You Can’t Have A Champagne Wedding On A Beer Budget, & Other Celeb Wedding Tips
November 30, 2015For decades celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, and Oprah Winfrey have turned to Colin Cowie to plan and design their weddings, parties, and pretty much every milestone event. And no wonder, his jaw-dropping designs and attention to detail are widely considered the best in the world. With an emphasis on the guests’ experience, Colin’s approach focuses on what you will touch, taste, smell, feel, and hear throughout an event. Yahoo Style asked Colin to share his wedding planning tips, as well as design advice that brides with or without a celeb budget can easily incorporate into their big-day plans.
Yahoo Style: How important is a wedding theme and palette when designing your wedding?
Colin Cowie: It’s very important to have a theme and palette and dream with this big picture in your mind. Dream with an open checkbook, as if money was not an issue, and then use that dream and information to help shape every one of your creative decisions. Then make sure that your budget works accordingly, once you have your plan in place.
With brides inundated with inspiration, how do you edit?
I like to have a creative design meeting, and have the bride go through magazines and scan them for images. Then I look at all of the images and figure out what to use and what function things will serve; make sure it all make sense. It’s important to understand that great style comes from ruthless editing.
Where are your favorite places to look for inspiration?
Everything is so digitally available. You can find inspiration on my site (colincowieweddings.com), Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook—on certain people’s pages—and in magazines.
Which “certain people” should brides check out?
Grace Ormonde always does a spectacular job; it’s chic. Town & Country does a good job, too. And Style Me Pretty.
Is there any design element that every wedding must have, and why?
For each event—pre-ceremony, ceremony, dinner, dancing—everything should have one thing, one focal point. You want to make sure you have a wow moment that everyone remembers.
What’s not important?
A photo booth is unimportant, you don’t have to have one. Never have a receiving line. There’s nothing worse than a bottleneck at your wedding. And don’t serve a four or five-course meal because you lose momentum. It’s important to keep the event moving. Rhythm and timing cost nothing and can make your wedding a great success.
How much does budget impact a wedding’s design? Can you make a room beautiful on a smaller budget?
You can’t have a champagne wedding on a beer budget, but it’s not how much you spend, it’s how you spend it. Instead of doing 10 things on the skinny, take three things and do them well. Instead of a black-tie wedding on a Saturday night with 3-course dinner and dancing, have a chic, fun cocktail party with a DJ, or an afternoon brunch.
A lot of planners and designers stress lighting as a design element. Can you touch on the importance of lighting because not many brides think about it.
Lighting is the most important element. It should never be underestimated because at night if you don’t light or highlight things they will fall into the abyss. If it’s too bright, like an oral exam or teeth cleaning, you won’t create the proper atmosphere for a lovely sit down a fun dance party. For $20 you can put a dimmer switch on anything.
What about candlelight?
Candles are your best friend. There’s no such thing as too many of them.
What are some design challenges couples should be aware of and how do they overcome them?
Don’t be overly ambitious. Take what you can do and do it well. Also, work within the confines and abilities of your creative partners. For example, don’t ask a casual chef to serve chocolate soufflé to 200 people. It’s not going to work.
How important is it to hire a wedding planner?
When your dog is sick you take it to the vet, when your car isn’t working you take it to a car mechanic, a bride goes to college to learn thousands of different things, other than how to plan the single biggest event in her life. Absolutely she needs a professional to help her from a design, management, and budget point of view. And more importantly, on the day of your wedding you should not be running around like the producer, but be a guest at your own wedding.
What about the guests’ experience is important to keep in mind when designing a wedding?
The guests experience is important to keep in mind. Not only is the focus attention on you as the bride and groom, but the focus of attention is on you to be the quintessential host and hostess for the first time together. Any thoughtful host will ensure that their guests have the greatest experience.
How do you do that?
Start the ceremony on time, take time to have a good seating plan so people are seated next to the right people to ensure a great time. And on top of all of that, make sure that you greet every single person and follow up with a thank-you note afterwards.