No one wants to put on an event and have it fall flat, but let's face it—it can happen. You planned for 20 guests but actually get 50, or you were aiming for black tie and end up with decorations that are more clip-on. An awesome event takes proper planning and a lot more preparation and analysis than may initially seem necessary.

Whether you’re planning for small get togethers, such as birthday parties, bachelorette parties, bachelor parties, or rehearsal dinners, or large events, like wedding parties or fundraisers, you want your guests to leave with great memories and a feeling that the night was effortless, sort of like that illusion of ease that great artists give off when they've mastered their craft. To help you plan out your next great event without the stress, here are some tips to follow.

Plan sooner than later

The key to a stress-free event is to start planning early. Initiate the planning with a clear understanding of what the event is for. Is it a celebration? Family reunion? Business function? This will help you determine who to add to the guest list as well as gauge how extensive the preparation and setup will be. Though you always want to take your ideas to their maximum potential, a birthday party or family event will probably be much more low key than a fundraising event or a business luncheon. Start a to-do list for yourself of items to purchase and people to call to make arrangements. Send out RSVP requests to get a good idea of how many people might actually attend.

Find a strong theme

The theme for the event will set the tone for your guests' overall experience. Your theme will dictate the decorations, food, beverages and entertainment, so it's important that you select a theme that fits with the experience you're hoping to offer. Once you've decided on one, approach every other element of planning with this in mind. Pick out or make invitations that go with your theme and that you think will evoke anticipation in your guests. Choose party favors that add some pizzazz and allow guests take away a physical memory of the event—bonus points if you incorporate the memento into a party game or use it to make one of the decorations interactive.

Maximize your resources

A lot of different factors and elements play a role in the success of an event. You have to come up with and organize the menu, drinks, and entertainment, and there are many different companies and services vying for your business. Before you know it, you could be talking to six different people about six different aspects of the event. A less hectic alternative could be finding an all-inclusive event venue that helps with these things or—even better—takes care of them entirely. This will decrease the number of people you're working with and that are accountable for your event, thereby decreasing the chances of miscommunication and something going wrong.

Consider a venue like the Bull Pen Rustic Inn Bar and Grill in Avella, PA, where you'll have access to a large indoor area for entertainment and food as well as an outdoor bar and grill. The Bull Pen offers a great menu, a full bar, friendly staff, and live music with DJs.

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