Valentine's Day 2012: The price of love

Valentine's Day cake.

Falling in love may be free, but it sure does cost a lot on Valentine's Day.

After several years of mediocre Valentine's sales, many businesses are hoping people will spend big this holiday.

Bicycle delivery couriers have been on the go since the pre-dawn hours fulfilling orders.

The florists at Caruso's felt so confident in the demand for flowers this Valentine's Day their set of a dozen roses reached an all-time high, at $100.17.

Sherman Bryant was one of the buyers of the $100 bouquet.

"They're beautiful roses and my wife loves them, it does a $100 of good," said Bryant.

The average person is expected to spend about $126 this Valentine's Day. The National Retail Federation says that's up 8.5 percent from last year.

The higher sales were on display at a Dupont Circle chocolate shop.

"I was not spending any money on Valentine's Day last year," said D.C. resident Rob Shore. "This year will go out to dinner and a few small gifts, but I'm not breaking the bank."

But some are, like the couples who will be paying $500 for dinner Tuesday night at Plume, one of the most romantic restaurants in the region, located at the Jefferson Hotel.

Economists say lovers are in the mood to splurge with the sense that the economy is improving.