Colin Cowie shows off a simple centerpiece.

Celebrity party planner Colin Cowie has worked his magic for clients like Tom Cruise and Jerry Seinfeld. With his help, your party will leave a lasting impression on your admiring guests.

Colin says that a beautiful table setting is easy to put together if you just break it down, section by section. For example, a monochromatic grouping of simple flowers makes a lovely, inexpensive centerpiece. "Carnations aren't the most fashionable flower, but used on their own, they're a very beautiful flower," he said.
Fresh fruit centerpiece

You don't have to buy new pieces to set a fabulous table. For this stunning table decoration, Colin used a cake plate and an arrangement of fresh fruit. Since many flowers can vary in price according to season, fruit is a great alternative. It adds a splash of color to your table, and you can eat it when the party's over!
Use good china and place cards.

Don't be afraid to use your good china! "So many people collect beautiful china, and it goes to the closet and comes out at Thanksgiving and New Year's," Colin complained. "You've got to use it all the time."

Colin also likes to use place cards, not for formality, but to balance the energy at the table. "So you don't have the 'Chatty Cathys' at one end and the librarians at the other." Place cards also eliminate the awkwardness of figuring out where to sit, and encourage mingling.
Candles light up a party table.

"When it comes to candles, there's no such thing as enough," Colin declared. "They make us look younger and more glamorous."

Scatter votives across your table, or float candles in bowls and vases to create a beautiful glow that makes all your guests look their best.
Starbucks gift package

A splash of color makes a big difference, like the addition of these sparkly chair covers that Colin calls, "lingerie for the table."

You can buy or rent chair covers, or make your own out of a colorful pillowcase!
Add color to your table!

Some more great ways to add color to your table: coordinating napkins and table runners, serving platters, chargers and water glasses in contrasting colors, and bright votive holders. Colin even likes to add drops of ink to the water of the floating candles for some extra punchhe says food coloring doesn't give the same intensity.
Simple, elegant invitations

Your invitations set the tone for your party, giving people an idea of what to expect. Don't be intimidated—most card stock and vellum works with your home computer, so you can get creative!

Colin says a hot trend is to match your invitation to your party decorations. Choose a color scheme and take it all the way from your invitations to your table. For this invitation, Colin bought red paper to line the envelope with, printed the invitation on vellum paper, and attached it to a piece of card stock with a ribbon. It's that simple!
Beautiful booklet invitation.

If money's no object, go all out and create a booklet invitation. This will probably need to be made for you by professional printers or a paper store. Fill the inside of the booklet with a poem, meaningful quote or personal thoughts. You can even add a picture to make it extra-special!