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When Michele contacted me about planning her 40th birthday party, her excitement was clearly coming through the phone. It was great to hear her genuinely excited about turning 40. During our first meeting, I nearly fell over (in the best way possible) when she shared her inspiration for the party: the handbag and headphones from the DVF – DJ Harley Viera-Newton collaboration. I mean, come-on – how cool are these two?!

DVF Cat Bag

Early in the planning, I kept circling back to an idea of mixing Las Vegas and Gatsby. It needed the glitz of Vegas, but the glam of the 20s. Once Michele gave her stamp of approval, details fell neatly into place (noted below). To see my collection of inspirations, please visit the board I created for the party.

View More: http://taylorgagephotography.pass.us/michele

After reviewing a few museum and gallery options, I called glassybaby and quickly realized it would be perfect. The evening shift of glassblowers would be present throughout the party, creating the ideal backdrop. One of the venue fee options allows guests to purchase product, which would be deducted from the total. glassybaby then donates a percentage to the host’s charity of choice. Michele picked the Avon Foundation in honor of her mom.


The decor included a fringe covered wall with rosettes, tip-lit branches, and a star chandelier hanging from the studio’s skylight. A portion of the studio’s lights were turned off so the lighting came from the branches, chandelier and votives and created an amazing warm glow throughout the space. For a mid-party shot, here’s my picture from Instagram.


Our DJ played Michele’s favorite songs and made the event feel all the more Vegas-like by creating great mixes for a dance party.


As a bonus, glassybaby allows groups to use their product as decor so we used as many votives within our color scheme as possible throughout the space and their drinkers for wine and mixed drinks. These added so much to event’s ambiance. The food catered by Tuxedos & Tennis Shoes was fantastic – it was an amazing spread! Adding to the 20s glam, they supplied old-fashioned champagne glasses for the bubbly from the bar.

View More: http://taylorgagephotography.pass.us/michele

Michele and her husband, Jason – and her wristlet, which served as the party’s inspiration.


The desserts included delicous macaroons, mini-coconut cream pies, mini cakes and a main cake; all created by Michele’s friend, Meena.


Guests wrote down their favorite memories with – or of – Michele and strung the notes across a line in the main shop’s window.


Guests were given morning hangover cure kits, which included a mini vodka bottle, Bloody Mary mix, Advil, Tums, and a tin of Altoids. For a few pictures of the prep process please click on the steps: labels, filling, and wrapping.


We had a sweet and salty popcorn mix ready for guests to snack on while they waited for their Uber ride to the after party.

For more pictures, please visit Taylor’s blog. She was on-site to capture the event and, as always, did an amazing job. Thank you Taylor for letting me use the above images!

venue: glassybaby studios in madrona // food & bar: tuxedos & tennis shoes catering // photography: taylor gage photography // dj: matt l. (please contact sparrow soirees for info) // event planning: sparrow soirées