By Linda Lee
Event designer Colin Cowie uses more than just flowers. With Colin, guests can expect the unexpected – fireworks from a barge anchored off the beach in Malibu, trees growing out of tables in a Brooklyn hotel ballroom, chandeliers that rise out of the floor, spectacular lighting effects, inventive food and drinks and, for destination weddings, a menu of safaris, excursions, performances, brunches, cocktail parties, picnics, museum visits, a wedding in what feels like a 15th century monastery and movies under the stars. Even more remarkable, it goes off without a hitch.
On top of that Cowie and his team cover floral, food and décor – and do them just right. There are things others can copy—his exploding arrays of overhead flowers, the beautiful individual place settings so guests can take home a petite bouquet rather than crawling over the table to fight for the flower arrangement. But most event planners would have a hard time keeping up with Colin. Look through 30 corporate events on the Colin Cowie Lifestyle web site, or 40 weddings, and you won’t see repetitions. But he does have some rules:
Everything is custom; nothing is too much. He has done parties for Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Seacrest, Kim Kardashian and multiple parties for Oprah Winfrey.
These are some of our favorite images, a retrospective of a small part of his career: just one of his parties for Oprah, a gorgeous sun-splashed wedding, and another wedding fit for royalty; flowers in ice; South African flowers turned into a chandelier; one vision after another.
In 2018 he was again voted Vogue’s No. 1 wedding planner and caterer in the Northeast. He sits at the top of Vogue’s Wedding Planner Master List.
Cowie has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Saratoga Springs (NY), Las Vegas and San Francisco, and operates all over the world. He is especially popular on the coasts.
In addition to his other work, which keeps him on airplanes zooming from continent to continent, he appears on television, writes books, makes videos and appears at society galas, always witty and charming – although he may pause to tuck in a stray bit of white hydrangea. Still, he finds time to support education and healthcare events for children in South Africa.
He once told me that a soft gray was the perfect paint color for a home since it was the most flattering, because it let the people come forward. His apartment in the Flatiron District was at that point painted beautiful shades of gray. It was indicative of his innate kindness that this master of color would hide his light at home, and let his guests shine.
You might also be interested in this story in our archive: Colin Cowie, A Lust for Life