WITH a formal education in hospitality management and floral design, it was only natural that Joyce Scardina Becker, CMP, would eventually wind up in the world of events. But the owner of San Francisco-based Events of Distinction says it's her passions — for fashion, travel and interior decorating — rather than her degrees that make her the wedding wiz she has come to be. “I approach designing a wedding as if I were designing a home,” Scardina Becker states. From ceremony to cocktails to reception, “Each room represents a transition of space, having its own personal identity but still belonging to a cohesive whole. I work with lots of colors, fabrics, materials and lighting to create a ‘living space’ for the wedding.”
This detail-oriented approach is just one of the attractive qualities that have drawn a growing number of clients to Scardina Becker's Gala Award-winning company — which also produces corporate and social events — over its 12 years in business. Another is the wedding de-signer's co-ownership of Events of Distinction with someone who isn't just a business partner but a life partner as well. A few years after her firm's inception, “I made an offer to my husband, Dana, that he couldn't refuse,” Scardina Becker recounts. Dana Becker left his executive position to join forces with his design-minded wife. And wedding clients, reassured by the happy partnership the married couple represents, have been reaping the benefits ever since.
For her part, the grateful designer says working with her husband is a dream come true. “Everybody loves Dana. He is the most diplomatic, genteel person — such a peacemaker,” Scardina Becker says. “He brings total calm to every event on event day.” The only downside? More often than not, the couple takes their work home with them, Scardina Becker says. “We debate over things constantly.”
Still, she wouldn't trade her event-planning partnership for anything in the world. That's not to say that she has settled for the successes that the partnership has achieved so far. Ever ambitious, the former globe-trotter — Scardina Becker has lived in Rome, done charity work in Nepal and traveled extensively as a flight attendant — is always looking for a new challenge to explore. Recent ventures include the 2006 publication of her book “Countdown to Your Perfect Wedding” and continued development of the California State University East Bay wedding planner certificate program, which she directs.
So does this immersion in work, work, work mean Scardina Becker might be thinking about lightening her load any time soon? Not a chance, she says. “If I won the lottery, I would hire more employees and be even bigger and better,” she insists. “Nothing is better than planning a wedding!”
Events of Distinction 41 Heather Ave., San Francisco, CA 94118; 415/751-0211; www.eventsofdistinction.com
“I love fashion, flowers and, of course, shoes and accessories. When dressing a table, I love to accessorize. Conventional rules about what goes with what are tossed out. I truly believe I was the first for being eclectic with rentals, mixing up various patterns of flatware, china and stemware. Years ago, a rental company intentionally changed my order because they thought I had made a mistake!”
“Today's brides and grooms are willing to invest — and this is an investment for them — in whatever it takes. Depending on each individual client, if food is extremely important to them, they're not afraid to make that investment and pay for that product and service. Or maybe it's music. I don't have people coming in and saying, ‘I have $50,000 — I have to stick to it.’”
MADE TO MENTOR
“My accomplishment that I am most proud of is that I am the founding director of the first wedding planner certificate program at a university, now celebrating 10 years of success. It is very gratifying to know that I have made a difference in students' lives and helped them to find their passion. This is my true vocation — my divine calling.”