World renowned special event producer Cheryl Cecchetto is behind the most memorable and high profile events in Los Angeles including the official parties for the Academy Awards ®, Emmy Awards ®, People’s Choice Awards and she is now sharing her tips, secrets, favorite recipes and stories behind Hollywood’s biggest galas, all found in her new inspirational and fascinating autobiography “Passion to Create” (New Holland Publishing, November 24th).
Every year Hollywood’s hottest celebrities gather at the industry’s most exclusive A-List parties after an evening of honoring their peers and fellow actors, especially during the famed awards season. Each of these high profile events is produced by an extraordinary women and her team of event producing professionals at Sequoia Productions; meet the amazing Cheryl Cecchetto.
Cheryl Cecchetto grew up in a traditional Italian family where good food and social gatherings were top priority. Growing up in Toronto, Canada her father was a popular socialite who hosted many events for the Montessori Club. This gave Cheryl one of a kind social experience with event planning and catering to guests which soon became a natural personal interest of hers at a young age. It’s no surprise that Cheryl Cecchetto has become one of the most successful and talented event producers in the world.
With a theatrical and fine arts degree Cheryl has effortlessly intertwined her love of aesthetics and dramatic effects with her strong desire to bring people together, to create lasting and fulfilling memories for others while enjoying an evening amidst her spectacular event designs.
Some of her most notable events and clients include the Offical Oscar’s after-party, the Annual Governor’s Ball, the Emmy’s, People’s Choice Awards Official After party, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, as well as hundreds of Hollywood private events for clients like Warner Bros, Fox, Entertainment Weekly, Guess, Emirates, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the list goes on and on, as well as a multitude of stunning weddings that she and her team creates every year. We spoke to this woman of extraordinary talent and ability to learn more about the world of Hollywood event production.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What are some trends taking place in the event world?
Cheryl Cecchetto: Today’s lifestyle has become so fast paced, that events are now being created to allow guests to stop and enjoy the moment. There are less sit down dinner socials, and more mingling with a constant flow of delicious tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and a focus on great entertainment. People want to meet and mingle while gathering with old friends and new. We love creating a fun and relaxed environment where guests can escape their reality, even if just for the evening, where they are transported to a whole new world while attending the event. It’s a magical experience.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Where do you get inspiration for each event?
Cheryl Cecchetto: I’m inspired by libraries, bookstores, museums, and geography. I’m soon lost in a library, and suddenly six hours have passed! My books and magazines have my many notations on numerous “post-its.” I revel in my eclectic table book of “The Grand Literary Cafes of Europe.” I have books covering many seminal Hollywood theatres and clubs of the past, such as The El Mocambo, The Rainbow Room, The Cocoanut Grove, and the grand El Capitan Theater. “Fung Shui” guides me through ALL of my events. Each event is truly unique, sometimes I lean towards one of my favorite feels, the classic and timeless experience that is highlighted by sumptuous drapery, table fabric and custom designed chandeliers. At other times my instincts have gravitated towards an architectural theme that is driven by strong shapes, clean lines, directed light, and movement.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What makes an event successful?
Cheryl Cecchetto: Each client has a very specific mission, whether it’s a message they want to convey or a cause they are passionate about. A successful event has to take that mission and build upon it with so many levels and layers of elements that create a sensory experience that brings it to life. From the sights to the sounds and the food to the finale; it all has to come together in a beautiful symphony. I walk each event space and analyze all the elements until it feels absolutely perfect. Then I know I’ve done my job.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Why are events an important part of society and culture?
Cheryl Cecchetto: Events are essential. People have to stop and take time to celebrate; otherwise we’d all burn out. Even simple and small family gatherings give us a chance to reconnect with loved ones. Today, we are all so connected to technology that sometimes we really need to just unplug and get back to basics, which is simply being with one another.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Have you discovered a personal purpose in what you do?
Cheryl Cecchetto: My purpose is bringing people together. There is so much to celebrate in life. It was how I was raised, and as an event producer I feel as though I am a conductor making these experiences and celebrations possible. After so many years of experience, I am finding my new love for teaching as well, which is why I’ve written my book, Passion to Create. I want others to know how to create celebrations in their own lives. It’s my way of giving back. I like to say, “If one could take care of one, wouldn’t we be done?” It’s so simple, just share your gifts…Everyone will be positively impacted by it. So that’s what I’m doing; I’m sharing my gifts.
In Cheryl’s new book, Passion to Create it chronicles her unique career path, sprinkled with incredible stories and anecdotes not normally available for general consumption as well as her favorite (but simple) recipes to impress her A-list clientele and party planning tips from weddings to home entertaining. With humor and candor, Cheryl details the collaborative inspiration and challenges of many of her creations, as well as behind-the-scenes drama and hilarity that apparently comes with the territory. She also shares her philosophies on work ethic, service, generosity, family, and balance.