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Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day falls on February 14. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine's cards, often anonymously. The holiday is named after two men, both Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

The day is now most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines". Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

In the United States, the marketing of Valentine's Day has tagged it as a "Hallmark holiday".

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Valentine's Day Flower Online

Valentine's Day Florist Online: How To Choose The Best For You

There are literally thousands of Valentine's Day florists online. How do you choose? While they may look similar, their selection, pricing, and service can vary widely. Most are reputable companies, but a few are not. So, be careful! Here are some tips to help you understand your options and identify the best internet floral provider for your needs.

About Valentine's Day Florists Online

Now that anyone can open a web site, virtually everyone seems to be selling flowers online. Generally, they fall into three main groups. The first are actual florists. They run the gamut from small "mom-and-pop" operators with one shop and a third-party web site to established regional and national companies with multiple outlets, custom web sites, and more sophisticated "back-end" order filling technology. The majority know a lot about flowers, florist delivery, and serving floral customers. A handful also have the experience, systems, and staff in place to reliably handle hundreds or thousands of additional online flower orders each day. Their forte is "flowers-by-wire" delivery, which simply means that each gift is individually designed and delivered by a professional flower shop in the recipient's locale. This is the most popular method of floral gift sending in the U.S. and Canada simply because it allows for a broad selection of arranged floral gifts, same-day and next-day delivery nationwide, and convenient local redelivery when necessary (e.g., if the recipient is not home when the florist first arrives). It's interesting to note that in Europe, it's much more common and accepted to send unarranged bouquets of flowers. In the U.S. and Canada, however, arranged flowers are clearly preferred, especially to offices, hospitals, funeral homes, and the like. Of course, that's where florists excel. So, it's no wonder that actual florists abound on the Web and handle most online flower orders. In most cases, a real florist should be your first choice when sending flowers online.

Tip: When choosing a Valentine's Day online florist, look for one with years of experience, award-winning service, secure ordering, and satisfaction guaranteed. Industry credentials, customer testimonials, and online awards are a big plus, too. Consider your own local florist if he or she has a web site. Otherwise, look to the regional and national names, but remember that biggest isn't always best when it comes to personal service. Compare prices, but also be aware that flowers-by-wire orders are filled to dollar value by the local florists who design and deliver each bouquet individually. So, while a lower price may be a bargain, it may also result in fewer flowers than shown. In other words, when sending floral gifts, saving a few bucks isn't always the best deal.

About Flower Shippers

The next main group includes floral growers, brokers, shippers, and online marketers that specialize in shipping roses and other unarranged flowers in a box by overnight air. Their forte is providing a very economical alternative to local florist delivery. In many cases their flowers may be a few days fresher, as well as less expensive than those available from local florists. Of course, since the flowers have to be unpacked, cut, and arranged by the recipient, this type of floral gift may not be appropriate for every occasion or suitable for offices, hospitals, and funeral homes. In addition, "flowers-by-air" are generally not available for same-day delivery nationwide and may be more prone to product problems due to the amount of time and possible temperature variations involved in overnight shipping. Despite these limitations, direct-shipped flowers definitely have their place for budget-minded flower-lovers and are gaining popularity in both the U.S. and Canada.

Tip: Look to overnight flowers shippers when you want to economize, don't need delivery today, and know that the recipient will enjoy arranging his or her flowers. As always, pick a company with experience, credentials, secure ordering, and guaranteed satisfaction. Stick to the medium and larger providers, since they have the best ongoing relationships with their growers, shippers, and carriers.

Other So-Called Valentine's Day Online Florists

Most other online floral sources are general retailers, wire services, middlemen, affiliates, catalog companies, or other resellers. Their online floral orders are typically filled by florists or flower shippers behind the scenes. Most do a good job of forwarding your order. Some may involve an unnecessary "layer" of communication and mark-up, since their floral vendor may actually provide most of the service. So, we'd recommend using only the larger, nationally known firms with which you already have an ongoing relationship. Otherwise, it's probably best to deal directly with your favorite florist or flower shipping company online.

Tip: Before clicking the "Buy" button, ask yourself, "Is this a middleman or the real thing?" And, just in case any question or problem should arise, definitely avoid using any shopping site that does not clearly display a phone number for your use.

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