They jetted to Las Vegas for a wedding, never suspecting that a few years later they’d walk down the aisle for their own.
Matt Weaklend was the best man, and Stacy Passalaqua was a bridesmaid in that Las Vegas wedding in 2002.
Matt, 25 at the time, had attended Fremont High School with the groom. Stacy, who was 24, went to high school with the bride in Modesto, Calif.
Two nights before the wedding, Matt and the groomsmen were walking down a hallway of their hotel, planning a night out with just the boys.
They heard girls’ voices behind a hotel room door and knocked to say hi, not knowing who it was.
The guys and girls talked a few minutes, then Matt recognized one of them. It was the bride, with her bridesmaids.
Matt and the groomsmen ditched their plans for a guys night out and went with Stacy and the other bridesmaids to a club.
Matt and Stacy connected right from the start, sipping a drink at the bar, joking around, flirting and telling a little bit about their backgrounds.
Matt grew up in Fremont and was attending chiropractic school in Minneapolis. Stacy grew up in Modesto and was living and working there.
They spent more time together the next night at the rehearsal dinner. At the wedding, they danced and talked more.
Others in the wedding party teased them, saying they were becoming a couple. Stacy felt like she and Matt were getting more attention than the bride and groom.
Matt thought Stacy was pretty, with her light brown hair and California tan. Even though they just met their conversations never dragged.
Stacy liked Matt’s confidence. He gave the toast at the wedding reception, and she thought it was funny, touching and just the right length.
After the wedding, Matt flew back to Minneapolis and Stacy went home to California. But they stayed in touch through emails, phone calls and occasional visits.
Matt finished his chiropractic studies but needed to complete a six-month residency program. Even before meeting Stacy he had considered a program in California, and now he was certain that’s where he should go.
He moved to northern California for his program and lived about a three-hour drive from Stacy, so he got to see her on weekends. After he finished his program, he and Stacy moved to the same town, Elk Grove, Calif.
They loved exploring California together. They took wine trips to Napa Valley, visited San Francisco and rode Matt’s Harley through winding mountain roads in the Lake Tahoe area.
Matt worked in a chiropractic office in California but wanted to open his own practice. Even though Stacy was a California girl, she is the one who suggested moving to Nebraska. In 2005, Matt opened Lakeside Chiropractic Specialists in west Omaha.
In July 2006, the couple were married during an outdoor wedding in the pines of a mountain ridge at Lake Tahoe.
The couple now live in the Elkhorn area, and have two children, Cooper, 6, and Campbell, 4.
Matt is a big Husker fan and has shared his football passion with Stacy. They’ve attended home games in Lincoln and traveled to a road game in Wisconsin.
Stacy, who grew up not far from the sandy beaches of the California coast, says she’s glad she found her Nebraska boy.
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