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Pool party planning 101

Selena Dehne is a marketing and public relations manager for JIST Publishing, freelance writer and life-long Hoosier. She covers home, entertaining, and holiday topics for and Selena has also published do...

Make sure your pool party makes a splash

For children and adults, one of the most exciting things to do in the summer is hit the pool. If you have an upcoming party to plan -- be it a birthday bash, family reunion, holiday party, whatever -- treat your guests to some time in the water. Everyone loves a great pool party -- particularly when the sun is blazing.

Make sure your pool party makes a splash

As you begin to plan your pool party, consider the following tips on food, drinks, decor and more.

Make sure your pool party makes a splashThe guest list

If you're unsure about how many guests to invite to your pool party, consider the advice of Nichole Anderson, an event planner and owner of Posh & Pretty Parties. She says the number of guests should be relative to the size of your overall entertaining space, including the pool. "Always consider that not everyone will be interested in swimming," she explains. "A smart idea is to invite five extra people for every 20 on the list. This will help create balance when thinking about people who leave early or arrive late."


Your pool party's decor will depend on the age of your guests. If you're hosting an event for teens and adults, opt for decor that's simple and chic. According to event designer Barton G. Weiss, "Special attention to lighting creates an aura of sophistication. With safety in mind, clip on colorful gels to existing outdoor lighting to enhance the space. Chinese lanterns add a retro-Mad Men charm."

If you're hosting a children's pool party, opt for decor that's more playful and bright. You can hang inflatable beach balls throughout the pool area or decorate with Hawaiian leis and luau-themed decor.

Food and drinks

When planning your food and drink menu, opt for simple, fuss-free items. You won't want to be tied to a grill or food and drink spreads during the entire party. "Create a beverage station with a bartender and have a signature drink and a few self-serve beverage dispensers including raspberry lemonade, water, mango iced tea or whatever you like," suggests Anderson.

In regards to food, she says, "Factor in nonmeat eaters and add grilled tuna sandwiches on ciabatta rolls, in addition to the all-American burger, chicken and veggie kabobs. Mini salads served in radicchio cups are easy to make and tasty menu items for a pool party. Dessert tables can blend summer fruits, snow cones, ice cream and mini pastries."


In many ways, a pool party is a theme itself, but you can get even more creative in making your bash particularly unique. April Masini, relationship advice expert for, suggests linking your pool party theme to a specific beach. "Make yours a Rio de Janeiro party with Brazilian music, food and decor; a Jersey Shore theme and invite Snooki wannabes to get their spray tans on; or a Jamaican-themed party with steel drum marimba music and plenty of Bob Marley music," she explains.


Whether you're hosting a pool party for children or adults, you need to consider the safety of your guests. Before the party, and throughout the event, check the pool area for potential dangers. You'll want to make sure diving boards and slides are secure and that there aren't trip hazards around the area. According to Marta Segal Block, editorial director for, Inc., You can actually hire lifeguards for the party. Check with your local lifeguard association or YMCA to find out how to do so.

With these tips and your own creativity, you can easily host a pool party that's a splash with your friends and family.

More party planning tips

Top 10 tips for a flawless party
Budget-friendly party decorations
7 Tips for teen parties

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