Wedding planner Colin Cowie

Master party planner Colin Cowie is the man to call if you want to have a good time—and the fairy-tale wedding of your dreams.

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.
Urania, Bob and Oprah

When fitness expert Bob Greene got engaged to the love of his life, Urania, Oprah knew she wanted to throw them a wedding. "As you all who watch the show know, I call Bob my brother," she says.

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.
Colin helps Urania out of her horse-drawn carriage.

One of Oprah's ideas was to have Urania arrive at the ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage. As she approached, the clip-clop of the horses' hooves on the cobblestone echoed throughout the trees—only Colin would think to place a microphone beneath the carriage!
Bob and Urania say 'I do' under the roses.

Once she arrived, Urania joined Bob underneath a gorgeous rose gazebo. With Oprah and the bridesmaids by their side, the Rev. Marianne Williamson performed the intimate, heartfelt ceremony. "It is my great honor and privilege to pronounce you husband and wife!" she said.
Bob and Urania kiss near the cake.

After the ceremony, everyone was taken by a San Francisco trolley car to the reception. Led by a path lit with old-fashioned park lamps, guests made their way to a custom-made tent—complete with a wraparound balcony—featuring 1,800 yards of olive-colored taffeta and a jeweled, gold chandelier. Colin dressed the tables with hand-beaded floral silk and vessels overflowing with fresh flowers.

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."
Each guest at Bob and Urania's wedding took home a small Sam Godfrey cake.

Colin says every celebration should have a parting gift, so each of Bob and Urania's 250 guests were given their own mini Sam Godfrey 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."
Colin chose a pink, white and black backdrop for the Met's stage.

Colin's planned a number of big events over the years—including the only private party ever held on the legendary stage of New York City's famous Metropolitan Opera House! It was only appropriate that his inspiration for Sloan and Roger Barnett's prenuptial event—for 400 of their friends and family—came from the opera Der Rosenkavalier, meaning "Cavalier of the Rose."

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.
Colin's exquisite centerpieces took center stage.

Colin's exquisite centerpieces took center stage. Placed on pedestals, each one was bursting with 300 roses and dozens more surrounding the base.

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."
These chandeliers descended on cue to music.

To signal the first course, Colin synchronized a special surprise. Before the party started, he designed four chandeliers—decked out in hot pink feathers—that were hidden way at the top of the rafters. "Then on Colin's cue, all of these huge chandeliers of feathers descended with this fanfare of music," Sloan says. "It was extraordinary. It was completely and utterly over the top."

And it wasn't over yet! Colin still had a musical trick up his sleeve—world-famous opera singers serenaded the guests throughout dinner.
Sloan and Roger toast.

Just when guests thought the evening was over, Colin's second act was uncovered. Using the stage to his full advantage, Colin lifted the background of the opera set and revealed a Havana-inspired nightclub! "We just looked around and we said, 'We better take a breath now and enjoy every minute of it because it was the ultimate fantasy for all of us,'" Sloan says.

"We would probably never experience another night like this as long as we live," Roger says.
Colin built a fountain for a garden-inspired ceremony.

Three days after the grand ball at the Met, Sloan and Roger's loved ones traveled to her childhood home in Greenwich, Connecticut, for a garden-inspired wedding ceremony.

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.
Sloan and Roger say 'I do.'

Continuing with the natural theme, guests were surrounded by hundreds of thousands of flowers, and the chuppah was wrapped in vines of stunning roses. But there was one flower Sloan was insistent upon having at her wedding. "I wanted to have the Colin Cowie signature bouquet, which is lilies of the valley," she says. "And I did."

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.
Antonio 'L.A.' and Erica Reid

When music mogul Antonio "L.A." Reid decided to propose to his girlfriend, Erica Holton, he chose the stunning scenery of Italy's Isle of Capri. So when the pair was planning their wedding, they decided to return to the enchanting spot—with Colin in tow to head up the three-day affair.

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."
Colin shows off the Reids' welcome gift.

Although Antonio told Colin to spare no expense, Colin says the most meaningful touches of the wedding cost little to nothing. "As the Mediterranean sun was setting, we had them light a unity candle, and the unity candle was passed [to every guest]," Colin says. "When they made their vows to one another, it was done in the candlelight, and the spiritual connective energy of everything today [brought] all the family and friends together."

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.
An autumnal table setting

In 2004, thousands of couples wrote to The Oprah Show in hopes of winning a once-in-a-lifetime fantasy wedding. Sharon and El stole everyone's heart and won a fairy-tale wedding planned by Colin.

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 say 'I do.'

As a magnificent string quartet serenaded the honored guests, the breathtaking stage was set for this ultimate celebration of love. Sharon's gorgeous bridesmaids, who wore custom Vera Wang dresses, were escorted by groomsmen in elegant Zegna tuxedos. As an emotional El looked on, his bride, Sharon, made her grand entrance on the arm of her brother.

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!
Sharon and El cut their cake.

After they said "I do," it was time for the newlyweds to join their friends and family in the extravagant dinner tent Colin and his team designed!

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!
Colin and Oprah

Colin urges every couple to incorporate meaningful and inexpensive personal touches into their wedding. One way is to embrace the cultures of both families by integrating special recipes or items of significance.

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."