Spring Street Social Society's Patrick Janelle & Amy Virginia Buchanan Answer The Bashed Q&A

By Peyton Ladt Sterns January 17, 2018 

When they aren’t eating at fabulous restaurants and posting enviably beautiful photos on their respective Instagram accounts, Amy Virginia Buchanan and Patrick Janelle are event planning, dreaming, and steering their exclusive membership club into the (monthly) event of their lives.

 

Photo by Sam Ortiz

Spring Street Social Society is a membership club that brings foodies and dinner theatre lovers together in unexpected spaces. Their gatherings take the form of coursed dinners, immersive theatre (they once acted out the famous restaurant lobster scene from My Best Friend's Wedding), cultural salons, or anything else this dream-team dreams up. 

Amy and Patrick sat down with Bashed to give us a download on the Society and to share their tips and tricks on event planning.

Photo by Sam Ortiz

What is your favorite SSSS party you’ve ever thrown and why?

Amy: I love what we did with Crate and Barrel because it was so much of what we have always wanted to do – it’s built on the history of everything that we’ve done with a good amount of signature “us” things and an interesting design build out.

We found a four-story townhouse in Soho and created a dining experience that traveled. Guests entered through a narrow ally space in a basement (our favorite thing to do is to find the most unexpected and unassuming way to enter possible), and entered into a room with tons of boxes -- it looked like people had just moved in – where they were met by an acapella group singing a mash-up of David Bowie and Prince songs.

Patrick: The first space was a seating area in a living room; the second floor had a floral bouquet building and a tattoo station, which was great to get people interacting with each other. We had a cocktail hour that was interrupted by a 12-piece marching band that lead everyone up to one of the most beautiful environments - a rooftop terrace where our stylist, Jesse Weaver, hung this huge canopy of greens. Then we had a 6-course vegan meal (that no one realized was vegan) prepared by Camille Becerra of De Maria.

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Our favorite thing to do is to find the most unexpected and unassuming way to enter possible

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Photo by Sam Ortiz

You have so many creative ideas that you bring into one single event planning, how do you decide what’s too much? 

Patrick: I don’t think anything is ever too much. What we would consider too much is too much production. We love finding a place that speaks for itself where the world is already created. We don’t bring in a lot of up-lighting or things seen as typical to the production process, instead we try to find spaces where we can remove as many things as possible, revealing the essence of the place.

Amy: A really great event is something that if you go to and you didn’t show up you would have felt like you missed something.

Do you start with a theme or space first? 

Patrick: Inspiration and theme is different. Maybe we’ll see a venue and we want to build something around that space, or maybe it’s a chef and then we decide to build around that. Probably the most interesting thing we can say is that it’s a seed that forms inspiration for the event but we never are taking things so literally or making every element fit on the nose that it feels like a theme party.

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The single most important thing is your guests and thinking about what you want them to feel.

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Photo by Sam Ortiz

What are the elements of a good party everyone should consider? 

Patrick: The single most important thing is your guests and thinking about what you want them to feel. For us it's not taking the status quo and feeling like you need to follow what a party is supposed to be - it's being willing to be specific with everything that you do to make a great experience.

Amy: The number one thing I want to promote is a relaxed atmosphere. So I might be particular about who I’m inviting or what I’m serving, but it’s important to have an idea of what you’re providing but also to know that the best parties are ones that take on a life of their own. This will only work if you’re a host that’s willing to trust and relax into that, but if you can, it will make you a good and gracious host who can enjoy their guests.

Patrick: Give yourself enough planning time to consider the florals, etc. and also giving yourself the ability to go with the flow and roll with the punches because things are always going to be different than you thought they would be.

Photo by Sam Ortiz

After throwing so many unique events, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about event planning and party prepping? 

Amy: You want to set yourself up to succeed. Most of the work you’re going to do goes into the lead up and if you’ve enabled yourself to succeed, you can relax. One specific tip: if you’re curating the guests list and you know you’re the kind of person that always forgets an ingredient, make sure you invite someone who will go to the bodega for you.

Patrick: The more support you can have, the better its going to be. The support before, during, the cleanup – having time, money and personnel to help you any of those things are really helpful.

What is your go-to cocktail?

Patrick: If I’m hosting or need to bring something pre-made to the party, it’s a Negroni because you can literally put gin, Campari and vermouth together in a bottle (in equal parts) and take the bottle with you to the party.

Amy: Aperol Spritz – for the same reason!

If you could invite 7 people to a dinner party, dead or alive, whom would you pick?

Amy & Patrick: Julia Roberts, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Amelia Airhart, Ava Duvernay, Magnus Nilsson, Stanley Tucci, Lin Manuel Miranda.

Interested in joining Spring Street Social Society? Apply Here.

 

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Peyton Ladt Sterns

Chocolate chip cookies are my spirit animal.

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