Miyuki and Gareth’s Intimate Eco-Friendly Wedding At A Wildlife Sanctuary

by | Australia - New South Wales, Bride, Eco Friendly Weddings, Inspired Weddings,

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Miyuki & Gareth

Respect for the environment, utilising the beauty of nature and surrounding themselves with their nearest and dearest to create an intimate setting are three elements that make this wedding so incredibly special. With a ceremony in a wildlife sanctuary, a reception in a vegan restaurant, plus eco-friendly favours and making the conscious effort to source local, we knew Miyuki and Gareth’s day would be an inspiring addition to The Green Issue. A big thank you to Harustudio for capturing it all so beautifully.

In their initial search for the perfect wedding venue, Miyuki and Gareth were considering a vegan wedding. Google led them to Secret Creek Café and Restaurant in the breathtaking Blue Mountains area of Lithgow, and the couple went for an inspection and to try out the food.

“When we arrived middle of nowhere, there was a cute wooden building in forest where chickens were randomly strolling around, and a kangaroo was casually lying at a porch,” says the bride. “Their food looked really cute and tasted amazing. Before the inspection, we weren’t sure if we wanted to force our guests to eat vegan food. After we tried the food we changed our mind and we pretty much decided straight away to have the wedding here.” Having a wedding surrounded by animals and out of the city also really appealed to the couple.

In planning their wedding, Miyuki and Gareth aimed for a “natural, earthy and rustic” as well as “small, casual and at home” vibe. With guests flying in from overseas, they opted for no bridal party and wanted to keep things as simple as possible so they didn’t need to worry too much about coordination. “We wanted people to not have to do anything other than show up on the day and have a good time,” says the bride.

The couple took on a lot of DIY projects in the lead up to their wedding, including invitations cards, the ring pillow, the welcome sign, name tags and decorations for the reception. Miyuki especially enjoyed designing reusable cotton bags as gifts for their guests. “I am a cat lady and Gareth is a gamer and nerd. We printed a tote bag for everyone with a cat playing with a Pokéball on it.”

On their big day, the bride walked down the aisle to a beautiful, instrumental version of ‘A Whole New World’ from the Aladdin soundtrack.

The ceremony took place behind Secret Creek on an old ruins site as the couple wanted it to feel as if they were in the middle of the forest, or at least out in nature.

Celebrant and Japanese-English interpreter, Megumi Carver, officiated the ceremony. “I’m Japanese and my family doesn’t speak English,” says the bride. “I didn’t want my family to feel like they were left behind or being excluded. So we did a bilingual wedding ceremony. This way everyone could the ceremony.”

A former housemate, who had known the couple from the time they had just met and had witnessed their relationship grow and blossom, performed a reading from The Little Prince.

Behind the camera on the day was John from Harustudio. The couple picked Harustudio for their wedding photography as they felt their natural style would suit the wedding venue and theme.

“John is very cheerful and relaxed guy,” says Miyuki. “Both of our families are quite shy and don’t speak the same language. So we needed someone cheerful and good with people to ease the tension. That’s another reason we chose him!”

The couple loved that John captured natural moments without too much posing and zero fake smiles. They really wanted him to capture their true selves, and they say that their photos are truly beautiful to look back on.

The bride’s stunning florals were arranged by Blue Mountains Floral Designs. “We only ordered a few items from the florist, we got some buttonholes and corsages as well as the bouquet. We told the florist about the theme and colours (orange and green), and thought ‘not too tidy, something rustic and wild’. They did a great job with the brief.”

Miyuki wanted a dress that would suit their wedding and searched for something “casual, but not too casual”. She found the perfect two-piece dress online at DRESSAFFORD. “I didn’t want to spend too much on the wedding dress. The venue was surrounded by nature and wild animals. I didn’t want to worry the whole day about not getting mud or red wine on an expensive dress.

I’d rather buy a cheap dress and not worry about it. As a result, I enjoyed a kangaroo chewing on my dress. I didn’t have to feel bad getting a piece of wedding cake on my dress. Also, the design fit the venue perfectly and worked on me. I got a lot of compliments on the dress.”

After Miyuki picked her dress, Gareth bought a brown jacket and a pair of cream colour trousers from Myer, and an orange tie to match the theme. “We wanted to go for quite a casual look and a regular black suit wouldn’t fit with the venue and theme. We wanted something quite relaxed and fitting with the nature theme with colours to match. The colours went well with the flowers and overall aesthetic of the venue.” Gareth’s shoes were from Ecoture, a luxury ethical and sustainable fashion brand.

After the ceremony, guests were treated to a cocktail hour as well as a wildlife tour, courtesy of the venue.


The reception was styled by Tenille, chef and owner of Secret Creek, who decorated the room with flowers the couple sourced locally from Flemington Markets. The results were stunning. “Based on the theme and our outfits we picked out a lot random flowers and plants which would work in the venue. Secret Creek did a great job with basically 2-3 boxes of random flowers which we dropped off the day before.”


Having an eco-friendly wedding was important to the couple. “We wanted to have a vegan wedding if possible, it wasn’t a deal breaker, but it was great we found such a great venue with such great food. It was fun for us to make our family and friends eat vegan food without them complaining about it.”

Other eco-friendly measures Miyuki and Gareth undertook were prizes for quizzes they ran during the reception. These included bamboo coffee cups, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable dishwashing sponges and shampoo bars. 


The decorations and atmosphere were major highlights for the couple. “We had the ceremony in the green forest and the reception in the orange flowers. At night, there was only yellow lights from the restaurant, everything else was completely dark.”


Miyuki and Gareth’s advice for others planning a wedding is simple. “Give up and relax, try not to get too stressed by the small things. There’s always going to be something go wrong. So just try to enjoy the day.” They also strongly recommend hiring a wedding planner if possible, which they didn’t!


On their wedding night, the couple stayed in a wooden cottage next to the ceremony area. “The next morning, we had pancakes in the cottage (super delicious!) while watching the kangaroos jumping and eating leftover flowers in the ceremony area. Thinking ‘that is where we married last night’ and having the very first breakfast as a married couple. There were a little wallaby and birds watching us from window. Breakfast with wild animals in the cute cottage was so special. It made me feel like a Disney princess,” says Miyuki.


A big congratulations to Miyuki and Gareth on their gorgeous, sustainable wedding. What a memorable day! Thank you so much for sharing all the behind the scenes details with us and for inspiring others to go green on their wedding day. And thanks again to Harustudio for sharing this amazing celebration with us.

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