Joyce Scardina Becker
Cal State East Bay's Wedding Planner Certificate Program, the only one of its kind offered at an accredited university, has been preparing aspiring and practicing wedding planners since its inception in 1997. Now Joyce Scardina Becker -- instructor, program founder and 25-year hospitality industry veteran -- is extending her expertise to reach an online audience. Starting in January, the program will be offered online in addition to its usual in-class format.
“Students will have the luxury of taking [the program] at their own convenience,” said Scardina Becker, who owns the event-planning firm Events of Distinction in San Francisco. “In the classroom it is very condensed and concise (with six sessions that are each eight hours in length, and that can be overwhelming for some people. The online format allows students to receive the information in one-hour modules.”
Currently, the program is offered once a year at CSUEB's Hayward Campus. The new online format will allow for enrollments each quarter and will follow a typical 10-week quarter schedule.
In the past, students have traveled from far distances to participate in the program, including students from Italy, Singapore and Southern California. The convenient online format will open the program to people from all over the world, said Scardina Becker.
“The Wedding Planner Certificate course was the starting point for my career,” said Brooke Baglietto, who completed the program in 2005 and is currently the wedding specialist at The Carneros Inn in Napa Valley. “The course led me to my first internship and my first paid position within the industry.”
The program has proven beneficial not only for students new to the wedding planning field, but also experienced planners who seek to improve their marketability. This was the case for Amy Bridges, owner and lead planner at Amy Bridges Events.
“I already had a lot of hands-on event experience, but this program went deeper into all of the elements that go into planning an event…” said Bridges, who completed CSUEB’s Wedding Planner Certificate Program in 2009. “(It) has helped me stand out from the numerous other planners in my field, and has given me a leg up against the competition.”
Students in the online course will learn through a combination of videos of classroom lectures and storytelling case studies of actual weddings that have been executed, with PowerPoint presentations and accompanying handout materials, said Scardina Becker.
The course covers all aspects of the wedding industry, including budgeting, vendor negotiations and contracts, catering, photography, videography, music, invitations, lighting, cakes and flowers. Students also learn about wedding protocol, customs and etiquette, with a special emphasis on ethnic and religious traditions as well as same-sex weddings.
Students will be evaluated through a series of exams and are required to complete a staging guide for a simulated wedding by the end of the quarter. All of which support the program’s objective to equip graduates with the knowledge and confidence necessary to work in the event planning field.
“I know what it’s like to be in the trenches of planning a wedding and also know how to develop and teach a program,” said Scardina Becker. “What I teach is what I practice every day when planning weddings.”
To learn more about CSUEB’s new Online Wedding Planner Certificate Program, including admissions information, visit the program’s website.