As parties go, weddings are the best of the best.
Beautiful clothes. Delicious food — and lots of it. Toasts, reunions, moments that test your ability to hold back the tears.
But it's also fun to remember what came before the ceremony: the courtship, the engagement, the anticipation.
And what comes for years afterwards: the family, the challenges, the enduring and deepening love.
As part of our ongoing “How We Met” series — and in honor of the coming World Herald Wedding Essentials Idea Show — we asked some notable Omahans to share their wedding pictures and tell us a little something about their special days and what led up to them. Our couples range from movie industry insiders to a longtime zoo director. Enjoy!
Ronald and Kori Abdouch
Ronald Abdouch, executive director of the Neighborhood Center, now knows that some resolutions are meant to be broken.
He had decided not to date when he returned to the University of Nebraska at Omaha to finish his degree after 17 years on the job.
“When I went back to school, I told myself ‘no women' until I finished my degree. Well, my first class, I saw Kori and my ‘no women' idea was out the window rather quickly,” Abdouch said.
He and Kori Christopherson dated two years before their wedding 21 years ago.
Their prenuptial dinner was in full swing when a tornado warning was activated.
“We had to drop everything in the middle of dinner and go into the basement,” Abdouch said. “After that, it was pretty uneventful.”
The Abdouches were married on June 15, 1991, at St. Mary Eastern Orthodox Church in Omaha. He was 40 and she was 30.
“We had two cats (Fred and Baby) that we loved dearly and now we have a big white dog named Lily,” he said.
-- Sue Story Truax
Christine and Mauro Fiore
Christine Fiore likes to say she had to go to Nebraska to meet a guy in L.A.
Ten years after she married him, the guy won an Oscar for filming “Avatar.”
Movie costumer Christine Vollmer, who grew up on a farm south of Papillion, and cinematographer Mauro Fiore, who grew up in the Chicago area, had both been working in the film industry in Los Angeles for at least 10 years. But they didn't meet until they were hired onto the same Nebraska film shoot in 1997.
The movie title now seems appropriate: “Love From Ground Zero.”
“I knew right away,” Christine says. “I told my mom, ‘I love this guy! He's got a job and a car.' He was living large, in my book.”
Even so, they didn't date during the movie shoot.
“We were very professional,” she laughed. “We went back to L.A. before we started dating. My brother was living with me at the time. When Mauro finally called, my brother thought it was a costuming job and told him, ‘Oh, yeah, she's very excited to hear from you.' So much for playing it cool.”
She wasn't surprised when he proposed, though she didn't catch on right away.
“He was very romantic. I was prepping another film, running all over town that day, and I was exhausted when I got to his house. He wanted me to go get the champagne out of the fridge. I said, ‘You don't even like champagne.'”
The champagne bottle had a note on it, telling her to play a certain CD, which led her to the backyard to plant a flower ... and eventually to a ring.
They married June 3, 2000, in Omaha. The rehearsal dinner was at a bowling alley in South Omaha with a taco bar and the reception was at her parents' farm.
And now they are the proud parents of Olivia, 11; Tessa, 9; and Luca, 7.
-- Bob Fischbach
Lee and Marie Simmons
They were college students, and there was chemistry, but it wasn't in chemistry class.
Marie Giem and Lee Simmons met at Central State College in Edmund, Okla. They were two of about 12 students in Lifesaving, a physical education class that would satisfy a graduation requirement.
They dated for about 18 months and were married on Sept. 9, 1969, in Guthrie, Okla.
Simmons, now 74, went on to earn a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. He was the longtime director of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, retired, and now is chairman of the Omaha Zoo Foundation.
And that chemistry they found in a phys ed class turned out well. Lee and Marie Simmons have been married for 53 years and have three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Len and Jana Romano
There were 5,000 people attending a national YMCA conference in Arizona 25 years ago, and Len Romano happened to sit next to his future wife, Jana.
Len had been reluctant to even attend the conference. He had just started his first day as operations director for a Y in Massachusetts when his boss asked if he'd like to catch a flight the next morning and attend the gathering. Len thought that as the new guy, he should probably decline. He declined twice, but his boss convinced him to go.
Jana was a program director at a Y in Pennsylvania at the time.
They met on a motorcoach taking conference attendees to a cookout in the desert. They hit it off, and went running each morning during the weeklong conference. But they were just colleagues, no romance.
Two years later, Len started a job at a Y in Pennsylvania near the location where Jana worked. They reconnected at a Y training event, and started dating.
They got married in 1989, will celebrate their 23rd anniversary in November and have two sons.
Len, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha, said attending that conference two decades ago turned out to be a very good decision.
-- Michael O'Connor
Brook and Nick Hudson
They met at a bachelorette auction.
Brook Matthews was a former Miss Nebraska offering a date to the highest bidder.
Nick Hudson noticed his future bride, but he didn't bid. Instead, he asked her to lunch.
One lunch became two, and then a routine. A friendship — and a flirtation — blossomed, but not romance.
And then one night, almost a year to the day after the auction, they ran into each other at the Slowdown.
Nick was wearing a suit and crisp shirt, and this time Brook noticed him.
“He just looked amazing that night, and I had probably had too many cocktails.”
She asked him — half jokingly — if he'd like to go with her to the 2009 Miss America pageant in Las Vegas later that month. The next day Nick texted her that he had bought his tickets.
Brook was shocked — she hadn't expected him to go. But she was also excited.
In Las Vegas, they held hands for the first time. They danced. When they got home, Nick emailed her a love letter — which got stuck in Brook's spam folder.
Brook wasn't sure if Nick was interested. She volunteered to be the subject of a World-Herald story about being single on Valentine's Day.
The morning the story ran, she found Nick's email. She immediately called him, and they made plans to meet that afternoon. They got engaged a few months later and married on April 16, 2010.
They're now partners in life and work. Together they run Omaha Fashion Week (Nick founded the semi-annual event and Brook is the producer). The partnership has worked well.
“I just feel like every day we love each other more,” Brook said “and when you think you can't get any closer, you do.”
-- Cara Pesek