Colin Cowie – the dream wedding planner

In an exclusive interview with Our Wedding in Portugal, Colin Cowie – the famous international wedding planner – gave us a privileged look into his world and that of the multimillionaire weddings he plans, not only in the United States, but all over the globe.

Oprah Winfrey, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, among many other celebrities, Arab and European royalty, have all had the privilege of enjoying his services and his weddings – a fantasy come true for all those who envision a dream wedding.

The author of various lifestyle and wedding books, an excellent entertainer, TV host and decorator, Colin Cowie reveals that he’s a very methodical businessman, which ultimately ensures that no detail is overlooked.

Oprah Winfrey, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, among many other celebrities, Arab and European royalty, have all had the privilege of enjoying his services and his weddings – a fantasy come true for all those who envision a dream wedding.

The author of various lifestyle and wedding books, an excellent entertainer, TV host and decorator, Colin Cowie reveals that he’s a very methodical businessman, which ultimately ensures that no detail is overlooked.

1. How did your business idea start?

I started as a one-man show. Chief chef, waiter, and bottle washer. I used to wake up at 6am and go to the flower market. Arrange the flowers, do the marketing, and then head home to cook the meal. I would set their table, cork the wines, pour drinks, serve the meal, and do the clean up. And I put 120% into everything I do. It’s kept me at the top of my field.

2. How many weddings do you do per year?

8 – 10

3. Is it possible to do an effortless chic wedding party?

Nothing is effortless.  But it’s certainly possible to do a chic wedding party that doesn’t take months of planning or cost a fortune.

4. These days there’s a lot of concern about not spending too much money on a wedding. What’s your advice to someone that wants to celebrate a special wedding but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money?

Throw all of those old, preconceived etiquette notions out the window. Anything done on a Saturday is going to cost extra. If you pick a less popular day, such as Thursday or Friday evening, the cost will drop considerably. Also, loading up an iPod with your favorite songs or cocktail music is totally acceptable.

5. What celebrities did you make happy with one of your wonderful wedding plans?

I have planned events for Oprah Winfrey, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, to name a few.

6. How many people are on your staff?

42 full time and when we have an event, we bring in whatever key vendors we need to oversee local staff, allowing us to keep the budget under control and still guarantee the end result.

7. How can a wow factor be presented in a wedding?

Technology is amazing today. Interactive cocktail tables, walkways, and dance floors are amazing. Each time you touch the cocktail table, bubbles or any pattern come alive. Or while walking down an aisle or dancing on a dance floor, it can be programmed to show anything from blossoms of flowers to abstract patterns. Also, with LED capability, a single instrument gives you the ability to create any color combination.

8. What menu do you recommend for an eco-chic wedding?

An eco-chic wedding has nothing to do with the menu, but I would certainly feature all organic and hormone free meats and poultry as well as fertilizer free vegetables. 

9. What’s the secret to a successful party?

The right mix of food, music and guests along with timing. The wedding ceremony should start no later than 15 minutes after invitation time, cocktail hour is exactly one hour from the time the first drink is served until the time guests are gathered for dinner, which means 45 minutes to enjoy drinks and 15 minutes moving guests to the dinner.  Dinner should be served without long lag periods between courses and if the menu is complicated, make sure to work the speeches into the schedule so there is no down time. When it’s time to dance and party, the band or DJ needs to be ready and waiting. You shouldn’t be looking around for then when it’s time to start and there should be no lag between songs, it kills the energy completely. 

10. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I am inspired by so many things; my travels, my friends, magazines, and always the client. Everyone wants something personal and I love learning about their tastes; likes and dislikes, and creating something that reflects their personal style and always exceeds their expectations. 

11. If someone wants to hire your services in Portugal, is it possible? 

Of course, I work all over the world. In fact, the majority of my work is outside of the US.

12. You are a very multifaceted person: you are an author, interior designer, event planner, and much more, how do you manage all this in your life? 

I thankfully have a great support team around me. I’m blessed with a dedicated staff and the ability to download a vision and confident it will be executed exactly as I designed.

13. In your opinion, what do you think is in and out in weddings?

Everything is in style it all depends on how you design it. Also, Events that were more formal will now manifest themselves as better fleshed out cocktail parties with stations of food and wine pairings rather than a formal sit down dinner on a Saturday night. I do wish surf & turf would go away. There is nothing more unappealing to me than a lobster tail next to a beautiful cut of aged beef. To me, they’re church and state- keep them separate.

14. What would you like to see brides and grooms embracing in their weddings? Any ideas you’d like to share?

Identify an inexpensive element and use lots of it to create a dramatic statement. Like doing the entire wedding in baby’s breath and candles. I still think that candles are the most effective way to create instant drama and ambiance. The more the better- they make us look younger and healthier.

15. What was the most memorable wedding you’ve ever planned?

My favorite event is always the next event…it’s the one that takes up most of my creative and passionate mind.

16. What was the most challenging wedding you’ve ever planned?

The biggest disaster that I have ever experienced is the wedding cake falling over- not once but three times! I have fond memories of creating whole new cakes, making butter cream, and using fresh flowers from the bouquets to salvage the fiascos.

17. Is your job a dream job?

There is nothing more thrilling, rewarding, and fabulous than making people happy. And to think I get paid well to spend other people’s money making other people happy- I can’t imagine anything better.

 

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