Talking with Colin Cowie about what inspires him when planning some of the most impressive celebrity events ever has proven to be an absolute joy for us. We hope you enjoy his words of wisdom and inspirational advice as much as we have.
How did your journey as an event planner begin?
“I arrived in the US with $400, big dreams, a great sun tan and a very European sense of taste and style. I started a small catering company and with my repertoire of Mediterranean cuisine, I was soon working with celebrities and major clients.”
You are known for planning truly stunning and elegant events. Where do you think your appreciation for such timeless style stems?
“As a child in South Africa, I can’t think of a time when my family did not have guests over for cocktails or dinner. My siblings and I were raised to make sure all houseguests felt welcome and I think my love of entertaining grew from there. As for my personal sense of style, everywhere I travel inspires me. Whether I’m in Mexico or Morocco, on safari in South Africa, or walking through my neighborhood in New York City, everything I see can lead to a new idea.”
Today’s weddings can be anything from beachside parties to black tie soirées. What’s your favorite style of wedding to plan and why?
“It’s really about the client, not so much the genre. I love to plan weddings for couples that are willing to be creative and think outside the box. An important part of my job is to help people express their personal DNA. By that I mean the more fun information and interesting details I can get from them, the more I can do creatively to show who they are as a couple. If it’s a couple that met at the library, I could make a ring bearer box out of a vintage book. Or maybe they’re world travelers and I can wrap their invite in a hand-drawn map of their favorite destination.”
The My Collection wedding app (iOS) by Colin Cowie is all about giving brides a way to gather inspiration in one easy-to-organize spot. Where do you find your inspiration for planning weddings and events?
“I find inspiration from architecture, concerts, art shows, etc. but my world travels have been the most inspirational of all. I’ve travelled millions of miles around the world and back, and I take style cues from anything and everything I encounter. The best part about discovering new motifs and design styles is bringing them back home and sharing them with my clients. I’m all about keeping it new and fresh, and always reinventing what I do.”
The Colin Cowie Wedding Invitation Collection has some fabulous beach wedding invitations. What do you love about beach weddings and what are some of your favorite beach elements to highlight in the décor?
“I love beach weddings. What guest, bride, groom, mother, father, grandparent, etc., doesn’t want to get away to a warm and sunny place and celebrate the happiest of all life occasions?! Not to mention that turquoise waters and sand provide a stunning backdrop to just about anything you can dream up. I always love to incorporate elements from a wedding’s location, wherever it is. But for the beach, details like a starfish set upon each napkin at a place setting, sand filled hurricanes with candles and shells, and tropical flowers adorning an arbor structure are all subtle and beautiful ways to incorporate the beach into the décor.”
Tell us a few of your favorite websites and/or blogs you would recommend couples visit when looking for wedding inspiration.
Colin Cowie Weddings believes that setting the mood and making guests feel welcome is essential when planning a timeless and memorable celebration. Where do you find this kind of inspiration?
“When working with any client, the most important thing I do is getting to know their DNA. It is my job to help my client determine what they are trying to achieve and navigate the entire journey of planning their event from start to finish. It’s not just about the best designs, but making the whole project come together as seamlessly as possible. The guests are more likely to remember if dinner was served an hour late as opposed to the type of napkin fold at each place setting. I believe that great style comes from ruthless editing, but great events come from excellent production. At the end of the day, it’s not about impressing the guests, it’s about making them welcome and comfortable. That’s the goal of any good and thoughtful host.”
The Colin Cowie Wedding Invitation Collection is comprised of incredibly unique, luxury wedding invitations. Which designs are your favorites and why?
“Each design is so different and appropriate for a different type of couple/wedding! If I had to choose, for myself personally, I love the “Bold & Refined” foil invitation. It’s so subtle and elegant but with a completely modern twist. The black-on-black with foil and matte textures, coupled with contemporary script are so new and fresh. It’s something we haven’t seen much of before and that’s what I’m passionate about creating. On the other end of the spectrum, I am absolutely in love with the Floral Extravagance Laser Cut invitation. Laser cut is so in right now and it adds an elevated and unexpected element to a truly classic looking invitation. I also adore the colors we’re offering.”