When it comes to planning a party, no one does it better than Colin Cowie. The lifestyle expert and celebrity party planner has thrown events for Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian. He invited 29Secrets to his own holiday cocktail party at the Thompson Hotel in Toronto, showing us the right way to throw the perfect get-together. Here are his expert tips:
It costs nothing to dream
Start your planning by developing your design story. Colin says to choose a colour, cocktail and flower. Stick with your theme from the wreath on your door, to your table setting, tree ornaments and gift wrap. You want to make a cohesive statement, says Colin. Colin chose carnations as his flower and used them as a table setting and also ornaments on his tree.
The savvy entertainer today is a resourceful entertainer, says Colin. To create a beautiful centerpiece for the dining room table, Colin found mirror tiles from the local hardware story to create reflective surfaces and used a variety of candles, ornaments and garlands to create a chic and glamorous look on a dime. There is no such thing as too many candles. It is an inexpensive way to give you ambiance, says Colin.
It’s okay to use store bought appetizers and desserts!
If the baker down the road bakes better than you, you shouldn’t be baking! says Colin. It takes a lot of time to bake. Ten years ago we had more time, now we are busier than ever. The food on Colin’s dining table is mostly store-bought crackers, cheeses and shrimp. When it comes to drinks he prefers a cocktail. I love the idea of greeting guests at the front door with a cocktail rather than red wine or white wine, it is more exciting and gets people to loosen up quicker, says Colin.
Fragrance is important
Colin uses Febreze Candles in cranberry to add fragrance to the room. Because he used a faux tree, the room needed some help to get that holiday feel without the smell of pine. But, he is careful to combine too many scents. I don’t like mixing food smells with fragrant candles says Colin. So I keep those separate. Lamb chops and vanilla don’t work together! To blend the candles into his design scheme he used a quick and crafty trick. I just added a bit of glue and gold leaf to the holder to tie in the dé©cor, says Colin.
Colin is a pro at throwing together parties quickly. I got home on Tuesday at four o’clock and had 20 people over at eight o’clock, he shared. I’ve done a wedding in a week! So, how does he do it? I have one whole drawer in my home full of candles of all types and I mix them together, says Colin. If you don’t have a draw of candles, he’s got another trick to try. You can take one huge salad bowl and fill it with ornaments, he suggests.
Follow Colin on Twitter for more great entertaining ideas: Twitter.com/ColinCowie