An Art Museum Wedding in San Francisco With Seasonal Accents and Sweet Nods to Family

Planned by Heartthrob Weddings and Events.

couple

Photo by Hannah Costello

On the morning of their wedding, Anastasia McMurry, an attorney, and Rahman Popal, also an attorney, met on the terrace of their hotel to read one another their vows. “We exchanged our stories of how we fell in love, the little things that we found special about each other, and committed ourselves to stay in love forever,” Anastasia says. “The rest of the day was just a celebration of this very private intimate and beautiful moment with the rest of our loved ones.”

That it was. Anastasia and Rahman threw a party for 150 guests at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, in November 2019. They choose the fall date since they love the colors of autumn, but also happen to have fall birthdays and a fall engagement as part of their love story. It seemed appropriate, explains Anastasia to say “I do” surrounded by autumnal vibes. 

The couple hired Emily Gaikowski of Heartthrob Weddings and Events to fill the historic venue with red, deep peach, dark green, and even hints of black décor, from the dramatic floral arch for the ceremony to the greenery wrapped on the three-tier wedding cake. They added in nods to Rahman’s Afghan heritage, including serving Afghan beef kofta and inviting guests to dance the traditional attan. Anastasia worked closely with her florist, Amanda Vidmar, to pick flowers with specific meanings, like dried lunaria to honor her late father. 

They also found a few moments to hide away as a couple and take it all in. “After the ceremony, we opened a bottle of Champagne and reflected on our marriage and our friends and family,” Anastasia says. “It was an amazing feeling.”

Read on for all the details of Anastasia and Rahman’s fall-inspired wedding, planned by Heartthrob Weddings and Events and photographed by Hannah Costello.

bride
Photo by Hannah Costello
bride
Photo by Hannah Costello

When Anastasia was trying on dresses as Sarah Seven in San Francisco, she realized that the person helping was, in fact, the designer herself! After hitting it off, Anastasia did one thing she never thought she would: she collaborated with the designer on a custom gown. The result was a form-fitting, long sleeve lace dress with a sheer organza skirt. She paired it with a cathedral-length Sarah Seven veil, Stuart Weitzman shoes, and jewelry from Catbird

bouquet
Photo by Hannah Costello 

With the dried lunaria of her bouquet, Amanda Vidmar added garden roses, chocolate cosmos, and other dried flowers to the arrangement. 

first look
Photo by Hannah Costello
couple
Photo by Hannah Costello

We exchanged our stories of how we fell in love, the little things that we found special about each other, and committed ourselves to stay in love forever.

first look
Photo by Hannah Costello
couple reading letter
Photo by Hannah Costello

Anastasia and Rahman met on the terrace of the Fairmont San Francisco to privately share their vows during their first look. “It was beautiful,” the bride says.The couple would later steal away for other private moments following the ceremony to toast to newlywed life together. 

ceremony
Photo by Hannah Costello

A massive floral arch and Persian rug anchored the ceremony space, which is currently the Asian Art Museum. It was once the San Francisco Public Library, which adds to the story of the space. “The building itself is beautiful and has its own unique history—somewhat of a metaphor for marriage itself,” Anastasia says. 

couple
Photo by Hannah Costello
couple
Photo by Hannah Costello

During the ceremony, Anastasia and Rahman recited simple vows, different from those they exchanged earlier in the day. They wanted to keep their private vows to themselves. 

couple
Photo by Hannah Costello

The newlyweds exited to a pianist’s cover of Aretha Franklin’s “I Say A Little Prayer."

stairs
Photo by Hannah Costello
couple
Photo by Hannah Costello

Before joining their guests, the couple descended the venue’s grand staircase to sneak into the bridal lounge for a moment alone. They opened Champagne and reminisced on the momentous occasion—they were married!

leaves
Photo by Hannah Costello
leaves
Photo by Hannah Costello

More autumn-inspired arrangements filled the reception space, which included a bar and cocktails accented with blooms.

menu
Photo by Hannah Costello

The couple served two signature cocktails and one signature mocktail, all named after their dogs, while the groom’s brother, Mustafa Popal, played live jazz music.

cocktail
Photo by Hannah Costello

The “Theodore” featured pineapple and pepper-infused vodka, lemongrass simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and orange bitters, all served in a coupe glass and garnished with an edible flower.

reception
Photo by Hannah Costello
reception space
Photo by Hannah Costello 

The events team flipped the ceremony space for the reception, using large arrangements on the tables to fill the grand space. White pillar candles lit the tables and the walkways, while the place settings featured gold-rimmed glassware and gold flatware. 

tables
Photo by Hannah Costello
centerpiece
Photo by Hannah Costello

Anastasia and Rahman’s sweetheart table was framed by the ceremony arch, then covered in more roses and dried lunaria.

sweetheart table
Photo by Hannah Costello 

I wanted to bring the outdoors in and make it feel like an overgrown autumn garden wonderland juxtaposed with the intricate architecture of the space.

sweetheart table
Photo by Hannah Costello 

“I wanted to bring the outdoors in and make it feel like an overgrown autumn garden wonderland juxtaposed with the intricate architecture of the space,” Anastasia says. “Amanda Vidmar did an incredible job creating the secret garden vibes we wanted.”

couple
 Photo by Hannah Costello 
couple at reception
Photo by Hannah Costello 

Rahman also went the custom route for his wedding day attire. He wore a bespoke black tuxedo jacket with pleat-less tuxedo pants and a black bow tie, all designed by Hall Madden

first dance
 Photo by Hannah Costello 

The newlyweds took their first spin on the dance floor as their friend and DJ, DJ Kingmost, played “Simply Beautiful” by Al Green. The song had been performed by Jose James at the first concert the couple attended together. 

cake
Photo by Hannah Costello 
birthday cake
Photo by Hannah Costello 
champagne
Photo by Hannah Costello 

Not every wedding cake comes with candles! Anastasia had one more private moment with Rahman when she surprised her husband with their chocolate and mocha cream cake topped with birthday candles—and singing the groom “Happy Birthday.” He now shared his birthday with his wedding anniversary. 

Wedding Team

Venue Asian Art Museum

Planner Emily Gaikowski of Heartthrob Weddings and Events

Officiant Marie Burns Holzer

Bridal Gown & Veil Sarah Seven

Jewelry Catbird; Mizuki

Shoes Stuart Weitzman

Hair Love and Wolves

Makeup Katie Nash

Mother of the Bride Dress Bloomingdale’s

Groom’s Attire Hall Madden

Engagement Ring Trabert Goldsmiths

Wedding Bands Catbird; Tiffany & Co.

Floral Design Amanda Vidmar Designs

Stationery Union Street Papery

Ceremony Music Elan Artists

Reception Music DJ Kingmost

Catering Taste Catering

Cake Flour and Bloom Cakes

Rentals Found Rentals; Standard Party Rentals; Theoni

Accommodations Fairmont San Francisco

Photography Hannah Costello

 

Related Stories