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Two of the loveliest people I’ve ever met are Cary and Ryan Ray. Ryan photographed my wedding (!), and when Dave and I headed to Texas for our engagement pictures, we finally got to meet Ryan and Cary in person for the first time. Individually, they’re each so thoughtful and incredibly talented, but when they’re together, the joy and energy they find in their relationship is palpable. After Instagram-stalking the progress on their Dallas fixer upper for a while, Emily and I were so delighted when they agreed to give us a tour on Southern Newlywed. My favorite thing about it? It’s just as inviting as the people who live inside. Let’s take a look!

The couple: Cary (28) and Ryan (29) Ray
Years married: 6.5
Where you live: Dallas, Texas
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Ryan was a surfer boy from California with an unordinary childhood. We met at church in Texas (our story is pretty funny/crazy) and married a year later. He has been a photographer for seven years and is incredibly passionate about photography, working with couples, and weddings. He LOVES to cook (which really worked out for me because I unfortunately do not), and I think he would like to pursue hip-hop dancing at some point… I grew up in a small town in west Texas and moved to the Dallas area to attend college for news anchoring. I’d always loved decorating, but my passion for it didn’t happen until after I was married and we had our own home. I love decorating, design, eating what Ryan cooks, and spending time with friends and family. I’m also a new online shop owner, and that has been incredibly fun!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We saw each other at church and he came to say hello and I offered my phone number and we had our first date at Starbucks and I told him I was going to marry him two months later and he said okay and then he proposed a year later and we’ve been crazy about each other since. (That wasn’t a run-on sentence or anything…)
What is your favorite part of being married? I think my favorite part is knowing and loving another person so much and feeling safe with them. We know each other’s quirks, how to push each other’s buttons, how to make the other person laugh, and how to encourage and push each other. We go to each other all the time for opinions on life, work, and projects. Being loved for all of your weirdness and feeling safe with who you really are is such an amazing part of being married. We will always have each other’s back and be best friends.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? You obviously learn a lot about the other person, but the really surprising part is how much you learn about yourself. It can expose a lot of not-so-pretty parts you weren’t even aware of. But, in the not-so-fun things that marriage can reveal about yourself, it’s amazing that it can show you what needs to be changed for the good. It’s an opportunity to give and receive grace, love another person deeply and well, and be challenged every single day.

Do you rent or own? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own our Texas home. It was built in 1999 and was a real fixer upper when we moved in. It was dark, yellow, and there were just so many seashell fixtures and hardware. We’ve worked on it for the past four years and really love how it’s turned out. It’s not perfect, but it’s home. Our hopes and plans are always changing and evolving. It’s much like a canvas to me, and I just love how our home evolves as I evolve in what I like and am inspired by.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? The office area downstairs off of our dining area. It was truly an eyesore and such an odd room when we moved in. It had two pairs of french doors from two different rooms, a giant window looking into it, and was screened in on the other exterior side. It was topped off with aggregate floors and a water fountain. We were super confused about it, but it has made for one of our favorite rooms in the house because we were able to start over and bring it back to life!

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? We had a lot of hand-me-down furniture and an excessive amount of fake plants when we got married and moved in together. We didn’t have a lot of extra money to lend to new things, so we made what we had work. We tossed the things we really didn’t like and compromised for the things each of us did. Over the years, we’ve grown into our own and learned what we really love and appreciate, so it has been fun blending our own styles into one: both the masculine and the feminine, the newer and the older, and all different shapes, textures, and colors. Blending styles makes for so much interest and allows both of us to feel at home.
What most makes your house feel like home? All of the personal touches. I love vintage art, antique pieces, throw blankets, and books. I really feel that the things you can’t just buy at a chain store are what makes spaces look personal and layered. They offer history and personality. I love to think about the stories my vintage pieces have and who they might have belonged to.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? We have splurged on our main pieces of furniture that we use all the time, and a few other special pieces here and there. We have utilized Craigslist, eBay, flea markets, estate sales, and outlets to fill it all in. It is amazing what people throw and give away!

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Coming from a small town, you almost always have a large wedding in your church or close by. There is so much beauty in tradition, but we opted to get married in Mexico instead. The swine flu was on the up and up, but about 30 of us jumped on airplanes and flew on over to a resort. We have never regretted it, and it couldn’t have been more fun!! My favorite part was probably our first look. We met on this beautiful bridge with tons of trees around us. One of my most favorite photographs is of Ryan wiping a tear away from my eyes in that moment. We had been through so much at that point and it was very special to have a private moment alone before saying our vows. That, and the crazy dancing at the reception. :)
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our dishes. A friend of mine told me I needed to get good white dishes and that I wouldn’t regret it. I didn’t love white dishes at the time, but I took her advice and we still use them every single day. Classic options like that are timeless.

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities (work, personal time, extended family, etc.)? We have a goal to stop working at certain times and to not use our phones at dinner. We always spend time together in the evenings. We aren’t perfect, but we do strive to always prioritize each other.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? We love dinner and movies. This sounds very vanilla, but we really enjoy it! We often set date nights just to end up staying home together. From time to time, we really enjoy afternoon dates at a new restaurant, or a drive looking at homes in the country.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? When we got married, we read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Ryan really feels loved by acts of service, and I feel loved by quality time and words of affirmation. So basically, I keep the dust bunnies out of the house and he gives me back rubs and tells me what a great job I did. :)

Do you have children? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? We are adopting a little boy from Taiwan. His name is River! We have been praying for children for six years now, and God has answered our prayers through adoption! We have a story that has a lot of struggle, but so much grace from the Lord in every part. He always has the big picture and He’s always there in the deepest part of our struggles, even when it doesn’t feel that way.
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… That it gets better and better with time. We really struggled the first few years of marriage. When two imperfect, stubborn beings come under one roof, there’s bound to be issues. Not everyone struggles in their first years, but we sure did. It’s just a part of our story that we are always okay with sharing. When we both grasped that we were never going to be able to change the other person, and rather, focused on our own hearts and sin, that’s when I really feel we started progressing. It takes work!! But it’s always always worth it.

Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? There’s so much beauty in imperfection and even the most mundane parts of life. We have Instagram and Facebook and all these social media outlets to show our projects or what we’re up to. That’s all great, but I think it’s important for people to know that those things are just not what life is about. There are so many days when doing laundry, cooking, running errands, and cleaning seem to take up so much of our time, but what I’ve learned so much in marriage is that it’s not really about the things we’re doing, it’s how we treat each other and love one another while doing them. That’s what really counts.

Thank you so much to Cary and Ryan for sharing their hearts and home with us! Follow along with them here:

Cary’s shop | Cary’s Instagram | Ryan’s website | Ryan’s blog | Ryan’s Instagram

Photography: Ryan Ray

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Jessica reply

    LOVE this so much! Such a gorgeous home.

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Beautiful home and and beautiful interview!!

  3. avatar Laura reply

    Love their marriage advice and honesty! Great feature.

  4. avatar Draia reply

    Aww, what a beautiful and honest couple! They also have a great taste for interior :) I love how they answered the questions. Thumbs up for the imperfections !

  5. avatar Creative Gallery Walls reply

    […] via Southern Weddings […]

  6. avatar Khrissa Williams reply

    Hi Cary and Ryan! I love the photo with the 9 white frames on the navy wall. I’m especially in love with that adorable little wood table and beautiful glass lamp! I have been on the hunt for a lamp like this ever since I saw your photo. Would you mind sharing where the table and lamp are from? Thanks!!

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If you’ve flipped through V8, you’ve surely already “met” Victoria and Ben Strader–these real-life Texas sweethearts modeled as the bride and groom in our Texas Sweethearts editorial! Victoria is a longtime friend of SW, and we’ve loved getting to know her heart for marriage and her passion for Southern hospitality over the years. She and Ben took on a small town fixer upper for their newlywed home, and with a little bit of elbow grease and a whole lot of love, they’ve created a truly special place for their growing family. We couldn’t wait to see it all decked out for the holidays, and were so excited when the Straders agreed to give us a tour and share all of the details with us!

Thank you so much to Dyan Kethley for capturing Victoria and Ben’s home for this holiday tour!

The couple: Victoria (24) and Ben (25) Strader
Years married: Three this month!
Where they live: A small town north of Fort Worth, Texas
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Ben was born and raised in the same sweet small town where we live now. Both of his parents have lived here all of their lives, too, and we love having the majority of our extended family in a radius of a few miles. I was born in Paris, France, where my British parents lived for a few years before moving to the US shortly before my first birthday. I feel it was my destiny to become a Southern belle. :) Ben teaches and coaches middle school and is in the process of starting a business with his two brothers. We’re both licensed realtors and I’m excited to spend more time at home next year as our family grows.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. A high school crush between close friends turned into being college sweethearts!

Do you rent or own? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Tell us a little bit about where you live. We bought our first home just a few months before getting married. It was built in the early 1960’s by a newlywed couple who didn’t change a thing about it until they passed, and we bought the house from their grandson. A solid month of renovations, plus a kitchen and bathroom project since we’ve lived here have turned an old, smelly house into the perfect place for the beginning of our marriage. Ben’s parents own farmland a few miles outside of town, and it has been a family dream for everyone to eventually reside on the property if it’s where God leads. We’re both constantly talking about things we desire in our dream home…it’s fun to look forward to!
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? Honestly, this was a really easy process for us. Ben’s only remark was that things could be “slightly feminine but not girly.” Having just finished college when we got married, we started from scratch on most things.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? When we first bought our home, everything was a “save” item! :) But over time, we’ve enjoyed investing in the long term, timeless items that need to be great quality to withstand normal life. We love our Restoration Hardware dining room table, our fancy Pottery Barn chandelier, and our new West Elm curtains. The quality difference in nice curtains is out of control! Decorative accents that will probably be replaced over time are some of our steals, as well as rugs that will inevitably be spilled on. I think this probably goes without saying for most, but we’ve found that Target is our go-to for so many items at a reasonable price point.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? All of our everyday kitchen goodies: plates from Anthropologie, glasses from Pottery Barn, KitchenAid pots and pans.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I don’t think we fully realized what a sweet, one-time opportunity we had to fill our kitchen. Through the process of registering and receiving wedding gifts, we were so blown away by how generous everyone was. People were so happy to be giving us sacrificial gifts, something we’ve taken note of and tried to consistently apply in our daily lives. If we had a second shot at this, I think we would register for more serve ware. We love entertaining and are constantly hosting large gatherings. I think it’s really important to consider your lifestyle when registering, not just choosing things from a department store checklist. I will also note that we’re team china; we are so grateful for pieces that will serve as heirlooms.

Who cooks dinner? My instinct is to say mostly me, but it’s often an even trade-off.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We’re never ones to shy away from simple, healthy grilled chicken with veggies. Super boring, but easy to throw together and we feel good about it afterwards. For more fun weeknight meals, we love Skinny Taste Shrimp and Grits, and any kind of Mexican casserole.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? We are huge fans of The Pioneer Woman and Skinny Taste. Two opposite ends of the health spectrum that we love!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our living room. We’ve made so many sweet memories with friends and family gathered there for laughs, tears, sharpening confrontation, and intentional conversation. I love that our home has become such a safe place for all of our loved ones–that has been our prayer from the beginning of marriage.
What most makes your house feel like home? This is such a silly, first world answer…but being able to curl up on our couch in our own space and watch a TV show together with a candle lit.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Walking through our magical sparkler exit, hopping in the car, and immediately being blown away by how loved we felt by everyone in our lives who came together to give us the sweetest wedding day.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? (Pictures, mementos, etc.) We are really into beautiful photography, and have loads of sweet photos from our wedding and engagement displayed in our home. The ruffled curtains that formed the altar on our wedding day actually now hang in our office/sitting room. It’s a sweet little reminder, and it was a great way for us to double dip on wedding budget and new home budget!

What is your approach to decorating your home for the holidays? We love having decor peppered throughout our home, but it’s also important to us for it to be able to be cleaned up relatively quickly. Our tree is in two pre-lit parts that you snap together easily. Our collection of decor has grown each year of marriage, but it’s important to us to make our home extra cozy for the holidays and not have things just for the sake of it. A beautiful nativity scene is still on my Christmas decor wish list!
What is a favorite holiday tradition your family has created post-wedding? Each year since we’ve been married, I’ve baked a load of Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls for our close friends and family members. We eat ours on Christmas morning by our tree, and read Luke 2. We have a bunch of family Christmas gatherings, but our short little one for just the two of us is by far our favorite.

How do you navigate the holidays with your extended families? We are so blessed to have the majority of our family live in the area, with the exception of my extended family in England. We have a big brunch with Ben’s mom’s side of the family on Christmas Eve morning, go to church and dinner with Ben’s parents and siblings, spend early Christmas morning just the two of us, followed by visits to my dad’s house, my mom’s house, and then a final Mexican feast with Ben’s dad’s side of the family. It’s kind of a marathon, but we’re grateful to have everyone so close, allowing us to see everyone over the holidays. I just think it’s vital to make all family members feel loved and valued by you and your spouse, regardless of if you’ll be able to see them or not.

What is your favorite part of being married? Marriage turned us into each other’s family. There is so much beauty and legacy in that statement, and we are constantly so grateful for how the Lord wove our lives together.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? I remember when we were dating, people would talk about how “dating is nothing compared to marriage” and that you will “love each other so much more than on your wedding day.” At the time, that was discouraging to me, but it really has proven true. In marriage, we’ve gotten to know and love each other on such a deeper, more intimate level. I wish there was a better way to communicate this that sounds more encouraging and doesn’t minimize the value of sweet time while dating.

Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… That you don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to become a “super wife” overnight. Household chores can be balanced between you both. :)
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? I’ll brag on Benjamin Luke for a minute…this morning, I realized my card had moved, and that he had filled my tank up with gas. Something so simple was so helpful and made me feel so loved!
Do you have children? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? We are overjoyed to be expecting a sweet babe next May. We are so grateful to the Lord for providing this precious life for whom we have prayed!

Big hugs to Victoria and Ben for sharing their hearts and home with us this holiday season! Follow along with them on Victoria’s darling blog and Instagram.

P.S. Just as a reminder: we’d love to hear from you, too! If you’re interested, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Victoria Strader reply

    Thank you so much for featuring us! We are truly so grateful for y’all and all that you do! Big, big hugs from Texas today!

  2. avatar Lauren reply

    I love these features! They are such a lovely glimpse into “after the wedding” and it’s always fun to see how other people decorate as well as gain some inspiration for my own home!

  3. avatar Kristina reply

    Victoria, you have a beautiful home! I love the way you decorate for the holidays. Merry Christmas :)

  4. avatar Abby Nyquist reply

    Everything is adorable! Thanks for inspiring my Christmas decorating this weekend! :)

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You know the feeling when you meet someone, and within five minutes of chatting with them, you feel like you’ve been friends with them forever? That’s how I felt the first time I met Shalyn in Austin a few years ago, and after reading the interview that she and her husband, Drew, filled out for today’s post, I’m sure y’all will feel that way too! This sweet couple has such an inspiring marriage–they always look like they’re having the best time together, and they are totally open about how crazy about each other they are. It is the cutest thing…followed closely by the giggle-inducing crew of Nelson pets (Need a laugh? Look up #HattietheHedgehog on Instagram!).

Thanks so much to Shalyn and Drew for sharing with us, and to Blue Ribbon Vendor Ever and Anon for capturing the Nelson home!

P.S. Shalyn is also giving away a print from her watercolor print shop to a lucky SW reader–details below!

The couple: Shalyn (29) and Drew (29)
Years married: 6 this March!
Where you live: Austin, Texas
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Hi y’all! We are Shalyn and Drew, also known as the Nelsons! Shalyn is a fine art wedding and editorial photographer, runs a personal lifestyle blog at So Shay, and owns a small watercolor print shop. Drew serves alongside Shalyn as a wedding photographer/second shooter/assistant on the weekends, but also travels a lot and works full-time during the week as a Manager of Field Operations for a land surveying company. Together, we own and run our wedding photography business, Love, The Nelsons. We are just a couple of goobers, living, loving, and dancing around Austin, Texas together, along with our two pomeranians and two hedgehogs. We love each other, we love weddings, and we LOVE the meaning of marriage.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Girl falls for cute boy with a big smile and hot pants when he used the cheesy pick up line, “You look really familiar? Do I know you from somewhere?”, and then boy woos her by taking her to see Nacho Libre, treats her to a snow cone afterwards, and when he points and says, “What’s that?” and she looks and then turns around to ask, “What’s what?” he quickly kisses her on the lips and both boy and girl start laughing. Run-on sentence for the win! P.S. Girl and cute boy got married, haven’t stopped laughing together since that date, and the cute boy with the hot pants continues to steal kisses from her every single day.
What is your favorite part of being married? From Drew: My favorite part is that marriage feels like you’re at a permanent sleepover with your best friend, but better, because there are no curfews, you make the rules together, there’s always great conversation, good food, killer dance parties, and all the cuddles, and I never have to dread my Mom picking me up the next day. :) I also find complete joy and extreme gratitude knowing that she vowed to do this life with ME, and gave her heart to ME–out of every guy in the world. It is the greatest honor.

Who cooks dinner? Drew does the majority of the time! I call him “Chef Drew Drew Hot Pants” and he hates it. :) But I do cook the sides (veggies), while he cooks/grills the meat! I like to eat and he likes to cook. We make a great team!
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? If our schedules are busy, we keep it simple and go with taco salad or any type of pasta! If we have time, we love grilling chicken and fresh veggies. Dessert is a must in this house too–I love baking cupcakes and all those delicious things that your thighs hate, but your sweet tooth LOVES!

Tell us about the process of moving in together. When we moved in together, I had a lot of cheap furniture from college and Drew only had a Texas A&M flag, clothes, and a baseball card collection. Over the years, we haven’t quite been able to decide what our style is together. We don’t really have a certain vibe, but our home is a happy combination of our personalities. It’s random, fun, traditional, modern, and contemporary. There are some random vintage finds thrown in and a few touches of masculinity. Our style and taste may come off as a little confused, but it’s slowly maturing, growing, and evolving, just like our marriage. My biggest advice is to select your (expensive) big items in your home very carefully, especially if you’re a lot like me and your taste in décor is anything like Texas weather–it changes in the blink of an eye! It’s a lot easier (and more affordable) to change hot pink pillows on a gray couch than it is to change gray pillows on a hot pink couch. However, if you KNOW your style through and through and know it won’t change, I say do what you want and rock the mess out of it!
What most makes your house feel like home? Shalyn: Having LOTS of pillows (I love pillows!), my little family, and of course, lots of photos and personal mementos spread all around the walls and shelves of our home. They remind us daily of the memories we have shared and the life we are building together as one! Drew: My wife.

Tell us a little bit about where you live. When we first got married, we lived in a nice, updated apartment with all the bells and whistles. When the house bug bit us, we realized that we qualified for the first-time home buyer situation that was being offered at that time, but we had only a little over a month before the deadline. My brother convinced us that it would be a good investment, and since we were just married, just out of college, and still eating Top Ramen for days, we just took a deep breath, went with it, and made a very quick decision on a fixer upper home that was built in 1986. We chose to renovate room by room, little by little, as finances allowed. The process was realllllly slow in the beginning, but we had a lot of fun making mistakes, and Drew loved building his “manly tool collection,” as he calls it. Two years into renovating, we started to notice cracks in our walls and doors that wouldn’t shut, and later found out that our house had major foundation and plumbing problems. We continued to live in our home with these problems until we could save some money–until one day when we realized that you could SEE the outside from the inside under all the doors and trim. We packed up out of our home, put everything in storage, lived with my sweetheart of a brother for three months, and got our foundation and plumbing fixed. All of the renovations we had done over the past two years? Ruined. So, we started over. Drew laid every single tile, every wood plank, every trim board, every backsplash, you name it. I painted and cleaned like a champ and offered my big guns when needed. There were days we wanted to throw in the towel, but we powered through. Needless to say, we were both emotionally and physically exhausted. The photos in this post are the first photos we have taken of our house since we’ve renovated. Looking at them brought a few tears to my eyes because if you saw our house before, you just wouldn’t believe it. It has come so far!

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Shalyn: I loved when we were saying our vows, and our pastor said to Drew, “Now repeat after me…In the name of God…” and Drew just stood there in silence, not realizing that he needed to say, “In the name of God.” He got so embarrassed and we all started laughing. It just reminded me right then and there that I was going to be laughing with him like that for the rest of my life. Drew: When my wife said “I do.” She was officially locked in and I let out a little sigh of relief ;)
How do you remember your wedding in your home? Shalyn: I think one of my favorite reminders from our day is this huge engagement photo we printed poster-sized and had our guests write around on our wedding day. It’s right by my office, so I see their sweet messages every day and it always makes me smile. Drew: This isn’t from our wedding, but one day, I came home from work and Shay had the three roses that I proposed to her with in a shadow box. She had carefully positioned them on a wall in our bedroom, so when she looks at my side of the bed, they are displayed right above my head. I get that I’m a guy and need to be cool about these things, but that was one of the sweetest things she’s done to make our house feel like a home. It meant a lot to me.

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? Our best tip is to create really healthy boundaries and to STICK to them. Our current work situation is a little different than most, and we have learned to adjust and are making it work. Now that Drew works out of town a lot during the week and we photograph/work most weekends, our time together is really, really limited. We had to sit down and figure out where and how to make time for one another, so I created business hours for myself to accommodate our work schedules. At the end of the day, life is short, and your marriage matters the MOST. We declare Friday our day off together, and on the few weekends we don’t photograph weddings, we make plans to see our families and friends! Balancing everything is never easy and we’re not perfect at it, but we do the best we can and really value the time we have with one another.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We will both nod our heads here and say our down comforter, our everyday plates, and our mixer!
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? Be smart with your selections, even though some items may seem boring to choose. Remember that what you currently use the most often probably won’t change much after marriage. I remember getting excited to just click the button because we were REGISTERING FOR OUR WEDDING!!! And now, we probably only use about 50 percent of what we selected. Think everyday, think useful, think practical, think smart! But that said, definitely add a few fun and fancy things, too! :)

Do you have children? We have our fur children and our spike children/babies currently, but we definitely want to start a a family with real HUMAN babies in the next few years!
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Shalyn: Drew works out of town a lot, so I always try to sneak notes into his bags or his truck so he will find them throughout the week. I just remind him how much I love him and thank him for working so hard to provide for us. I also try to have our house cleaned and dinner ready for him when he gets home from traveling. He loves this, and I admit, there’s nothing better than coming home to that! Drew: I bring her flowers all the time at random because I know how much she loves them, and I love seeing the smile on her face when I do. I also help with home projects because I know how much having a nice home means to her.

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Our favorite date night is building a fort in our living room that has lights all around it. We rent Redbox movies and eat tons of snacks! We always see who can stay up the latest, and whoever loses has to clean up the fort the next day!
This year, our family is most excited about… taking a trip, just the two of us, to Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. We haven’t been on a trip alone together (that hasn’t been work-related) since our honeymoon six years ago, so needless to say, we are PUMPED! We are also super excited for our passion project (#lovethenelsonsproject) endeavor that will be announced next week!

Thank you SO much to the Nelsons for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with their photography business, Love, the Nelsons, Shalyn’s blog, and Instagrams (@ShalynNelson and @DDHP).

Shalyn has generously offered to give away a print (of the winner’s choice!) from her watercolor print shop to a lucky SW reader! To enter, check out her shop here and leave a comment below with the print you would choose. A winner will be randomly selected and emailed on Monday!

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!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Laura reply

    I LOVE this! How can I choose one print? I think either the “so fresh and so clean” for a bathroom or “I love you more” for a gallery wall in our bedroom! They are so cute!

  2. avatar Kathleen reply

    What a sweet post! I’d LOVE the “And the greatest of these is love” print!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    I looooove the Donald Miller Billion Stars print!

  4. avatar Mary reply

    Shay’s instagrams are probably my favorite of all instagrams. She is hilarious (and from Texas – always a plus)!

  5. avatar Laura Barnes reply

    I really love this blog series.. always so sweet to read and fun to see a peak into beautiful homes.

    My favorite print from Shayln’s shop is the ‘I love you more’ print!

  6. avatar Madeline reply

    I would LOVE the “I love you more” print!

  7. avatar Page reply

    What a sweet post and a fun couple! I love her prints! My favorite is “the greatest of these is love”

  8. avatar Kourtney reply

    I love a few & with the reasonable pricetag I’ll definitely be purchasing all on my wishlist, but as far as a favorite goes…I’d have to go with the “so fresh and so clean clean” for the bathroom {will need one for mine & the babe’s!} Thanks to Shayln for the giveaway!!

  9. avatar Katelyn reply

    I love the “I just love everything about you” print!

  10. avatar Emily reply

    I’m trying to be AWESOME today :)

  11. avatar Loverly reply

    We fell in love reading about this amazing couple! The style of their home is so cozy and fun, and we can’t get enough of the metallic striped wall in the office space. Great post!

  12. avatar Mackenzie reply

    Love this austin home. My favorite water color is “dude let’s cuddle”

  13. avatar Sara reply

    They are all amazing!! I would absolutely love “and the greatest of these is love” It would be an amazing addition to our gallery wall!!

  14. avatar Jessica Thornton reply

    I have LOVED them for so long, thanks to FB and Insta, but I adore this feature on them. Their love for each other is so true and palpable. I LOVE THE NELSONS!

    My favorite of her prints would have to be Lets Cuddle or Spoon! It would go great in our bedroom.

  15. avatar Sabrina reply

    I love the “So fresh and so clean!” Would look great in my upstairs bathroom!!

  16. avatar Alex H. reply

    I would totally choose the watercolor print:

    “Dear Diamond,
    We all know who is really a girl’s best friend.
    Sincerely, Chocolate Cake”


  17. avatar Chauna Hardin reply

    I would absolutely love the robin Williams quote to hang above my bed!

  18. avatar Shannon reply

    I follow both of these two on IG and lurve their posts.

    I’d love the marriage print (but really. let’s get married….)

    Great article.

  19. avatar Cherith Autrey reply

    I love the watercolor print “I love you more” and really enjoyed this interview, it was so fun and precious!

  20. avatar Erin Wright reply

    I love the “I love you so” print.

  21. avatar Carlos reply

    Thank you for sharing your joys with us. Really a lovely couple with their love babies (pets). Adorable.

  22. avatar Dana reply

    What an adorable couple!
    I would choose the EB White quote print!

  23. avatar Tara F. reply

    But really, let’s get married or Let’s spoon…

    Actually all of them are too cute and I want them ALL! I live in Austin too and love finding new little shops like that since I’d get my package a lot sooner :)

  24. avatar Jennifer beck reply

    I would love to add the “I love you more” print to my bedroom wall gallery! I have been following shaylan for awhile and her essence is something to strive for both in life and in business!!

  25. avatar Rose reply

    Love this couple and their love for each other.
    I would choose the “So fresh and so clean” print for my bathroom.

  26. avatar Ana reply

    Just sitting here on the corner of awesome and bombdigity!! Is my fav print! :)
    The Nelsons love is truly contagious and shows through the small glimpses we get on Instagram! Thank you for being an inspiration to have super fun dance party marriage!!

  27. avatar Mackenzie Burgess reply

    I love hearing more about the Nelson’s! What an encourging story of perseverance and love. All the prints are fabulous, but I must say the “Dear diamond” print hits home. I would love that one!

    Thank you for sharing!

  28. avatar Sarah G reply

    What a sweet couple (and I’m obsessed with Hattie the hedgehog!). Love, love the Donald Miller print :)

  29. avatar Hannah Lumpkins reply

    LOVE you guys! You’re such an inspiration!
    I would love the “I love you more….” print!!

  30. avatar Emily reply

    DEFINITELY “Dude let’s cuddle”!!!!!!

  31. avatar Stacey reply

    Very awesome home! I love the “dude let’s cuddle” and “love you more” posters!

  32. avatar Allison Whitecavage reply

    I Love Shalyn and Drew. They are such an inspiration in work and in love, especially since my fiancé and I have difficult work schedules as well.
    “But really. Let’s get married and make lots of babies and grow old together. (It will be awesome!)”
    Would make an awesome wedding gift for my upcoming wedding in June! ;)

  33. avatar Rachael reply

    I love the “Maybe making out for a few minutes’ Print! I love Shay and Drew! Every time I see an article of theirs or see a FB post I think to myself, that’s how i want my relationship to be and I always make sure we laugh at least once or twice a day with each other! What a great example! :)

  34. avatar Hilary McIntosh reply

    “Wake up! Dress up! Show up! Turn up! #WERK”

  35. avatar Laura B reply

    great prints. “Love you more” is my favorite :)

  36. avatar nikki reply

    So many good ones! “just sitting here on the corner of awesome and bombdiggity”. “Good vibes only”. “dude lets cuddle” and “i like big cups and i cannot lie” are among my favorites :)

  37. avatar megan w. reply

    i love the “and the greatest of these is love” print!

  38. avatar Alissa reply

    I love Shalyn Nelson–she was my engagement photos photographer! I adore her and Drew! I would love to have her “”But really. Let’s get married and make lots of babies and grow old together. (It will be awesome!)” watercolor!

  39. avatar Michelle reply

    I absolutely love the “We tend to seek happiness when HAPPINESS is actually a choice” one! That is my motto in life

  40. avatar Michelle reply

    I absolute love the “We tend to seek happiness when HAPPINESS is actually a choice” one. That is my motto in life!

  41. avatar brooke reply

    I loved reading their interview. We a great couple! I love the so fresh and so clean print!

  42. avatar Christina reply

    Love her “so fresh & so clean, clean” print (as well as all of them, really!!!!) What a sweet couple & such a fun interview. :-)

  43. avatar Julie reply

    I love the ‘so fresh and so clean clean’ watercolor; we would love this in our bathroom! All of these are so adorable though.

  44. avatar Jessica N. reply

    Enjoyed reading about Shay and her man, thanks for sharing SW! I also would love the billion stars print in our new home!

  45. avatar Meredith Brown reply

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the “But really. Let’s get married and make lots of babies and grow old together. It will be awesome!” :)

    Loved this post as well!!!!

  46. avatar Jennifer reply

    I love the beautiful water colors! My favorite is the greatest of these is love print! So beautiful!

  47. avatar Lauren reply

    I love this! Major hedgehog envy. I’d be so thrilled to win the “i love you more” print. How sweet!

  48. avatar Michelle reply

    I adore Shay. She is a wonderful person and so talented! I love how much she and Drew love each other!

  49. avatar Sara reply

    My fav is the “good vibes only” print!

  50. avatar Teri reply

    I love reading about yalls love story! Yall are too cute and silly! Never a dull moment!
    “Wake up, dress up, show up”

  51. avatar Laura reply

    I’ve been following Shalyn for a while now and I love seeing how happy they are – they’re not afraid to be goofy! I love the “And the greatest is love” print!

  52. avatar chauna hardin reply

    I would love to have the Robin Williams quote print to hang above my bed! I love them all though and would be happy with any of them!

  53. avatar Whitney reply

    I LOVE Shalyn… I’ve been following her for YEARS!!!

    How can I just pick just one?!? I love them all!! I love the Ryan Adams quite.

  54. avatar Susan W reply

    Dude, let’s cuddle!!

  55. avatar Heather K. reply

    I love Shay’s “Dude Let’s Cuddle” print. I enjoy following her on IG and seeing all the cute pictures of their fur children!

  56. avatar Katie Mast reply

    I’m trying to be awesome today…. cause everyone should always be striving for AWESOME!! <3

  57. avatar c.h. reply

    I LOVE the quote on the “billion stars” print

  58. avatar Sam reply

    I love “So fresh & so clean”. Great work!

  59. avatar Katie reply

    I love the “Dude, Let’s Cuddle” print! I’d love to win that one :)

  60. avatar Stephanie reply

    I adore the “Southern Newlyweds” series! Every time I read them I get so excited for our wedding in June!!! I absolutely love the “But Really: Let’s Get Married” print, it sounds like something my fiance and I would say to each other!

  61. avatar Alysson reply

    Well I need one of each!! But I’d choose so fresh and so clean or dude lets cuddle…it would be a hard choice!!

  62. avatar Alysson reply

    So fresh and so clean or dude lets cuddle!

  63. avatar Madeleine B reply

    I can’t decide! I love the Let’s Cuddle or… print and the Sitting at the Corner print as well! How cute are all of them!?

  64. avatar Shauna W reply

    Such a cute article .. The nelsons are simply adorable :) I love following the blog & them on Instagram. If I am lucky enough to be the chosen winner, I would choose “And the greatest of these is love.”

  65. avatar Jenn reply

    I would pick Dear Diamond for sure! So fun and SO true!

  66. avatar Melissa Joynson reply

    I LOVE the “Dude, let’s cuddle” print. When I saw it in one of the pictures above, my immediate thought was, “That is so us (my husband and I,” followed very quickly by, “I want it! Where can I get it?” It is amazing and would be a perfect, playful addition to the more romantic prints in our bedroom, especially since marriage is all about balance. :)

  67. avatar Heather reply

    I LOVE the awesome print for my home, or the lets get married print for my office! Amazing work ladies, I love this story and their story of love and a happy marriage. There aren’t enought of those posted these days!

  68. avatar Sarah P. reply

    Dude, let’s cuddle. :-)

  69. avatar Frances reply

    I absolutely love the wake up! print, it’s so much fun!

  70. avatar Laura Fletcher reply

    I love this post, and I love them! I would love to have the “And the Greatest of These is Love” print!!

  71. avatar Jay Perez reply

    I would love the Donald Miller Billion Stars print!!!

  72. avatar Pam Fletcher reply

    I would like the And The Greatest of These is Love print!!! Gorgeous!

  73. avatar John reply

    So hard to decide! I guess I would like the And the Greatest of These is Love print.

  74. avatar Lua F. reply

    I would love the “And the Greatest of These is Love” print. But they’re all cute!

  75. avatar Angela reply

    So cute! Love the “making out” print!

  76. avatar katinka reply

    beautiful couple, beautiful house and beautiful print shop! they are all wonderful, but my favorite is dear diamond :)

  77. avatar Katie reply

    What a sweet story! I’m here from Instagram – and how can I pick just one print?? Dude, let’s cuddle. I just love everything about you. A billion stars. So good.

  78. avatar Michael and Carina reply

    This is SO sweet! Love their style!!

  79. avatar Olivia reply

    Omg, love them all, but if I had to choose I would say “and the greatest of these is love”

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