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One of the first questions New York City wedding planner Jung Lee asks her clients is: What do you want your guests to remember after the party’s over? “Cookie-cutter” is never an answer — nor is it an option. Since Lee and her husband, Josh Brooks, founded their event-planning firm, Fête, in 2002, Lee has emerged as a master of the made-to-order wedding, replete with creative personal touches. Now she’s revealing her trade secrets in a new book, “Fête: The Wedding Experience,” out later this month from Stewart, Chabori and Chang. In it, Lee details nine nuptials she has produced, from a traditional ceremony at a white-steepled chapel in upstate New York to a sleek reception at a Manhattan loft where nary a single flower was used.
Chapters begin with a brief bio of each couple and go on to show how Lee worked with them to create an event that truly represented their unique tastes. “It’s not like, I got a little monogram and my wedding’s personalized,” says Lee. “My clients are bold, they’re sophisticated, they’re not afraid to make it their own.” And Lee encourages all her lovebirds to defy convention in terms of location, decor, music and attire — one bride featured in the book wore a black cocktail dress for her ceremony; a groom wore a paisley Paul Smith suit.
“My message is, you don’t have to have this checklist,” says Lee. “So many publications say at two-to-four months you have to do this, and at six-to-nine months you have to do this, and it’s not about that. One of the most fantastic weddings I’ve produced happened in 10 weeks, and it was a 300-person black-tie with every detail one could possibly imagine.”
That said, Lee notes that most of her clients come with a “handsome budget.” Still, her book is mainly intended to inspire. “I think people love to hear about what other people are doing for their weddings,” she says. “Not because they want to copy it, but it gets their creative juices flowing.”