With his moral compass to guide him and his genuine enthusiasm toward his work, longtime event designer Edward Perotti seeks out unique experiences in each event location—no matter how concealed or exotic they may be.
Utilizing sites for events like an Istanbul Cistern and the Great Wall of China for A-lister clients like Ariana Grande, Perotti has spent 27 years traversing the globe incorporating his special touches. Upon the moment he answers the phone, Perotti invokes an immediate sense of childish enthusiasm for his profession. That same enthusiasm translates flawlessly into his execution, with his unique mark of pizazz showing on each project—be it personal, incentives, corporate and beyond.
To illustrate, for a private dinner at the Palace of Versailles, Perotti sought out unconventional locations within the palace—the Hall of Mirrors would be too cliché, he says—to defy expectations.
He goes a step further welcoming the attendees by reciting an unknown anecdote about Marie Antoinette announcing “Let them eat brioche,” (instead of cake, to be historically accurate). Splashing a plethora of colors popular to the era across the space transports the guests back in time. As any event planner knows, extensive research such as this must be done before planning the event: “I do so much homework that no one sees, so that when people think I am stepping off a cliff, I actually know exactly where my feet are going to land. Attention to detail is everything,” Perotti explains.
Perotti also knows the true value of curated events and meetings. He says, “[Our industry] is completely shaping people’s perspective, so we have to be aware of that,” he says. “Our job is to take the work they want to share and create an environment for people to do that work, and hopefully, eventually, we can help to craft the work. The role truly can affect the culture of a corporation. If a CEO’s words or appearance is going to affect a perspective of an audience, then it is an event planner’s job to step up and tell them how it will be perceived.”
He refers to his job as presenting only the best version of his clients, some of which are so elite that he is not allowed to share the names with me.
He acknowledges that the industry is changing for the better with the evolution of the planner from “order-taker” to becoming the “work horses” themselves. This shift is bringing a sense of community and less of a structured hierarchy. As he says, “It has gone from very siloed to having a collective voice.”
On site locations, Perotti says certain venues are chosen based off easy access and other factors. But another focus should be the area’s culture and moral standings. One of Perotti’s most important criteria is a partner be LGBTQ friendly. It is important, not only for the event planners but also the attendees, that causes that they are care about are being supported and welcomed.
Through his exposure to different cultures all over the world while traveling for work, Perotti has had the opportunity to plan events and meetings he never imagined possible. “I have been the luckiest son-of-a-gun on the planet to not just be a local, U.S. or expected destinations planner,” he says with a chuckle.
As far as the most fun and mind-blowing out of all his exquisite jobs? A dinner in the Louvre with no one else around in the entire building, except the 800 people attending the event. As he put it, “It was one of those moments where you sit back and go, ‘Wow, we get to do this for a living.’”
Working your dream job while that same job allowing you to truly be yourself and express your opinion is a win-win situation to Perotti. “My hope and thoughts for my peers is that we push this industry over the top,” he says. “There’s so much possibility to do with people, that you hope that they embrace it. Any opportunity to talk or open eyes to who we are—I’ll take it.”