Tenille is one of those people who wholeheartedly lives her values; sharing her love of compassionate and sustainable food through her vegan catering. Her vegan restaurant is set inside a wildlife sanctuary run by her family, which is home to Eastern Quoll, dingos, Tasmanian Devils, long-nosed Potoroo, Rufous Bettong, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, the Cream-striped Red-necked Pademelon, Swamp Wallaby, Emu, Brush Turkey, Cape Barron Geese, a range of other native birds and some roosters.
We’re honoured to have Tenille on #teamless. So let’s find out a little more about Vegan Weddings and Events and talk the universal language of FOOD!
Secret Creek Cafe wedding. Image by Jemima Richards.
What is the philosophy behind Vegan Weddings and Events?
Although the business grew organically with demand from the niche market of plant based catering, there’s a lot more to it for me. I really strongly believe that we need a shift in our food culture. Shifting away from mass production, from factory farms, from impersonal to authentic, real and sustainable. I believe that the way to really change culture is through creating new memories and stories. Special events like weddings are perfect for this, I think everyone who works in weddings is obsessed with stories! Stories that centre around plant based food help to change culture and create a future that I want my kids to live in.
Your business Secret Creek Cafe was affected by the recent bushfires…what was the experience like for you and what you have taken away from that experience?
It was pretty traumatic. It took some time to process the experience. The fact that thousands of other people had been through the same thing across the whole country and had lost even more really struck me. It gave me a deep sense of gratitude that was still dimmed by sadness and a little bit of anger. The way the community came together was so uplifting though and overall, I am hopeful that this event will be a catalyst for renewal, growth and change.
Image by Kings and Thieves
What are some misconceptions about vegan food, or concerns couples might have when planning a vegan wedding?
One huge misconception is that you have to be vegan to have a vegan wedding! Many of my clients are just vegetarian or eat predominantly plant based and some even eat meat. Sometimes it’s just one of the couple that are vegan. What most of my clients do have in common is a desire to cut back on the impact that their wedding has on the planet. They all recognise that choosing plant based food is one of the most effective things you can do for the environment.
The other main misconception is that vegan food is boring, not filling or that their family and friends won’t enjoy it. My food is vibrant, fresh, exciting, nourishing and satisfying. Most of the people that eat my food aren’t vegan and everyone agrees on this!
What can couples expect when working with you?
Professionalism, creativity and authenticity.
I am extremely passionate about my work, I have very high standards for myself and my team and an attention to detail. I’m always trying to improve my processes, my menus and my work and continuously self evaluating. So if you book your wedding a year out, expect some new menu items and changes for the better by the time your event comes around! You can also expect lots of edible flowers haha.
Image by Harustudio
If you could design your dream wedding, what would it be like?
A small group of my most favourite people, in a vineyard, orchard or a garden full of flowers. A long table outside filled with beautiful wine and incredible food.
Image by Kings and Thieves
Your top three wedding tips?
1) There are no rules! It’s your day, you don’t have to follow any traditions if you don’t want to or you can take them and make them your own. The more authentic you are, the more meaningful the day will be to you and the people who love you.
2) Choose a great team of vendors that you trust and be really careful about what you decide to do yourself or delegate to a family member. You want to be able to be relaxed and present and focussed on truly enjoying the moment with your family and friends on the day. If DIY jobs are going to stress you out and take away from that, then they aren’t worth it.
3) Practice lots of self care leading up to the event and regularly check in with yourself and how you’re feeling. At the end of the day, its just a party with all of your favourite people and you don’t need to stress about it. Let go of the illusion of perfection and embrace the idea that the day will be perfect for you if you just let go and relax into the real moments.
You are passionate about social change…what would you like to see more of in the future?
I would like to see a future where we are all free from violence and oppression. I believe that none of us are free until we are all free. In their capacity to suffer, all beings are equal. So of course I would love to see a vegan future! But I would also like to see a future free of all inequality.
Real, tangible action from policy makers on climate change would be good but I would also like to see people using their power as consumers to create a world that is more ethical and more sustainable. Whether we like it or not, money makes a difference and not having much of it makes people feel powerless. But collectively we are so powerful!
What do you love about the Less Stuff, More Meaning message?
I love that it empowers people to align the choices they make for their wedding with their ethics. Meaningful life events like weddings hold so much potential to share parts of yourself with not only your loved ones but the greater community. It gives people an opportunity to make a difference and send a message into the world about who they are and what they stand for.
What does living purposefully mean to you?
Living purposefully for me, starts with living mindfully, being present and appreciating each moment. Practicing gratitude is an important part of that for me. Mindfulness for me also involves being aware and honest about what impact your choices are having. Committing to always trying to do the best you can with what you have available to you. That includes knowledge as well as resources. I think living a purposeful life really comes down to a drive to be the best version of yourself that you can be, always going after what feels good and trying to cause the least amount of harm to the world around you.
What are you working on during the COVID hibernation?
We’re going to be producing a video series of vegan cooking tips and tricks, and possibly even a cookbook!
What makes you happiest?
Art, food, music, connection.
Image by Liam Foster
Vegan Wedding and Events provides catering across Sydney, the Blue Mountains and beyond.