All you need is love for Valentine’s Day

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FOR some it passes with little fanfare. A simple card, perhaps a small gift, or just a home-made romantic meal for two.

Valentine’s Day, for others, is a grand occasion where people mean business.

It’s the climax of months of preparation, their dreams pinned on that special date when they hope – beyond all hopes – that their loved one will drop to her knees with emotion as they pop the big question, before she lets out a delightful “yes!”.

And for some, of course, everything goes to plan. For others, Cupid can be cruel.

Across Edinburgh, as restaurateurs, jewellers, florists and shop owners today help make Valentine’s Day dreams (hopefully) come true on Tuesday, many will remember – with a smile or a cringe – previous February 14ths.

Such is the case for Moia Henderson, general manager of Laing the Jeweller, on Frederick Street.

“I remember we had one customer who had planned his proposal with military precision. He had chosen the perfect engagement ring – a stunning one-carat solitaire diamond with a platinum band.

“He had organised a dream break to the Maldives with his bride-to-be and knew when he was going to do it.

“The only thing that he didn’t factor in was security at Edinburgh Airport. As you can imagine, he didn’t want to risk putting the ring in his luggage in case it went missing in transit. So he hid the box in his hand luggage instead.

“However, at the security gate he was stopped and his bags searched – and the box was found with his partner suspiciously looking on.

“Panicked, and also caught out, he was forced to get down on one knee there and then and propose.”

Moia adds: “It certainly wasn’t the romantic and private proposal he’d planned but she accepted, to rapturous applause.”

Luckily for that shell-shocked groom-to-be, things not going to plan did not mean the end of the world. In fact, in many ways, the last-minute alterations to his months of preparations probably made the proposal all the more memorable.

But things had a far from happy ending for one nervous Edinburgh man as he treated his girlfriend to a special Valentine’s Day meal at the city’s Spoon restaurant, on Nicolson Street.

“It was a proposal that went very badly,” says owner Richard Alexander, recalling the event.

“It was hard to know exactly what was going on, but one of our waiting staff knew he was going to propose as he had asked her to bring out a cake at the end with candles on it.

“However, that cake was never brought out. The guy had got the girl along and then we saw her face just freeze and she left. She was not happy at all.

“We felt really sorry for him to be honest – he was just left sitting there by himself.

“Everyone around must have known what was going on, so eventually we just brought him out the bill, as far as I can remember.”

But don’t let that put you off. Come Tuesday, there will be plenty of happy-ending Valentine’s Day stories to recount, either with successful proposals or just heart-warming gestures made from loved one to loved one.

And while many of us will play it safe with traditional gifts, perhaps a bouquet of roses, some perfume, a set of cuff links or a novelty keepsake, others will choose gifts their partners will never forget.

For some, that may involve a trip to the West End, where Liggy Morgan, ower of Liggy’s Cake Company of William Street, is never surprised at what lengths some customers will go to come Valentine’s Day.

Around this time of year she is often asked to make some of her popular “boob cakes” – an eye-catching Valentine’s gift from women to men.

It all started with one female customer who used the idea to celebrate her boob job.

“She got us to make the boob cake for her boyfriend to celebrate!” says Liggy.

Be it novelty cakes or surprise proposals, fingers crossed Cupid will be kind to you on Tuesday.