The Women's Journal

Gatherings That Inspire Authenticity

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By Heather Love

Last summer, I attended a gender reveal party for my niece down in southwest Virginia. This event was perfectly imperfect. The balloons that marked the way kind of deflated and magically went flying away. The kids had meltdowns and boo boos were kissed “all better.” Relatives driving up from Tennessee got food poisoning 30 miles away. I dropped a two-liter bottle of soda all over the entire kitchen – including the cake. And the fireworks didn’t reveal.  

Sharron wanted a party for my brother David because she wanted him to feel that certain kind of excitement. The hosts, Aunt Rhonda and Sarah, had nailed it! The party was a perfect family gathering that embraced the uniqueness of everyone. The moment was perfectly imperfect.  

Aunt Rhonda, Sarah, and Sharron all knew exactly how to plan a gathering. They followed these four simple rules: 

Lean into you and your uniqueness when planning events

 My brother let everyone know how excited he was over this little one. His excitement was contagious, and Sharron was throwing him a party! My brother isn’t known for his softer side and it was amazing to see my adult brother smile and giggle like he did as a kid.    

Find your “party” china and decorations

This saves you a ton of time and energy because it is one less decision to make, it’s cheaper long term, and it’s environmentally friendly. Get a big tote and fill it will party wares. Pick a theme that you like and will be happy with for a few years. This will eliminate the need to get party-specific plates, napkins, cups, and decorations. When you want to change them, you can donate the old ones to the local halfway house or shelter.

Food doesn’t have to break the bank

When I am helping customers with their catering needs, I always ask them for what they are picturing in their minds. I try to get them to imagine they are hosting this gathering with zero rules for how it should be. I shift the focus from societal expectations to personal needs. Once we identify the actual gathering needs, we can build a menu that is perfect and in budget.  

Gatherings should look effortless

Aunt Rhonda’s laid-back attitude set the tone for the party. She let us all know her house rules when we arrived, and she told us the flow of the event. We knew when food was going to be available, when the cake was getting cut, and when to expect the fireworks. Sarah made sure that she connected with everyone during the party to help make everyone feel included. The hosts were present the entire time and worked hard to make it look like they were doing nothing but having a great time.  

I hope that this year is full of gatherings that arouse your authenticity and inspire you to think outside the box of traditional.  

Whereabouts Café is located at 214 Peoples Plaza, Newark, Delaware. Whereabouts Café is a breakfast and lunch café that focuses on quality ingredients and healthy eating.  


Purchased in 2007, the Love family (Marcus, Heather, and Marcus) has pushed the limits of their 49-seat sandwich café. Hopefully, they will be expanding soon. Stop by for some goodies, call 302-836-3365 or visit   www.hereaboutsCafé.com.

Publisher’s Note

“We love Whereabouts Café catering! Heather always makes it fun and easy to plan a menu that is perfect for our family and friends, even with lots of dietary restrictions. Everyone always raves about the food and it always makes the event go so smoothly. Plus, I’m always impressed with the affordable price! Thank you Whereabouts!” ~ H.K.