If you’re planning a summer party, the pool is an obvious choice for venue. Partying by the pool allows you to bask in the warm weather while reducing the need for providing built-in entertainment. From planning to cleanup, there are many opportunities to get creative with an alfresco poolside gathering, whether you dive into an elaborate theme or keep it relatively simple.
Besides including the basics — date, time, location, and any other important details — your invitations should get your guests excited about your event. Introduce your theme with the type of invitations you choose. Cards shaped like flipflops or sunglasses are perfect for a general beach theme, while pineapples are great for a luau, and margarita glasses work well for an over-21 event.
Music is an absolute must for any pool party. Create a playlist that matches your theme and sets the tone for your bash. Classics from the 50s and 60s set a whimsical, retro tone. Beach-themed dance music is appropriate for an evening event. If children will be included, be sure to add a few songs with them in mind. A waterproof Bluetooth speaker is the perfect sound system for a pool party, keeping the music right in the mix and eliminating the need to set up any complicated equipment.
You can either let the fun take shape on its own, with the pool as the focal point, or plan some games in advance. Water polo or volleyball are obvious choices, as are classic beach-themed games like the limbo. For kids, a few pool-based rounds of Simon Says can be fun, although kids will tend to engage each other in games of their own design with minimal adult intervention.
Transform your backyard into a beautiful coastal setting for an awesome beach party. Your decorations don’t have to be elaborate or costly to be imaginative and fun. String paper lanterns and nets around the edges of the pool area, float a couple of inflatable sea creatures or beach balls, and use dollar store sand buckets to hold napkins or utensils. Use colored glass bottles and scattered seashells for easy centerpieces. For a more sophisticated look, float candles in the pool during a dinner at sunset and then remove them when everyone is ready to dive in.
Finger food and disposable dishes and utensils are the order of the day for a pool party. Broken glass and bare feet are a combination sure to put a damper on your guests’ fun. Luckily, even paper plates and plastic cups are available in a variety of designs from whimsical to sophisticated to match any pool party theme. What you serve on them can also run the gamut in terms of complexity. Ceviche is a fresh, delicious, and classy choice for a more upscale gathering. For a laid-back affair, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, and fresh fruit and vegetables can suffice. Cupcakes decorated with colored sugar “sand” and miniature paper umbrellas add an easy seaside touch to dessert. Slushy drinks are always a popular option, whether of the non-alcoholic variety for an all-ages gathering or spiked for an adults-only event.
The most important decision you’ll make is the decision to host your party. A pool party is a guaranteed good time no matter what the theme or level of complexity.
Top photo: shandopics/Flickr