Q: My partner and I want to elope, but we’re worried our families will be mad at us. Any advice?

A: Before you decide whether to elope or not, I would sit down and really think about why you want to elope and whether the benefits outweigh the potential problems. Is it because you hate being the centre of attention? Or are you worried about in-fighting between family members? Or is it the staggering cost of a wedding? All of these are valid reasons. Weddings can – and should – be joyful occasions where you celebrate your partnership and look forward to your life together. It’s your wedding and it should be what you want it to be.

The only trouble is, you two aren’t the only people with an interest in seeing you happy. I’m sure, for some people, seeing their son or daughter happily married is one of the things they’ve been looking forward to since before you were born.

Family members probably want to feel as a part of this celebration as you do and be allowed to show you just how much your union means to them. If you want to elope for any, or all, of the reasons I’ve already stated, would you consider having a small informal ceremony for family and friends some time afterward? This could even be held at your house as you won’t need a licence, and doesn’t have to be big, grand and expensive. I think if you explain your reasoning to your family first and assure them you’ll be including them in a celebration later, you may find they won’t be as upset as you’re anticipating.

Christy McKellen, author of Her New Worst Enemy