Colin Cowie’s Wedding Planner & Keepsake Organizer, the Essential Guide to Planning the Ultimate Wedding

05/05/2016 By Colin Cowie

The following article is an excerpt from Colin Cowie’s Wedding Planner & Keepsake Organizer, the Essential Guide to Planning the Ultimate Wedding.

Once you’ve got your theme down, you are free to decide on a dress code and your own wedding look.  I cannot tell you how many stories I’ve heard of a bride walking into a wedding planner’s office for the fist time with no plans for her big day – but with her gown already hanging in her closet.  Preferably, you would not want to wear a flimsy satin bias-cut summer dress to a winter black-tie event in a high-end hotel, so why be dead-set on that look in advance?  Let your theme and venue help you decide what sort of dress is right and how your attendants should be dressed to compliment the look you are going for.

Your dress should reflect you personality, not necessarily the latest fashions.  Consider Princess Diana’s puffy-sleeved wedding gown.  At the time, it was the eight of fashion, but, let’s face it, it did not age well – no one looks good in puffy sleeves!  By selecting a classic look, you won’t look back at your wedding photos an shrug (and you may even see your daughter walk down the aisle in the same gown someday). Find a dress that looks great, feels comfortable, and that calls out to you at the bridal salon. Hopefully, you will be a bride for only one day, so you should wear something that you would never wear on any other occasion.  If you look and live the part then you’ll feel the part.


By now you probably have a bunch of images torn out of magazines and printed from websites.  It’s time to put all of that research to good use.  Follow the time frames below prior to your wedding and you will feel much less stressed…trust me:

  • 6 – 9 MONTHS PRIOR: Start shopping. Visit at least two or three bridal salons before you make your final choice.  Try on tons of gowns in different shapes to see what looks good on your frame (you might be surprised).  Many brides end up selecting the opposite style of dress they imagined would be for them.  Try to make your purchase no later than 6 months before your wedding date, if you can.  This way, you’ll have ample time for fittings and for assembling and curating you look.  At the same time your dress is ordered, you can set your fitting date as well.
  • 4 – 6 MONTHS PRIOR: Order bridesmaids dresses and decide on their accessories, shoes, jewelry, bags, and any special hair accessories.
  • 3 – 4 MONTHS PRIOR: If you have a special-order veil or headpiece in mind, it’s best to order it during this period, if you didn’t do so when you purchased your wedding gown.
  • 6 – 8 MONTHS PRIOR: Your dress has arrived! Now it’s time for your first fitting.  All of your major alterations (if you have any) should take place in this fitting.  It’s normal to have anywhere for one to three fittings.  Make sure you have your wedding-day lingerie and shoes with you at this fitting and at every other fitting that follows.  For your third fitting, arrive with your hair and makeup done and bring your veil and other accessorized so you can see your entire look together and decide if it’s exactly what you envisioned or if you need to make any styling changes to the dress, veil, makeup, or accessories. Remember, by the time you add the veil, jewelry, maybe gloves, and a bouquet, you could look overproduced.  Take pictures, study them, and make sure it is exactly how you want to look.


Colin Cowie has a roster of A-list celebrity clients--but now every modern bride can benefit from his incomparable style, aesthetic, and experience. Designed to work in conjunction with his website,, this beautiful, new three-ring binder--with illustrations by fashion designer Rebecca Moses--will become the prospective bride's go-to planning resource. With Colin's guidance, every bride will succeed in discovering what her own special idea of a dream wedding is and how to make it come true … within budget. In addition to covering all the logistics, from creating the guest list to booking a fantasy honeymoon, Colin provides his signature design tips and time-tested advice for both bride AND groom. And the book--which brides can customize with their very own cover photo--makes organization simple and stress-free, thanks to two sturdy storage envelopes, a one-year calendar, a business-card holder, seating-chart and guest-list templates, and vendor fill-in lists!