We’ve all spotted someone cute at a bar before, but working up the nerve to approach them is a different story. Back in June of 2008, Franchesca Allen had the courage to hit on Che Hashim – and even got his business card! – but the first date took a few months. “I lost his card in the bottom of my purse!” says Franchesca. She eventually found the elusive card and the pair reconnected, and they’ve been together ever since. Seven years later, on a weekend trip to Sebastopol, Che swapped Franchesca’s soufflé dessert for a cloche-covered ring box and popped the question.
Finding the perfect venue for their October 1, 2016 wedding was even harder than finding Che’s business card in Franchesca’s bag. “I envisioned a greenhouse-meets-art house wedding, but most of the spaces in the Bay Area are either barns or ballrooms,” the bride explains. “I had visited artist Alexis Laurent’s gallery a few years ago and loved the way he used wood to create modern sculptures. I reached out to him, hoping we could have our wedding in his gallery, but discovered he’d sold it.” Thankfully, the artist was in the process of creating The Pearl, a bespoke San Francisco event venue with hanging greenery, warehouse details, and a huge wooden tree installation on the main floor.
“I booked the venue based on the renderings—it was finished just a few months prior to our wedding,” Franchesca says. Her faith in the sketches paid off, and the couple celebrated in the venue they’d dreamed of. If the intersection of a warehouse and an art gallery sounds like your kind of party, don’t miss these photos by Jenn Emerling!
A modern venue needs a modern gown, and Franchesca’s didn’t disappoint. Her silk J. Mendel gown had a plunging pleated bodice and a mermaid silhouette, plus an angular keyhole back. “It made me feel sexy, classy, and timeless all at once,” she says. Che’s custom three-piece tuxedo had linear silk detailing on the notch lapel, giving it a touch of shine.
Their all-white flowers were crisp and fresh. The bride carried dahlias, astilbe, and hellebores, while Che’s boutonniere combined a single white rose with bright greenery.
“When it was time to plan our wedding, I was at a complete loss for what I wanted,” says the bride. “I spotted an image of copper chairs around a dining table, and those chairs inspired everything else.” The deckled-edge invitations were letterpressed with deep green calligraphy, while the green envelopes were addressed in shining copper.
The chairs made their first appearance at the rooftop wedding ceremony, where the aisle was lined with palm fronds in glass bottles. The couple’s planner built an altar from copper piping, then their florist adorned it with lush greenery and white roses. “We wanted the altar to be the focus, so that was it!” says the bride.
Franchesca headed down the aisle with an eight-foot veil, but gusts of wind left her and her stepfather laughing hysterically as they tried to control it during their walk. “I took it off as soon as I got to the altar!” she remembers.
After the rooftop wedding ceremony, the couple again used a copper color palette in their signage throughout the evening. “We placed fun facts throughout the space to give our guests a peek into our love story,” says Franchesca. The one on the bar was a nod to how the couple first met.
Palm fronds and greenery enhaced the greenhouse theme, while a neon sign at the bar reminded guests of their warehouse setting.
“Having family-style seating was a huge priority,” says Franchesca. Instead of smaller tables, they had kings tables (for 200 people!) set up across the room. Guests were treated to buttermilk biscuits, watermelon and tomato caprese, and porcini-braised short ribs with roasted heirloom beans. The copper chairs warmed up the space, while simple white arrangements were tucked into matching vessels. The wooden tree installation on the wall was an eye-catching natural element.
The couple cut into an all-white cake before hitting the dance floor to “You and I” by Stevie Wonder. “Our DJ, Kingmost, is a close friend of ours who DJ’d at the club Che used to own,” says Franchesca. “It was so special to have him DJ at our reception.” He was a huge hit, with the couple’s grandparents on the dance floor alongside close friends and coworkers getting down with the in-laws. “How often do you attend a dance party with your 200 closest loved ones? It was a bubble of love that neither of us wanted to step out of,” the bride remembers.
She continues, “Planning a wedding is sensory overload, especially while working a full-time job and trying to enjoy being newly engaged. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and if you do, ask for help!” Now those are words to live by.
Ceremony & Venue: The Pearl || Catering: LRE Catering || Event Planner: Ashley Smith, Buzzworthy SF || Bride's Dress: J. Mendel || Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mishchka || Hair: Ahsha Williams of Salon Three Zero One || Makeup: Tiffany Purdy, Purdy Faces || Groom's Attire: Indochino || Floral Design: Rito Ito || Engagement Ring: Derco Jewelers || Invitations & Paper Products: The Idea Emporium || Rentals: Bright Event Rentals, Encore Rentals, Pieces by Violet, Ultra Pom, La Tavola || Cake: A Spoonful of Sugar || Photography: Jenn Emerling