2016 was a year of love for many.

From high profile celebrity weddings to surprise proposal videos and epic romance novels, these are the stories that stood out to us.

Here, we’re going to run down the major events that made this year memorable.

Weddings And Honeymoons

Arguably one of the most anticipated wedding trends of the year was the resurgence of vintage-style weddings. Antique shops and specialist bridal retailers saw an uptick in business as couples looked to recreate classic events from the 1930s and 1940s. The trend wasn’t just about following the whimsical desires of the millennial generation, with many middle-aged and older couples also getting into the spirit of the ‘wedding revival’. The appeal of these events was twofold. First, the elaborate décor and themed receptions offered a glimpse into a time when weddings were both fashionable and lavish. Second, the emphasis on the marriage itself – as opposed to the more modern approach that prioritised the “wedding day” – offered a more personal and traditional experience for the couple.

The weddings of 2016 were as extravagant as ever, with an emphasis on personal style and colour palettes that reflected the personalities of the newlyweds. Colours were fun and creative, with ivory and red being prominent themes – particularly in the bridal gowns of the ladies – as couples looked to replicate the elegant elegance of the olden days.

But despite the rise in popularity of vintage weddings, the choice of location is still very much up to the couples themselves. Many still choose to wed in a church or registry office, with venues such as city walls and botanical gardens offering a unique and personal experience for the big day.

Surprise Proposal Videos

While many couples took the opportunity to celebrate their engagement and marriage in style in 2016, some chose to keep their big news private. The result was a number of surprise proposal videos, where the engagement of the couple is caught on camera without prior planning or engagement ring shopping.

It’s a trend that was popularized by the late Geoffrey Beene, creator of the bridal fashion brand and famed fashion designer, who famously said “I believe a woman should be able to walk down the street and be recognized, but should not have to explain herself to strangers”.

The proposal videos saw an uptick in popularity, with some brides even posting their engagement announcements on social media platforms with the hashtag #ProposalStorm to signify their surprise unveiling. The trend is likely to continue as couples attempt to keep their love a secret for as long as possible.

Romantic Novellas

Although we might be inclined to think that romance has gone out of style, we couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, it’s been around for so long that we forget how epic the romances of old were. It seems that the desire for true love never really left us, and in 2016, we experienced it in all its glory.

We couldn’t put into words the deluge of romantic novellas that came out in 2016. From stand-alone books to boxed sets, from reissues to brand new writing, the year was an exceptional one for love stories. The emphasis was put not on the wedding plans of the title characters, but on their journey to find each other.

From the moment that Louis and Elizabeth meet at a masked ball in Nicholas Nickleby, to the madcap romance of Disney’s live-action Aladdin, the genre saw a resurgence in popularity, with many readers looking for an escape from the mundanity of everyday life.

But perhaps the most memorable romance of the year wasn’t in literature at all, but in the real world. On 22nd May 2016, YouTube user Dan Levy – better known as “Dollar-Bill” – proposed to his girlfriend Emily White on live television, surprising viewers with an epic proposal that was streamed on YouTube.

The video begins with a disclaimer from Emily, explaining that she isn’t actually named “Emily”. It was instead a pen name that she used when she and Dan first started dating, because she didn’t want her family to know that she was dating a famous artist. The couple then proceed to walk down the aisles of the grocery store, where Dan stops to check out a display of fresh produce. While he’s distracted, Emily plants a secret message in his drink, leading him to propose to her on the spot.

In the video’s most memorable moment, Emily plays the piano while wearing a wedding gown, before singing “I love you” to a startled Dan. The proposal is then followed by an incredulous celebration as Dan’s family and friends watch in awe as the two became man and wife.

The romance of 2016 was an exceptional one, with many readers seeking inspiration for their own heartfelt proposal. Even if you didn’t get the chance to find “the one”, the video of Dan and Emily’s stunning proposal could still serve as a romantic blueprint for the ideal proposal.

It’s clear that many couples embraced the positivity of the last year and looked to spend more time together. According to a recent survey, 66% of newlyweds reported that their happiest day was spent just after their wedding ceremony. The emphasis, then, should not be on the wedding day, but on the marriage itself and the journey that the two take to grow together as a unit.

New Year, New You?

Finally, as we look forward to the New Year, we can’t help but reflect on the past year and how we can make the most of the New Year and the changes it will bring. If you’re looking for a way to improve your life in more ways than one, consider the following:

Start a new hobby. One that you’ll enjoy and that’ll use your new found free time. It could be anything from ballroom dancing to drawing, pottery or gardening. Find something that you can do while taking classes and meet new people. It’s important to find something that you’ll enjoy, and that’ll bring you joy and fulfillment.

Take a vacation. A long break that you and your spouse can enjoy together. If you’ve been working hard all year, it might be time for you to take a break and recharge your batteries. There are plenty of destinations available that you and your spouse can enjoy together. A short break can even be fun as a spur-of-the-moment proposal if you’re feeling adventurous.

Look into home decoration. Making your living space more romantic is a great way to enhance your relationship. If you’ve got a green thumb, then you can plant garden beds and borders around your outdoor space. If not, then there are plenty of indoor decorations that you can use, from wreaths and cushions to table numbers and place settings. A picture on the wall, a scented candle and some flowers in a vase will all add to the romance of your home.

Organize a movie night. With a projector and some popcorn, you can bring a movie night experience into your home, renting titles or buying fresh ones from a video shop. It’s a great way to spend an evening with your spouse, bonding over a shared interest and feeling connected even when you’re apart.

Get a cat. If you’re really looking to improve your quality of life, then why not consider getting a cat? Not only will it provide you with endless hours of entertainment, it might even improve the air quality in your home. Cats are excellent mousers, and if you feed them after dark, they might even start showing up at your door step in the morning, demanding their breakfast! If you’re looking for ways to make the most of your new-found free time, consider getting a cat.

Make Sure You’re Protected

It’s important to make sure that you and your spouse are protected. This is especially important if you’re going to be spending more time apart. If you’re working, going to school or have a busy schedule, it might be hard to meet up with each other for quality time. That’s why it’s important to find ways to be together, even when you’re apart. This could be as simple as setting up a meeting place or sharing an interest so that you can connect when you aren’t together. It’s also important to be realistic about your partner’s schedule. If they have commitments that they can’t get out of, then it might not be the best idea to demand that they meet you at a certain time or place. Instead, make sure that they know that you’re available and that you’re committed to spending time together. This way, you’ll both be able to make the most of your new found freedom and take it easy when you’re together.