The History

There are many conflicting stories as to why we began celebrating Valentine’s Day.  Most historians agree it began during the Roman Empire, around 270 A.D under the rule of Emperor Claudius II.


Historians seem to agree that during the unpopular reign of Emperor Claudius II, whilst struggling to get men to join his army, the Emperor decided to ban all marriages and engagements in Rome until the army was at full strength.


A priest in Rome, Saint Valentine, heard of this and helped by Saint Marius, began to perform secret marriage on Christians martyrs. On hearing of this, Emperor Claudius II had Saint Valentine arrested., and decreed that the priest’s life would only be saved if he recognised the Roman Gods. This was something Saint Valentine could not do, and he was subsequently sentenced to death on 14th February 270A.D.


An alternative legend tells that whilst in prison Saint Valentine fell in love with one of his jailers daughters and just before he met his fate he wrote her a letter and signed it ‘from your Valentine’ a phrase that has become synonymous with St. Valentine’s Day messages.


To this day 14th February has been known as Saint Valentine’s Day, a day for lovers when a man would offer a handwritten letter of affection to the lady who’d caught his eye.


Over time Saint Valentine’s Day became St. Valentine’s day and whilst it began with a handwritten letter of affection men started sending presents such as flowers to prove their love.


The long tradition still exists where a Valentine a message is sent without saying who it is from, instead, signing it ‘from your Valentine’. If you have ever been lucky enough to receive such a Valentine you will know how exciting it can be trying to work out whom it is from.  However, on the flip side it can be a nightmare when you do find out, especially if the feelings are not reciprocated!


During the past century St. Valentine’s Day, now more commonly known as Valentine’s Day, has become commercialised which has driven up the cost of flowers and chocolates during the month of February.


So how can you make Valentine’s Day special for your loved one without breaking the bank?


Here are a few suggestions that we hope you will find useful!


Sometimes a card is all you need, so why not make it special and create a personalised one, something the recipient will want to keep forever.  It does not have to cost a lot, as there are now many companies online that will help you create the perfect card.  For example, MoonPig and PhotoBox. Depending on what you choose it can be cheaper than buying a card from your local shop.


Another way to impress is to make your own card.  It will make your loved one know you have spent time and effort in creating it and can have anything you want on it – time to get your creative juices flowing!


A present isn’t essential, however, some people have come to expect a present along with a card.  Our suggestion is to try and have a chat before you go out and buy, if possible agree an amount you will spend.  A present should only be a token and not cost a fortune especially as we are just getting our finances together after Christmas and knowing that Mothering Sunday (more commonly known as Mother’s Day) is in March, with Easter hot on its heels!


There are plenty of ideas for presents whether you are looking for fun and racy ones like undies or games.  DVD’s and CD’s are always popular and can be picked up cheaply, either online or from your local supermarket like Tesco, ASDA and Sainsbury’s to name a few.


Chocolates and champagne are always very popular unless you know your lovely lady is trying a shift a few pounds after Christmas.


Only opt for a more expensive present if you can truly afford them but remember what you do this year, you will need to better next year.

 Going Away

As each year passes, and the commercialised more Valentine’s Day becomes, expectations and peer pressure increase, especially among those in their late teens and early 20’s.   Going away for the weekend or the night is perfect to escape the parents and have some time together, however just think of the cost especially if you are getting presents, flowers and a card as well.  Going away can be very romantic but choose your destination carefully, whilst some places will offer deals that are hard to refuse you might find it doesn’t live up to expectations especially if you want everything to be perfect for the evening.


The cost of flowers rises, if not doubles, at the beginning of February and stays at an inflated price for the rest of the month.  The cost of sending a dozen red roses to your loved one can set you back anything from £40 up, dependant where you buy them.


There are even bouquets of 100 roses priced at just under £500!  Roses don’t tend to last that long unless you look after them very carefully – so don’t expect your £40 bouquet to be around for long.


Why not look at other flowers like a potted orchid – these can be beautiful and will last provided they are kept in the lright location. Other cut flowers such as stunning stargazer or oriental lilies last longer and smell lovely for at least a week.


There are plenty of companies that will deliver, perfect for working days but be careful as they usually charge extra for a Valentine’s Day delivery.  You shouldn’t have to spend a lot on flowers so why not check out what your local store has to offer.

 Eating Out

Most restaurants look at Valentine’s Day as a way to earn extra money.  They will do all they can to entice you in.  If you like going out then look around to see what special offers are available. Most restaurants will offer special set menus, some including drinks, so you can get an idea of how much the evening will cost.  But don’t forget to add taxi or travel into the equation. Talk to your other half and see what they want to do especially if Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday and they have an early start the next morning.


Why not treat your loved one to a home cooked meal, find out what’s their favourite and if it is not too complicated then have an evening at home instead.  If you are not adventurous in the kitchen or you don’t get home from work until late then why not order a takeaway giving you more time to spend on your loved one.


Valentine’s Day can sometimes be fun for singletons, if groups of you are all single why not do a secret Valentine’s – bit like a secret Santa. Send cards to each other to work, not only will it put a smile on your face for the rest of the day but make all the others around either jealous they didn’t get a card or stop feeling sorry for you.  Make it fun, doesn’t have to be serious.  Also it could be the ideal time for you to meet that extra special person – go to the Gym – it will be quieter than usually, and probably full of singletons!


Valentine’s Day should be fun!  Spend within your limits, as it’s really not worth busting your bank account for the sake of one night.  The main thing to remember is to spend quality time together.  If your relationship doesn’t last the night due to expectations then the person isn’t right for you!


Enjoy your day/evening together and if your really want to do something that funds won’t allow, why not have a belated Valentine’s Day later in the year.  Just remember saying the words ‘I Love You’ shouldn’t just be said on one day each year and you don’t need flowers, presents or cards to prove it!

Article By: Helen Willment

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