Colin Cowie's Fantasy Weddings
In the past 20 years, Colin has been at the helm of more than 120 elaborate weddings—with budgets ranging from $1 million to $25 million! Whatever your budget, Oprah says Colin's thoughtful details can fuel your imagination and provide great ideas for parties in any price range.
Set on Oprah's California estate, Oprah and Colin worked as a team from day one to create an unforgettable event. Every detail was discussed—from coral roses dangling from the trees to violins serenading the happy couple. "Nobody in the world throws a party like Colin Cowie," Oprah says.
And guess who was the best woman? That's right! For Bob, Oprah walked down the aisle in a white dress.
Still, it was the cake that stole the show! The Sam Godfrey masterpiece was designed to match the room with flowers and iron gilding made of sugar. "It was one of the most extraordinary cakes I think I've ever seen," Colin says. "It really was a masterpiece."
"The idea is to take something sweet home for a sweet note at the end of the evening," Colin says. "We put them in little boxes, and as the guests were departing, they got to take a little miniature wedding cake home with them."
To recreate the elegance of a 19th-century ball, Colin chose a special shade of pink—Schiaparelli—combined with black and white to design his theatrical and glamorous backdrop. To complete the look, Colin decorated the Met's stage with glazed windows and red lacquered floors.
Each table was outfitted in a pink satin tablecloth fringed with four inches of Austrian crystal beading. The napkins were monogrammed with Sloan and Roger's initials. "Colin is a man of detail," Sloan says. "He considered what forks we'd be eating from and what the plates would look like."
And it wasn't over yet! Colin still had a musical trick up his sleeve—world-famous opera singers serenaded the guests throughout dinner.
"We would probably never experience another night like this as long as we live," Roger says.
The wedding's theme emphasized natural surroundings. Colin created an English garden atmosphere, complete with vintage birdcages, overlooking the Long Island Sound. From the green bridesmaid dresses to the green and white tablecloths, Sloan says "everything looked like nature."
The structures Colin built for the special day looked like they had been part of the house for years. He installed a 4,000-square-foot stone floor, which took 21 days to construct, and a matching fountain just for the occasion.
An eight-tier wedding cake was elegantly adorned with roses meticulously crafted from frosting, along with individual flower pots that looked like actual blooms!
The 13 bridesmaids wore silk gowns in celadon green, and the groomsmen wore tuxedos. In true Colin style, a chorus of opera singers sang the traditional wedding march the moment Sloan started down the aisle. "It was a dream come true," she says.
Using Italy as his inspiration, Colin chose white and coral as the wedding colors and featured an Italian mountain on the invitations.
The first day of the celebration was a welcome day for friends and family. The dinner was set inside a lemon grove, with tables, chair cushions and even the waiters dressed in the festive citrus color. The next day, the ceremony took place at the Capri Palace Hotel at sunset.
As Erica walked down the aisle in a Vera Wang gown, an Italian band played. Under a canopy of roses, the couple said "I do"—and 20 pounds of rose petals fell from the sky. "Colin was the great conductor," Antonio says. "He put together a masterpiece."
Because Antonio and Erica were married far from home, Colin made sure each guest received a welcome bag. In everyone's hotel room was a monogrammed beach bag filled with mementoes from the region—music, a bottle of Limoncello, a fragrant candle and a handwritten note from Erica.
With six months to plan the wedding, Colin was ready to dive into the details with the couple. Their first stop? Choosing the tables. After three gorgeous choices, Sharon and El decided on the table style that Colin titled "Autumnal Secret Garden."
Willow branch centerpieces were adorned with orchid blossoms that were flown in from Amsterdam by Mark's Garden. Coordinating menu cards and place cards, created by Ellen Weldon Designs, sat beside each place setting.
Sharon and El incorporated different cultural elements to really make the ceremony their own. First, they cleansed their hands with orchid water as a symbol of purification. Next the couple honored the memory of their departed loved ones by ringing a bell.
And after exchanging their vows and rings, Sharon and El joined their lives together in a cultural tradition hundreds of years old—jumping the broom!
The atmosphere was exquisite. Colin's elegant, candlelit enchanted garden sparkled with romance as the couple's family and friends welcomed the newlyweds. After Colin himself introduced the couple, the fairytale celebration began with a fabulous feast. Fifteen chefs spent a week preparing this once-in-a-lifetime four-course banquet. The final course included custom-created chocolate truffles and signature beignets by Vosges Haut-Chocolat.
Later, El and Sharon made the ceremonial slice into their breathtaking cake, created by Sam Godfrey. Truly the perfect end to a perfect wedding!
If you dream of a destination wedding, Colin suggests sticking closer to home, like going to a country bed and breakfast for the big event. "You don't have to go miles away," Colin says. "It's 72 hours of jam-packed love, ceremony and fabulousness."
Weddings can sometimes become bittersweet if loved ones have passed away. To remember those there in spirit, Colin suggests ringing a bell for each of the deceased. "So you bring in the presence of those who have passed on," he says.
Your guests can also create a gift that will keep giving. Colin suggests giving every guest a yard of ribbon and a marker, and asking them to write their wishes for the bride and groom. "Take all those and tie them above the arbor so they get married under the collective energy of their friends," Colin says. "Then you roll them up and you give them to the bride and groom. And when they hit a rocky road, they can always go back and look at the loves and wishes of their family and friends."