Colin Cowie’s name is synonymous with luxury events and unforgettable guest experiences. It’s not often that a celebrity event planner has the opportunity to create a dream wedding for themselves; but when it came to celebrating his own love story, Colin and his husband Danny Peuscovich ended up hosting an epic destination wedding in South Africa with loved ones, gorgeous settings, and a myriad of fabulous fashion moments.
The couple met nine years ago at Omar’s in NYC. Although there was a strong connection between them, they went their separate ways and didn’t see each other again for another six years, when Omar’s opened an uptown location.
“In life, I think everything is about timing,” says Colin. “Cupid wasn’t quite ready for us to get together.”
Once he had reunited with Danny and the two started dating, it only took three months for the idea of an engagement to come into play. After overhearing Danny tell someone that he’d say “Yes,” Colin began planning a romantic proposal in South Africa with all the style and fanfare of his signature celebrations. Danny had traveled to South Africa, where Colin was raised, many times but never experienced being on safari. Colin decided to book a luxurious safari experience for them, which included a helicopter safari ride that allowed Danny to spot a 72-foot sign on the top of a mountain that read, “Danny, Will you marry me?”
“I really didn’t know what was coming,” says Danny. “It was a really good [proposal]. Colin always prepares big stuff, so I knew it was going to be big, but not that big.”
At the beginning of the wedding planning process, Danny and Colin toyed with the idea of hosting a blowout NYC celebration, but realized after making a guest list it would have been 400-plus guests; instead, they agreed to head back to South Africa for a week-long destination wedding in Cape Town with an intimate guest list of 176.
The festivities kicked off at the Welgevonden Game Reserve, where guests stayed in 15 different safari camps and were welcomed with a safari experience that allowed them to mix and mingle while staying in their own private camps. On the second night, Colin and Danny hosted a lively “Glamouflage” party and guests were asked to come dressed as their favorite exotic animal. There, in the middle of nowhere, an extravagant celebration and bonfire lit up the night as loved ones enjoyed traditional South African BBQ, an interactive storyteller, and a live DJ who flew in from London.
The next day, everyone was flown to Cape Town. First on the agenda was a reception dinner hosted at Chinchilla, an exclusive rooftop venue in Camps bay, followed by a glamorous, over-the-top, Mykonos-style beach party at The Grand the next afternoon. When night fell, guests received custom printed scarves from Lalela that depicted an outlined image of the grooms, surrounded by the names of the guests in attendance. As longtime supporters of the nonprofit organization, which provides educational arts to at-risk youths, it was a beautifully personal way for the couple to share one of their passions and represent an important cause.
That Friday, the wedding party drove an hour out to Boschendal Vineyard in the Stellenbosch winelands and a rehearsal dinner was held for close friends and family. Come Saturday, the wedding day had finally arrived. The grooms wore custom Saville Row suits from Thom Sweeney, and the bridal party – which included Gertrude, Colin’s housekeeper for 26 years – donned fabulous dresses designed by his close friend, fashion designer, Naeem Khan.
With the ceremony space being set on a lawn that spans two football fields and showcases the Outeniqua Mountains in the background, French-style furniture was arranged so it felt like guests were sitting in a beautiful living room while being entertained by a 22-piece orchestra. Instead of rings, the grooms exchanged custom Jacob + Co. bracelets, which were blessed by guests and permanently fastened around their wrists.
The exquisitely styled reception dinner featured a sexy, masculine aesthetic designed by Colin himself. It was the perfect setting for Colin’s speech, which he’d practiced for 18 months, changed, and perfected up until the very last minute. He made his rounds, thanking everyone for being there; and as he got to Danny, the light slowly narrowed until a spotlight shone on the couple for a real-life cinematic moment.
During dinner, Marcella Roggeri, Europe’s number one classical pianist and the South African Four Tenors performed. After midnight, Club CODA opened and DJ Coleman, Colin’s favorite, kept the party going well into the early morning hours when the last guest left after 6:30 a.m.
“We were so humbled and blown away that 176 people traveled from 5 different continents and 11 different countries,” Colin shares. “It was a tremendous outpouring of love. I never thought it would happen for me; I thought this was something I was supposed to do for other people. But I got to have a real ‘Colin Cowie Wedding.’”
Thanks to Colin’s multiple event coordinating teams around the States, plus the assistance of the SA School of Weddings, this large-scale destination wedding unfolded perfectly. An entire team was even hired specifically to make sure guests had all their needs met. As a result, he was able to let go and enjoy the beginning of his new life with Danny.
“I totally, one hundred percent surrendered,” says Colin. “I wasn’t there in a working mode. I was there because I was madly in love and getting married.”
>Written By: Lauren Malamala
Ceremony Location: Boschendal Vineyards, Stellenbosch, South Africa; Reception Location: Private Estate, Cape Town, South Africa; Wedding Planner & Floral Design: Khali de Villiers, School of Wedding, Johannesburg, South Africa; Event Design: Colin Cowie Lifestyle, New York, NY; Formal Attire: Luke Sweeny, London, UK; Jewelry: Jacob & Co.; DJ: Coleman Music, Brooklyn, NY; Entertainment: Tones of Note, Cape Town, South Africa; Invitations: Alex & Mima, Cliffside Park, NJ; Cinematography: FJS Productions, Cape Town, South Africa; Photography: Jean-Pierre Uys, New York; NY