Maki Yuguchi's special request

HAPPY couple, groom Haruki Kubokima and his bride Maki Yuguchi pose for the cameras in Grafton's See Park after the couple's wedding on Saturday.
HAPPY couple, groom Haruki Kubokima and his bride Maki Yuguchi pose for the cameras in Grafton's See Park after the couple's wedding on Saturday. Lynne Mowbray

JUST on 11 years ago a shy young Japanese exchange student with limited English speaking skills walked into Grafton High School.

On Saturday that same girl, now a mature businesswoman, returned to Grafton ready to take another major step in her life.

Maki Yuguchi's memories of that one year when she was just 15 were so precious to her she asked her fiancee Haruki Kubokima if they could return to Grafton for their marriage.

“He thought it was a great idea so I contacted my Grafton host mother, Kathy Steele, and asked her if she could help me organise my wedding,” Maki said.

“I did want to coincide it with the Jacaranda Festival but Haruki was busy at that time with his work at Fuji Television in Tokyo, so we decided on January,” she said.

The wedding has become a holiday for the family and friends of the young couple with 15 guests from Japan and one from France deciding to make the long trip down under to Grafton.

Kathy Steele said it had been a great honour for her to put the wedding arrangements together for a “beautiful young woman”.

“It's taken me eight months to bring it all together, the only thing I couldn't plan was the weather,” she said.

On that score Grafton did her best, cooling down from Friday's scorcher to a perfect 28 degrees for the afternoon wedding at See Park.

Kathy's daughter, Hayley, was one of the bridesmaids and the former host mother even made the wedding bouquet.

“She's the best wedding planner in the world,” Maki said.

Making it an all family affair Kathy's son Justin prepared the wedding banquet at Victoria's Restaurant where he works as the head chef.

From all reports the wedding was just picture perfect.

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