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The 5 Best Things to Ask Guests to Bring to a Pool Party

These items are fun and affordable, etiquette experts say.

It's finally pool party season—that special time of year when we invite friends, family, and neighbors over to our yards to enjoy a refreshing dip. Pool parties are meant to be casual—even when they're teamed with some grilling on the barbecue—but visitors might still ask what they can bring. In addition to their swimsuits, there are a few items to ask for that can help the event go off without a hitch. Here, etiquette experts outline the best things to ask guests to bring. They're fun and easy and make hosting much simpler.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Things You Should Put Away in Your Kitchen When Guests Come Over.

A Pool Game

Children's and adults legs underwater in the swimming pool
Shutterstock / Kateryna Mostova

Pool parties are meant to be fun—and what's more fun than asking guests to contribute a pool toy or game?

"I don't specify what types of games, but something that several children or people can amuse themselves with," suggests Karen Thomas, founder of KT Etiquette. "I also offer for them to take the game or pool toy back with them to bring along to other people's pools or to ours again as a treat."

It's a great way to ensure you have lots of party activities. Plus, pool games can get pricy, so having guests contribute is a money saver.

Extra Chairs

folding chairs leaning against wall

You've no doubt been to or hosted a backyard party that doesn't have enough places for everyone to sit. Instead of forcing someone to grab a seat on the ground, encourage guests to bring their own chairs.

"This allows everyone to be comfortable and enjoy our pool," says Thomas. If they don't have a lawn chair, they can bring a towel to throw down on the grass instead.

READ THIS NEXT: The First Things Guests Notice About Your Backyard, According to Experts.

Drinks and Ice

Aluminum beverage can closeup
Volodymyr TVERDOKHLIB / Shutterstock

If your pool party is for kids, Jodi RR Smith, an etiquette consultant and owner of Mannersmith, suggests asking their parents to bring pre-chilled drink boxes.

"Be sure to remind guests that no glass should be anywhere near a pool—metals, plastics, or paper only," she adds. Guests who are of age can bring over a six-pack of beer or seltzer drinks.

Don't want to be stuck drinking from a can or doing a ton of dishes? "I also ask guests to grab a sleeve of plastic or paper cups too, so clean up is a breeze," says Thomas.

On a similar drinks-related note, you can totally ask guests to bring a bag of ice if you're running low.

Towels and Sunscreen


Make sure your guests are clear on which personal items they need to bring and which you will be providing. "Items such as towels, sunscreen, and their own water bottles are a good baseline," says Smith.

If you have those things on deck, let your guests know so they don't double up. And, of course, if people will be in the pool, you'll want to ensure everyone knows to bring a swimsuit. You don't want anyone to feel left out if they don't know swimming is an option.

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A Fun Summer Snack

watermelon with black seeds on a table
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Yummy snacks are always a welcome addition to any pool party. "As a guest, bringing ice cream novelty snacks to share is a great idea," says Smith. "Cut fruit such as sliced watermelon or orange wedges are also appreciated!"

If there's something you weren't able to pick up in the lead-up to your party—or you simply don't have time to cut up a giant fruit—ask a guest to take care of it.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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