Colin Cowie's 10 Tips for Pulling Off the Perfect Destination Wedding

Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Wedding Style & Decor
colin cowie destination wedding ideas

Photo: Courtesy of All Inclusive Collection

Wedding-planner-to-the-stars Colin Cowie teamed up with Palace Resorts and Hard Rock Hotels to create a just-launched collection of destination wedding packages in Mexico. The Colin Cowie Wedding Collections feature 18 super-stylish looks that include literally everything you'd need for a destination wedding: The ceremony and reception sites, altar décor, seating and chair covers, flowers, reception table décor, catering, and cake. Best of all is the price—the packages start at just $1,500.

We checked in with Colin Cowie to get his best advice and creative ideas on pulling of a stylish destination wedding on the beach:

gold destination wedding decor ideas

Photo: Courtesy of All Inclusive Collection

Favorite flower for a beach wedding bouquet (something that won't wilt in the heat!)?
Pincushion proteas. They're hardy and whimsical—I like them paired with scented geranium leaves and fresh kumquats, with the bouquet handle wrapped in coral-colored ribbon.

What's the best way to communicate a beach-themed dress code to your guests?
Guests love a dress assignment. For a beach wedding, I love "all white, no ties" or "all white and barefoot on the beach." Since most beach weddings are usually destination affairs, the best way to share the dress code information is to send a "confirmation package" to guests who have RSVPed. Include information on how to get to the wedding, where to stay, what to wear, what temperatures and weather to expect, what to come prepared for. I always say that a well-informed guest is a happy guest.

Signature cocktail for a beach wedding?
Passion fruit and chili martinis [Editor's note: Colin once made this for Oprah Winfrey—check out the recipe.] I also love a beer shandy—it's half beer, half Sprite or ginger ale.

What are the key ingredients for a fantastic cocktail hour?
A great playlist from one of my favorite DJs, a well-crafted specialty cocktail, four to six bite-size appetizers, and a colorful guest list.

colin cowie destination wedding reception ideas

Photo: Courtesy of All Inclusive Collection

Perfect beach-wedding color palette:
As a base color, I like shades of white and neutrals that are very textured, like linen, muslin, and cotton. For a pop of color, I prefer coral, which combines well with turquoise, matte gold, or Schiaparelli pink. For a more bold color scheme, I combine watermelon-pink and mango, with small accents of bright, vibrant chartreuse green.

Now, about the wedding gown: What are some lightweight, beach-appropriate fabrics?
Gossamer, layered chiffon, organza, georgette, and cotton. Avoid wool, mohair, cashmere, and heavy satins and knits.

And for the groom: What should he wear? Shoes or no shoes?
For a casual beach wedding, he should wear a white linen- or ecru-colored shirt and slacks. He can dress it up with an unstructured linen jacket, then add a topsider or natural-colored suede slip-on shoe. For a preppier look, try a lightweight navy jacket, light pink shirt, khaki trousers, and a Lilly Pulitzer shocking-pink-and-green necktie and handkerchief.

nautical destination wedding decor ideas

Photo: Courtesy of All Inclusive Collection

Wedding favors—pro or con?
I like the idea of giving gifts guests will actually use or can easily take home—a decorated fan to keep them cool during the wedding, a fragrant candle to use in the hotel room, a picture from the wedding in a frame.

Wedding cake or cupcakes?
Macarons! I recently did a wedding that had a traditional cake, but the tiers studded with French macarons.

Best end-of-the-reception send-off:
Fireworks are the way to go—they're probably the most efficient way to burn money, but they are the most exciting and glamorous way to end the night. A floating lantern-release is a great communal idea if you want to get your guests involved, but make sure it is not windy—trust me, I've been there!

For more information on booking a destination wedding in Mexico or the Dominican Republic, visit the Palace Resorts and All Inclusive Collection properties.

—Heather Lee

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