Photo Courtesy of Jung Lee

Photo Courtesy of Jung Lee

Summer is the perfect season to gather your friends together and host an impromptu get-together. Longer days, gorgeous weather, and a lack for homework make the perfect formula for catching up with everyone you love. “I think we live in a hard world,” says Fete NY co-founder and event-planning expert Jung Lee. “I want to try to celebrate as much as possible.”

Lee certainly knows how to throw a party. Under her direction, Fete has quickly become one of the most popular and sought-after event companies—Fete has been profiled in Allure, W, and of course, a plethora of bridal magazines like New York Weddings, Town & Country Weddings, and Modern Bride.

Lee’s affinity towards orchestrating flawless events manifested when she was ten years old, when she threw her first party. “I literally told my mom, ‘This is what we’re doing,’” Lee says, recalling her active role in the event. Years later, Lee continues to make each of her events memorable for every attendee in her job at Fete. Through meticulous review of every detail—from the arrival of chairs at destination weddings to finding the perfect caterer–she and her team ensure the success of each event.

There’s something particularly cozy about hosting your own summer party rather than going to one. For a classy but low-cost option, Lee prefers brunch. “It’s very relaxing, and there are no expectations,” Lee says of her favorite pastime when she’s not working.

The party planner urges hostesses to stay out of the kitchen during their events. “Guests come to see you,” she explained, “So you’ve got to do everything that’s going to be room temperature or ready to serve.” DIY stations are always a crowd-pleaser. For example, Lee loves setting up plain Greek yogurt with topping options like granola, honey, and berries. Fresh grains and grilled chicken will round out a brunch menu—just be prepared for any specific dietary needs and have a one-and-a-quarter’s worth of food for each guest. As Lee points out, it’s always better to have leftover food than hungry friends at a party!

As far as logistics go, create an open space by placing the drink and food stations on opposite sides of the room. “Most people are going to congregate to where the food is, so I like to spread it out,” Lee says. She also loves putting out various snacks around the room. “It fosters an environment where people can talk about it, like ‘Oh, have you tried this?’”

That said, Lee doesn’t believe in spending a lot of money on the food itself. Skip the fancy cheeses and go seasonal—think corn and berries for summer—for affordability as well as flavor. And presentation makes all the difference. Even a half-gallon of Tropicana can be elegant if you take the carton and pour it into a glass pitcher rather than serving from the carton, Lee points out.

As a finishing touch, Lee recommends good background music, whether it’s a Sirius radio station or a playlist on your iPod. Otherwise, the one splurge she’d recommend if you have extra cash to spare would be to invest in a nice liquid soap or some high-quality hand towels for the bathroom. “Your guests are all going to be using the restroom,” she reasons.

At the end of the day, entertaining is about having fun and taking the chance to bond you’re your favorite people. “It’s really about sharing,” Lee says. “From a party, I get to know the host a little better, and that feels really wonderful.”

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