By Katie Gray

Cheryl Cecchetto, the famed celebrity event producer and owner of Sequoia Productions, has planned the most extravagant star-studded events in the entertainment industry, including the Academy Awards® for 25 consecutive years, the Emmys® for 17 consecutive years and People’s Choice Awards, just to name a few. She even did an event for the cast of Friends (lucky lady!). In our recent celebrity interview, the Canadian native teaches us the key to balancing work and family life, as she is also a wife and mother on top of being a successful businesswoman. Plus, she discusses her new autobiography Passion to Create and shares her best wedding planning tips.

Celebrity Interview with Hollywood Event Producer

Cecchetto got her start as the personal assistant for Oscar-winning actress Shelley Winters. From there, she opened up her own event planning company, and it took off, transforming into the successful business she runs today. Of course, with such a busy professional life, she has to find time for her personal life as well. “We already know that we have to shift our attention between our very efficient iPhones and people and find balance in our lives,” she reveals.

The most important tip she has for dealing with this struggle is to take time to relax and recharge. “I think it’s really important that you organize your time to get out of the craziness, get off the grid, and get off the computers. Keep a regiment and a discipline in your life that will help you be focused.” The celebrity event planner does yoga, enjoys tea, and puts away her phone when she’s with her husband and children.

Related Link: “I Want My Clients to Have Fun With It,” Says Wedding Planner and Reality Star Sandy Malone

When it comes to planning a Hollywood party, Cecchetto and her team at Sequoia Productions follow three steps: engage all five senses, exceed client objectives, and surpass guest expectations. She attributes much of her success to this system. “I really try to make sure that my guests have the unexpected and that it’s beyond their expectations,” she divulges. She doesn’t create just an event; she creates memories and an experience, which is what life is really all about.

Cheryl Cecchetto Opens Up About New Book ‘Passion to Create’

As if planning parties doesn’t keep her busy enough, she recently wrote her first book. On what inspired her to write Passion to Create, she explains, “I wanted to put down in writing some of the incredible experiences I’ve had thus far. So I felt like a book would create something that lasts with beautiful photos, great memories, and great recipes.” Some anecdotes include: the coy fish jumping out of the arrangements after the Oscars before the guests were going to walk in, the trials and tribulations of throwing a wedding in her hometown, a Cinderella story, the process of mounting a chandelier that has 100,000 pendants, and how she wrapped her clients favorite beer under the table for him and was subsequently interrogated by the bomb squad for 45 minutes because they discovered it and thought she was going to blow the place up. She sums up these stories by saying, “They are very amusing.”

Given her event-planning past, we had to ask the newly-minted author about her best tips when it comes to weddings. There is a chapter in the book titled Wedding Bells that even includes a timeline of the twelve months leading up to a bride’s special day. “One thing I find fantastic about weddings is that nothing is traditional anymore. Guests want the event to be much more natural and effortless, more organic,” she explains in our celebrity interview. The key to a successful wedding, she says, “is organization and planning.” She has noticed that lounge furniture is super trendy at these special events right now. Everything is more social, and there is a lot more mingling occurring.

Related Link: Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden Tie the Knot at Her Beverly Hills Home

Her advice for calming the star of the hour’s nerves is simple: Play the bride’s favorite music and have someone by her side at all times so she knows that someone is there to get everything done. “Keep her eye on the prize. It’s not the perfect linen; it’s not the perfect anything. It’s the perfect guy,” she shares.

Of course, the mother of two hasn’t slowed down when it comes to her day job. Her lavish recent and upcoming events include 87th Academy Awards® Governors Ball, G’DAY USA Gala Featuring the AACTA International Awards, and the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay Champions Gala. Stay tuned for the announcement of the Oscars theme, which will be made public at the press conference in early February!

For more party-planning tips and humorous stories, you can purchase Passion to Create. You can also find out more about Sequoia Productions on http://www.sequoiaprod.com/.