10 Summer Essentials for a Picture-Perfect Pool Party

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Hosting the Perfect Pool Party

A tropical Floridian summer can be one of the most wondrous sights you’ll ever see; hence our season is worthy of abundant statewide celebration. Also, unrelated but definitely related, summer is my birthday season, so over the course of the past 6 years– aka the number of 21st birthdays I’ve had, I’ve proudly mastered the art of the poolside birthday bash | summer soiree.  Here is my special insider guide for throwing the perfect summer pool party:


When most people think of summertime, they think of margaritas and Pina Coladas. In order to set yourself and your party apart, be a little more creative—and more accommodating of both genders {apparently sipping fruity frozen drinks isn’t masculine}. This year, I’ve selected Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon as my signature liqueur. American Honey is a superbly smooth blend of pure honey and real bourbon, which creates the perfect amount of added spice to any summer bash.

American Honey BourbonSo what type of liquid deliciousness can you create with American Honey? Aside from a classic pour on the rocks, my three favorite simple cocktails are:

The Frozen Peach Old Fashioned (which I made for my annual summer pool party)| Mississippi Bourbon Punch | The Mint Julep Sweet Tea

American Honey Bourbon Cocktails


People, specifically me, love to eat. Make sure you’ve got plenty of summertime snacks available for easy picking. I try to combine the traditional with the creative, so a few of my favorite best-of-both-worlds party snacks are:

Floral Popsicles | Classic Watermelon & Watermelon Ice Cubes | Raspberry Sorbet inside Lemon Bowls | S’mores on the GoCreative Pool Party Snacks


Summer is hot; plain and simple. Make sure everyone has a cool place to sit down and relax. If you don’t have sufficient poolside lounging options, consider renting! Oh, and pool floats do count as viable seating options. Just sayin’. For a full list of my favorite bird and food-shaped inflatables, check out my roundup of the best summertime pool floats here.

Flamingo Raft Option 1 | Flamingo Raft Option 2 | Donut Float



Music is the ultimate simple mood setter. I stray away from the stereotypical top hits and opt for timeless—and yes, cheesy—summer classics that make everyone compulsorily happy. Think Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, classic 90s hip-hop à la Will Smith “Welcome to Miami,” and shamelessly catchy boy band favorites.


Aside from setting an audible ambiance, the next most important element is a visible ambiance. Design an atmosphere of seasonal fun with inexpensive decorations, like brightly-colored paper lanterns, seashells, and inexpensive tropical flowers.



With heat comes bugs– the most unfortunate truth about the summer season. Even if your party starts in the early afternoon, keep in mind that bugs debut relatively early in the summertime, so be prepared with some citronella in case of an unfashionably early arrival.


No, we’re not 7, and you don’t need to fill up a handful of goody bags, although you totally could. You should, however, have something for your party goers to play—and more specifically, take photos– with. Some of my favorite assured party pleasers are:

Cute Balloons (like this awesome flamingo) | Cute Accessories (like these adorable ban.do Girl Talk headbands) | Colorful Beach Balls | Memorable DrinkwarePool Party Gift Ideas


Some people live to Gram. Facilitate this social media impulse by designing one or two designated photo ops. You don’t need to go rent a thousand-dollar photobooth or anything; just find a bare wall | fence and set up at least one summery backdrop.

Pool Party Backdrop Ideas


Aside from the bug component, the unpredictable weather is the second most unfortunate element of summertime. Plan for the worst case scenario and create an indoor Plan B. The only activities this will affect are pool-related, so everything else should be easily transitional.   The key point of #9 is to ensure your living space is presentable ahead of time. In the hours immediately preceding your event, you want to be getting ready to look and feel your best; not going HAM with a vacuum.


Some party planners consider music, drinks, and a pool to be enough of a source for entertainment, and that’s their prerogative. My big brother, however, engrained in my brain at age, like, 9 during my first sleepover that guests need additional funtivities to keep them happy.

My go-to auxiliary entertainment sources are as follows: Karaoke | Pool Volleyball | Dance Dance Revolution | DIY Confetti-Frozen Yogurt-Guacamole-Ice Cream BarsDIY Serving Bar Ideas

Keep an eye out for the recap of my 2015 Summer Soiree in honor of my 7th 21st Birthday in a few weeks! Can’t wait to see all my frannns—and test out some fabulous new cocktail recipes!

Wild Turkey American Honey

American Honey is the original honey bourbon, made with real honey and real bourbon. Serve up your summer with American Honey at Facebook.com/American Honey!

This post is sponsored by American Honey. 


20 thoughts on “10 Summer Essentials for a Picture-Perfect Pool Party

  1. Jordyn

    These are all such adorable tips, I love all of the fun pool floaties available this summer. Is it just me or are there way cuter pool props available this year than usual?

  2. Timothy

    You wouldn’t happen to be an event planner by chance would you? You covered all the bases and brought up things I wouldn’t have considered.

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