Pool parties aren't just for kids!
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Gather your gal pals, make a mimosa and soak up the sun—this grown-up summer pool party is what dreams are made of. Now that outdoor gatherings are safe for anyone who is fully vaccinated (here's our complete guide to gathering post-pandemic), we'll take any excuse to host a fun outdoor party. And since we spent the majority of last summer at home social distancing, what better way to celebrate the season than with a fun pool party?

You can throw the ultimate grown-up backyard bash with the help of our easy food, drink, and decor ideas. Set up a casual poolside snack table and use decorative pillows as seating for a casual and sophisticated vibe your guests will love. We’ve rounded up our best budget-friendly ideas so you can spend less time planning and more time in the pool.

white poolside table with snacks hat sunglasses
Credit: Adam Albright

Sitting Pretty

Make your guests feel right at home with a casual and cozy seating area. Instead of trying to arrange the pool chairs so everyone can see and hear each other, just toss a few decorative outdoor pillows ($10, Target) next to the snack table and let guests seat themselves. It makes the setup process easy and makes it easier for guests to mingle by the pool.

mimosas banner on serving cart at poolside
Credit: Adam Albright

Poolside Bar Cart

Get your mimosa on! Make it easy for your guests to mix themselves a drink. In addition to your buffet table, set up a poolside bar cart ($55, Target) with your favorite drink ingredients and decorate with an easy paper banner. Fresh fruit juices are perfect for an outdoor summer gathering—and they make tasty mimosas or sangrias, too! Plus, this classy bar cart look doesn't have to be pricey. Pour store-bought juice into inexpensive glass containers and label them with our free downloadable juice tags. Add mix-ins, champagne, and a few classy finger foods, like macarons and nuts, and roll your cart on over to the pool.

Get the free tags!
aerial view poolside white snack table
Credit: Adam Albright

Poolside Setup

Throw together a casual spread for your party. Rather than setting up an intense (and expensive!) food table with elaborate decorations, keep costs down by adding a fruit tray and simple floral arrangement to a low outdoor table. We even saved money on the table by purchasing an inexpensive version of the style we liked, then spray-painting it to match the vibe of the party. Set up the casual food table next to the pool and add simple party snacks and decorations for guests to enjoy as they dip their toes in the water. A fruit and nut tray is all you need for this casual affair. We paired a variety of nuts and crackers with fruits that can sit outside to create the perfect mix that’s simple but far from boring. Grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all good options for an outdoor food setup because they last longer in the sun than other fruits.

close-up poolside mimosa cart
Credit: Adam Albright

DIY Banner

Make your own adorable banner on a budget! Purchase a pack of precut banner shapes ($4, Michaels) at the local crafts store, or save money by making your own from heavy cardstock. Cut and glue letters to label your food or drink station, hang the finished banner over a DIY greenery garland made with leaves and fresh flowers to tie the look together. We’re obsessed with how easy and inexpensive this is!

poolside table floral arrangement
Credit: Adam Albright

Local Blooms

Decorating your outdoor summer bash doesn’t have to be pricey. Instead of splurging on blooms from a florist, find a local flower farm or hit the farmers market. We think this display of local garden flowers is even prettier than a store-bought bouquet—and it was cheaper, too!

snack boats stuffed with almonds
Credit: Jason Donnelly

Snack Boats

This may be a grown-up party, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with the decor! Make a set of adorable boat-shape snack cups for your guests to fill up with finger foods. They’re easy to make, and guests will love how fun they are to carry around—just don’t try to race them in the pool! You can make the boats from any kind of paper, but we suggest using bright cardstock so they are sturdy enough to carry heavier snacks.

Comments (2)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
June 8, 2021
Loved the ideas, but you should NEVER have glass near a swimming pool. If glass breaks and falls into the pool, it is almost impossible to see it and get it out, plus it can go through your pool filter and cause problems. Find a nonbreakable carafe and glasses to use on the mimosa cart!
Better Homes & Gardens Member
June 30, 2019
What a *great* article. I'll be using this as a reference.