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Top 10 tips for the ultimate pool party

By Team Royal - Updated On: 02/05/24

There are so many great reasons to have a pool party! New Pool Party, Beginning of Summer Soiree, End Of Summer Send-Off, 4th of July, Nautical Movie Release, even getting extra excited about Shark Week! The point is that if you have a pool, you have an easy party! Easy as it may be, here are my time-honored tips for ensuring that your event will be the social happening of the neighborhood!

1. Attendance:
This is two-folds of importance! The first is determining WHO you will be inviting? Is this an adults-only soiree or will the pitter-patter of smaller feet refilling water guns be the ambient sounds of your shindig? This is critical because if your pint-sized friends will be present everything else can have two components to it! The kid-friendly option as well as something just for more mature {at times} partygoers.

The second caveat to the attendance tip is knowing how many people to invite. In general, plan for about 80% of those you invite to make it out. This is assuming that you’re inviting your close pals & favorite family member and not your entire friends list on Facebook. Think about the capacity of your party entire area- the pool, the deck/patio, as well as any inside spots that will be available.


2. Pick a theme!
I know for some this sounds silly. For others {like me} this may be their favorite party planning step. Regardless of which you are, as a former event coordinator, I can’t stress this step enough. Your theme does not have to be elaborate; you can just stick to a color pallet! Having a party theme makes choosing your decorations, snacks, and drinks much easier and allows your event to have an overall feel/vibe to it. For my major party people, go big! Popular pool party themes include:
  • Beach, think all things Summer
  • Pirates (can you say treasure?!)
  • Nautical- Great for 4th of July!
  • Flamingos & Pineapples (super trendy)
  • Under the Sea, or just Mermaids!

3. Snacks, food, and cake oh my!
Once you have your theme, have some fun with the food! Pinterest has ideas for almost every party theme known to man- make sure you see what other brilliant folks came up with to get some of your own ideas churning! Also, keep in mind that your food does NOT have to go with your theme but it’s always extra fun when a couple items compliment the setting that you’re trying to achieve. If all else fails, grilling out will always go with pool parties!

4. Libations
A signature drink (spiked or not) is a crowd pleaser; period! Something as easy as blue Powerade in a clear dispenser with a sign that reads  “POOL WATER” is just as cute as it would be if it had your favorite clear spirit in it as well. Your theme can play a part in coming up with the right color beverage as well as a fun name for it. If you’re also catering to those under 21 or those who would rather not be wasted away in Margaritaville, be prepared with something fun for none drinkers too! And always, always, always have drinking water available. Don’t let dehydration ruin the party for anyone!


5. Seating, Seating, & yes, More Seating
The mass majority of your party won’t happen in your pool. Strange, I know, but it’s totally true! Some will be swimming, others will be dangling their legs in the water, they’ll be a crowd around the food & drink station, and plenty more folks peppered in between. Make sure that there’s adequate seating for those not taking up one of your giant floats in the pool. This will allow none-swimmers and guests taking a break from the pool to relax comfortably and therefore stay longer. Group your seating to encourage conversations! Provide a shaded place to sit if people want to get out of the heat, maybe even inside if you have older guests.

6. Games & Activities
The pool will be your main focal point {and the food, because hey, let’s be real} but if you want to be the pool party master of the neighborhood, you’ll have additional entertainment options for your guests. This will allow those swimming to take a break and do something new, therefore keeping the excitement up but you’ll have friends show up who intentionally didn’t bring their suit and that’s okay! Having games or something other than the pool itself available shows that you’re not a one-trick-seahorse! Try some of these outdoor activities:
  • Corn Hole (because every American should have this option at a party)
  • Giant Yard Games
  • Horse Shoes
  • Bring out the ole Slip’n’Slide or make your own! (Just be safe!)
  • An Inflatable Screen and Movie Projector
  • Slip-free dancing area if your crowd likes to boogie

7. Photo Ops
Make sure that there’s at least 1 area that is clearly set up for your guests to take photos at! We live in an age where we like to share what we’re doing but we want it to look well put together. Be considerate of not only your selfie-loving friends but to families and friends who want a great group shot! This could be a simple {or elaborate} backdrop or maybe just a couple of fun props. If you’re feeling crazy have both and give your party-goers an option! Most of all, it doesn't have to be expensive. Find a blank wall or fence and use some imagination!

8. Don’t Bug Out
Summertime brings more than your nearest & dearest to your backyard event! Bugs are sure to make to their way to your bright lights and yummy food smells, especially as the day turns into evening. Plan ahead with some citronella candles or tiki torches (make sure your decorations don’t end up being a fire hazard)!

9. Make a Playlist
This is one of my favorite things to do when planning any kind of party but especially a pool party! You can go with the classic sounds of summer, like the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet, then add in some popular and upbeat currents like Walk the Moon and Owl City! You can keep your theme in mind here as well! Having a 4th of July Bash? Play some good 'ole American country music! Decided on a Pirate Party? Why not included the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack?

I also recommend that if you’re hosting a day to evening event that you create two playlists! One that will inspire the mood you want for the day as well as one for the night! This will help turn your Fun in the Sun Beach Bash, into a Party till the Sun Come Up Blowout! Another way to look at this is to use your second playlist to wind the crowd down for the evening with more relaxing music. So think about how you want your festivities to go and ultimately conclude and proceed with the appropriate playlist!

10. Weather Plan B
Okay, my least favorite tip and one that I’d rather say, “Let’s just not think about that.” What happens if your outdoor extravaganza gets rained out? Mother Nature may arrive unfashionably early to the party and start her show well before any of your guests arrive. Plan ahead! You’ll have too much to do the precious hours before your doorbell starts ringing to worry about cleaning the inside of your home and moving the outdoor game into your living room. If the weatherman does call for rain, and it’s too late to reschedule, turn the inside of your home into the best version of your theme and have an amazing time!

After all, it isn’t about the pool. It’s about enjoying time with your loved ones and creating memories! Make the inside pool party be something that they talk about the next time they’re over actually enjoying the pool!