"Successful entertaining starts by being prepared," writes Cowie. The perfectionist party planner sets his table and lays out the wines and serving dishes for each course the night before the event. "The following day, all I need to do is mix the cocktails, dim the lights, turn up my iPod and play host." In the case of this all-white table setting, Cowie added pomanders of roses to white tulips and topped each plate with a single orchid.
Portions adapted from Colin Cowie Chic: The Guide to Life As It Should Be
). To be published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, and available in stores and online December 31, 2007.