A wedding at Waikanae Park at the weekend gave new meaning to the term "rugby union".
Former Horowhenua-Kāpiti hooker Keith Milligan and his wife Mandy exchanged vows under the goalposts immediately after a game of senior club rugby.
What made the occasion even more unique was that Milligan was still in his rugby boots, shorts and black-and-red striped Waikanae jersey when they said "I do".
Waikanae had just won the match 40-32 against Foxton. Both teams joined together and performed a spine-tingling haka as Mandy was walked onto the field toward her husband-in-wait.
"It was mind-blowing. There wasn't a dry eye," she said.
Surrounded by those players and a large gathering of family and friends, they exchanged vows underneath the goalposts.
The couple, both aged 46, had been together for more than three years. Mandy knew Keith was rugby-mad, and loved that about him.
He had proposed with a rugby tackle on the couch at home. It was a legitimate tackle. There was no offside call. She said yes.
Keith said the idea of getting married under the goalposts after the game was his.
"It's just something I had in my mind, under the posts in front of family and friends," he said.
The couple were aware that everybody's favourite pastime is to critique a wedding, but they couldn't care less what people thought. It was their special day, to celebrate their love and their union as they wished, with friends and family.
The couple had six children and four grandchildren between them. Mandy's nephew drove her to the ground just as the fulltime whistle had sound.
Phil Butler from Toitoi Photography said he had captured many special weddings but none underneath the goalposts at a rugby ground. He said it was a wedding he would never forget.
"It was really neat ... the haka made me jump," he said.
Celebrant Hogan Gill from Happy Anchor Marriages was in his fourth season as a celebrant and said the ceremony went exactly as planned.
The couple flipped a coin to see who would say their vows first, and there was a quirky piece where Mandy vowed to have a cold beer in the fridge for Keith after rugby practice.
Gill finished by saying "every one of us here wishes nothing but the best for your marriage and your futures and just as we are here today, your friends, your family and your teammates are here for you, will stand beside you, and will be behind you always."
He said weddings seemed to be breaking away from tradition and becoming more personal as celebrations special and unique to the people involved.
Recently he dressed as a Jedi knight and married a couple who were Star Wars fans.
"I was Hogi-Wan Kenobi," he said.
News of the Milligan wedding had spread on social media. It was filmed by Grass Roots Rugby, too, and would soon air on television.
Milligan had played rugby since the age of 5. He initially made his debut in the senior club competition for neighbouring club Paraparaumu in 1996 at halfback, in the absence of a senior side at Waikanae.
But he joined Waikanae with a resurgence of a senior side in 2001 and had played senior rugby every season since. He also played 104 games at hooker for Horowhenua-Kāpiti.
Early in his career he had a bad run of injuries. In 2000 he had a knee reconstruction and the following season ruptured an ACL ligament. Since then his body had held up remarkably well.
He planned to keep playing rugby as long as he could.
Milligan was a former wrestler who represented New Zealand at the Oceania Championships, and also qualified for the Olympics in 1996, but New Zealand didn't send a team.
Mandy admitted to not knowing much about rugby before meeting her spouse "but I do now", she said.
"I have become very accustomed to the yelling on the sideline."
One item that was non-negotiable, though, was the wedding cake. The suggestion that it be shaped as a rugby ball was quickly quashed, and it took a more traditional form with white icing.
They honeymooned in Wellington.
"It was absolutely amazing," she said.