First, know what you want.
"The hyacinths, the tulips, the daffodils, the things that remind us of spring," said Anne Cothran, floral and garden designer.
"Red roses, of course," said Josie Alaniz, Bella Design in Kankakee.
Get in. And get out. That's how the pros make it happen.
"All day. 24 hours. All night," said Alaniz.
The pace looks frenzied. But it's what you might call coordinated chaos.
"Our business is built on ordering early and acting early. That's your salvation, especially on Valentine's Day in the floral business," said Joe Barnes, Kennicott Brothers Co.
And what about the variables you can't control, like the weather? Some cold is a good thing. At Kennicott, flowers are refrigerated from the moment they are picked in Central America, shipped on a truck from Miami to a warehouse in the Midwest and delivered to your doorstep.
"It keeps the water locked in and hydrated. It also keeps the petals intact. The beauty of the flower is tied into that flower's temperature," Barnes said.
So long as it isn't too frigid.
"Cover everything up. Make sure nothing's exposed," said Ananda Breslof, Flowerlife in Bucktown.
And here's a tip to make sure the delivery itself doesn't leave your loved one cold.
"You want to give your flowers, especially if you're giving them to a woman, you want to give them to her publicly," said Barnes.