On Wednesday, September 21, a few hundred of Washington D.C.’s top event industry professionals joined PartySlate and an esteemed slate of vendor partners to celebrate “The Spirit of D.C.” The gathering showcased the best that the city has to offer — from inspired fare to memorable entertainment, all with epic views from the venue, Sequoia DC.
The talented team at Perfect Planning Events produced the incredible celebration. Of partnering with PartySlate on the event, Tara Melvin, Founder and Creative Director of Perfect Planning, says, “Partnering on this event was truly an honor. PartySlate is a reputable and unique platform that aligns with my brand image. It was a no-brainer for me to collaborate with PartySlate.”
Of the creatively-themed celebration that honored her city, Melvin says, “When I was approached by the PartySlate team to create a buzz-worthy event for my peers, I immediately knew that I wanted to create an experience that truly embraced D.C. culture. My creative mind went straight to all things original about D.C., including music, food, nature, and monuments. The night was epic and the crowd truly experienced the ‘Spirit of D.C.’!”
A Glimpse of the Evening to Come
Guests were invited to PartySlate’s Washington D.C. gathering via a luxe digital invitation, custom-designed by Wilori Lane. The print and invitation designer evoked both the theme and PartySlate’s branding with a sleek gold and black invitation emblazoned with the city’s skyline. The team also created the party’s printed materials to showcase and honor event partners.
Design: Glamorous Palette & D.C. Displays
Melvin from Perfect Planning designed a flow for the celebration that allowed guests to fully-experience every display and performance. They worked with the creative team at Aniela Rose, who embraced the palette to create a stunning entrance of undulating balloons and PartySlate signage that set a luxe tone from the beginning of the celebration. They created an installation of cream, gold, and mauve metallic and matte balloons adorned with lush greenery that led guests into the party.
The city of D.C. was on full display at the celebration — both inside and outside through the inspired décor as well as the panoramic landscape visible from the space at Sequoia DC. Guests flowed in and out of doors to enjoy the dramatic river views at sunset and the swanky space with its artful lighting and open floor plan.
Tatum Jelinek from Sequoia DC says, “No one in the DMV area has a patio that expands four levels with views like ours. We knew we wanted to feature the patio with fun stations to keep people outside so they could experience the Georgetown Harbor. The dining room lends itself to cocktail parties like this, with floor-to-ceiling windows and modern lighting fixtures that set the tone for an elegant open feel!”
Nature of Design adorned the modern space with soft florals in an ombré of reds with pops of white flowers and abundant greenery. The team curated a totally-unique and memorable floral vision for the seafood bar, pairing towering arrangements and a greenery wall with the icy seafood towers and more sea-inspired fare. They drew all eyes to their installation, a celebration of land and sea.
Additionally, Nature of Design created fall-inspired centerpieces to adorn Select Event Group’s high-top tables which were outfitted with their rich, colorfully-marbled linen. The combination of florals and linen added warmth to the open space.
Guests enjoyed the many spaces to gather, taking advantage of not only the beautifully-outfitted tables, but the lounge areas as well. Partygoers perched on richly-hued deep green suede and umber couches and chocolate leather chairs from Paisley & Jade, then rested their curated cocktails on modern glass and brass cocktail tables.
Stunning Nods to Washington D.C.
Melvin shares how she carried the city-showcasing theme throughout the party: “When working with my décor partners, I created a design blueprint that incorporated the state flower, the iconic cherry blossom trees, and monuments.”
She conjured the “Spirit of D.C.” at every turn. For one “very D.C” moment, Doable You created a custom backdrop evoking cherry blossoms (both in printed images as well as coming off of the backdrop in silk florals) and the city’s skyline. Guests gathered in the spot for photos while photographer Illuminate by Theo Milo posed them in striking and fun arrangements. The PartySlate team especially loved our pictures; our posed grouping looked like the coolest album cover or an ad for the dishiest reality series.
Additional nods to the capitol city included the skyline emblazoned in gold on bars and sleek black signage. The city’s history even made its way to guests’ plates by way of passed appetizer service that spelled out the menu offerings on tiny towering glass Washington Monuments.
The stage backdrop from Doable You also evoked D.C. The image depicted the city festooned with fall foliage around the Thomas Jefferson Memorial: a fittingly grand backdrop for the entertainment that would unfold.
Entertainment: Epic Performances & Surprises
Melvin of Perfect Planning endeavored to evoke the city’s rich musical history at the event as well, saying, “When you think of music from Washington, D.C. – it is Gogo music (Chuck Brown), R&B (Marvin Gaye), and Jazz (Duke Ellington).” The planner found the perfect partner to evoke varied musical styles to perfection: renowned Kushner Entertainment.
The team worked with Melvin to create a flow for the evening, starting with DJ Purnell playing music produced by artists who had their break in Washington D.C. as guests entered the soirée. Upon wandering onto the terrace, they were delighted by a quartet called The Hall Project, which featured a pianist/singer, bassist, guitarist, and drummer.
Andy Kushner, CEO and Founder of Kushner Entertainment, shares, “The Hall project performed a variety of hit songs from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s — sort-of in the style of Elton John with a slightly jazzy edge.” For visual punch, the team installed a stage on the terrace and brought in a white baby grand piano for the quartet.
When it was time for guests to make their way inside for welcoming comments, dynamic electric violinist Tong took the stage, playing pop music and lifting the energy of the room. She rocked out on a white electric violin provided by Kushner.
Kushner says, “We then wanted a surprise element, which we provided by having a super high-energy and high-end 10-piece variety dance band, SoundConnection, featuring four outrageous lead singers, perform an exciting 6-minute medley of hit songs to grab everyone’s attention and direct it to the stage for the speeches.”
Once PartySlate and planner Melvin left the stage, SoundConnection continued to amp the room with a 30-minute floor-filling dance set, followed by DJ Purnell finishing out the evening’s entertainment. “We wanted the guests to not only be surprised by the various styles of entertainment, but also to have a buildup as the evening progressed and peaking just before and after the PartySlate team’s speeches,” says Kushner of the flow of the evening.
In addition to providing memorable entertainment, the Kushner team provided the epic white cube stage which shifted color throughout the evening to intensify the performances.
Fresh Fare: D.C.-Inspired Fare Pampered Guests
Planner Melvin says of working with Sequoia to curate a truly-stunning menu: “I expressed all of the key foods that people link to Washington, D.C.: like Ben’s Chili Bowl, Capital City Mambo Sauce, Maryland crabcakes, and hot smokes, just to name a few. Sequoia’s culinary team produced a bountiful display of food that represented all these elements on an elevated scale.”
And, wow, did Sequoia over-deliver. Tatum Jelinek, Director of Catering for Ark Restaurants/Sequoia DC, says, “A big part of the ‘Spirit of D.C.’ is the food. The city is such a melting pot of food cultures, and we wanted that to be translated to the event.”
She notes that Sequoia has always been known for their seafood — which played a starring role in the party’s menu. Guests were wowed by seafood towers that, well, towered over them, filled with King Crab legs, Snow Crab claws, razor clams, and jumbo grilled shrimp. Ceviche, sushi, lobster rolls, and Sequoia’s buzzed-about crabcakes were also served.
Oysters XO continued the seafood theme with their roaming oyster shuckers — offering entertainment and catering in one delectable package. Many guests enjoyed their first taste of oysters courtesy of the knowledgeable team who also offered fresh accoutrements like champagne mignonette and cocktail sauce.
Speaking of firsts, guests were also pampered and educated by the Sterling Caviar team. They endeavor to produce the finest sustainably-raised California White Sturgeon in the world — and they brought their caviar and elegant service to PartySlate guests. The pioneer in aquaculture introduced guests to the taste of the high-life with their farm-raised caviar for which they control the entire process, ensuring quality and flavor.
James Mariani, Head of Corporate Sales for Sterling Caviar, says, “When you think of caviar, you think of opulence and luxuriousness. The richness and buttery flavor, along with the unique texture, offers the palate an unparalleled, elevated experience that in the past was only offered to the very wealthy. Here at Sterling, we feel that all walks of life should have that special encounter. Our mission is to bring this elevated experience to the masses and offer a new sophisticated food, and PartySlate offered us the perfect stage.”
Partygoers continued their food journey on the venue’s patio. Jelinek says, “As native Washingtonians, we wanted to bring our take of street food and incorporate it into the event. Iconic D.C. foods like Mambo Sauce and half smokes were a no-brainer.” An Argentinian station served churrasco and filet mignon, while a Mexican street food station offered tacos, both al pastor and birria, as well as duck taquitos and more.
Sequoia’s culinary team also created a thoughtful vegan station featuring vegan sushi, which allowed them to play with flavors and fruit for a beautiful display and fun bite.
Of course, there were plenty of sweets to be had, including Sequoia’s elegant take on the choco taco (filling the need since Klondike discontinued their confection), mini ice cream cones of cappuccino gelato, lychee sorbet, and more. Partygoers also loved the mini dessert shooters in flavors like tiramisu and strawberry shortcake with basil.
All bites were served with PartySlate’s forever-partner for eco-conscious elegant napkins: MY DRAP. The elegant black napkins emblazoned with our white logo were a classic accompaniment.
And what’s a party without creative cocktails? The Sequoia team curated a full bar of wonderful drinks, as well as interesting surprises like one-sip cocktails with ceramic spoonfuls of mojitos accented with fresh mint and colorful, fresh “mocktail” juice shots.
All of the Memories Made (& Captured)
This was an evening worth remembering, and the skilled team at Terri Baskin Photography beautifully captured the soirée. They shot gorgeous candid pictures of guests interacting and having fun, as well as of the bright and fun scene.
Moving images from Bowen Films also told the story of the celebration with a video that will remind the hundreds of guests of their good time (and will make those who weren’t there — wish they were).
And guests didn’t leave the party empty-handed. Melvin sent them home with some D.C. heat in the form of mini bottles of Capital City Mambo Sauce.
And More Thanks
Producing a thoughtful celebration like PartySlate’s Washington D.C. gathering requires a talented team of partners. We’d like to extend some additional gratitude to Makeup by Ana B who ensured that our team looked our best. They made us all feel party-ready with on-point hair and makeup styling.
Tara Melvin of Perfect Planning Events says of the evening, “The night was epic and the crowd truly experienced the ‘Spirit of D.C.’! I also feel as if I’ve grown closer to the brand and the warm individuals behind PartySlate.” Likewise, the PartySlate team appreciates all of our partners and was wowed by the active and friendly event community in Washington D.C.
photographer: Terri Baskin Photography
planner & design: Perfect Planning Events
venue, catering & bar: Sequoia
entertainment, lighting & staging: Kushner Entertainment
design, décor & floral: Nature of Design
furniture & bar rentals: Paisley & Jade
linen & chairs: Select Event Group
balloons: Aniela Rose
videographer: Bowen Films
portrait photobooth: Illuminate – by Theo Milo
custom backdrops: Doable You
roaming oyster shuckers: Oysters XO
caviar: Sterling Caviar
hair & Makeup: MAB Hair and Makeup Artistry
invitation & signage design: Wilori Lane
custom napkins: MY DRAP