Draw inspiration from a Hawaiian luau
With the right décor and color scheme, your pool and backyard can look stunningly similar to a Hawaiian resort. To create this atmosphere, consider the advice of Greg Jenkins, an event planner and Partner of Bravo Productions. He recommends using bright colors -- hot pink, orange, yellow and lime green -- for seating cushions, drinkware, plates and napkins.
"Purchase additional flowering plants and potted flowers that provide energy to the luau pool party. Glass vase cylinders filled with water and produce such as oranges, lemons and limes may work as great centerpieces," he adds.
Create cabanas where guests can escape the sun, mingle and relax
Another way to create a resort-like atmosphere at your party is to build a cabana or two around the pool. Jenkins says, "White tenting, with blue and white striped fabric for draping, gives an ocean beachfront look to the party. For contrast, bring a bit of bright yellow into your centerpieces. Yellow roses, freesia and gerberas would be nice for centerpieces. Accent the décor with nautical props -- seaman's rope, bells, etc."
Jes Gordon, an event planner and co-star of Rocco's Dinner Party on Bravo adds, "You can make it comfortable on the inside with tons of pillows and soft surfaces to sit on, with plush carpeting as well."
Use themed accessories to display food and drinks
"Instead of using plain platters to display your food, blow up a bunch of small, inexpensive life preserver rings and bring out your platters inside those," suggests Gordon. "You can even substitute a surfboard for a table! For beverages, display them in colorful buckets with bright straws, along with a few champagne poppers or themed trinkets."
Christina Sizemore, owner of Diliberto Design, suggests using inexpensive metal buckets or sand pails for presenting cake, pops or candy. You can further embellish food and drink spreads with her new collection of pool party-themed printables, available at Dilberto Design's shop on Etsy.com.
Decorate with toys and inflatables
If you're hosting a party for kids, find creative ways to display toys and accessories you'd expect children to use in the pool or at the beach. Sizemore recommends purchasing several inflatable beach balls and hanging them like lanterns throughout the area where kids will be swimming and snacking.
Channel the South Beach scene
"When I think of 'pool party' I just can't help thinking of South Beach," says Gordon. "Often the décor that is involved with many of these parties is so chic, yet user-friendly and comfortable. Families love lounging around the pool, so I often use blow-up furniture such as mattresses, topped with fab pillows and over-size towels, instead of the usual lounger chair, to make it different and a little more fun. Several guests can lounge at the same time and it's so comfortable."
Remember that small, decorative touches go a long way
When putting the finishing touches on your pool party's décor, consider these tips from Los Angeles event planners Jodi Cohen and Sarah Lowy of JOWY Productions.
"Pre-roll colorful towels next to the pool on a bench or chair to add some color and make your pool inviting. You can purchase grass skirts at a party store and line the tables you are using. Scatter disposable cameras around your party. You can order Hawaiian-themed wrapped cameras online to tie in your theme. Add pops of color in your party by floating a single colorful flower in a bowl or fill a small floral bowl with sand and shells. For nighttime, line your yard with clear votives for ambience."
Using these décor tips for inspiration, you're sure to host a pool party your guests will love -- kids and adults alike.
Photo credit: Diliberto Design
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