When temps begin to rise, hosting a summer pool party is the best thing you can do to get a break from the heat and enjoy some time with friends and family. As much fun as they are, pool parties come with a set of rules you have to consider — from keeping your guests comfortable to stocking the cooler with hydrating essentials. In this guide, we’ll go over some of our top tips to ensure that your pool party goes, well… swimmingly.
1. Check the Glass at the Door
You don’t have to institute a ton of rules at your summer soiree, but if there’s one rule you want to make your guests follow, it’s this: No glass by the pool! And no exceptions! The pool deck is slippery, making falls more likely. Instead of glass, switch to outdoor entertaining accessories made of durable melamine or BPA-free plastic. You’ll also want to make sure you opt for cans or plastic bottles rather than glass.
2. Devise a Pool-Friendly Menu
Contrary to popular belief, your guests don’t actually need to wait 30 minutes after they eat to hop in the pool. All the more reason to make food a big part of the event! Make sure you have a ton of pool-friendly snacks that guests can nosh on in between dips. Some of our favorite pool party foods include pasta salad, hot dogs, pizza, chips and dip, lobster rolls, grill kebabs and tacos. Keep it casual and unfussy so guests feel comfortable eating at the picnic table or in their lounge chair.
3. Drape Your Furniture with Towels
Your outdoor lounge furniture is essential to keeping everybody comfortable between swims. While most high-quality patio furniture is equipped to handle a bit of moisture, you don’t want to soak the cushions if you can help it. Consider draping thick beach towels over seating surfaces to help absorb moisture. Not only will this help keep your furniture in good shape, but it will also keep seats dry for the next guest.
4. Set Out Beach Towels for Everyone
Make sure you have a towel strategy so that everyone is warm and comfortable after hopping out of the pool. If you don’t own enough towels to hand out, don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring their own. Most people have one or two beach towels lying around the house and will have no problem tossing them in their bag.
5. Stock the Cooler with Water
Swimming plus sun equals dehydration. Keep your guests healthy and happy by providing plenty of fresh water, either in a beverage dispenser or in bottles in the cooler (preferably both). If you want to get fancy, fill your dispenser with filtered water and flavor it with citrus rounds, mint, cucumbers and fruit. Pro tip: Martha Stewart’s pineapple-mint infused water recipe is always a crowd-pleaser.
6. Keep the Pets Inside
As much as we all adore watching the retriever leap off the diving board after his floaty toy, he may not be the best guest if the pool is full. Pups are tons of fun, but your guests may not enjoy a soggy dog shaking pool water all over them. Keep your dogs in the house until everyone has gone home. But don’t forget to visit with them throughout the day!
7. Offer Plenty of Rafts and Floaties
Rafts and floaties are the best part about a pool party. After all, nobody’s here to swim laps. Stocking the pool with stuff to float on will keep your guests comfortable and relaxed, especially if they aren’t strong swimmers. Invite them to lay on a long raft and float or fill the pool with oversized unicorns and pink flamingos for the aesthetic.
8. Set Out Plenty of Sunscreen
On your list of pool party essentials, make sure to add a wide variety of sunscreen options. Always offer at least one waterproof option as well as some sport styles for those who may take breaks to play a round of volleyball or throw the frisbee. Set out sunscreen a few different places so people always have access and remember to regularly reapply. You may also want to set out some sun hats and sunglasses for guests to wear.
9. Make a Summery Playlist
Break out the waterproof Bluetooth speaker because this party is going to need some laid-back tunes. Stick to songs that honor the warm weather pool party vibes. Think: Bob Marley, the Beach Boys, maybe some bossa nova if that’s your thing.
10. Don’t Assume Everybody Will Swim
Chances are, not all of your guests will swim. That’s OK! Remember that not everyone is a confident or comfortable swimmer, and this is not the time to push them out of their comfort zone. Instead, offer up plenty of games and activities for your non-swimming guests so they have something to do. You’ll also want to make sure there’s a shady place for them to relax nearby.
11. If Kids Attend, Provide Active Supervision
If you’re planning on inviting kids to the pool party, it’s critical that you follow safety protocols to ensure that children are supervised. Adults should provide active supervision of all children, meaning they shouldn’t be focused on other tasks or looking at their phone. You’ll also want to make sure you have enough U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets on hand in the right sizes for all kids in attendance.
Ultimately, hosting a successful pool party is all about creating a fun, safe and enjoyable environment for your guests. If you follow the above tips, you’ll knock it out of the park so everyone will want to swim in your pool all summer long.
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