Running a successful wedding business is an accomplishment on its own, but we’re seeing more and more couples starting a business together. It can be tricky to balance marriage, family, and running a successful wedding business — but we see entrepreneurial couples tackling the challenge all the time in the wedding industry. We’ve asked wedding photographers and real-life married couple Josh and Kariss Pharris of Pharris Photos and Philms to share a behind-the-scenes look at how they make the balance work for them.
MEET JOSH AND KARISS PHARRIS, OWNERS OF PHARRIS PHOTOS + PHILMS
Josh and Kariss Pharris are the husband and wife team behind Pharris Photos + Philms. They first met in college and now they’ve built a family along with a thriving wedding business together. While they are based out of Dallas, this dynamic duo and their growing team capture special moments across the country and around the world.
They’ve turned their passion into their profession, saying of how fortunate they are to do what they love, “God has taken us incredible places with a lot of faith and a couple of cameras.” This multi-talented pair are energetic creatives that each bring their own diverse talents to the table — and they make it a real fun, family affair!
Q&A ABOUT HOW TO BALANCING MARRIAGE, FAMILY, AND RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WEDDING BUSINESS
We’ve asked Josh and Kariss to share a behind-the-scenes look at how they approach balancing building a family and a successful wedding business. Each couple, their relationship, and their business is unique — and
Did you always envision starting a business with your spouse or what that more of a surprise?
Kariss: I personally didn’t specifically envision starting a business with Josh. I just knew that I
liked where he was going and I wanted to be a part of it in whatever way that turned out to be. When he went to school he was an engineering major and I thought I was getting a stay-at-home mom life and working with him to an extent as I joined in with the business, but I love how it turned out.
Josh: I always envisioned working together, but after we were dating and understanding her gifts and talents it made sense that we could be in business together. So from there, I knew that I wanted to at least build our empire together and allow her the opportunity to work in the business if she wanted to or be working in the home if she wanted to. I guess when we were dating and as my understanding of her gifts and talents grew, we both realized that we could work together.
What is the biggest blessing of getting to work side by side with your spouse both from a creative and relational standpoint?
Kariss: From a creative standpoint we work really well together because we’re opposites in a lot
of ways. Where Josh is really technical and big picture, I’m really detailed-oriented and design-minded. I like to make aesthetics and create pretty products, while he’s ready and equipped to promote and distribute the pretty products. Where Josh is a visionary, I can bring us back to what we need to do today so we can make the visions a reality.
That’s one side of the relationships. On the other side, I think marriage is intended for you and your husband to become one in all you do, not just parenting and relationships. We’re also one in how we do
It’s great [working with your husband] because I think we experience oneness on all levels.
Josh: The biggest blessing for me is because we’re so opposite. She not only fills in the gaps, but I also get to see the growth [in her and our relationship]. We get to lean into one another’s strengths, combined with our shared connection as husband and wife, especially when shooting weddings. We already know what’s going on without having to verbally communicate because of the chemistry that we have. Our connection in marriage flows across all aspects of our lives. The fact that I get to be in business with her as well as managing our home allows her to see all aspects of me and I don’t have to withhold anything about my day or anything about my life or what’s going on because she can understand, for the most part, all I do. I would say that’s one of the biggest blessings working alongside your wife.
What are the biggest challenges trying to balance raising a family and building a successful wedding business together and how to navigate those?
Kariss: I think the challenge is when I try too hard to make it a balancing act and give everything
Everyday life isn’t balanced, different days call for different priorities; so, I’m learning to prioritize what is most important for today. It takes conscious effort to not let all the things around me distract me from what’s most important for that day. It’s easy to get caught up in comparison with what other people show as balancing vs. what works for me and our business. Prioritization has been the biggest learning curve when it comes to doing it all.
Josh: I would say unity and competition are two of the biggest challenges. Unity because we’re trying to do so much it can be hard to stay on the same wavelength and communicate. Also understanding that she could be working hard and I could be working hard in different places or on different things
The second one is competition, because we’re striving so hard to be great we can sometimes forget that we are on the same team. We can get distracted and start trying to outdo one another if you will, so how we mitigate that is by remembering we’re on the same team with all that we’re doing.
What is one piece of advice you did get or wish someone had given you when you started out on this journey?
Kariss: I would say as a husband and wife team (on the wife side) is to learn to submit earlier. Keeping the truth in my mind that we’re not working against each other but we’re working together for a common purpose. I’m becoming better at knowing when to just submit to my husband and that submission doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion or that I can’t voice my concerns.
From a business perspective, just as a business owner, I would say that there are seasons of hard work and there are seasons of rest. When you find yourself in one of those seasons, just recognize it for what it is and either know the rest is coming or the work is coming. Embracing the fact that it just kind of goes through cycles and nobody can be on all the time. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and calamity will follow you all the days of your life. Working for long periods isn’t always the best either, but just to know that there are cycles and seasons and to be grateful for what it is and what it will produce in you and
Josh: The advice that I got is to understand this: God is your source, not people. Nothing on earth can determine what’s for you. To understand and prioritize God as being your source first and foremost, and something I guess I wish I would’ve learned sooner was if you want to be great, you need to surround yourself with greatness and so seek out somebody who has done what you’re trying to do and get under their authority. Bottom line: God is the source – and then get a mentor or get a coach to help you achieve your goals.
Over the years have you created any ground rules or certain tools for successfully working together?
Kariss: We know our roles and responsibilities within the business. We know in certain areas who has “the final say” and we err to that person in that area. That does not mean that we don’t give advice and opinions and/or strong suggestions but for like weddings and lifestyle Josh just kind of leaves it up to me because that’s where my passion and expertise lies. On the flip side, with the corporate side, I support him however I can so he can do his role as well as assisting in any way that I can but ultimately it’s his responsibility. So I think knowing our roles and responsibility in our own lanes we both act as assistance or advice-givers.
Josh: At the end of the day, you know, taking ownership, which means it may not be your fault
but it was your responsibility.
Any tips you would add onto what we’ve talked about?
Josh: For the husbands who are in business with their wives, make sure to lead and make sure
to put as much emphasis on leading in the home and leading your wife as you do in the business. It is a
blessing that you get to have your wife on this side with you as you go through business. Most
people only get it in the home, but it’s special that you get it also on the business side.
A special thank you to our guest experts and co-owners of Pharris Photos + Philms, Josh and Kariss Pharris, for sharing a behind-the-scenes look at how they balance the professional and personal sides of building a family and a successful wedding business.
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