post-9768-2020-05-14T15:14:49-05:00
best of

12 Essential Pool Party Ideas for Your Mid-Summer Soirée

photographer: Christopher Costello | event planner: Jessica Fels Event Production & Design | rentals: Cosmos Neon Inc. | lighting: Images by Lighting

By Tasha Downing, Writer & Amanda Greenberg, Marketing Coordinator

Summer is in full swing — but it’s never too late to throw an epic pool party. With blazing heat and sidewalks that could fry an egg, no outdoor bash is complete without the option for a cooling dip in the water. We’ve gathered some of our favorite pool party ideas and planning tips to ensure your guests will be talking about your celebration long after the season has ended. Ready to dive in?

1. Choose a Fun Theme

With a glistening pool as your party’s focal point, the theme of the surrounding festivities should delight and excite. Your theme can range anywhere from a color palette to a region or even a decade.

Hawaiian Barbeque

Souvenir stand
photographer: Alison Ross Events

We love how Alison Ross Events transformed this backyard soirée near Chicago’s North Shore into a tropical oasis filled with artificial palm trees, tiki bars, vibrant hues, tables decked out in lanterns, and summer-perfect palm-printed runners from BBJ Linen. Guests were transported to paradise with a lei entrance, Hawaiian barbecue and an authentic Poi fire show to round out theming with top-notch entertainment.

View More Photos

ROYGBIV Bash

Rainbow balloons
photographer: Maggie Marguerite Studio

To make a splash — of color that is — you can’t go wrong with a rainbow palette. Tara M. Events made the trending rainbow theme come to life effortless at this poolside Bat Mitzvah with technicolor drink displays, strung lanterns, and playful tablescapes, while On The Move Entertainment brought down the house with fresh tunes under a sea of balloons (in proper ROYGBIV order) and colorful lighting.

View More Photos

2. Incorporate Couture Cabanas

For guests who aren’t so keen on swimming, adding a chic and shaded lounge area is a must. Cabanas ensure everyone stays cool by the pool with stylish — and most importantly, comfortable — seating options.

Gold & Glam

White seating area
photographer: Sanaz Photography

We could lounge all day beneath the billowing canopy at this glam wedding shower from Sonia Sharma Events. Revelry Event Designers decked out the cabana with chandeliers, a chic black-and-white color scheme, and luxe gold accents.

View More Photos

Luxe Luncheon

Pool cabana
photographer: Justin Coit

Taking to a more ethereal vibe, this delectable farm-to-table garden party catered by Haute Chefs LA added a greenery-draped cabana for a former Glee star — if it’s good enough for Lea Michele, it’s good enough for us.

View More Photos

3. Add Stylish Pool Décor

While a body of water adds its own serene beauty to a celebration, nothing amplifies a pool party like chic pool décor.

Petaled Pool

Pink flower petals in a pool
photographer: Sheri Whitko Photography

Floating florals offer a timeless and undeniably beautiful design element and we love how the expert planners at Paulette Wolf Events curated this feminine milestone birthday party with cocktails around a pool accented with perfect petals from Marks Garden.

View More Photos

Elegant Orbs

Orbs
photographer: (now closed)

Say “I do” at home with a stunning backyard wedding reception. The skilled planning team at Christina Currie Events, Inc. chose to feature translucent spheres filled with crisp white roses, floating in — and positioned around — the pool, offering an elegant accent.

View More Photos

Fun Floats

Flamingo pool floats
photographer: Sanaz Photography

When thinking of luxe pool décor we can’t help but revisit this wedding shower. Sonia Sharma Events included the most glamorous of pool floats — including floating swans and winged horses — that perfectly tied back to the celebration’s chic black, white and gold palette.

View More Photos

Inspired Installation

White balloons in a pool
photographer: Christy & Co Photography

We can’t forget the perfectly-round, oversized white balloons from Gilded Group Décor at this first communion celebration. We love how the team adorned the ribbons with lush strands of greenery creating a hovering installation just above the water — all planned by One Inspired Party.

View More Photos

4. Craft a Mouthwatering Menu

You aren’t supposed to eat 30 minutes prior to swimming — but if you do, make sure it’s something creative and tasty.

Edible Elegance

Ice cream stand
photographer: Eric Schliffer

Elegant Affairs Caterers enhanced two different swanky poolside soirées in the Hamptons with delectable fare. This lovely poolside dinner featured innovative plating methods, including edible spoons, personal crudite trays, and towers of stacked caprese.

View More Photos

Clambake Celebration

Appetizer
photographer: direct image films photo & cinema

We’re loving Elegant Affairs Caterers’ menu for this chic clambake. Guests enjoyed fresh seafood and sweeping coastal views at a backyard celebration planned by the team at Elegant Affairs.

View More Photos

Fresh Feté

Inside of a coconut
photographer: Wolfgang Puck Catering

We appreciate the health-conscious and delectable menu that Wolfgang Puck Catering Dallas created for this summer cocktail party, with light bites including chia seed pudding plated in coconut shells and clever menus fashioned from fresh palm leaves.

View More Photos

5. Dress the Table

When it comes to poolside party décor, accessorizing your tabletop is a must.

Boho Chic

Poolside dining
photographer: Camille Catherine Photography

We are swooning over this poolside girls night gathering in Virginia. The team at Paisley & Jade provided low-set wood tables which A Charming Affair outfitted with plush pink cushions, perfectly complementing the feminine floral centerpieces.

View More Photos

Rustic Reception

Rustic outdoor seating area
photographer: Sargeant Creative

If feminine-chic isn’t your style, opt for a more traditional design like the gorgeous tablescapes at this stunning poolside wedding. Planners at The Lynden Lane Company worked with Keith J. Laverty’s design team to curate a rustic vibe with distressed wood. For a touch of modern elegance, ghost chairs and lush floral bouquets were added to the affair.

View More Photos

Shower Soirée

Blue and white place seating
photographer: Laurie Bailey Photography

We love when tablescapes accentuate a celebration’s theme, like at this adorable tea party-inspired baby shower planned by Marketa Harlan. Baby blue floral linens and table elements enhanced the “It’s A Boy” aesthetic.

View More Photos

6. Don’t Forget the Cocktails

Every poolside party needs a refreshing, signature drink. From botanical-infused ice cubes to crafty glassware, the sky is the limit when it comes to creative summer cocktails.

Colorful Cocktails

Colorful cocktails
photographer: Andie Freeman Photography

We’ve seen all types of fun and festive boozy beverages. These electric-blue hued drinks from Simply Catering grabbed our attention right away. Andie Freeman Photography perfectly captured how the sips matched the pool’s hues at this tropical wedding reception from My Dreamz Events.

View More Photos

Pink Drink

Pink drink
photographer: Wolfgang Puck Catering

When it comes to cocktails that wow, it’s not just about the concoction, but also the garnishing. It doesn’t get more summery than these seasonal rhubarb accents crafted by Wolfgang Puck Catering — Los Angeles at a rooftop conference.

View More Photos

Pourable Popsicles

Popsicles
photographer: Phillip Van Nostrand Photography & Eric Kelley Photography

Engage! Summitsmulti-day conference in Los Cabos took pool party refreshments a step further, treating guests to a poolside dance performance, courtesy of Élan Artists, while enjoying a refreshing and boozy popsicle. Warning, no lifeguards on duty.

View More Photos

7. Add Props for Photo Ops

No party is complete without Insta-worthy photo ops. We love when summer celebrations offer designated photo backdrops, such as living floral walls or areas with custom signage and great lighting. Regardless of whether your poolside setting has a naturally breathtaking view or an implemented backdrop, summer party goers will love creative and fun photo op props and backdrops.

Pink Flamingle

Flamingo decorations
photographer: Ashley LaPrade Photography

We love how this tropical bridal party used both flamingo floats and lawn ornaments to create the perfect summertime picture, which Ashley LaPrade Photography captured beautifully for the bride-to-be and her squad.

View More Photos

Picture-Perfect Perch

Girl on a swing
photographer: Christopher Costello

For a dressed up poolside party, opt for a dry element, such as the charming garden swings that Victoria’s Secret added to their celebratory sportswear collection launch in Los Angeles, produced by Jessica Fels Event Production & Design

View More Photos

Plunge Pics

Group pool pictures
photographer: LuvRox Photography

When you throw a really good party, sometimes the pool itself is the prop. The partygoers at this glamorous Bahamas wedding hopped into the pool, fully-clothed, for end-of-night fun. LuvRox Photography followed suit diving in, in pursuit of the perfect pics. Planners at absolute Wedding and Event Planning considered this evening a splashing success.

View More Photos

8. Include an Interactive Activity

Allow guests to dive deeper into your party with interactive stations and festive activities. 

Massage Heaven

Poolside massage stands
Photographer: Christopher Costello

We love the idea of offering your attendees some R&R, and Victoria’s Secret’s consumer event did just that. Jessica Fels Event Production & Design incorporated poolside massage tables in curtained cabanas, adorned by chic “Hello Beautiful” signage, of course. The soirée went a step further with a pop-up boutique for monogramming denim jackets, and even offered an instructional yoga session — needless to say, we wish were invited.

View More Photos

Crown Celebration

Purple flowers
photographer: Laurie Bailey Photography

More low-key activities can range anywhere from a perfume mixing station to a custom floral crown activity like this one from Wisteria Lane. Guests got to be crafty, weaving their own floral crowns at this posh poolside baby shower.

View More Photos

9. Gift Your Guests Towels & Totes

Don’t underestimate your guests’ love for swag. A striking design adds punch to your party favors while enhancing surrounding décor. Knock out two birds with one stone by gifting guests on-theme pool essentials such as towels and cute totes.

Custom Comfort

Custom towels
photographer: Infinite Creations

There was nothing childish about this “Let’s Flamingle!” kids birthday party from Design Plan Play. The celebration included towels adorned with flamingos — of course — as well as complimentary sunscreen and bug spray for party goers. These small touches were surely appreciated by guests as they marveled at live flamingos and the towering pink balloon installation spelling out the birthday girl’s name, among other on-theme décor from Bambini Soireé.

View More Photos

10. Light The Scene

Set the mood for your summer bash with carefully-designed lighting that suits your party’s style and space.

Disco-riffic

Disco pool party
photographer: EDLT Photography

Wife of the Party went all out for the Pretty Little Thing x PAPER Magazine Coachella pool party, opting to create a hip atmosphere with a disco ball framed by multi-colored lights that hovered above the water.

View More Photos

Magical Monogram

Monogram pool
photographer: Reece + Katrina Photography

If you’re looking for a subtle evening glow, Amazae Events strung this outdoor wedding with vintage bulbs and rustic glowing lanterns. The design was taken a step further with a custom monogrammed logo illuminating the pool in honor of the newlyweds.

View More Photos

Lovely Lanterns

Colorful lanterns
photographer: Maggie Marguerite Studio

For brighter punches of color, check out the inspired pool party Bat Mitzvah by Tara M. Events. Artful, colorful paper lanterns were draped in poolside trees adding vibrant hues to the greenery-surrounded backdrop. When night fell, the celebration continued with rainbow-hued lighting that cast a lovely glow across the pool.

View More Photos

11. Book Over-The-Top Entertainment

Your pool party will go swimmingly well when engaging, on-theme entertainment makes an appearance.

Bubbly Bash

Bubble entertainment
courtesy of: On The Move

A pool party offers plenty of opportunities for unique performance options. For example, masked dancers from On the Move performed in a bubble atop a sea of 60,000 floating ping pong balls at this memorable milestone birthday party from Shawn Rabideau Events.

View More Photos

Sensational Swimmers

Swimmer entertainment
photographer: Patty Daniels Photography

We also love the spectacle these synchronized swimmers put on at this wedding’s tropical cocktail hour planned by Chris Weinberg Events. From outdoor Mitzvahs to al fresco summer celebrations, pool parties prove you don’t need a ballroom for dancing.

View More Photos

Concert Celebration

Concert performance
photographer: Eric Guideng

In Las Vegas, the planners at Gravel Experiential executed custom deck atop the largest pool at the iconic Caesars Palace — all to accommodate a high-energy private corporate concert. Oh, and did we mention it was for none other than Lenny Kravitz?

View More Photos

12. Choose the Perfect Location

If you don’t own a pool, fear not. You can still host the pool party of your dreams at one of the many chic pool locations available in some of our favorite in cities around the country.

Devereaux

Devereaux
Devereaux

Chicago

Viceroy hotel features an intimate rooftop lounge on its 18th floor overlooking the glamorous Gold Coast neighborhood. The sleek modern vibe is perfect for a city soirée, with glass walls providing stunning views for buffering party-goers.

View More Photos

The Deck at Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills

The Deck at Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills
The Deck at Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills

Los Angeles

Sunny L.A. boasts a new space called The Deck at the Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills. The lush poolside spot overlooks the hotel’s pool as well as celeb-studded Century City. The Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills makes party planning easy with luxe loungers and fun string lights, and, of course, 5-star service.

View More Photos

Pool at Hilton Los Angeles-Universal City

Hilton Los Angeles-Universal City
Hilton Los Angeles-Universal City

Los Angeles (Universal City)

The pool at Hilton Los Angeles-Universal City gives off major resort-style vibes. The outdoor spot is surrounded by soft grass and gorgeous trees, creating a garden-like feel. Its size makes it perfect for more intimate pool soirées. The staff draws raves for their attentiveness and the pool bar is perfectly located for all-day sipping.

View More Photos

The Beach at Dream Downtown

The Beach at Dream Downtown
The Beach at Dream Downtown

New York

Don’t forget New York City’s over-the-top pool party spaces, like the Cote D’Azur-inspired The Beach at Dream Downtown, complete with imported sand so that you can get that beachy vibe in the middle of a booming metropolis.

View More Photos

North Side at The Press Lounge

North Side at The Press Lounge
North Side at The Press Lounge

New York

The Press Lounge boasts a party-perfect pool spot at North Side. Its breathtaking views of Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River will wow your guests and serve as a stunning cityscape backdrop.

View More Photos

Pool Terrace at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach

Pool Terrace at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
Pool Terrace at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach

Palm Beach

Of course, in a city made for incredible pool parties, Palm Beach delivers a high-class locale in the Pool Terrace at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. The spot features cabanas and awe-inspiring beach and sky views.

View More Photos

Cabana Pool Deck at 1 South Beach Hotel

Cabana Pool Deck at 1 South Beach Hotel
Cabana Pool Deck at 1 South Beach Hotel

Miami

Miami’s 1 South Beach Hotel plays host to a luxe rooftop Cabana Pool Deck. White furniture and lantern-filled trees create a dreamy spot for summer celebrations overlooking deep ocean blue views.

View More Photos

Poolside at Hotel ZaZa

Poolside at Hotel ZaZa
Poolside at Hotel ZaZa

Houston

Houston’s Hotel Zaza provides an elegant pool party backdrop with its classically-designed poolside space. Crisp navy and white striped lounge chairs and pops of bright yellow umbrellas make for a clean design, perfect for adding your own décor or keeping it simple.

View More Photos

PartySlate is the place where leading event professionals share their work with the world. Find new ideas by viewing and saving hundreds of thousands of beautiful event photos from weddings to birthday parties, corporate events to galas. Easily connect with the best local event professionals and find stunning venues. Sign up now »

Featured event professionals and venues receive additional links within articles. Learn about membership plans »