Decide on a Theme
When Oprah wants to put together a very special gift, she goes to event planner Debi Lilly, owner of A Perfect Event. Debi says her trade secret is to have the gift look as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside—something you can do in just four simple steps.
The first step: Pick your theme. Debi's secret is to really think about the recipient of a gift and what they like. Do they love to travel? Do they have a favorite color? Debi says incorporating the recipient's favorites into your gift will make it extra special.
Pick the proper packaging.
Debi says there are many beautiful wrapping papers to choose from, but shares her expert advice: "My trick is using wonderful fabric-covered boxes—silk boxes, paper boxes." Here she uses a suede-covered box that's so pretty, it doesn't even need to be wrapped!
Select the right ribbon.
Plastic store bought bows are a big no-no. "People, I am begging you," pleads Debi. "Please throw away the big plastic grocery store bows!"
Instead, Debi suggests layering ribbons in different colors, widths and fabrics to create a unique look.
Add a Trinket
The perfect final touch to your gift (and Debi Lilly's signature secret): A little trinket to the top of the present. For a great baby gift, Debi suggests tying a small pair of booties right on top. Or for a girlfriend, pin a vintage broach right into the ribbon—it adds a wonderful decorative touch that can later be worn!
Select a Color Theme
As the mastermind behind many of Oprah's parties
, including Oprah's 50th birthday party and the Legends Ball
, Colin Cowie knows how to set a stunning table. Colin's first secret: Select a color theme.
Colin is all about the glamour and insists that each dinner party begin with a color theme. Try selecting a single accent color and specific type of flower. Here Colin chooses to work with red roses. What's another hot tip from Colin? "I used a reflective mirror as my tabletop because it's very glamorous and looks rather sexy at the table."
Place Flatware Properly
You should arrange your dinnerware, silverware and stemware in the order they'll be used during the course of the meal. "I've laid the salad plate on top of the dinner plate, because we'll be served the salad first," says Colin. "The flatware is used from the outside in. In this instance, we have the soup first, then we have the salad, and then we enjoy our main course." Arrange your glasses in the order you'll be using them as well, Colin says, placing water glasses closest to the place setting, then white wine glasses and finally red wine glasses.
What's Colin's third secret to setting your place setting apart? He says that adding personal touches creates a truly memorable tabletop. On this table, Colin replaces boring napkin rings with beautiful mother-of-pearl bracelets.
Use Votive Candles
They're an inexpensive way to add color and shed some flattering light, Colin says. "I love votive candles because they take years off our lives and make us look more glamorous," he says. "It's because of all the underlighting." Get more advice from Colin Cowie and Debi Lilly.
Published on January 01, 2006