Illawarra florists braced for late rush

Prepare for your Friday to be even less productive than usual, with offices set to be flooded by a deluge of teddy bears, chocolate and red roses.

February 14 marks Valentines Day, as lovers try to get in the good books of their significant other - or at least escape the bad books - during the most romantic 24 hours on the calendar.

"We've already had lots of orders, but men tend to leave things to the last minute, so we are preparing for a big rush soon," said Patti Makowski, of Bunches florist in Wollongong.

"Being a Friday, we'll be doing a lot of deliveries to schools and businesses. We'll have a team of couriers on the road all day."

Lina Russo of Primavera Flowers said it was the biggest day of the year outside Mother's Day.

Both florists said more people were beginning to choose colourful flowers like lilies, but the clear favourite was still the traditional red rose.

Illawarra florists have taken many orders for Columbian roses, which Ms Russo said were double the size of a normal rose and "the most beautiful roses in the world".

Of course, the day is not just about desk deliveries of red roses. Dinner reservations at Wollongong culinary hot spots are filling up fast, as couples clamour to snag a prime table for a romantic evening together.

"It is a huge night for us, and very fiddly because obviously everyone wants to sit at small couples tables," said Jonni Nicolaou, owner of the Lagoon restaurant.

Unsurprisingly, she said Valentines Day was a popular choice for popping the question, with Lagoon staff often asked to help pull off the perfect marriage proposals.

"We get the classic ring in the champagne glass, or with dessert at the end of the night," Ms Nicolaou said.

"We had a guy who dressed in a bunny outfit one year. That was a strange one, but we encourage marriage proposals, and there are proposals booked in already."

Claire Whelpton's event planning business Buy The Cow, which helps plan marriage proposals and romantic evenings, has a few events on her plate for tomorrow.

She is organising a romantic candlelight picnic and also an elaborate marriage proposal, but said the simplest gestures could often be the most beautiful.

"Women want to be made feel special. I always say to my fiancé, words mean more than a present, and I love when someone writes a little note about what they feel and what they treasure," she said.

"You don't need big expensive presents. Valentines Day is a good way to remind your partner why they are special to you."

Ms Russo agreed, splashing out was not necessary for a nice day.

"It's about your way of expressing your love. You don't have to spend a lot of money," she said.

Patti Makowski and Mick Astas from Bunches florist in Wollongong. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Patti Makowski and Mick Astas from Bunches florist in Wollongong. Picture: ADAM McLEAN


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