A chance to say 'I love you' to all

Wellingtonians open hearts on Valentine's Day

OLIVIA WANNAN
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2014
Valentine's Day
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ

ANY EXCUSE: Eleanor Hubbard, of Bohemian Fresh Chocolates, sees more and more Valentines gifts snapped up for friends and family.

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Even singletons are opening their wallets for Valentines Day this year, showering family and friends with gifts.

In America, people have long bought Valentines gifts and cards for family and friends, as well as their partners. And from what Best of the Bunch florist Katy Herbert has seen, the trend is taking off here as well - at least among women.

Of the 200 flower orders the Thorndon shop puts together every year on February 14, a growing number are platonic rather than romantic, she says.

"We get orders where people sign it from their BFF and even from parents internationally sending something to their daughter."

In recent years, the day had grown from being a romantic occasion to one showing all loved ones you were thinking about them, she said. "If I had single girlfriends, I know I'd personally have sent them something.

"It's such a big thing, it's nice to know people who don't have a special somebody can be treated too."

Bohemein Fresh Chocolates owner Jiri Havlik had also seen the trend, though those in a romantic relationship still spent more. "It averages out around $20 to $25. Generally, the smaller items are bought by the mums wanting to do something for the kids."

While some women were sharing the love around, men often struggled to just organise a gift for their significant other, he said. "About 80 per cent of guys will leave it to the last minute."

With initiatives such as Single Awareness Day, observed the day before or after Valentines Day, many people appeared to just enjoy a chance to do something special.

From the number booked for Wellington Zoo's over-18 late-night event, there seemed to be little shame in singles taking along a platonic friend, marketing advisor Charlotte Whitelaw said.

"We've heard of friends planning to come along together and just enjoy a really fun night.

"We're all about sharing the love, the various kinds of love."

Other events for couples - and people without partners - include an adults-only stargazing evening at the Carter Observatory, romantic film The Notebook at Firefly Cinemas' Trentham drive-in, and a three-course themed meal at the James Cook Hotel.

FLIGHTS OF FANCY

You could stick with the traditional red rose (a dozen at Thorndon's Best of the Bunch costs $115, a single $18) or step it up for your significant other:

Live monarch butterfly, $13.95. Couriered overnight, the insect - designed to be freed - won't stay around, but the memory will. Via Trade Me.

Personalised cartoon, $50. Always wanted an 18-minute clip starring your faces in the "cutest love story of all time"? Now you can. From Red Balloon.

3.6kg of conversation hearts, $59.95. A 2000-piece gift that will last beyond the big day and all the way to the dentist's office. Via Trade Me.

Helicopter flight, $95. Described as "10 minutes in heaven". Via Red Balloon.

Giant charity bouquet, value $1000. Want a gift that will stir your partner's heart and those of Kiwi kids with heart conditions? The profits of this 120-rose auction will go to charity @Heart. On Trade Me.

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- The Dominion Post

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