Camille Styles brings creativity, inspiration and stress-free style to readers around the globe on her blog camillestyles.com. She’s a firm believer that entertaining should be all about fun!
For me, nothing symbolizes the carefree days of summer quite like a day spent lounging poolside with friends, doing nothing more strenuous than taking a dip to cool off when the sun gets a little too hot, or maybe heading inside to get everyone another round of cocktails.
This year, we decided to make it a point not to let these lazy days of summer pass us by, so most weekends we invite friends to don their suits and join us for a backyard BBQ. While it’s true that this type of entertaining is all about keeping it simple, I’ve learned a few things over the years that help make pool parties seamless and fun. Here, I’ll share my favorite ways to savor a day of sun and swimming, while just saying “no” to mosquitos, sunburns and dehydration!
Designate a drinks station with oversized glass drink dispensers holding big batches of lemonade or margaritas. You can even make water look party-worthy by infusing it with citrus fruits, berries, and mint. It’ll taste extra refreshing, and look gorgeous when displayed in a clear glass container. Just fill it with lots of ice and let guests serve themselves!
One of my favorite ways to serve cocktails for a crowd is in a big pretty punch bowl. It feels a little bit retro and undeniably festive. This Fish House Punch just might be the most addictive summer cocktail ever. Get the recipe here!
Classic yard games like corn hole, washers and even “capture the flag” can turn any backyard space into a playing field and keep guests of all ages entertained for hours. Bocce Ball is the ultimate backyard sport, so this year we finally got our own set to break out at every party!
Nothing’s more of a buzz kill than mosquitos at a party. Set up a “survival station” with galvanized metal beach buckets full of ice and stocked with insect repellant and bottles of sunscreen.
I love to set out something for guests to nibble on right when they arrive, especially if you’ll be waiting to fire up the grill until later in the day. My Crostini with Checca are light, bursting with summer flavors, and are great served at room temp, so they can sit out for while you have a cocktail with your guests.
For a table centerpiece, instead of using flowers that easily wilt in the heat, fill a big wooden bowl with lemons and limes, or set out terra cotta pots of herbs that can be planted in the garden later.
The perfect pool party menu can be served at room temperature (since it’ll probably sit outside for a bit), and is sturdy enough not to become soggy in the hot temps. Grilled meats are great, and when it comes to salads, crunchy vegetables like radishes, cherry tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers won’t go limp. Here’s what I’ll be serving at my next pool party: it’s totally kid-friendly but “gourmet” enough that adults still feel treated to a delicious feast.
As the sun sets, create a magical glow with some strategically-placed candles and lights. String up white café lights overhead, place a few lanterns with candles inside around the patio or scatter bamboo torches filled with citronella oil along the perimeter of the yard. They’ll do double duty by warding off bugs while adding light!
Be sure to hop on over to Whole Foods Market’s’ Summer HQ for seasonal recipes and fun ideas to make the most of your summer adventures!
How do you stay cool by the pool? Share your party pointers in the comments below.