Get to Know a Wedding Planner: Michelle Durpetti Events (1)
Credit: Mary Carol Fitzgerald Photography

Happy Monday lovelies! Today we have an interview with the lovely Michelle of Michelle Durpetti Events, based in Chicago, IL. Take it away, Michelle!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

My name is Michelle Durpetti, I have been planning and producing events my entire career, and have owned by own business for ten years. (Time flies!)

In 2010 I steered McGowan Durpetti & Associates (previously owned with a business partner and focused on events more than weddings) in a new direction with the re-launch of the company as Michelle Durpetti Events, expanding its list of services to include wedding coordination and destination management in addition to event management and creative development. I come from a long line of entrepreneurial spirit and I am really proud of my company’s perpetual commitment to excellence.

See the rest of the interview after the cut!

I attended college in both the United States and Italy, eventually graduating from Dominican University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Italian Language Studies. I began my career with an internship at Jasculca/Terman & Associates a Chicago based public relations firm specializing in PR and event management. During my time at Jasculca/Terman, I worked on many events for both corporate and non-profit clients alike, including: After School matters, AT&T, the Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO) Illinois, Midwest Generation, the Chicago Housing Authority, Washington Mutual, (then) Senator Hilary Clinton’s book signing tour, President Barack Obama’s 2004 IL senate campaign, and the 2004 AFL-CIO democratic primary presidential debates. I was also part of an eight person team that spent much of 2004 travelling to college campuses throughout the country for Declare Yourself – a non-partisan youth voter registration initiative created by famed television producer Norman Lear. Along with an original (though unsigned) Dunlap version of the Declaration of Independence, we journeyed campus to campus with an incredible mulit-media exhibit, spoken word poets, cast members from various years of MTV’s Real World and the declaration of independence – all to inspire young Americans to have a voice in their government.

The journey with Jasculca/Terman & Associates ended with what still is a personal and professional highlight for me: being a member of the 60+ team that produced the William J. Clinton presidential library Grand Opening dedication ceremony. The event was live in 30 countries, with thousands in the audience, including dignitaries, celebrities, politicians, and internationally known figures alike.

Since 2010, I have been a wedding planner, and have produced more than 350 weddings and events.

What I love is how working with my clients gives them so much more than someone who “gets them down the aisle” (Even though I love those moments!) I bring my expertise, knowledge, production skills and of course – humor to every facet of the planning process for my clients. This helps everyone make informed decisions and create the wedding of their dreams within the parameters of their realities. Be it large or small, grand or intimate, in Chicago or beyond. Sounding board, trusted source, inspirational resource, stylist, bringer of the zen, problem solver, orchestrator, time manager. These are a few of the key words I use to explain my role as a planner!

Get to Know a Wedding Planner: Michelle Durpetti Events (2)
Credit: Peter Gubernat Photography

How did you get into wedding planning?

By the age of 26, I realized that the corporate life was not for me and accepted various positions utilizing my fluency in Italian while working for the Italian Trade Commission, an Italian government office throughout the United States that cultivates trade between Italy and the U.S. During that time, I began freelancing as an events specialist and produced various private events including birthdays, weddings, the grand opening of the sales office at Lincoln Park 2520 and both the 60th and 65th anniversary celebrations of Chicago restaurant Gene & Georgetti. This was a highlight for me as Gene & Georgetti has been a family owned and operated business for close to 70 years, and that family is mine – Founder Gene Michelotti was my grandfather.

I founded Michelle Durpetti Events in 2008 and have planned and produced over 300 weddings and notable events since then.

Get to Know a Wedding Planner: Michelle Durpetti Events (3)
Credit: Lilly Photography

What’s your favorite part of the job?

What I love is how working with my clients gives them so much more than someone who “gets them down the aisle” (Even though I love those moments!) I bring my expertise, knowledge, production skills and of course – humor to every facet of the planning process for my clients. This helps everyone make informed decisions and create the wedding of their dreams within the parameters of their realities. Be it large or small, grand or intimate, in Chicago or beyond. Sounding board, trusted source, inspirational resource, stylist, bringer of the zen, problem solver, orchestrator, time manager. These are a few of the key words I use to explain my role as a planner!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding planners just getting started?

The lesson that I love to share that was incredibly impactful to me is to find a tribe.

Network, put yourself out there and connect with colleagues. Remember “community over competition” and connect with other creatives. They will inspire, support, understand and teach you more than you could ever imagine!

Get to Know a Wedding Planner: Michelle Durpetti Events (6)
Credit: Collin Pierson Photography

What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?

All of my free time goes to my horses. I am an amateur equestrian and I compete all over the country throughout the year in the hunter/jumper discipline of equestrian performance sports. My horses are my babies! They give me so much. Balance, sanity, a safe haven – and the force me to live in the moment while riding and that is such a valuable exercise. In this great big world of multitasking at lightning speed, it is invaluable to take a moment and just focus. For me, my horses bring that calm and clarity. And pure joy. I do everything to give them a beautiful, healthy, safe and quality life.

Any great stories from working with a client?

So many! But I don’t really discuss those. I like my clients to know that what they confide in me stays with me. :-)

What is your current favorite color combination?

I always love whites and nudes with fresh green. Classic and timeless and uninterrupted beauty is my thing for sure. But bold, big, beautiful color is also so fun! I am always a fan of lavender. Either soft and cool with shades of white or a little more sharp paired with black. Textures are huge for me too!

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Credit: Collin Pierson Photography

Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?

I love a return to demure bridal looks. I will forever be a fan of a classic bridal look. Romona Keveza (who I wore), Anne Barge, Valentino – I obsess over classic lines and bespoke construction!

What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning?

My advice would be to absolutely hire a planner. I believe in this so strongly that I hired one for my own wedding!

Get to Know a Wedding Planner: Michelle Durpetti Events (5)
Credit: Lilly Photography

Thanks Michelle! For more about Michelle Durpetti Events, check out her WeddingLovely profile or head straight to her website.

Any questions for Michelle? Leave them in the comments below!