It’s the first day of wedding planning. You and your future husband are sitting in a cafe, waiting to meet this amazing wedding planner you found online. You’re both ready to describe your ideal ceremony; a simple, elegant affair in his hometown with live music, a vegetarian dinner, and a special bourbon cocktail. The guest list should be small, the reception should be intimate, and the colors should be pure whites and calm blues.

But your wedding planner has other ideas. She comes in with extravagant plans all centered around your sexuality, and it feels stereotypical. She pitches wall-to-wall rainbows, a club DJ, and a cake that reads “Love is Love.” This is not what you want from your life-altering event. It’s not that you’re not full of pride and security in your sexual preference, it’s just that that is not the centerpiece or even the point of your wedding. This is about you as a couple coming together to share your life as one. To you and your true love, this is not a “gay” wedding. This is simply a wedding. So, calmly, with the same patience you’ve had to use all your life, you explain to your wedding planner that your lifestyle is not the theme of your wedding, at least not entirely. You may want to break some traditions and celebrate your unique identity, but at the end of the day. All you want to do is exercise your right to marry the person you want to marry. Because an LGBTQ+ is not a spectacle for the guest.

Who You Invite

It’s an unfortunate reality to meet people in your life who are merely seeking out a “gay ` best friend.” You may feel there are people in your workplace or in your gym class that only talk to you or socialize with you about your sexuality. These are probably not the people you want at your wedding. As a couple, take a look at your loved ones and pinpoint who truly loves you for who you are. If there’s any doubt that someone sees you as anything other than a full and real person, maybe keep them off the guest list. Perhaps the last thing you want is to be used a stereotype, or a way for someone to fill their Instagram story with a “gay” wedding as an accessory or a way to look “progressive.” You are more than who you choose to love.

Your Authentic Wedding

Weddings come with expected traditions. Everyone knows the tossing of the bouquet, and the roles of best man and maid of honor. But those traditions may not fit your wedding’s aesthetic. You may opt to not use gendered names such as bridesmaids and best man. The gender-neutral titles “wedding attendants” or “honor attendants” have been used frequently in LGBTQ+ weddings, and I recommend them as a way of reinventing traditions. And the best practice for anyone who objects? Remind them that all traditions are invented, and this is how you want to celebrate your love. Have your groom walk down the aisle with bouquets! Have a close friend walk you to the altar if a parent is out of the picture. There is no set requirement for wedding practices. All it needs to do is reflect you.

Embracing you and your partner’s love may not have always been easy. But on this day, nothing should matter but your happiness. Surround yourself with only those that make you happy and understand you. Don’t feel like your wedding has to represent anything but your union and commitment. And above all, remember every moment and keep it precious. Your ceremony is yours alone, not a show or an act of protest. Lead with love, and happiness will follow.