Introduction: We had the pleasure of joining event planner and designer extraordinaire Colin Cowie at his home while he prepared for an intimate gathering of friends. Colin had just returned from Saint Barthélemy that day, but as a true party pro his home was abuzz getting the final details in place before his guests arrived. Here are some essential and achievable tips from Colin on how to host a chic event at home.
Your best secret to a great fashion party:
My secret to a great holiday party is simple: amazing food, unique entertainment, impeccable menu, and of course a well curated guest list of my closest very fabulous and glamorous friends.
Christmas trees – how to decorate:
I used the same tree this year, a silver and gold tinsel tree and I changed out the décor and added some new hues of green. This year I chose a selection of silver, gold and chartreuse. I find this combination traditional yet refreshing for the holidays. I arranged the ornaments in clusters to create a full and even look throughout the tree. Once the ornaments were complete I placed fresh green spider mums in water picks as a finishing fresh touch.
There is nothing sexier than candle lighting at any party. I love to use many candles all around my home; especially during the holiday season. The warm glow and even light makes everyone look fabulous or like they just came back from somewhere fabulous! I used them on the windowsills, the buffet, the centerpiece and weather it’s a votive, taper or pillar – there is no such thing as too many candles.
The best thing about most of my menu is that it can be store bought. The hit samosas are from a great purveyor in Maryland who federal expresses them to me. (Her contact is email@example.com – 410.945.2945). From the gourmet deli I served sliced salami and a variety of delicious imported cheeses, Tuna Tartar, frozen quiches and spinach pies. At the peak of the party, I tray passed demitasse cups filled with Turkey Stew. To end – a thoroughly decadent chocolate pot au crème.
The centerpiece of my bar was a fabulous ice sculpture/ice bucket from www.fruzenice.com together with my favorite Tequila Casa Dragones, and Champagne Dom Perignon. Those wanting a well crafted cocktail I served a Negroni. The deep red color alone is enough to make your mouth water. Four simple ingredients make up this beverage; gin, vermouth, Campari (this is where the drink gets its color) and a splash of Prosecco. This cocktail looks great in a rocks glass with a frozen ice cube and an orange slice.
I took my favorite play-list and added about 15% of my all time holiday favorites. An hour into the party, the TroyCurtisGroup.com provided me with the most amazing electric violinist, pink wig and heels who went from room to room serenading the guests.
As a host, how would you surprise your guests:
The idea of having a single sexy live musician goes a long way. My guests loved this. They also loved the fabulous ice. I mean, it might only be frozen water with fruit, but there is something super sexy and impressive about it!
Best host/hostess gifts:
My favorite host gifts are things that she does not feel obligated to serve of place during the party. Unless you have arranged to bring food, its better not to, and the same goes for flowers. It’s a distraction from the hosts already well thought out plan.
Gift wrapping … high & low
- Get a map of your spouse’s favorite destination, or where you had your honeymoon, or maybe a favorite trip you and a friend took. Take that map and use it as gift-wrap with a festive metallic bow!
- Get fabulous wrapping paper, top the gift off with fresh Amaryllis, pine branch, pine cone, and dust it all with a bit of glitter spray. Or take a glass ornament and using a magic marker write the recipients name on it.
Give & Get
I love to give something that has meaning towards helping others. This year the charity that I hold close to my heart ‘Infinite Family‘ is part of an internet program called ‘Gifts That Give“. If you log onto their site you have many fabulous gifts to choose from that you can send to your friends and family and $1 out of every $5 goes back to the charity of your choice. To me there is no better way to give and receive gifts for the holidays.