ALL OVER Swindon today, couples, singletons, and everyone in between is getting together to celebrate the most romantic day of the year – Valentine’s Day.
While photography students sold Valentine’s Day cakes to their peers at New College to raise money for the BTEC Level 3 Photography end of year exhibition, florists, jewellers and gift shops were over-run with orders and purchases by loved up shoppers.
Particularly for florists, the days leading up to February 14 are some of the busiest times of the year, with happy partners spending hundreds of pounds on their loved ones.
Florists Fleur expected more than 120 orders from customers at their shop in Park Lane or online.
Florist Sue Durrant said: “There hasn’t been anything unusual ordered this year. People used to go all out and spend oodles of money seven or eight years ago but we haven’t really seen that. I think people are just being more sensible with their money.”
The Flower Shop in Victoria Road was also inundated with calls for around 300 orders by the end of the day.
Beverley Dockerell, who works in the Old Town store, said: “We had a steady number of orders come in but nothing particularly out of the ordinary or unusual this year.”
Jewellers around the town saw a steady flow of sales in fashion items and heart-themed pieces.
Susan Ball, Assistant Manager at Beaverbrooks in Regent Street, said: “It’s mainly fashion jewellery and lots of hearts and chocolates. It’s been quite good this year, we all enjoy it, it’s quite a fun time.”
Couples around the town also took the opportunity to tie the knot on the big day, with four marriage ceremonies planned for the big day in the Register Office, and one lucky couple marking the day out for their wedding in the Marriott Hotel in Pipers Way.
Emma Dickson, a Wedding Planner at the hotel said: “We tend to only have one wedding at the hotel at one time and they are celebrating the whole thing at the hotel.
“I think it’s quite a romantic thing to do to have your wedding on Valentine’s Day. It’s a very special day and couples have special anniversaries throughout the year and getting married just makes an already special day even more special.
“It can be tough though because they have to check that their guests can come to their wedding and they haven’t planned anything else with their own partners.”
Elsewhere in Swindon, to celebrate the season select churches are putting on a special fair where couples can re-affirm their wedding vows as well as see photographs of marriages gone by.
Associate Minister Tricia Roberts at All Saints Church in Lydiard Millicent, which is holding one such fair tomorrow, said: “I can’t say I’m a big fan of Valentine’s day but it’s lovely to have a day to celebrate your love for one another. I want couples to say they love each other every day but it’s nice to have a day dedicated to it.
“In my marriage it’s my husband who is the more romantic one and usually has something planned for the day.”
Also marking the special day, Heart Breakfast presenter Kirsten O’Brien set her co-presenter, Ben Atkinson, up on a special blind date with a listener, known only as Hayley.
The date took place yesterday evening in the board room of the Heart studio, complete with candlelight, music and a video camera to record the whole thing.
Ben said: “I have been single for a while and Kirsten took it upon herself to do something about it. She put a call out on the radio to find somebody who might want to go on a blind date.
“I was really nervous about it. The worst thing would be if they are really quiet, it gets a bit awkward if they are shy.
“Kirsten even spoke to my mum about it.”
To see how Ben’s date went, visit www.heart.co.uk/wiltshire/date-our-ben-profile