tips Archive

Newly Engaged? 7 Things You Absolutely Need to Do

Follow Along

Emma Arendoski

CEO/Editor at Emmaline Bride
Blogger, author, wife + mother. I love coffee, DIY, handmade + all things wedding. Check out my books: "The Handcrafted Wedding" (2012) and "The Inspired Wedding" (2014). You can also find me blogging at Emmaline Baby.
Follow Along

Latest posts by Emma Arendoski (see all)

Are you newly engaged? If so, you won’t want to miss this post! A friend of mine got engaged over the weekend and their engagement story is so cute. Stephanie and Chris have an Advent calendar (like this) where you open a new box every day to reveal a note or small gift. On Day 21, lo and behold there was an engagement ring inside! (How cute is that?) Congrats, you two!

So, since this is the most popular season for engagements, you’ll want to see this list of things to do and pass it along to someone who is newly engaged. It can make a world of a difference when you know where to begin. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Newly Engaged Things to Do

1. Buy a simple notebook.

You never know when inspiration will strike, so be prepared with a simple notebook and a pen. Here’s a small one that’s perfectly portable spotted via Barn Door Events.

simple white wedding pad notebook

2. Pull together a budget.

Unless you’re blessed with a never-ending amount of cash, you’ll need a budget. It will keep you on track and sane when you eye that eight thousand dollar dress and matching two thousand dollar shoes.

3. Pick a date.

When you find the perfect venue for your ceremony and reception, lock down that date and secure it. Having a specific wedding date makes planning so much easier: it will all start to fall into place.


wedding banner love

4. Pick a theme.

Along with a date, picking a wedding theme makes your wedding planning so much easier. Every wedding has a theme; what will yours be?

5. Pick an awesome posse.

Now’s the time to pick your wedding party, and you better make it awesome: pick people who are supportive of your union and most of all won’t add to your stress level.

pick your bridesmaids via 7 newly engaged things to do via

photo: bg productions | see the real wedding

6. Subscribe to favorite wedding blogs.

Subscribe to your favorite wedding blogs so you can take them to-go. When you subscribe (via RSS, usually), new posts are emailed to your inbox. This means you’ll save time on clicking around to every wedding website and you’ll get inspiration right at your fingertips. (Subscribe to Emmaline Bride here!)

7. Grab a wedding planning book.

It always helps to have a wedding planning book at your fingertips to flip through while you sip on a hot cup of coffee. Stop by Barnes & Noble and check out their wedding section. There are so many amazing titles!

the inspired wedding book (2)the inspired wedding book

the inspired wedding | photos: carolyn scott


P.S. Be sure to read this if you’re a bride-to-be!

37 Best Tips to a Happy Marriage

Follow Along

Emma Arendoski

CEO/Editor at Emmaline Bride
Blogger, author, wife + mother. I love coffee, DIY, handmade + all things wedding. Check out my books: "The Handcrafted Wedding" (2012) and "The Inspired Wedding" (2014). You can also find me blogging at Emmaline Baby.
Follow Along

Latest posts by Emma Arendoski (see all)

When you’re planning your wedding, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of tulle and china patterns and wedding gown styles. It’s important to remember the important part of the big day: marriage. Today we’re sharing thirty-seven tips to a happy marriage that you can put into effect right now, even while you’re engaged. Bookmark this list, Pin it, Tweet it, and Facebook it so you always remember the importance of a happy marriage. A wedding day lasts twenty-four hours; a marriage is forever. While I’ve only been married for five (amazing) years so far, I know this much is true: I’m so blessed to have married such a wonderful spouse and we wish happiness for you, too. So… on to the list!

37 Best Tips to a Happy Marriage

tips to a happy marriage

photo: eric boneske | see the real wedding

1. Marry your best friend.

Your spouse should be your best friend. Your best friend is someone you can get silly in front of. You can be yourself. You can marathon episodes of Gilmore Girls and make fun of the storyline; this person will get equally frustrated with you when Lorelai chooses Christopher over Luke, or Rory ditches Dean (again). Your best friend will go on midnight Taco Bell runs when you’re craving a Chalupa or let you sleep in on Saturday morning to catch up on extra sleep.

2. Respect.

Aretha knew what she was talking about. It’s important to respect your spouse. The meaning of respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

3. Be generous.

4. Laugh.

I think laughing is a requirement of a happy marriage. Life is too crazy and unpredictable and sometimes your basement will flood in the middle of the night and you’ll need someone to look at, roll your eyes with you, and have a good laugh. Because in life, if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, right?

5. Take care of yourself.

You can’t take good care of someone else if you can’t care of yourself, too. Eat well. Exercise. Look your best. It’s not saying you have to look good to impress them, it’s more about feeling good because when you feel good and have a positive inner glow, it radiates and makes you a happier person. I think happier people have happier marriages because the happiness radiates onto every part of their lives.

6. Date night.

Never stop going on dates together. Here’s a list to help.

7. Be positive.

Don’t say things like, I wish you would or You always or Why do you because it just throws out negativity. If you need to talk about something, use your words in more positive way. Can you please ______ or Would it work with you if we ______ work well.

8. Marathon shows.

There’s something about watching a really good show together in marathon mode (or every night for like, weeks on end) that bring a couple together. It’s fun to watch something together and talk about it, pausing it every so often to refill the coffee or get another scoop of ice cream.

9. Steal a kiss.

When he or she isn’t looking, run over and grab them and give them one of those giant, movie-style kisses. It’ll surprise them and they’ll love it.

10. Always say I Love You.

bride and groom

photo: bri mcdaniel photography | see the real wedding

11. Never go to bed angry.

That’s pretty much the oldest trick in the book.

12. Surprise them with little gifts.

A little something just because is always a sweet way to tell your spouse you were thinking of them. Order flowers and have them delivered just because. Saw something neat on Amazon? Have it delivered and leave it for them when they wake up. It’s like Christmas morning all the time. It can be something small, too, like a ice-cold Pepsi from the grocery store or a York peppermint patty. Those things are amazing. Or make one of these! It’s super sweet.

13. Make the coffee.

Or tea. Or refill the Brita pitcher. Or get the morning cereal ready. Or buy that creamer that tastes like peppermint patties straight from the North Pole. Do something that starts their day on a good foot. Last weekend, Andrew let me sleep in and took Baby Andrew downstairs and played with him; brewed the coffee and when I woke up he had a hot cup ready and waiting for me. I’m not trying to brag but, I mean, totally awesome, right? It’s all about going one extra step to make the other’s day just a little easier.

14. Let them pick the movie.

Or the show. Or the video game. And really get into it and don’t complain. It’s not always up to you; sometimes you need to sit through Alien vs. Predator even if you don’t really get it or watch Prometheus even though you can’t stand watching Charlize Theron prance around in yoga pants for two hours (jeans would have been fine, no?) or play endless games of Halo (and realize that you’re totally killing it at Lockout, if you do say so yourself). But it’s always way more fun when the other person picks what they want because you get to sneak a little peek of them grinning ear to ear because they are loving it and that’s happiness, baby.

15. Clean up after yourself.

Do the dishes. Don’t leave wet towels on the floor. Don’t push the toothpaste from the top of the tube. Don’t do annoying things that make the other person have to clean up after you. And for the record Andrew doesn’t do any of these; I’m learning to not leave clothes around and I’m normally not a messy person but being married makes you mindful of things that could really annoy someone if you just stop caring. So don’t stop picking up after yourself.

16. Put your spouse first.

Always. Every day.

17. Remember your vows.

And don’t just remember them; turn those powerful words into actions.

18. Take care of them when they are sick.

Bring them medicine and a glass of water when they have a headache. Tired after a long day at work? Rub their feet. Are they so tired they can barely move from the couch? Bring them a blanket and let them doze. You know they would do the same for you.

19. Encourage their hobbies.

It’s healthy to have hobbies that are unique from yours; encourage theirs! If they want to do them solo, let them. If they want to let you in on it, give it a try! It might be your new favorite activity together.

20. Exercise.

I mentioned it earlier, but it is worth giving its own subheading. Exercise makes you feel good. Those endorphins get kicking and suddenly the annoying traffic or the weather or the things you didn’t accomplish today just sort of fade into the abyss and you feel rejuvenated. And that means you will have a positive outlook. And that means you’ll radiate happiness and joy and unicorns and rainbows and your significant other will see your happiness and it will rub off on them. Plus, exercise makes you feel super good looking.

21. Spice it up.

Don’t let things get boring; spice up your life every so often. Go out instead of staying in. Order take out instead of cooking. Rent a hilarious movie instead of a drama; pick the thriller instead of the chick flick. Put on that super dark red lipstick one morning and wait until he notices. Wear a skirt instead of pants for the eight hundredth time. Guys, throw on her favorite cologne and then wrap her in a bear hug; tell her how amazing that skirt makes her legs look (and mean it). Try a new hobby together, something exhilarating like riding roller coasters or mountain climbing or kayaking. Plan out a weekend in advance with tons of activities you both love and talk about how much fun it will be all week.

22. Cook.

Learn how. Everyone should know how to cook for themselves and for their significant other. It can be simple or complex, but surprise him or her with a meal and they’ll really appreciate it.

23. Be their biggest fan.

Support them. Show up to their competition. Be in the front row at their rock show. Be at the finish line. Cheer them on. Everyone needs a #1 fan.

24. It not always about you.

One person does not a happy marriage make. It takes two, baby.

25. Money isn’t everything.

I’ve always heard that the number one gripe in marriages is money problems; don’t fight over money. Don’t stress over money. Don’t spend all the money and accuse the other of buying too much or say that you never get to buy anything. Things? Things mean nothing. However, a good marriage is priceless.

26. Compliment the other.

It’s always nice to get a compliment. But giving a compliment, a sincere one that makes the other person feel good, is just common sense. I mean, seriously, you are totally rocking those jeans.

27. Be present.

Today is a new day! A fresh day unto which you can start over. Let today be today, and don’t let the tiny things leak into tomorrow. And those sweet little funny things all equal a big part of your life. That roof leak won’t seem so big and the dishes will totally get cleaned and the laundry pile that seems endless will get washed and your crying baby will eventually fall asleep, promise. Someday you’ll yearn for the days when you had funny little house projects that crept up like annoyances and you’ll wish you had a little crying baby to rock in your arms. So enjoy today, together.

couple together

photo: bri mcdaniel photography | see the real wedding

28. Chat.

Lay in bed early in the morning or late at night and just chat. About stuff. Something funny you read in the paper or heard on the news. About that tv series starting up again on Friday. Tell him how you finally figured out the secret to better tasting coffee, and tell her about the blog you read every morning. Keep it light, and entertaining. Just little quiet chatter before the day begins or before bed. Don’t get so busy that you forget to have real conversations. Even those silly little ones, about whatever. It’s a really fun and easy way to connect.

29. Communicate.

30. Be faithful.

31. Be fun.

Life’s too short to take yourself so seriously all the time. Have fun. Be a fun person to be around. Don’t lose your kid-like sense of humor and whimsy.

32. Me time.

Equal parts of “me” time and “we” time are essential. It’s important to take time out for yourself to do things you enjoy, too.

33. Take a vacation.

Plan a trip together and go. Sometimes you just need a chance of scenery and a chance to kick back and relax. It can be on the cheap or a dream luxurious excursion. Plan ahead and save up, and then enjoy every minute of it. What are you waiting for?

34. Make decisions together.

35. Be someone they can confide in.

They should want to come to you to talk about things. Be someone that will listen. Be a secret keeper. A confidant. Cue the Golden Girls theme.

36. Complain with them.

We all need someone who will listen to our complaints about things that grind our gears and can help us be mad, too. Things like I can’t believe they would cancel Longmire! A&E is bonkers shows that you get it. You’re on their team. And we all could use somebody on our side.

37. Be grateful.

It’s been said that people who are grateful for what they have are the happiest people. Remember to be grateful for who you married, what they do to help you, and how they improve your life. Remember why you married them and put your love into action. Don’t waste a day; enjoy every day you have together because life is unpredictable.

What tips to a happy marriage would you add?

Add them with a comment below!

12 Proposals Caught on Camera That’ll Melt Your Heart

Follow Along

Emma Arendoski

CEO/Editor at Emmaline Bride
Blogger, author, wife + mother. I love coffee, DIY, handmade + all things wedding. Check out my books: "The Handcrafted Wedding" (2012) and "The Inspired Wedding" (2014). You can also find me blogging at Emmaline Baby.
Follow Along

Latest posts by Emma Arendoski (see all)

Emma here and I think last weekend was the B I G G E S T weekend ever for engagements. At least, that’s how it seemed on my own personal Facebook. One of me + Andrew’s best friends, Kat, got engaged to our other best friend, Jeff, so that’s pretty much going to be the wedding of the century. (Congrats, you guys!) Another friend, Katrina, got engaged during the week; a friend Joe proposed to his girlfriend, Katelyn, whom I’ve known since the 2nd grade. And then a best friend, Natalie, got engaged to her boyfriend on Saturday. IT IS CRAZY! Not to mention, three of my other really close friends all popped the question this year alone. So, bring it on, 2015: it’s going to be the most amazing wedding-filled year in the history of ever.

And now with all of the adorable “we’re engaged” photos swirling around on Facebook and Instagram (like this adorable one via Bethany Marie Co.

engaged instagram via 12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart

… I can’t stop thinking about proposals and popping the question and how amazing it is when you get proposals caught on camera. You might have seen surprise proposals before, where the groom-to-be asks a friend or photographer to hide in the woods, behind the cider mill barn, or a stone’s throw away — basically make themselves hidden — so he can ask his girlfriend to be his forever and capture that incredible, emotion-packed moment on film. And when he gets down on one knee + she puts her hands over her mouth in surprise + those tears start falling + she says yes, the camera is going click click click to capture it all. Forever.

12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart

kallima photography

Whether it’s a total surprise…

ring hanging from christmas tree surprise proposal

q avenue photo via ruffled

… or you’ve been waiting for it for what seems like forever

finally engagement photo to announce engagement
sarah marie photos

… it’s a beautiful moment to capture on film.

♥ | ♥ | ♥

In honor of all the love going around, we wanted to share some of our hand-picked favorite proposals caught on camera to totally melt you. I just flipped through these photos again and, I have to say, I got a little choked up. See for yourself!

12 Proposals Caught on Camera

1. In The Rain

surprise proposal in the rain via 12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart

kennedy events

2. On a Bridge

secret proposal via 12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart

sarah becker photo

3. On the Beach

beach proposal caught on camera via 12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart

photo: jaclyn l photography

4. In the Park

secret proposals caught on camera via 12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart

katelyn james

5. In Public

proposals caught on camera


6. In a Park

12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart

via munaluchi bridal, photo: olujr

7. At a Christmas Tree Farm

christmas tree proposal via 12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart class=

via michael james photo studio

8. Following a Styled Shoot (+ A Total Surprise to Her!)

southern weddings, photo: rachel moore photo

9. On a Rooftop

rooftop via 12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart

glen allsop

10. On the Beach

beach via 12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart


11. Fall Proposal

surprise proposals caught on camera park

joe elario

12. The Great Outdoors

12 Proposals Caught on Camera That'll Melt Your Heart

weddingbells, photo: jon mark photo

UPDATED! To Add More Adorableness

13. At the Cottage

maria maria photography

14. On the Dock

surprise proposal on the dock

fox and his anchor

We ♥ our reader submitted proposals (#13 and #14 above)!

And, now that you’ve seen these proposals caught on camera, we want to direct you to a new section we created so you can learn more about Emmaline Bride and why we do what we do. Read more about us here. If you’re newly engaged, you’ll definitely want to give it a solid read.


What’s your proposal story?

We’d love to hear about it! Tell us with a comment!

32 Secrets Wedding Photographers Wish You Knew

Follow Along

Emma Arendoski

CEO/Editor at Emmaline Bride
Blogger, author, wife + mother. I love coffee, DIY, handmade + all things wedding. Check out my books: "The Handcrafted Wedding" (2012) and "The Inspired Wedding" (2014). You can also find me blogging at Emmaline Baby.
Follow Along

Latest posts by Emma Arendoski (see all)

You want perfect wedding photos and your photographer wants to capture those special, ever-so-fleeting emotional moments you’ll remember forever. So, what is the key to more amazing photos? Communication. And, since not all wedding photographers might not want to tell you what they really think, we’re here to do it. Here’s the ultimate list of thirty-two things wedding photographers wish you knew…

beautiful light groom kissing bride via 32 Secrets Wedding Photographers Wish You Knew