While waiting for his blind date, Alexander William Bieker knew nothing more than her name and that they had been set up by his stepmother’s friend’s daughter, who just knew the two would hit it off. When he finally met his matchmaker’s college friend, Alex took one look and exclaimed “Finally!”, as if he’d been waiting to meet her his whole life. His date, Francesca Marfese Smith Lupo, happened to have been in southern California for work training and traveled to San Diego to meet Alex after it was done. She was equally happy when she saw him, and so began their three-day first date.
Francesca and Alex had a wonderful time exploring San Diego. They went to Del Mar for dinner at Jakes, hiked Torrey Pines and got to know one another. By the end of three days, they were a couple. They dated long-distance for 10 months before Francesca relocated to Cardiff by the Sea to be with Alex. Two weeks later during the Christmas holidays, the couple was skiing in Aspen, Francesca’s favorite place, when Alex proposed.
Aspen is particularly special to Francesca because her family has a second home there, and the couple knew that they wanted that feeling of home to radiate throughout their wedding. They chose the perfect place to capture that feeling for the ceremony and reception – the Bieker family farm near Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Bieker family built the farm, which made Alex and Francesca feel at home on their special day.
Before the big day at Bieker Farms, the couple enjoyed a rehearsal dinner at the Amway Grand Hotel Ballroom. The relatively calm evening couldn’t have prepared them for the severe weather to come. On the day of the wedding, an enormous thunderstorm caused the entire farm to lose power. The ceremony had to be moved to different locations on the property three times as the wedding took place, but everyone smiled and rolled with it!
Francesca and Alex were married on July 20, 2019. Despite the storm, the farm’s simplicity was complemented with a few elegant touches throughout the property, most notably the extraordinary flowers accenting the “Barn.” This simple elegance was echoed in the bride’s Stella McCartney gown, and when she got to the end of the aisle it’s easy to imagine that Alex was once again thinking “Finally!” In keeping with the wedding’s close family feeling, Tom Lupo, Francesca’s brother, performed the ceremony. The couple wrote their own vows, which were very personal and touching.
After the ceremony, the celebration continued in the “Barn.” The thunderstorm had ended, giving way to a beautiful purple sunset that served as the backdrop of the newlyweds’ first dance to “Only You” by Parson James. Guests sipped the “Fran 75,” a play on the bride’s name and a signature cocktail from her hometown. Farmhouse Deli Catering put together a fantastic sit-down dinner for the reception. The wedding cake was delicious, and in place of a groom’s cake everyone enjoyed Alex’s favorite food at the Blue Bell Ice Cream bar! After hours of friends and family dancing to a great band from Los Angeles, a 20-minute fireworks display ended the night.
The couple has planned a honeymoon trip to New Zealand in November, where they will spend two weeks hiking and exploring, much like they did on their first date. They live in Encinitas, California, where Alex is the founder/CEO of Evolve Sports Group/Evolve Skateboards USA and Francesca is a Business Development Manager for a biotech company.
Coordinator: Brooke Keegan
Ceremony Music: West Coast Beverly Hills
Wedding Gown: Stella McCartney, Saks Fifth Ave
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Sloan, Amsale Bridesmaid
Groom’s Attire: Tuxedo, Hugo Boss
Groomsmen attire: Black tuxedo
Bride’s & Groom’s Wedding Bands: Valobra Master Jewelers
Florist: Rhiannon Bosse
Invitation: Pittbulls and Posey
Photographer: Joel Serrato
Hair & Makeup: Hannah Wagner
Music: West Coast Beverly Hills