Guests at a perfect pool party

How to Pull Off the Perfect Pool Party

Summer time is best spent with friends and family outdoors. One of the greatest ways to enjoy the sun and still stay cool is to go swimming! If you live in the city, however, going to the beach isn’t always an option. Why not throw an awesome pool party instead? Whether you’re celebrating Independence Day, a summer birthday, or just summer itself, swimming with friends is a great way to take advantage of the sunshine. Here are some tips for perfectly planning a pool party!

Decor for planning a pool party

Guest List

The first step is to make your guest list. Will your party be adults only, or are children welcome too? Choosing the crowd will help you pick out food and drink choices, appropriate music, and even décor. If children are attending, your party might be earlier in the day with lots of bright colors and finger foods. If the event is adults only, you might want a trendier atmosphere. Choosing your guest list also helps you prepare for safety, cleanliness, and outdoor pool necessities. How many people is it safe to have in your pool at once? How many chairs are available and how many people fit comfortably in your outdoor space? Send your invitations early and ask your guests to RSVP far enough in advance that you have time to prepare.

Pool Essentials

What will your guests need to bring with them? They’ll probably remember their bathing suits, but sending a list of other things to pack can be a friendly reminder. If all of your guests forget their towels and you don’t have enough to go around, people could be wet and cold. Politely suggest on the invitation that they remember their favorite beach towel so you don’t face days of laundry after the party. Make sure you set up a place for guests to hang their towels to dry between swims. Also suggest that they bring sun screen, sun glasses, and a change of clothes in case they get tired of swimming.

If, however, you have spare beach towels for all and enough sun screen to go around, let your guests know. They’ll appreciate your hospitality and might be willing to help with food or clean up in exchange for the use of your towels and swimming necessities.

Essentials for planning a pool party


Pool parties are a theme and décor package in themselves, but you can amp up the sunny atmosphere with fun decorations that suit the crowd. If the party is for kids, having lots of water toys, pool noodles, and floaties around will do part of the work for you. These things are already brightly colored and fun! If the party is for teens or adults, however, consider a trendier look. Try floating decorations that you can place on the surface of the water or lantern lighting that will give the place a fun, colorful glow when the sun goes down.


Decorations aren’t the only thing that sets the mood! Create a summery atmosphere with your music as well. Your party can transform in a luau with some Hawaiian ukulele, a Jamaican resort with the steel drums, or a retro party with a playlist of summer smash hits from every decade.


Pool party food should be easy to eat and without the hassle of packaging. Think BBQ style food and snacks that can be eaten on the go. If the party is for children, make fun themed treats like cupcakes skewered with cocktail umbrellas and graham cracker crumbled on top to look like sand, or blue Jello with candy fish ‘swimming’ around inside. For your main meal, finger sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and other finger foods are easy and enjoyable. Remember to consider those who don’t eat meat as well! Get some veggie burgers and serve fruit and veggies with dip.

Food for planning a pool party

Once you’ve decided what kind of food you want, choose whether you’ll provide snacks and a meal yourself or whether it should be a potluck style. Potlucks let everyone share things like their favorite summer salad. Consider whether each person should suggest their own dish, or whether you should make a list and have people sign up for dishes. This way, you don’t end up with five bags of burger buns but no patties!


The kind of drinks you serve is influenced by your guests. If the party is for kids, provide different kinds of summer juice or fruit punch for them to choose from. Adults might like fruit cocktails or a cold beer. People are also always happy with their favorite kind of soda. Put some cans in a cooler of ice so the drunks stay cold. If you choose to serve alcohol for adults, ensure that it is consumed in smart quantities. Alcohol and swimming pools can be extremely dangerous and, as the host, you should be on the lookout for everyone’s safety. Remember that cocktails can also be made ‘virgin’ as well.

House access

Good bathroom access is essential at a pool party, especially for kids. Even if wet people have to walk through your entry way, you’ll prefer that to them using the swimming pool! Designate one door of the house as the entry and exit for the bathroom and put a towel by the door so people can wipe their feet before they run across the carpet.

Keeping it clean

Any time food and drinks are involved, trash cans are important. Having a big trash can where people can reach it reduces the amount of clean up you have to do later. You’ll find less garbage in the water and around the patio if people know where to put it. You can also reduce mess by using recyclable paper plates and biodegradable cutlery and napkins. You’ll have fewer dishes to do later, your paper dishes will be environmentally friendly and, if you provide a large trash can, people will know where to put their garbage when they’re done eating.

Comfort and Safety

Making sure that your guests are safe and comfortable is one of the host’s biggest responsibilities. Keep life jackets, water wings, and floaties on hand for children or suggest that parents bring those along. Make sure you have a life ring for your pool in case someone falls in or needs to be pulled out in an emergency. Provide seating for tired swimmers, a shady area for people who become too hot in the sun, and suggest that guests reapply sunscreen to avoid burning. Keep water available and encourage people to stay hydrated. If your party is very large, consider hiring a life guard. You can likely do this through your local community center. Remember that swimming pools and alcohol can be a dangerous combination.

Girl having fun at pool party

Have fun!

Even if you’re planning or hosting, you’re there to have fun in the sun too! Make sure to enjoy your own hard work and the company of your guests. If you’d like to learn more about organizing summer parties, check out the courses at QC Event School!

We’d love to know! What are your favorite tips for planning a pool party? Leave a comment below.

3 responses to “How to Pull Off the Perfect Pool Party”

    Olivia says:

    This article has gotten me even more excited for my hot tub party in July! I’ve always loved planning parties and dreamt of hosting a pool party for my birthday. Unfortunately, living in the UK this would mean we need to head to a local, indoor pool which just doesn’t have the same summery vibe, so I thought why not just do it in the hot tub!

    Hi there, I really like your tips! This is really a helpful article especially for people who wants to throw a pool party. I think I’mma do it soon too.

    Sloane Seguin says:

    Hi Pearl,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read our article and leave such an awesome comment; we really appreciate it! 🙂 Out of curiosity, which tip discussed in this post did you find the most useful? Also, when the time comes that you throw your pool party, we’d LOVE to hear how it went! 😀

    All the best,
    The QC Team

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