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Summer is a magical time of year for so many reasons, one being the summertime soirees. Warm, sunny days and breezy, balmy nights lend themselves well to BBQs, dinner parties–and of course, pool parties.

Whether you’re planning a 4th of July get-together, a kids’ pool party or a casual family BBQ, keep the following in mind to pull your outdoor party off without a hitch.

Get a headcount

As soon as you can, begin establishing a headcount…even a rough one. You don’t have to send fancy invitations–sites like Evite are an excellent way to send out fun invitations electronically, making it super-convenient to plan your party.

The size of your party, the occasion, and the formality of the occasion should dictate your timeline. A good rule of thumb is to send out invitations three weeks in advance. If time is running out, you still have options; this is another reason why sites like Evite come in so handy.

If you’re just planning an informal get-together, you can still get a rough headcount, simply by sending out texts and requesting that guests let you know as soon as possible if they can make it.

Make a to-do list & set reminders

Simplify things by making to-do lists, timelines and setting “deadlines” if need be. For example, reminders on your calendar to remind you to check items off your list, like ordering a cake, placing a catering order, pool maintenance, etc. That way you won’t be scrambling in the final hour.

Make sure your pool is on-point

Even if you aren’t specifically calling your soiree a pool party, you never know where the day, or night, may lead! And, regardless of whether you anticipate your guests getting in the pool or not, it’s vital that you make sure your pool is sparkling, clean, and safe for guests to swim in.

If you pay for pool maintenance services, let your technician know the date of your party so you can plan the maintenance schedule around the day of your event. If you take care of your pool maintenance yourself, make sure you have your water levels a few weeks ahead of the party, as well as a few days beforehand. Make sure that any shocks or other chemical treatments you may need to administer are done with enough time to spare so that the water is safe to swim in.

Spruce up the backyard

No need to spend tons of money on decorations if it’s just a simple get-together. Make sure your back patio and yard are tidied up and integrate inexpensive, simple touches like store-bought daisies arranged in Mason jars. There are also plenty of fun decorations that can be picked up from your local dollar store.

Plan your menu

Your party’s menu doesn’t have to be fancy for the food to be yummy. Consider your guest list when planning your menu. If you’re planning a kids’ party, stick with kid-friendly fare while integrating some fun touches in–such as this cake. If you enjoy cooking and are planning an adults-only shindig, have fun experimenting with fun summer-inspired food and drink recipes, and integrate seasonal ingredients, like watermelon and berries.  Don’t rule out catering, or picking up prepared foods. Remember, you want to have fun at your party, not stress out about making the perfect seven-course dinner party menu.


Keep the kiddos entertained with outdoor activities and pool games like Marco Polo. Make some fun playlists to set the mood. A fun touch for a family get-together is creating photo slideshows and playing them on the TVs in the house.

Have a backup plan

Summer storms can move in quickly, and a torrential downpour may well be right around the corner, even if the radar was clear the day before the party. Have a contingency plan in the case of inclement weather–make sure your house is clean and has enough seating for party guests should you have to move the party indoors.