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Students in California interested in completing a formal education program related to wedding planning may choose to earn a certificate in wedding and/or event planning from a number of public schools throughout the state. Certificate programs vary in length, but some may be earned in as little as five months, while others take upwards of a year and a half for full-time students. Some programs include a work experience module that allows students to develop hands-on knowledge of the planning field.
Aspiring wedding planners can acquire knowledge and expertise by completing a program at one of the eight California schools that offer training. These schools offer certificate programs or courses focused on event and meeting planning or wedding planning.
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona
The Pomona campus of California State Polytechnic University is located in Los Angeles County and has dozens of social, volunteer and academic opportunities for the student body. Through the College of the Extended University, students can earn a Wedding Consultant Certificate. Students explore planning issues, such as selecting a venue, creating a contract and establishing a reasonable timeline. Catering, music, cakes, invitations, decorations and business management concepts are covered in the program. Students also acquire hands-on experience in the field.
California State University - Dominguez Hills
California State University - Dominguez Hills is located in Carson and has SMART classrooms and modern sports facilities available for students. Enrollees can pursue a Certificate of Completion in Meeting and Event Planning. This program addresses meeting coordination, social functions and working with people in related fields. Students complete courses in contract negotiation, event management, marketing, promotion and site selection. An elective course is available in wedding planning, and students who take this course learn about guest list creation, timelines and budget development.
California State University - East Bay
Hayward is home to one of the East Bay campuses of California State University, and students at this campus can find a Wedding Planner Certificate Program. The instructor has coordinated hundreds of weddings and other special events and shares her knowledge of researching, coordinating, planning and evaluating weddings. Students learn to select and hire bakers, caterers, florists, musicians and photographers while incorporating wedding trends, customs and the couple's desires into the final plans. Only 30 students are admitted into each program, and it takes about 5 months to complete.
California State University - Long Beach
California State University's Long Beach campus offers a Meeting and Event Planning Certificate Program. Students learn to plan meetings and events, including weddings and parties, follow current trends, employ cost-effective strategies and apply customer service skills. The program teaches students how to develop budgets, choose venues, negotiate contracts and promote events. While this program focuses on the more general meeting and special event field, a module is available that covers wedding coordination and delivery.
California State University - San Marcos
At the San Marcos campus of California State University, enrollees can participate in the Meeting and Event Planning Certificate Program, which includes courses in communication skills, hotel operations, event marketing and meeting planning. The wedding planning course addresses topics and skills specific to the niche of wedding planning, including job responsibilities and pricing. Although there aren't any campus extracurricular activities geared toward wedding or event planning, students can participate in academic clubs, political clubs, religious clubs, cultural clubs, fraternities and sororities.
City College of San Francisco
At San Francisco's City College of San Francisco, students can participate in more than 80 clubs and select from a wide variety of degree and certificate programs. The Wedding Planner Certificate Program prepares students to become wedding consultants. The 4-course program covers managing contracts, selecting flowers and caterers, hiring musicians, advising couples on wedding trends and fashions and managing a business. Students learn about wedding etiquette, planning a green wedding and incorporating subtle touches that complete the event, such as statues, lighting, music and centerpieces.
San Francisco State University
Found in San Francisco, this university offers a Professional Development Certificate in Event and Meeting Planning through the College of Extended Learning. The program addresses industry trends, planning an event from start to finish, keeping the event moving and meeting clients' expectations. Included in the program is a special events planning certificate course in wedding planning, which includes budgeting and site selection.
University of California - Riverside
The University of California's Riverside campus is located roughly 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Enrollees can earn a Professional Certificate in Event Management. This program addresses time management, financial planning and effective business habits. Courses include wedding planning and coordination, managing and developing an event business, marketing, fundraising and wedding design. The wedding-specific courses address selecting vendors, incorporating traditions, creating budgets and designing events.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Wedding Planner Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-13)|
|California State Polytechnic University - Pomona||4-year, public; midsized city||Wedding Consultant Certificate||$7,016 in-state, $18,176 out-of-state*|
|California State University - Dominguez Hills||4-year, public; small city||Certificate of Completion in Meeting and Event Planning||$6,213 in-state, $17,373 out-of-state*|
|California State University - East Bay||4-year, public; midsized city||Wedding Planner Certificate Program||$6,564 in-state, $17,724 out-of-state*|
|California State University - Long Beach||4-year, public; large city||Meeting and Event Planning Certificate Program||$6,452 in-state, $17,612 out-of-state*|
|California State University - San Marcos||4-year, public, fringe rural||Meeting and Event Planning Certificate Program||$7,269 in-state, $18,429 out-of-state*|
|City College of San Francisco||2-year, public; large city||Wedding Planner Certificate||$1,598 in-state, $7,554 out-of-state*|
|San Francisco State University||4-year, public; large city||Event and Meeting Planning Certificate||$6,476 in-state, $17,636 out-of-state*|
|University of California - Riverside||4-year, public; large city||Professional Certificate in Event Management||$13,527 in-state, $38,235 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator