“At the end of the night, I really just want my guests to have fun, whatever that looks like to them.”
When Gabriel Franceschi and his wife married and put down roots in the Scenic City following college graduation, they were ready to meet some new people.
“It wasn’t long after we moved to Chattanooga that we realized there weren’t many events in which people could participate,” Franceschi says. After throwing a surprise birthday party for his wife one year that went off without a hitch, Franceschi decided that was a void he would try to fill.
“I just wanted to do something nice for my wife, so I rented a venue, got some food catered, hired a band, and created some special drinks. I was surprised when over 100 people showed up,” he recalls. “After the party, I started getting all these texts and calls from people telling me how much fun they had. I love helping people have fun, so I thought I’d try to do it more often.”
From wine tastings to game nights, fun is at the epicenter of everything Franceschi does. He notes that, between him and his wife, their family has quite a number of different social circles, but the goal when hosting friends or family is always the same.
“At the end of the night, I really just want my guests to have fun, whatever that looks like to them,” he explains. “I always try to put myself in my guests’ shoes during every step of the planning process. I try to think about what that group of people likes and enjoys, and I try to provide that.”
Franceschi notes that the events he hosts do look a little different now that he has children, but fun is still a priority.
One of the more popular annual events the family hosts is A Birthday Party for Jesus, which takes place every Christmas Eve.
“When this party started, I thought parents would just come drop off their kids and use it as a chance to do some last-minute shopping, but the parents love it, and most of them stay,” says Franceschi.
Now in its fourth year and with about 50 attendees, A Birthday Party for Jesus consists of several different stations where children get to participate in activities like decorating ornaments and cookies and making waffles and s’mores. The entire night culminates in a reading of “The True Meaning of Christmas.”
“Regardless of if it’s adults or kids, it’s always heartwarming to watch people get to connect and bond over shared values or a common interest they didn’t know they had,” says Franceschi. “I like being able to provide that.”