Jung Lee, the brilliant mind behind the sought after NYC event design firm Fête, knows the importance of well planned soirees. She works with clients from day one to create the event of their dreams and does it all in style. Jung approaches each event she plans in a new way in order to give her clients exactly what they want, while still staying true to her design aesthetic. We were thrilled to hear her event planning tips and talk with her about her work in the event design field.
What sparked your interest in the event planning business?
At age 24 I fell in love with both design and construction while building my first gourmet food store. The project combined interior design, food and project management. Once the store was up and running smoothly, I bought land and starting building residential homes to feed this passion. Event Production requires the same skills and I knew the event industry needed some fresh thinking so I jumped in.
Did your NYC upbringing play a part in your interest in designing events?
Certainly. NYC is such a hub of creativity and design, full of all different points of view, different cultures — that, in itself, excites me. My clients are all so different that I need to be able to adapt and adjust so my design reflects who they are. New York prepared me to do this.
What is the most fulfilling part of your job?
I have the unique fortune to work closely with some really incredible people. I learn something from each of them. Creating an event that speaks to my clients and seeing them completely captivated by the décor, music, food, etc. is truly amazing for me. That is the payoff.
What is your favorite type of event to plan?
I enjoy every type of event because each one is so completely unique. We really focus on creating events for clients that are tailor-made to their vision and personality — it’s that challenge that makes the process fun and exciting every time. Whether it is a corporate event, wedding or benefit, we approach it the same way.
Your website says there is an art to entertaining; do you think anyone can master that art?Absolutely! It’s about the fundamental principles: planning, hospitality and authenticity. That said, don’t become complacent! We are always challenging ourselves to design, plan and entertain in new ways.
What services does Fete offer each client when planning an event?
We are one of the few companies that conceptualizes, designs, plans and oversees all key elements in-house. By not outsourcing, we are able to control quality and ensure a cohesive vision. Our main services are planning, event design and paper product design, however we customize our service offering to match clients’ needs.
Do you have a favorite style to design events around?
I love rich designs with a lot of layering — details and unexpected elements that create a truly special environment.
What are the essentials to planning and designing a successful event?
There are so many! To start, create a great, hardworking team of professionals, vendors that are excited about helping you create a customized event. Also think about events from an experiential perspective — what will it feel like to be at the event, will it stay interesting and does it have a point of view. From the planning standpoint, ask your vendors lots of questions, set high expectations and plan, plan, plan!
Do you think it’s possible to plan and host an event on a budget that still has that high-end feel?
Yes — it’s all about how you use your budget. Just because an event has expensive flowers, does not mean that it’s high-end. It’s about how the design and event elements are presented and used together to create a sophisticated, exciting and unforgettable experience for your guests — regardless of budget.
What would you suggest to someone who wants to throw a party on a budget?
Authenticity, hospitality and solid execution don’t cost much. If you try to do everything, you’ll spread yourself too thin and blow your budget very quickly. Create one main design component that is a focus for the night — a large bar, or giant photo/graphic – rather than many small elements.
Do you think it’s important to plan even small scale events like a girl’s night in?
If you have time to make a get together or event special, it always enhances the experience for everyone involved. However, sometimes a girl’s night in is just about being together.
How do you feel about being nominated for Event Designer of the Year.
It is a great honor to be recognized by your peers, however, I tend to keep my focus on my clients.
Images via Fête