favorite part of being married? Never having to say good night and then part ways at the end of the day, and having a permanent companion by my side!
In 2014, our family is most excited about… traveling, crossing off some big bucket list items, and establishing even more of a work/life balance.
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? Michael and I have found that we are the best versions of ourselves when we’re making time for God in our day-to-day life and in our marriage. There is nothing more powerful than a couple that can pray together and allow God to lead their marriage. So often, we forget this and try to do life on our own and by our own strength. We truly believe that God has a very specific purpose for everyone and every marriage!