The Wedding Biz welcomes Michael Cerbelli, a paragon in the events industry for over 42 years. He is the creator of The Hot List, a list of the best ideas in the industry, and was inducted into the Event Industry Hall of Fame by Bizbash in 2019. He has worked with several high profile clients and in some fantastic venues all over the world.
Michael started at the tender young age of 13 as a DJ for parties in his neighborhood. He purchased turntables from Radio Shack and a crate full of records and proceeded to market himself as a DJ. He did this for several years until he met his first business partner and they built the biggest Mitzvah DC/MC/Dancers company in the nation. Listen as he shares his progression from DJ and MC into event management and creation.
Michael prides himself on the level of preparation he and his team put into every event. No matter the size or cost of the event, his goal is to create lasting memories for his clients, and he credits his team for the success of his company. Finding and keeping the right talent has been the key to his longevity in the industry.
This was a fantastic conversation full of excellent business advice and industry gems. Michaels reason for creating The Hot List alone speaks to his willingness to create a more collaborative environment in the events industry. This is definitely an episode you won’t want to miss!
[01:42] The guest for this episode is Michael Cerbelli, the founder of Cerbelli Creative and The Hot List.
[03:26] Learn about Michael’s childhood and why he loves the spotlight.
[05:06] Michael shares how he became a DJ after his dad passed away.
[07:00] Hear about the collection of odd jobs he did throughout his adolescence that turned into events as a DJ and MC.
[08:05] In 1984, Michael and his partner in Long Island took off in the events space.
[10:01] The Wedding Singer was based on one of the companies Michael worked with.
[11:38] Learn about how a legacy client opened his eyes to corporate clients.
[12:30] In the early 2000’s he decided to quit being an MC and get into entertainment production.
[14:56] Michael says that events are about creating memories.
[15:44] He believes that most people want intimate events with people they care about.
[17:27] Learn Michael’s start-to-finish process for creating weddings & events and why most of his clients are legacy clients.
[20:17] Michael expands on what the “Cerbelli Flare” is and why it’s not your experience that matters, it’s the experience you’re creating for the client.
[24:47] How can the food segment be turned into entertainment?
[27:19] Why engaging the talents of the entire team creates the best events.
[31:16] Does Michael ever feel the pressure of creating high profile, high dollar events?
[32:48] Preparation is the key to an unforgettable event.
[36:54] How has technology impacted the industry and Michael’s company and events?
[40:37] Why is a solid business structure the key to longevity and success?
[43:19] You can’t do it all! You need to establish a good team and great partners.
[44:47] How do you find the right people for your team?
[47:22] Michael shares his impetus for creating and maintaining the Hot List over 19 years ago.
[49:04] What kinds of people, products, and companies are on the Hot List?
[53:29] Connect with Michael.
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Title Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by PartySlate – the first website designed specifically for event professionals and venues!
Video: Cerbelli Creative on Vimeo
Website: Cerbelli Creative
Mentioned during the interview:
Elegant Affairs: Andrew Corielli
Marcia Selden Catering: Jeffrey and Robin
David Monn on the Wedding Biz
Marcy Blum on the Wedding Biz
Cirque Mechanics: Chris Lasher