When LA resident Janine wanted to host a surprise 60th birthday party for her girlfriend Merle, who lives in Atlanta, she enlisted our help. Keeping it all a secret, we planned a multilayered event filled with amazement. The sophisticated evening began with a helicopter ride and a rooftop landing followed by a party for 200 guests in a penthouse venue overlooking the nighttime cityscape.

While Merle and Janine arrived at Peachtree Dekalb Airport to board a helicopter Merle thought would take them on a ride over Atlanta, guests were taking the elevator to the 14th floor of Ventanas, a downtown Atlanta venue known for its spacious rooftop terrace. Guests were greeted with champagne and agreed to check their phones along with their coats. Janine wanted to make sure all eyes would be on Merle. As they waited for the couple to arrive, guests mingled at round tables and highboys or enjoyed comfortable lounge seating.

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Inside Ventanas, two large-screen monitors showed a live feed of the landing on the venue’s helipad. Thinking she was about to enjoy a private dinner, Merle descended the spiral staircase from the 15th floor to the patio where her grandson greeted her with flowers. Suddenly, the curtains were drawn, revealing the biggest surprise of all – Merle’s family and friends waiting below. 

The white lounge furniture provided a dramatic backdrop to glitzy black and gold pillows with pops of lapis blue. Round tables received black and white linens with interlocking circles, while a golden linen draped over the cake table. The tables were topped with white florals, gold votives, and sophisticated succulents and flowers housed in three-dimensional geometric vases.

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The perfect complement to her sleek white pantsuit, Merle’s white and black Chanel-inspired cake from Lady Rae’s Weddings & More dripped with pearls. It was topped with a bow and the clever branding “Merle No. 60.”   

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The special “Merle 60” logo created for the event appeared throughout the space from the DJ booth to the gold-draped photo wall. Her name lent itself effortlessly to a cursive script with a diamond in the highest swirl.

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Outside, the spacious patio, which was strung with lights, offered more seating. A GOBO light shone Merle’s logo on the wall. Fire pits and heaters warmed guests who visited the Cigar Bar Experience where they found customized cigar bands and branded matchboxes. Throughout the evening, DJs took turns with soulful jazz-infused singer Monique Bingham. At their hotel, guests were greeted with a hospitality bag with a note of welcome and treats like personalized Coca-Cola bottles and pralines.

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From the helipad landing to cutting her Chanel cake, Merle found a 60th birthday celebration filled with surprises.    

Event Planning & Design:
Venue, Catering & Helicopter: Ventanas
Photographer: Melissa Prosser Photography 
Cake: Lady Rae’s Weddings & More 
AV: Active Production and Design 

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