Inspiration that is easy on you and your wallet.
Summer usually means increased temperatures. Increased temperatures often mean more pool parties! Whether planning one for your child’s birthday party, or a get together with friends, planning a party gets expensive. A host has to not only provide the venue, they have to plan for food, drinks, entertainment, and of course, keeping up with pool maintenance. That said, with the proper planning, throwing a summer pool party on a budget is possible. Forget the Pinterest-fueled dreams of grandeur. If you have food, drinks, music, and a clean pool, your guests will have a blast.
That’s not to say that the bloggers and entertaining extraordinaires don’t have good ideas. They have plenty. It just comes down to whether or not you want to blow your eight-year-old’s college fund on his 9th birthday party. A lot of the “ooh” and “ahh” generated from those tutorials can be replicated for less.
Try these tips to throw a fantastic pool party, on a budget
Keep the guest list manageable
Aim for 5 to ten people. Remember that some may want to bring a sibling or a significant other. Pick a number, but plan for double that. For a children’s party, be sure to invite enough adults so the children are always supervised in the pool. You do not want to play lifeguard the entire time. A smaller guest list means fewer to feed, which helps cut down on food costs.
Cut down on décor
A pool party cuts down on the need for a lot of décor to begin with. Simple accents can help tie together the party, rather than being the crutch that the party’s theme relies on. Use an old, bedsheet that isn’t too stained or torn for the serving table. (You won’t miss it if it gets ruined!) A few strands of single-color string lights help to spruce up a late afternoon/evening party, for less than five dollars. For a beachy-summery theme, pick up a handful of sand buckets to use as snack servers.
Stick to an Easy Menu
Vegetable skewers thrown on the grill make for a delicious and healthy addition. Prepare these in advance, and enjoy alongside your main course. Buying peppers, onions, mushrooms, and other vegetables in bulk to save a little more.
To save on drinks, buy a few gallon water containers and pre-make powdered ice tea, lemonade, or fruit punch. Be sure to save a few for plain water to keep the guests hydrated. Punch bowls please a crowd. Chunks of mixed fruit help keep guests cool and hydrated in the summer heat. Stick to things that guests can grab-and go, as these types of snacks tend to be a bit more affordable.
For the meal, focus on one main course. Think burgers, hot dogs, or barbecued chicken, with a few chips and dip varieties. The more you can make yourself, the better. For adult parties, consider a potluck, where everyone chips in with a dish. Aim to have something for everyone. For adult pool parties, make it BYOB! Buying alcohol eats up your budget faster than food, games and décor combined. For dessert, try ice pops, popsicles, or pre-packaged ice cream sandwiches. Keep it simple!
Keep Games Simple
A pool provides endless ways to entertain yourself. With a little bit of imagination, the pool becomes a sinking pirate ship, a mermaid’s lair, or a place for friendly competition. Many stores sell elaborate inflatable ring toss, volleyball, and other games. While fun, these floats tend to be a bit pricey. (Most start at around $40 or more!) Which would you rather have? A pool full of guests having a great time or a ton of oversized inflatables crowding the pool?
Instead, drop $10 or less on a handful of pool noodles and a beach ball. Create an imaginary dividing line in the pool for a game of volleyball. A pool noodle can become a fun float, a sword for the “sinking pirate ship”, or with a little DIY know-how, a ring toss game.
More likely than not, kids will be thrilled to play water tag, Marco Polo, or swimming relays. Don’t overdo it! Allow your guests to enjoy themselves.
Plan Now, Save Later
After planning for weeks on a heavily budgeted idea, at the last minute, you find out 5 more guests will show up! Say goodbye to that budget, right? Not exactly. With a little structure and planning, you can reduce the negative impact of this less-than-ideal situation.
Skip paper invitations unless absolutely necessary. Elaborate invitations, especially for parties with guest counts in the double digits, can put a dent in your budget. Consider e-invites, or creating a Facebook event page. Request that your guests let you know if anyone else will join them, such as a sibling, cousin, or significant other. Even so, take your confirmed guest list and double it when it comes to food planning. Leftovers beat having hungry guests, any day!
Be sure to set out spare towels and a bottle or two of sunscreen. You do not want to scramble to the nearest convenience store an hour into the party. When it comes to the towels, especially in the case of kids, no one will care if you hand them a towel featuring a cartoon character from five years ago. They will just be happy to have a dry, clean towel. Remind guests to bring their own towels and sunscreen when you send out your invites.
Before you send out the first invite to your budget pool party, check in on your pool maintenance. If you suspect swimming pool leaks or other pool related issues, call a Sanford leak detection service. You don’t want to be forced to cancel your summer pool party due to a leaking pool!
We service pools in Orlando and surrounding Central Florida cities. For all your pool care needs, call Certified Leak Detection.