But beautiful bride Teigan Power - Alex's former teen sweetheart, partner of six years, soulmate and constant cheer squad - was perhaps most moved, as the happy couple finally tied the knot.
'I was pretty shocked to tell you the truth. I couldn't believe Alex stood for all that time,' says the brand new Mrs McKinnon, smiling. 'It was lovely to be able to look him in the eye, rather than looking down at him in his wheelchair. It just made the ceremony that much more intimate. We started crying every time we caught each other's eye. It was beautiful.'
It's three and-a-half-years since the former Newcastle Knights forward was critically injured on the football field at Melbourne's AAMI Park - his neck broken by a crunching tackle that shattered his career and left him quadriplegic.
But brave Alex was determined to survive - so determined that he proposed to Teigan only weeks after his horrifying accident in March 2014, and proudly announced their engagement with an Instagram photo from his hospital bed.
'She'd been begging me to do it for about a year, so I thought I should,' jokes the laconic groom, who proudly made primary schoolteacher Teigan his wife at Peppers Creek Chapel in NSW's scenic Hunter Valley.
Alex, whose vows included a pledge to make Teigan have lunch at recess every day, 'so she doesn't get too angry!' And Teigan promised she would learn to accept her new husband's 'footy obsession' - and not to yell when she's hungry!
Tears flowed as the couple swapped wedding bands from Nicholas Haywood Jewellery Concierge - brushed rose gold for Alex, white gold with five diamonds for Teigan - and were pronounced man and wife by celebrant Jules Amidy.
For the full story and more beautiful pictures of the happy couple's special day, see this weeks issue of New Idea.