Our agony aunt on cheap weddings and dating websites

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This week’s problems

Q I really want to get married, but my boyfriend – who says he loves me and wants to be with me – says weddings are too expensive.

I don’t want anything fancy, but I really would like a special day to celebrate how much we love one another, especially now we have a child together.

My sister thinks I’m daft because everyone says how much he loves me, but it’s important to me.

Am I wrong to want this in this day and age?

A No, you’re not wrong.

A wedding is a public declaration of your love and commitment to one another and while it can be an expensive occasion, it doesn’t have to be.

A couple can be married in a Superintendent Registrar’s Office for £46 in England and Wales.

These are usually very limited on space - there may only be room for two witnesses.

There is also a fee of £35 each to be paid to give notice of marriage, but that’s about £120 to be properly married!

You could buy a second-hand wedding dress from Oxfam (or a number of other charity shops) and have a party in your garden.

Why not ask your boyfriend if he would agree to get married if the whole thing cost less than £500?

Then show him how it could be done. There are plenty of online articles to help you with the planning.

Q I’ve recently retired to a new area and, quite honestly, I think I’ve made a mistake.

Where I lived before there was always something interesting going on and people were friendly and willing to talk.

Now I can go several days without talking to anyone face-to-face, and those people I do talk to are not really on the same level as me.

I’ve been here 18 months now and can’t afford to move back to where I came from. I feel stuck and depressed.

A N It’s always hard to settle into a new area, but, if you expect it to be the same as the old one, you are bound to be disappointed.

First of all, now you’ve been here a while, consider if you’re in the best place for you - every town or city has different areas that all have completely different atmospheres.

There may be a better one for you than where you are now.

Then consider the things you are interested in and want to do, and start asking where you can do them.

There are sports clubs, music groups, dining clubs, theatre outing groups, reading groups, study groups and just social groups all over the place - you just need to find them.

Your local library is a good place to start.

You say you’re stuck and depressed, but you don’t have to be - you do, however, have to make a real effort to get to know people and fit in.

Q I’m a good-looking, fit guy, but I couldn’t get a girlfriend until I was 32. Even on the countless dating sites I was on before that, I would only get one or two dates. Now I’m in a relationship, I get the feeling it’s going the same way.

A If the only way you’ve tried is through dating websites, maybe it’s time to try alternative ways of meeting people.

There are plenty of genuine girls out there, but rather than looking on a computer, start interacting with people on a human level.

Write to Fiona Caine c/o Chris Owen, 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Portsmouth PO6 3EN or chris.owen@thenews.co.uk.

Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence nor pass letters on to other readers.