Under a guard of honour made from oars, Olympic rowers Mahe Drysdale and Juliette Haigh shared one of their first moments as husband and wife.

The couple wed at an intimate and rustic ceremony in a woolshed on their Cambridge farm last week after plans to have it outdoors were abandoned because of severe weather warnings, according to the latest New Zealand Woman's Weekly.

The ceremony was meant to be outside their guesthouse which they had renovated for the big day, but the 120km/h gusts changed the location at the last minute. Hours before Drysdale and Haigh were set to exchange their vows, the gold medal-winning rower's three groomsmen helped others fix holes in the woolshed's walls in the pouring rain and hammered down a new floor, according to the Woman's Weekly.

Almost 150 guests crammed into the venue.


Haigh told the magazine that the rain added to the excitement. "I loved that it was raining. I was so excited, nothing could upset the day. We were getting married, no matter what. With everyone crammed into the woolshed, it made it more intimate, more special. It was incredible."

The couple started dating seven years ago after meeting at the West End Rowing club 12 years earlier. After the ceremony, Haigh said she couldn't believe they were married.

"Marrying Mahe is completely and utterly right. That's the simplest way to put it. It's what was supposed to happen. We just made the last commitment that we've made in every other way."

Drysdale, who won gold at the London Olympics last year and is the five-time world champion in the single sculls, said he was surprised at how emotional he was. "But as soon as Juliette came in, I was good again. I didn't cry but the tears weren't far away."

- staff reporter