For 16 years Napier City Rovers soccer club life member Colin Stone watched some of his favourite goals scored at Bluewater Stadium.
Today Stone made the goal posts at the Napier City end of the venue an even more memorable piece of turf when he went through a half-hour ritual from midday of turning Dr Alison Day, of Wellington, into Mrs Stone.
It was a second wedding for the 60-year-old former Sport Hawke's Bay chief executive who had stepped down from the position in Hawke's Bay three years ago to assume the mantle of regional partnership manager for the central and lower North Island division of Sport New Zealand.
"I regard Napier as my hometown and Napier City Rovers as my home club so it is very dear to me. For the second time around I wanted to do something very special so we thought why not do it under the goal posts," said England-born Stone, of Wellington, who had a nuclear and discreet gathering of family and friends.
Radio announcer Ross Holden, who he had built an affinity with over 35 years as an interviewee "on the other side of the microphone" in the Bay, presided as the marriage celebrant.
Stone had suggested the idea as a joke to his then fiancee but she had promptly bought into it. However, he had convinced her to visit the premier football venue to have a look first about six months ago before deeming it a done deal.
"We wanted to make sure it wasn't going to be a guess-work type of thing in the background so we got in the car and drove up."
He said the pitch was great on a sunbathed autumn's day yesterday and the couple didn't need studs in their shoes.
Stone wisely didn't hang around until 2pm to watch the flagship Rovers team play but reconciled their 2-1 loss to defending champions Western Suburbs by attending an early "after-match function" at the sponsors, Thirsty Whale, along the Ahuriri waterfront.
"Funnily enough, Declan Edge, the coach of Western Suburbs, thought it was actually fantastic so he just walked up and gave me a big hug. I know him quite well and he just said, 'This is brilliant', which was quite nice."
Stone said he would have been on "thin ice" had he tried to make his wife stay to watch the Central League game.
"Alison's a great sport lover. She's a season ticket holder for the Hurricanes and the [Wellington] Phoenix but I think she gave up on them so she's quite keen to go down every second week to watch the Rovers play when they're in Wellington," he said of his wife who is a senior researcher in the capital city.
The couple will travel to Seattle in the United States and then to Vancouver, Canada, for their honeymoon in June and July.