You know when you meet someone and you automatically feel as if you’re going to be fast friends? Well that’s how I feel about Michelle Rago. Not only does she have the best job in the ENTIRE world (destination event planning? Hello!), she’s also has style for days and a sense of humor to boot. Thanks to the girls at Belathee, we had the sheer pleasure of sneaking a behind the scenes peek at all things Michelle. Oh and here’s lots more in the gallery if you need a bit more of your Rago-fix.
SMP: Destination event planning. What a dream job! How did you get into this line of work?
MR: There was no clear trajectory. I always knew I wanted to be in the hospitality/service industry. I truly think I shaped my goals and passions as the industry was evolving. It was a pretty organic process. And, the fact that destination weddings exploded as I was evolving, was truly dumb luck.
SMP: What’s your favourite part of your job?
MR: My favorite part of the job is both the sales process and production. I equate the sales process to sculpting. It defines the relationship. And then when the party goes live – I absolutely love production.
SMP: So clearly you have a great sense for design. How would you describe your home aesthetic? Have your travels affected your design sensibilities?
MR: I am casual chic all the way. I love modern art and treasures from my travels surrounding me. I think a home should be tasteful and lovely but approachable and above all relaxing! Constant exposure to luxury has helped me to focus on the things I love and am most comfortable with to integrate into my day to day.
Such as… how I serve my tea or my love of linen towels. If you are a house guest, I always have a linen mat with slippers where your feet touch the ground after a good night’s sleep!
SMP: If your house were to go up in flames, what are the three things you would grab on your way out (pets and family members not included!)
MR: I have all of my treasures from childhood that I value most on a vintage metal shelf next to my bed. I would probably grab a few things from there like family photos, a book of poetry from my grandmother and of course my passport!
SMP: The best meal you’ve ever had while traveling?
MR: I was in a very old café in Paris, big fireplace, stone walls, wood floors, lots of candles. Several meats were on a rotisserie in the fireplace with all of the renderings dripping into a big copper pan of potatoes and vegetables. We dined on pates, amazing bread, chocolate soufflé and stinky cheeses. Heaven.
SMP: If you could go to any place in the world, where would it be and why?
MR: I want to head to Corsica and float around on a big sailboat with a very handsome Italian sailing crew and lots and lots of Prosecco!
SMP: Yep. I think I could get on board with that! Any secret tips to planning a destination party we should know about?
1. The harder it is for guests to get there is really not such a bad thing. Guests relax much more quickly once they arrive if they have been tousled around a bit.
2. If you don’t want too many people. DON’T SEND A DAVE THE DATE – if you invite someone well in advance, they will come.
3. Daytime parties rock.
SMP: Quick! You have to drink one cocktail for the rest of your life. What would it be?!
MR: I am a wine and champagne devotee BUT… I suppose a greyhound when push comes to shove (with fresh pink grapefruit juice of course).
SMP: If Abby and I showed up for dinner, what would you make for us?
MR: To Start:
A few yummy hors d’ouevres of sausage stuffed mushrooms, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and deviled quail eggs.
For the Main Course:
Grilled spatchcocked chicken with roasted yukon gold potatoes, green beans and herby greek yogurt. Plus, white asparagus with home made tarragon mayonnaise.
For the Salad Course:
Organic salad greens with balsamic vinaigrette and pickled shallots. Maison Kayser Bread.
Cheese, cheese, cheese…And lots of wine pairings! I am not a huge dessert fan but most likely something chocolate and salty.
SMP: And I’m officially inviting myself over! Lastly, just for fun: if you were given a million dollars and told you had one day to spend it all, what would you do?
MR: I would buy a vineyard in Provence with lots of guest rooms and a sexy pool. I would bottle my own wine (already have it scoped out!.) A vintage woody and a kick-ass sports car. I need goats to make cheese and chickens for my eggs. I would make sure all of the technology and equipment in my farmhouse was state of the art. Uh-oh I think I blew my budget!