Last Updated on October 17, 2021
One great thing about owning a swimming pool is that you already have the perfect venue for outdoor parties. Whether it be for a birthday, holiday, summer get-together, weekend BBQ, or any other type of event, your pool area serves as the best spot to gather with friends and family.
But if you want to impress and throw one epic event that everyone will remember, having a pool just isn’t enough. You would also have to do some serious planning to make sure your party is a major success.
To help you do that, here’s our ultimate pool party checklist.
Pick a Pool Party Theme
Your theme is the framework for your party. It will determine the decor, food, music, and overall mood at your event. So choose carefully and make sure to stick to it as much as you can.
Now, there are lots of party themes you can choose from. To give you a few ideas, here are our favorite themes for pool parties:
- Surf’s Up: Love that relaxing beach vibe? Then this theme will fit you perfectly. Surf’s Up is all about having a fun time and breaking out the beautiful sea life decorations.
- Hawaiian Luau or Tiki: This is very common and one of the easiest themes you can choose. It’s fun and its decorations are incredibly easy to find. For this theme, you have to create your tropical paradise at home. Think of colors and the things you’ll normally see on an island.
- 80’s: There’s just something about the ’80s that can make one smile. So no wonder it’s one of the most popular party themes today. The clothes, music, and hair are loads of fun. Plus, you can get creative with the decorations.
- White Party: A white party screams elegance. You can deck out your backyard with all-white pool accessories and decors. You can also use tea lights all over the party area. To add a little bit of fun, consider filling up your swimming pool with white beach balls.
Complete Your Guest List
The next thing you have to do is decide who you’ll invite to your party. Get a notebook or piece of paper and list down the friends, family, or neighbors you’d like to invite. When completing your guest list, keep in mind your venue. Do you have enough space and plenty of lounge area to accommodate the number of people you want to invite over?
Send out the Invitations
Your invitation can be formal or informal, whichever floats your boat! Just try to match it with your theme and try to put some fun and creativity with it. You can email it or you can buy the invitations and deliver them to your guests personally.
When creating your invitations, make sure to include all the information, including the following:
- Time and date
- Venue: Include the full address
- Type of party: Let your guests know why you’re throwing a party. Is it a special occasion or milestone?
- Dress code (if applicable)
- What they need to bring: Providing each guest with their beach towels and sunscreens can be a bit much, especially if you’re going to have a lot of friends and family over. So save yourself the trouble and ask them to bring their own. For potluck parties, make sure to mention if your guests need to bring snacks, drinks, or other covered dishes with them.
Create a Playlist
Music is one of the most important elements of a party. It creates the mood you want and gives life to your event. For your music, your easiest option is to use streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Pandora, which already have lots of curated playlists. You can also hire a DJ if you have the budget. Or you can create a unique playlist of your favorite songs.
Although it is not necessary, consider your theme when choosing which songs to include. For an ’80s party, for example, make sure to add some of the most iconic songs of that period. On the other hand, think of fun and relaxing tunes for a Hawaiian Luau or Tiki party.
Plan Your Menu
Food and drinks will keep your guests happy – and since pool parties go long enough, you’ll need a lot of them. Now, here comes the problem: it’s stressful to prepare a menu for many people. But since pool parties are relaxed by nature, you don’t have to worry about hosting an elegant dinner menu. Just try to stick with your theme and choose food and snacks that you can prepare the night before. Using a planner, notebook, or app, list everything you want in your menu, including the following:
- Food: When planning your menu for a pool party, you can simply fire up the grill and serve your guests burgers and hotdogs. Not only is a barbecue easy, but it’s also cheaper and a sure hit with the crowd. Just make sure to provide some veggie options for your vegetarian or vegan guests.
- Snacks: Along with your main dishes, you should also serve your guests a wide variety of snacks. Choose those that won’t spoil in the sun, including veggies, crackers, chips, pretzels, and fruit. Also, keep things simple. You want appetizers and finger foods that your guests can quickly pick up, eat, and go.
- Drinks: There should be enough water, juice, and soda for your guests, especially since they’ll be spending many hours under the sun. So fill your cooler with the most popular drinks, add some ice, and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to keep a lot of ice on hand. For an adult pool party, you can also serve beer and other fancy alcoholic beverages.
Plan Activities and Games
It will be nice if you can plan activities and pool games ahead of time, in case your party ever needs a quick pick-me-up. You can include Marco Polo, pool volleyball, water balloon games, pool beer pong for adults, or a treasure hunt for kids. Also, make sure to have plenty of rafts for your guests.
- UPGRADE YOUR POOL PARTY: 6 foot floating beer pong table with sideline cup holders, 6 pong balls, and 4 tethering grommets
- HOURS OF FUN: Full 10 cup beer pong setup on each side so you can enjoy this classic drinking game and set the life of the party
- 3 FEATURES IN 1: The versatile GoPong inflatable can be used for games of pool pong, social floating and as a floating lounge
- RAPID INFLATION: Don't let your party miss a beat, this float inflates quickly by pump (not included) or mouth
After all the planning, it’s time to go shopping. Along with your menu, keep in mind the following party accessories and essentials:
- Decorations: Choose the decorations according to your theme. If you’re having a Hawaiian Luau or tiki summer pool party, you can buy tiki torches, tiki statues, inflatable palm trees, and beautiful tropical flowers. You can also wow your guests by hanging giant paper lanterns.
For a beach-themed party, you can include seashells, sand, and cute little flip-flop details. If you or anyone you know is a surfer, you can use surfing boards and other surf gear to decorate your pool area.
On the other hand, for nighttime pool parties, you can create a beautiful and relaxing ambiance with an LED inflatable beach ball like the Esuper’s floating pool lights or outdoor string lights like the DBFAIRY’s solar curtain lights.
Other summer pool party essentials to liven up the atmosphere include inflatables, balloons, streamers, and potted plants or flowers. You can also get creative to get the effects you want. For instance, you can link different sizes and colors of balloons to create a fun balloon garland.
- Plates, Cups, and Utensils: Along with your food, drinks, and adult beverages, your banquet table should also include eating utensils, cups, and plates. But instead of taking out your finest china, we suggest buying plastic recyclables or disposable plastic ones instead. This will save you and your guests from the trouble of cleaning up and avoid injuries due to broken glass.
There are lots of disposable and recyclable plastic cups, plates, and eating utensils around. Some of them might even fit your theme perfectly. For example, the pineapple cups from FuturePlusX are great for a Hawaiian party. You can also use wine glasses from DecorRack for your adult guests. We suggest using simple paper plates as well for easy clean-up.
- Pool Toys: Whether it’s a child’s birthday party or an adult get-together, you’d need to have plenty of toys in and around your pool. This includes pool floats, inflatable balls, innertubes, diving sticks, pool noodles, and other water toys. All these will create an awesome background to take the best pictures. But more importantly, it will give everyone something fun to do and help them have a great time.
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- Outdoor Speakers: To get that loud and clear music, consider investing in a quality outdoor waterproof speaker like the JBL Flip 5. While it’s a little pricier than others, it is designed especially for outdoor adventures on the beach and pool.
- Other Essentials: On your list, make sure to add other important items, including bug spray or citronella candles to protect your guests from pesky insects, extra towels for those who didn’t bring any, and extra sunscreen. If you don’t have enough, you should also consider adding beach chairs, cushions, or benches. Buy plastic bags as well so your guests can easily take home their wet belongings.
Set Up the Pool
After completing all the planning and buying everything you need, it’s time to set up the party area.
- Hang, inflate, and position your decorations.
- Fire up the grill and set up the food table and drinks. Consider putting the drinks near the swimming pool so your guests won’t have to get out of the water for a quick refreshment. Or you can just throw in an inflatable floating cooler like the Intex Mega Chill in the pool instead.
- Make sure your guests have a place to change clothes. There should also be an area to hang wet towels and wet swimming suits. If you can, you can also set up a sunscreen station and shade spots where your guests can hide away from the hot summer sun.
- Party Time!
Turn up the music, jump in the water, take lots of pictures, and enjoy an amazing pool party with your friends and family.