Tosca Productions is San Francisco’s Premier Wedding Planning and Design company for the couple who wants their vision infused with passion and downright fun.
Editor’s Note: for this Best Wedding Planners in San Francisco Spotlight, we had the pleasure of interviewing Tosca, from Tosca Productions.
Where have you been featured?
In print and online, we’ve been interviewed, quoted, and published in: The Knot, Style Me Pretty, Ceremony Magazine, Today’s Bride, San Mateo Times, Hawthorne Publications, Gentry Magazine, Jewish Celebrations, By Recommendation Only, Here Comes the Guide, SF Chronicle, Art of Celebration, KRON Channel 4, SF Gate, Palo Alto Daily News, Mountain View Voice, The News Marin, and Book Passage to name a few.
Why do couples love working with you?
I want to think that it is because they love us and our reputation, but I think it is a combination of several special things. Our couples value our extensive knowledge of the industry, our vast experience and working relationships we have with vendors and top venues. Most of all, we genuinely want to make a difference in planning and experience so they can relax and enjoy their families and friends. We are their biggest cheerleader! Happily, we always give 110% physically, mentally, and passionately.
What do you love most about being a wedding planner?
Call me a hopeless romantic (some might say “delusional”), but there is very little that gives me more pleasure than planning weddings. There is something so special about sharing in someone’s love story. For me, the entire journey of getting to know a couple on a deep and intimate level, listening to their journey, their dreams, their families, their hobbies and interests inspire me. I love collaborating with them through the months of planning, being their soundboard, educating, advising, and mentoring them along the way. Finding unique ways to tell their story is the most rewarding challenge for me. Seeing the infinite details coming together after months of planning fuels my passion.
What thrills me most is seeing a couple and their parents truly enjoying every minute as it unfolds; the way a father looks as he is giving away his little girl; the groom’s anticipation as his partner is walking down the aisle; a mother’s gleam as she witnesses her son committing to the love of his life; the guests wiping away tears at hearing someone’s journey and obstacles to make it to this day, and ending with pure, unadulterated lovefest transcends me. The “Thank-yous and kisses from couples and their families at the end of the evening, praising “we couldn’t have done it without you Tosca”…PRICELESS!
Weddings are as close as you get to live your fairytale. My couples get to live it, I get to witness memories in the making as I watch the love, laughter, joy, and the fun all come together for one amazing celebration.
How did you get started?
Before the dot.com boom of 1995-2000, San Francisco was made up largely of native San Franciscans. It was amazing to be born and raised in a small city where everyone was connected in one way or another. Years before, getting married in the Bay Area was simple and easy. You had a religious ceremony at your place of worship and the reception was at a close-by venue or hotel. The guest list was comprised of mainly family and friends who grew up in the Bay Area. Without the use of internet or trusted resources, vendors were sought out by word-of-mouth. As a proclaimed queen of details, I was the go-to “planner” by friends and friends of friends. After years of constructing other people’s dreams, I got married to my high-school sweetheart and decided I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom someday. Planning became my obsession. But at that time in San Francisco a “wedding planner” was your mom or a friend. Professional wedding planners and designers were considered luxuries hired by only the rich and famous in places like Los Angeles or New York.
My entrepreneurial spirit challenged me to find out why Wedding Planning was an untapped market in the Bay Area. I read, researched, and educated myself on “Everything Wedding.” I interviewed photographers, caterers, and hotels and decided in order to get more experience, I would volunteer and shadow these vendors (“actors”) on the set of their “wedding stage”. I wanted to get a perspective on what was needed in the industry and witness firsthand the obstacles and challenges from a vendor’s point of view.
Time and time again, I saw a gap missing in every celebration. No one was truly in charge. On this one day, vendors came together but worked independently rather than as a team. They focused on their service but no one was in charge of the overall production. Sure, the caterer was in charge of food, setup, and service, the DJ was in charge of the music, and the photographer captured it all on film, but who was the point person. Sadly, more often than not, the mother would be the one running around, directing vendors, changing the setup, and answering vendor questions. If the DJ was a great emcee, the timeline ran smoothly but who was communicating with the rest of the vendors if the timeline needed to be moved up or back? Vendors were forced to wear multiple hats to make things happen. It wasn’t enough to hire the best vendors if there wasn’t a director to bring them all together. It was an “Aha” moment for me! Producing and directing weddings was going to be my life’s calling.
With only one local “Wedding Certification Program” available at the time, I signed up to become a professional Wedding Planner. Certified by JWIC with a code of ethics and business plan, I hit the ground running. With sales as my background, I made a list of top industry professionals and venues to meet and present a phantom service, Tosca Productions. I was going to make their jobs easier. With weddings on the rise, it was challenging for catering departments to secure more bookings and navigate the myriad of calls and countless emails from excited brides planning their weddings. Referring brides to me, allowed them to book more sales, and the bride was able to get individual and personalized attention by me. It was a win, a win for everyone all around. Being placed on the preferred list of highly regarded venues and vendors throughout the entire Bay Area and beyond put Tosca Productions in the forefront of the wedding industry.
While I was building my wedding planning to become a full-time business, I worked at a luxury bridal salon on the peninsula as a bridal consultant and dress fitter. With droves of young professionals moving to the Bay Area to be a part of the tech bubble, my services became a godsend. Out-of-town couples new to the bay area were working crazy hours at startup tech companies. Their long-distant families were unavailable to assist with all the minute details. Working at the salon, allowed me to be in front of couples, learn about their needs and guide them through the wedding planning process.
Wedding Planning became my full-time career and passion. I resigned from the bridal salon and built Tosca Productions. Regarded as an expert and leader in the industry, I was invited to speak and educate people in various organizations. In 1996, I was asked to author the 7th edition of By Recommendation Only. An “invitation only” publication of the Best of the Best venues and vendors in the entire Greater Bay Area. It was truly an honor and put Tosca Productions at the forefront of the planning industry. I would reach, plan, organize, and design from my home office while raising my children and on the weekends I coordinated weddings while my husband watched the kids.
After 13 years of a successful full-time planning business, things came full circle. Ironically, I purchased the couture bridal salon, where all things began. As a young mother, this was a dream come true. I was able to finish raising the children and still assist brides in finding their dream gown. Twice a year, I had the opportunity to attend New York’s fashion week and meet with high-end fashion designers such as Monique Lhuillier, Amsale, Vera Wang, Rivini, Lazaro…to select next seasons bridal collections. The journey was truly a fairytale for me.
After the dot.com boom crashed, I decided to close the bridal salon and keep only my first love “planning” as my full-time focus. With kids in college, I now have the luxury of working with an exclusive and limited number of inspiring couples that love LOVE.
What 3 words best describe your company?
Passionate, Experienced, Visionaries
What budget range do you cater to?
$45K and above – average $150k
What is your favorite part of the wedding planning process?
The beginning stages because I can help jumpstart a couple in the right direction. Selecting the right venue and vendors will significantly impact not only the budget but the enjoyment and outcome of their event.
If I could give Tosca 10 stars, I would! My mom and I met with her shortly after I got engaged and within minutes we knew we wanted to work with her in planning my dream wedding. And she far exceeded our expectations! She was such a joy and a pleasure to work with, a wonderful person and amazing at her job. We had our dream wedding at SF City Hall in Nov., and there is no way it would have been as beautiful and wonderful as it was without Tosca. Her attention to detail, experience, knowledge and genuine care about your day make her one of a kind. She is extremely organized (even gave us our own wedding planning binder with tabs -which I loved!) and kept us on track throughout the planning process. She has great relationships with local vendors, and because of that, we were able to receive discounts which was a huge plus!
She truly was there for everything we needed, including a minor fiasco the day of my wedding – 3 of my bridesmaids’ dresses zippers broke, and Tosca came to the rescue by sewing them into their dresses! I honestly do not know what we would have done without Tosca. She was there for us every step of the way; she even went wedding dress shopping with me! She was more than just a wedding planner; she became our friend. And now that our wedding is over, I truly miss Tosca!
I look forward to my sister’s wedding so that we can work with Tosca again. 🙂 We cannot recommend her enough; every wedding needs a Tosca!
Gina and Scott
Words can’t begin to describe how amazing Tosca is! More details below but for a short summary – Our wedding really wouldn’t have been possible without Tosca. My husband and I both agree wholeheartedly that Tosca was the BEST investment of our entire wedding!
We spent a lot of time interviewing a number of different wedding planners, but as soon as we spoke with Tosca, we could quickly tell that she was different. She has years of experience, a number of connections and contacts in the industry and is genuinely a wonderful, caring person. Both my husband and I had very busy schedules, but she was also able to work around it, which often meant late night meetings and weekend appointments. She has so much experience and catches all the little details that we would’ve easily overlooked had we done this one our own. Even with a wedding planner, I knew I wanted to be as hands-on as possible, and she was perfect. She helped keep everything organized and on schedule but allowed us the freedom to make decisions about the most important aspects of our wedding. She understood that we had a budget and helped us work within it.
And the most important part – she really pays attention to your families. My parents, especially my dad, had a lot of special needs and she made sure that all of this was communicated to our vendors, and everything went smoothly on the day of the wedding. Tosca was everywhere during the wedding. When I needed my dress fluffed, and my bridesmaids were occupied, when I got wine on my wedding dress, when I forgot my comfy shoes in the hotel… She was always there! My husband and I were able to just enjoy the day because she and her assistants took care of everything!
-Grace and Yi
Tosca was excellent through the whole process from the planning stages to the day of our wedding. She has a great ability to calm our nerves when the stresses of coordinating the wedding start to creep in. She continually provided excellent suggestions to make our wedding beautiful and while keeping our budget consciousness in mind. It was wonderful to be able to bounce all of our wedding questions that we had to get her opinion based on past experiences and overall wedding expertise. She is awesome at suggesting things we would never think of that saved us money as well as enhancing our wedding theme. She was always available for us via phone and email and never hesitated to meet up with us in person when we felt it would be best.
On the day of our wedding, she was there making sure we were not bothered and that things went smoothly. She even had two assistants with her on the day of our wedding so that she can personally be there to assist me (bride) in every way possible. She took care of all the wedding nuances, and we had no clue the nuances even occurred until a week after the wedding because we were too busy enjoying the wedding and she made sure we stayed enjoying it while taking care of the rest. Tosca really made sure all the small details are taken cared of. She comes equipped with a bridal emergency kit consisting of a sewing kit, first aid kit, etc… She is so thoughtful to even suggest that my husband bring a soft cotton hanky on the big day to wipe away any day of tears 🙂
She always stepped up when we needed her to and really helped relieve our stresses. We can’t say enough good things about her. She will always be in our hearts and is family to us…we love you Tosca!
-Leilani and Nick