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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. Dress the Table
When it comes to poolside party décor, accessorizing your tabletop is a must.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8. Include an Interactive Activity
Allow guests to dive deeper into your party with interactive stations and festive activities.
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.
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.
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.
10. Light The Scene
Set the mood for your summer bash with carefully-designed lighting that suits your party’s style and space.
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.
11. Book Over-The-Top Entertainment
Your pool party will go swimmingly well when engaging, on-theme entertainment makes an appearance.
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.
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.
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.
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