Tips to Host the Best Pool Party Ever

by | Jul 14, 2023

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I love planning parties of all kinds but pool parties have to be one of my favourites. They’re fun, they’re laid back, and everyone usually has a blast! They’re also great for all ages and stages in life; truly the best if you have a summer birthday. If you’re hosting one soon (or thinking about it) I have all the tips to host the best pool party ever.

Since bring your own pool parties are super trendy right now I thought now was the perfect time to share my little pool party planning checklist – so to speak. You don’t have to do all these of course, but these are the things I’ve done so that my pool parties go off without a hitch.

If you’re planning a pool party birthday you might also want to print out this checklist to help your party planning.

Get Your Pool and Yard Ready

Cleaning the pool to get it ready to host a pool party

This is one that sometimes creeps up on us but can totally ruin a pool party. In the days leading up to the event take extra care to make sure your pool is well maintained. You should test all the chemicals well in advance so you have time to balance the PH if it’s off.

As for the yard, it should be freshly mowed and as well-maintained as possible. It’s the party venue, after all!

If you plan to host a pool party in the future but have some time before the event, now’s also a good time to do any yard or patio upgrades.

Be Prepared With Pool Party Supplies

Supplies guests will want at a pool party

This is probably the most important tip to hosting a successful pool party. You want to make sure you’re well stocked up for the big event! That means snacks and drinks (more on that next) but also other essentials that will make your guests comfortable.

  • Sunscreen (make sure to have a variety – and that it’s waterproof!)
  • Bug spray (sometimes the bugs come out, especially in the evening)
  • Bug repellent like a Thermacell with extra cartridges and fuel
  • Extra towels, if guests are bringing their own, otherwise enough for the guests plus extra
  • Spare pool floaties

Serve Refreshing Drinks and Easy to Eat Snacks

Group of adults enjoying some poolside drinks and food

Having plenty of water on hand is an absolute must when hosting a pool party. It’s hot and folks are being active; they need to hydrate! The rest of your drinks will depend on the guests. Kids appreciate juice, soda, and sports drinks.

If you’re serving alcohol opt for cans and plastic bottles, no glass around the pool area if you can help it. Cocktails are fun if you don’t mind the effort, especially margaritas. You could also do some cute pool party themed Jello shots if that’s more your thing!

Don’t forget the ice!

For food, serve snacks and meals that can be easily eaten outside and while wet. Chips and other crunchy snacks are usually a safe bet, as well as fruit and veggie trays. If you want to serve a meal, BBQ is easy and fun. So are sliders since they can be made ahead.

Since you’re going to be outside in the heat take extra care when it comes to food safety. Only bring perishables out when it’s time to eat and promptly put away leftovers to avoid spoilage (or worse).

Keep the Weather in Mind

Pool area with plenty of shaded spots

Like Kelso, you can’t control the weather, but you can try and prepare for it as much as possible. While rain might postpone your epic pool party, even nice weather can put a damper on spirits if it becomes too much.

Make sure you have a shaded area (either with an awning or umbrella) for guests to sit under when they want to get out of the sun.

If you party will run into the evening it’s also a good idea to have a place where guests can warm up. If you don’t want folks in the house or, rightfully, everyone wants to stay near the action but also stay warm, buy some outdoor patio heaters that can be lit in the evening.

Have Adequate Lighting

Pool party at night with string lights

This one is pretty much only needed if it’s an evening party but if there’s any chance you’ll still be outside when the sun sets lighting is a must. No, your patio light won’t do.

If your pool doesn’t have lights consider getting some floating battery operated ones. You can also string lights around the yard or over the pool for extra lighting. If you want to go all-out, consider renting some flood lights instead.

Set the Party Mood

Friends having fun

You’ve gotta make it feel like a party! For starters, music is a must. Keep in mind that sometimes tunes can be hard to hear when you’re in the pool. Aim to set your music up as close to the main party area as possible.

I strongly recommend choosing a powerful, waterproof speaker for the party if possible. I have a little Bose one that I love – it’s perfect for our pool. Also make sure you are able to plug it in or change the batteries easier. There’s nothing sadder than a dead speaker a party.

While we’re on the subject, you should also plan the playlist ahead of time. Having to DJ while entertaining guests is never fun. Nor is letting guests put whatever on too. Choose music that fits your vibe and friend group – or look on your favourite streaming service for pre-made playlists.

Safety is a Must

Kids wearing life jackets

While we talked about having sunscreen and shade on hand, you should also have other safety gear handy too. First and simplest is a first aid kit. You should have one already, but if you don’t make sure to buy one before a pool party. Everyone’s outside in bare feet and cuts or scrapes can happen easily.

If young kids will be attending, have life jackets on hand just in case. An adult supervisor should always be present when children are swimming too.

It should be a no brainer but if it’s a big party and you have a large pool you should also put up signs indicating its depth and whether or not diving is safe.

Plan Some Fun Pool Games

Friends playing in the pool

You’d think that everyone hanging out in the pool is fun enough, but it’s easy to get bored even at a pool party. To be a good pool party host, plan some games the guests can play with or without you during the event.

Obviously if you’re entertaining kids this will be a lot more structured, but even adults will appreciate having a few options handy they can set up.

Here’s some fun ideas:

  • Marco polo
  • Pool volley ball
  • Diving games
  • Relay races
  • Floating beer pong
  • Movie in the pool (on a projector)

Make Sure Guests Can Take a Break

Cozy place to relax in the backyard

The pool is important but so is making sure guests are comfortable outside the water too. Provide a variety of options for your guests to chill out when they’re not swimming. This might be lawn chairs, a patio set, outdoor couches, and so on.

If you’re on a budget and don’t have outdoor furniture you can always asks your guests to bring their own lawn chair! Picnic blankets are also great, especially for kids.

Choose the Right Pool Party Decorations

Poolside decorated for a party with balloons

This is going to vary a lot depending on what kind of vibe you’re going for. You could do a themed party like watermelon for kids or luau for adults, for example. Or just do generic “pool party” decor. There’s so much out there for options!

When you host a pool party decorations are important – but only so much since you’re going to be outdoors. If you want to keep things simple, stick to simple banners and tablecloths.

Also remember that the wind could mess up your decorations! Secure everything (especially tablecloths) in case of gusts.

Tip: Unless you’re sure the weather will hold up save any paper decorating for the day off in case of rain.

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Everett Franchuk

Everett Franchuk

Everett loves to plan parties and events, decorate, and make crafts/DIY projects. As a parent of 5 in his early 30s, he decided to start The Best Nest to offer practical tips and ideas.

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