We’ve been giving lots of love to our venues and vendors, now it’s time to share the love with some of Chicago’s best event planners! We’re starting with Michelle at Michelle Durpetti Events.

Jewell Events Catering: How long have you been in business?
Michelle Durpetti Events: Michelle Durpetti Events opened in 2008

JEC: In no more than 3 words describe what does your company does?
MDE: Plans special events

JEC: What is one thing that sets you/your company apart from others?
MDE: MDE has always has a solid foundation in logistics, meaning the actual production of an event, from the design, to the flow and the timing are really what I love to get involved in. Producing a beautiful looking event is fulfilling but seeing an event run flawlessly, from live program elements, a fluid check in process, to a beautifully presented meal, I really love the “nuts + bolts” side to building an event and I think the company has developed a real strength that absolutely sets it apart from other planning companies.

JEC: Where does your inspiration come from?
MDE: My inspiration comes from my life! I have had the good fortune to live in Italy, and the city of Florence is a HUGE source of inspiration for me. I am a life long equestrian and my horses always inspire me. My family has run a restaurant here in Chicago for 73 years and the entrepreneurial spirit of my grandfather and father drive and motivate me every day. But most profound I think is how my clients inspire me. Their stories and the connection I feel with them is absolutely one of the most inspiring and favorite parts of my job. They become like family and that means so much to me.

JEC: What is the craziest or most fun event you’ve done (no names, just some details)?
MDE: I am very fortunate to get to produce many events in addition to weddings and have to say that in this last year it was really a toss up – we were in Miami to produce a very intimate but totally high end anniversary party, we’ve been to Hawaii to produce a gorgeous wedding, we had a three day charity event in Antioch with close to 600 people and over $200,00 raised for charity. We had three weddings in two days – I mean the entire job is crazy and fun, it is sort of the first thing I tell anyone looking to get into event production: this is a lifestyle, not a “job”. It takes you places you cannot imagine and you meet people and work on projects that are amazing!

JEC: What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your business?
MDE: I wish more people in general were given the opportunity to be properly educated on what an event/wedding planner really does and the value of the service that we provide. So many people have absolutely no idea how many details we manage and how many hours of leg work all of that entails. I have many colleagues and dear friends who are planners and we all work really hard to create these weddings and events and there is a LOT that goes into them and I don’t think people really understand that. I wish that all potential clients were better educated in general on the realities and the importance of selecting quality vendors and how the right investment in a qualified vendor brings quality, professionalism and of course talent to your day.

JEC: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
MDE: Call a PLANNER! I tell my clients all the time “you live your life full time. You have any combination of career, family – all the makings of a beautiful and busy life. Why would you wedge the production and management of an important life event into “spare time”. And, why would you make choices for that event without any real knowledge on the subject? Experts exist to help you navigate a process with their insights and experience at your fingertips. USE THAT! It will make all the difference!”

JEC: What’s your favorite hidden gem restaurant?
MDE: Well, this is pretty obvious for me! Nestled right under the El tracks in the heart of River North is Gene & Georgetti, an Italian steakhouse and almost a 74 year tradition in my family. I am probably a little biased, but I love it! I have MANY favorite restaurants though, I love a fabulous meal. From Burger Bistro to Piccolo Sogno to Athena in Greektown, food is part of how we celebrate life in my family, so this list could go on forever, lol!

JEC: What is your favorite part about being in the industry?
MDE: I think that the people in this industry are some of the most talented, creative folks I have ever had the opportunity to know. I am constantly inspired by my industry friends and colleagues and it is a true blessing to work with so many wonderful people on a consistent basis.

JEC: If you were type of food, what would you be and why?
MDE: I would be anything that comes out of the Tuscan kitchen. On my mother’s side, we are originally from Lucca, a magical little mid evil city in the very heart of Tuscany and they are known for their kitchen. And to them, food is a part of life. It is with them to celebrate as well as mourn. It is how they show love to family and friends. It is prepared with the freshest of ingredients and many of the most well known dishes are steeped in the agricultural history of the area. The dishes are prepared slowly, with no rush, and the process is treated much like how an artist creates a grand work of art. It is just awesome. I think all of that sounds absolutely fantastic!

Thanks so much to Michelle for taking time out of her busy schedule to chat with us! We love working with Michelle Durpetti Events!