THE BLOG

Valentine's "Cost of Loving" Increase Matches "Cost of Living" Increase

02/10/2009 12:47 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Take heart this Valentine's Day. My 2009 "Cost of Loving Index" notes that the price of romance is up 29 percent and matches the 29 percent "Cost of Living Index" increase in the decade from 1999 to 2009.

Isn't it romantic? I created the "Cost of Loving Index," comparing the prices of romantic gifts, to complement my "Celebrity Weddings and Love Stories - 365-Days-A-Year Database." I've chronicled hundreds of inspirational and engaging celebrity and newsmaker weddings and love stories and how they met.

Do you know the celebrities who got married and engaged on Valentine's Day? I Do!

Beverly's Cost of Living Index* 2009 1999 % Change
1 Dozen Roses $29.99 $29.99 No Change
Valentine's Card 3.00 2.50 +20%
Postage Stamp .42 .33 +27%
Engagement Ring 3500.00 2300.00 +52%
Wedding Gown 1100.00 800.00 +34%
Wedding 28000.00 19000.00 +48%
Sun-Moon-Stars Free Free No Change

As a self-styled Investigative Romance Reporter, I speak on "The Lovestyles of the Rich and Famous." For more than a decade, I've been studying celebrity and newsmaker weddings and love stories and how the couples met.

My matrimonial mantra is: "Celebrate Celebrity Weddings Every Day of the Year! I Do!"

As a professional journalist, I present the facts -- not fallacies, fantasies or philosophies. I address "The State of the Union of Marriage Today" and share dating and mating "Love Lessons of the Stars."

This year Cupid will work overtime because February 14 falls on a Saturday. Valentine's Day is the most popular wedding date for couples betting on love in Las Vegas and the major wedding chapels across the nation. It's also the biggest day of the year for fresh-cut flower sales.

Valentine's Day ranks second in card sales and is the third most popular day to eat out in restaurants. The holiday ranks fourth in candy sales.

Around eight percent of marriage proposals take place on Valentine's Day. The Backstreet Boys' Kevin Richardson announced his engagement to Kristin in 2000 on MTV and wed four months later.

A Valentine's Day wedding date may make it easier to remember and celebrate future anniversaries. Gossip columnist Cindy Adams, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, businessman Sam Walton, co-founder of Wal-Mart, and showman P.T. Barnum, all chose Valentine's nuptials.

*Source: Beverly Wettenstein's "Cost of Loving Index," "Celebrity Weddings and Love Stories - 365-Days-a-Year Database," and ProFlowers, U.S. Postal Service, Bride's Magazine Wedding Study, Diamond Information Center.

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Happy Wedding Anniversary - Tuesday, February 10

1966: Rock'n Roll Hall of Famer Bob Marley and Rita Anderson

1946: Jackie Robinson and Rachel Isum

The Baseball Hall of Famer and civil rights activist met the freshman nursing student at UCLA in 1941. He was a senior and the first four-letter athlete. A football teammate introduced the couple. She became assistant professor of nursing at Yale University. Following his death in 1973, she founded the Jackie Robinson Development Corporation, which specializes in low-to-moderate income housing and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which provides scholarships to minority students.

1914: Thomas Hardy and Florence Dugdale

The novelist and poet married his secretary after his first wife's death. Following his funeral in Westminster Abbey, his heart was buried with his first wife and his ashes were buried in the abbey's Poet's Corner.

1894: President Herbert Hoover and Lou Henry

The future president was a senior at Stanford University when he met the freshman and the only female geology major. She may be the first woman in the U.S. to earn a degree in geology. Upon her graduation, they wed at her parents' home. The Hoovers presented their home to Stanford to be used as the university president's residence.

1840: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Queen Victoria met her future husband and first cousin at 17 in 1836. As a monarch, she had to propose to him. They were married in the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace in London. She is credited with establishing the bridal tradition for wearing a white gown. Previously, royal brides wore gold and silver and brides wore practical dark colors so they could reuse the dress. Queen Victoria's wedding gown took more than 100 lacemakers six months to make and the pattern was destroyed so it could not be duplicated. The youngest of her five daughters (four sons) wore the gown on her wedding day in 1885. Queen Victoria was the first monarch to live in Buckingham Palace. Prince Albert died in 1861 and she wore mourning black for the rest of her life. Queen Victoria was buried with her treasured wedding veil.

Beverly Wettenstein is also the founder of "Women in History and Making History Today - 365-Days-A-Year Database."

The Celebrity Weddings Database is "a labor of love" and the Women's History Database is
"a love of labor!"