Pool Parties: Just a splash away!

Photography: Tracy Kahn (Corbis)Who says debut parties need to be formal and we have to be all dressed up! We are in the age where it is perfectly fine to break some traditions, be free of stereotypes and make a social statement – “This is MY party!” Having a unique debut party, a party that will be truly remembered, needs only innovation and ingenuity, and having a pool party for your 18th birthday is one way of doing that. Throwing the best pool party ever for your debut party is just a splash away.

Conceptualizing a theme for your 18th birthday pool party is necessary if you want to have a pool party like no other.


This would be an obvious choice for some because it is just so easy do. Create an ambiance of a totally awesome luau. Decorate your venue with palm fronds woven together, ti leaves and ferns. Create leis made of either colorful silk flowers or real flowers and foliage. Light up tiki torches on your entrance making sure it is safe and isn’t around combustible materials. (You can buy tiki torches at specialty shops and I saw some being sold at Ace Hardware at 50, 100 and 150 pesos depending on the size.) Don’t forget to play some Hawaiian reggae or Jamaican music. Play your favorite Bob Marley CD to keep your guests dancing and in the mood for a night of partying. For a more authentic luau, you can also hire fire dancers, and ukelele and guitar players.

Beach/Tropical Theme

Bringing the beach to a pool venue is so easy because they have one element in common, water. Make use of this element to convey your theme. Play wave sounds on the background so your guests can actually feel like they are on the beach. It would even make them feel comfortable wearing their beach wear because they can actually dip in the pool after the program. You can take inspiration from our previous article http://mymydebutideas.com/?p=518 for more tropical theme ideas.

Surf Girl Theme

Surf’s up, girl! Surfing is becoming one of the country’s favorite activity so why not make it your theme for your debut party. Watch Endless Summer or Blue Crush for inspiration. Display some surfing paraphernalias around the pool area. You can also ask your guests to wear baggies (surfing attire), surfing shorts, cool shirts, bikini tops and flip-flops. Play some surf music by the Beach Boys and The Sandals and you are definitely on your way to the zone. Happy ripping!

SCUBA and other Underwater Sea Adventure

If you are the type of person who loves underwater adventure and would want to conserve and protect marine life, this theme is for you. You can create an avenue through your debut party for information dissemination about marine conservation and preservation. Contact Conserve and Protect Oceans Foundation (CAPOceans) for more info. They are a Philippine organization geared towards marine rehabilitation and protection in the Calatagan, Batangas area known for having one of the largest and most high-profile Artificial Reef System (ARS) projects in the country through the well-renowned Underwater Pyramids. This is a nice way of celebrating your birthday, knowing that you are able to make a difference in making our world a better place to live in even in your own small way.

Movie Theme

If you love a certain movie that has to do with the beach, sea, ocean, fishes, starfishes, dolphins, whales, etc., and can’t seem to get enough of it, you can infuse that to your pool party. For instance, some Disney movies like Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid have so much potential as a party theme. Why not try watching Aquamarine and put some cuteness in your pool party.

Bubbles Theme

Everybody loves blowing bubbles and a party with bubbles everywhere must surely be exciting. On your invites, you can put in a cute and subtle statement to hint your theme. “It’s time for blowing bubbles” or “Please don’t burst my bubble.” You may include in your invite a bubble wand or those bubble toys that you can buy at children’s toy stores. This can double as a keepsake. Ask them to bring it to your party. Rent out bubble machines or give away bubble makers for your guests to blow bubbles on your grand entrance. Another souvenir suggestion is to have a photobooth to take pictures of your guests inside a monster bubble. Your guests would surely love their pictures taken inside one of these gianormous bubbles. Creating monster bubbles is easy.

Creating Monster Bubbles

You will need a hula hoop and a small kiddie pool (slightly larger than the hula hoop). You can make bubbles this way. You will need dishwashing soap, water and glycerin. For a longer lasting bubble, add Karo syrup to your ingredient so that for every half cup of dishwashing soap, add about one tablespoon of Karo syrup. For instance, mix eight gallons of water to one cup of glycerin, eight cups of dishwashing soap, and eight tablespoons of Karo syrup. The mixture should only be deep enough for the hula hoop to get dipped on, so do the math.

Foam Party

Foam birthday parties are uncommon nowadays just because it is hard to plan and execute, but if you are up to the challenge, you will surely have a blast! For your invites, emphasize that you are going to have a foam party. You can put in a catchy phrase like “foamy latte for my birthday” or “soapsuds overload.” Ask your friends to bring changing clothes, t-shirts, shorts or swimsuits and towels.

Select a venue for your foam debut party. If you are going to hold your foam birthday party at your house, you can do it outside at the driveway, at your cemented backyard or at your basement, provided it has a cement flooring, but never inside the house on one of the rooms, lest you risk a reprimand from your parents. If you are going to rent out a venue, make sure that you notify the venue owner that you are going to have a foam party. The venue should have a cement or tiled floor. Hardwood and carpeted flooring is a no-no for foam parties as it would destroy it to unimaginable levels. No matter how meticulous you are at covering the floor with plastic, water would somehow manage to seep through it and ruin the floor. Also, never forget to provide a changing room for your guests. Make sure to ask guests to shower to remove foam from their bodies before jumping into the pool. You can also have an hour of foam party with the program and dancing followed by an activity in the pool area (some swimming or games, perhaps).

Prepping the venue. Make sure to cover every inch of flooring with plastic if your flooring is anything but cemented. If you have an old carpet that can be discarded afterwards, place that on top of the plastic. If you don’t have a carpet, use non-slip bathroom mats to prevent anyone from slipping and sliding. You don’t have to do this if you are going to hold the party outside with rough cement.

Rent out a foam machine from a carwash near you for a few hours. Place it in a strategic location so that the center of the venue will always be filled with foam. You can also rent a bubble machine along with this or buy those cheap bubble-maker toys so as to create an even cooler ambiance.

REMINDER DEBUTANTES! Exercise caution when doing the Bubble Theme and the Foam Party Theme and having a pool party in general. The floor might get slippery and accidents unfortunately may happen. This may be prevented with the use of the old carpet or non-slip mats. Make sure to always be on the safe side especially when dealing with electrical outlets and cords. Setup the lights and sounds equipment in a dry and elevated place where water and soap suds won’t reach them.

Other COOL ideas!

Program. A cotillion may not be possible in a pool party so substitute this with a dance number with your 18s that is in keeping with your theme. If you have a hawaiian theme, do a hawaiian dance number complete with costume.

Food. Food can be all sorts. From finger foods of marshmallows and hotdogs to grilled salmon and barbeque.

Games. You can add in more games because pool parties are somewhat laid back and informal and games would add more fun to it. If your are going to have games in the pool, make sure that all the participants are wearing a flotation device all the time.

Entertainment and other gimmicks. It would really be a treat if you can have synchronized dancers grace your debut party, but this is kind of a long shot. Just the same, it is such a cool idea. You could also hire henna tattoo artists and hair braiders for your guests which could also double as your souvenir.

The Pool – Make use of the pool for a lot of things.

Create a floating stage of some sort for your grand entrance where you can be glided from the far side of the pool all the way to the actual stage.

Fill the pool with floating candles or rose petals to transform it into a beautiful huge decor.

The pool can be used as an excellent and dramatic prop for your 18 candles. Have your 18 candles put floating candles in the pool afterwhich they make a speech while the floating candle glides toward you. Another variation would be that during your 18 candles ceremony, ask your 18 candles to prepare their speech on a piece of paper, read them out loud, and then insert the piece of paper on a bottle, seal it tightly with a cork and then let it float, hopefully towards you.

Picking a theme is the hard part, but once you have one, everything will be smooth sailing. You may encounter big waves of frustrations along the way, but remember that it will surely be worth it as long as you enjoy every splashing moment of it.

Pool Debut Party by Tops Catering <a href="http://topscatering.741.com" mce_href="http://topscatering.741.com">http://topscatering.741.com/</a>
Pool Debut Party by Tops Catering http://topscatering.741.com/

Image on index page: Tracy Kahn (Corbis.com)

24 thoughts on “Pool Parties: Just a splash away!

  1. Hi Anne,

    Try reading all of our themes in the site and see what appeals to you. It depends on what you want to achieve on your party. Would you want a laid back kind of party or a more formal event? Do you want to feel like a princess or a goddess? Having a theme would really help you have a cohesive party that is easy to plan. This is all for now and happy planning.

  2. thank you for visiting our site! it was indeed a worthwhile feat to complete and update this site. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. i have the same theme as the pool party, but not enough ideas about the program. i liked the balloons and other features so i could copy :)) nice site. .

  4. hey, ill be having my debut nextyear, and i’m kinda confused on what to do,
    i want it like a princess in a musical something or bartype like, my problem is i don’t know how to set up the bar type, or where to find cocktails for it, all these and that. i also want more ideas like 18 shots,18 candles, more of that, i don’t want it to be called 18 roses, i want them completely reversed, with other names, do you have any idea?:) thankyou!

  5. Hi, i want a cocktail party for my debut can give some idea how to do it.i don`t know where to start.hope u reply:( its my 2nd msg to you.

  6. Who says debut parties need to be formal and we have to be all dressed up!

    Having a unique debut party, a party that will be truly remembered, needs only innovation and ingenuity, and having a pool party for your 18th birthday is one way of doing that. Throwing the best pool party ever for your debut party is just a splash away.

    Who says you can not combine the two ? That what I did for my debut, as I didn’t want to give up either side of it. It was a traditional debut for the first part – a formal dinner, speeches, the 18 candles, 18 roses, all of us in formal gowns and the whole lot. Then followed some traditional dancing and then a bit of disco. At that point it went to the pool part – the event was held poolside and suddenly I just jumped into the pool, followed by a bunch of my best friends. Pretty soon just about everyone was in the water, in gowns, high heels and the lot. For the next few hours everyone kept going in and out, dancing along the poolside and having a blast. It was a debut that everyone will remember and we all had such a great time. As for the practical side, damage was minimal, my dress, shoes and purse all dried out fine afterwards (well, there were a couple of stains on the purse, but nothing major) and as from what I heard from the others they did not have any problems with their outfits either.

  7. Hi Mary,

    We’re glad you were able to experience both a formal and a pool party in one go! Sometimes the unexpected things are what keeps a party lively and interesting, so kudos to you for pulling it off. Thanks for sharing your debut experience with us.

  8. Hi Kriiee,

    You may want to read on this article of ours (A Rave Debut) for insight on rave parties and how to set up a bar. Cocktail Parties. As for your 18s, you may try 18 dance moves, 18 bubbles, 18 wines, 18 champagnes for 18 roses. For 18 candles, you may try 18 glowsticks or 18 lighters. Hope this helps.

  9. hi! i would just like to ask for an advice and other ideas perhaps. my sister’s 18th bday is on september this year. we came up with the idea of infusing an 80’s theme and pool party. what do you think are good 18’s for that kind of theme?

  10. Hi Mary,

    I think what you can do is to watch some beach movies from the 80s or if this is impossible, look at pictures of some beach outfit during that era. I’m just not sure if everyone would adhere to that theme though. What you can probably do is to put colorful stuff around the pool area as the 80s are known for burst of colors. For a pool party though, I would suggest having either a bohemian inspired or aquamarine inspired party as these two themes are both hip and stylish. For 18s ideas, visit our article on traditional 18s ideas under tropical and pool parties. Hope this helps.

  11. Hi there,

    My daughter will turn 18 next Sept. and were planning a pool party . Can you give me suggestions and venues on the nearest pool in our area.
    Were in Quezon City.

  12. Hi Anita,

    You can look at venues in the Quezon City area in this link Venues Quezon City. Usually some of the hotels have pools in them that you can rent out for your daughter’s party. Sorry we couldn’t be of much help. Happy birthday to your daughter.

  13. hi. i’m having a hawaiian-inspired party. i need your help on the following:
    -entrance music
    -father-daughter dance (shall we go for the slow dance?) and what song?
    -substitute for the 18 candles & 18 roses

    please help me.. thank you so much..

  14. hello! my debut is coming but and i really dont know what to wear.. im planning to have a pool party. and i will require my guest to wear sundresses and swimsuits. and i completely forgot about myself. ^_^ my tita’s want me to wear gown to be stand out but. i think i will be outcasted in my own party. and im not comfortable wearing “so revealing” clothes beacause im not fit. hehe. ill be waiting for your reply! thank you very much! ^_^

  15. Hi Heidi,

    You can look for a maxi dress Boho style with great colors so even though you are not wearing a gown, you will still be able to stand out. Maxi dresses also have a way of enhancing your curves. ๐Ÿ™‚ Click here for pictures. Hope this helps.

  16. Hi! I’ll be having a house party. And I decided to rent a mobile bar. What ideas can you suggest me for the decorations and naughty games? I want everybody to be in white. A white out party.

  17. I would like to ask an idea on what wordings will I put on my tarp and on my invitations on an pool party….tnx!

  18. can you give me a unique name as a replacement for the traditional 18 roses and candles?my hobby is reading books. thank you.

  19. Hi Max,
    Maybe you can have a touch of reggae. Have you watched the movie 50 First Dates? The songs in the Original Soundtrack of that movie could be perfect for your debut songs! You can also have 18 leis (to replace your 18 roses) and 18 tiki torches (to replace your 18 candles) — or you can also use 18 paper lanterns!

    Display floral string lights around your venue. Serve barbecue, tropical fruit salad, shrimp and pineapple skewers, use pineapple or hawaiian sauce to marinate your meat dishes, etc. There are lots of options out there ๐Ÿ™‚

    Visit these pages for more ideas on a Hawaiian inspired debut party: http://debutideas.com/?p=25

    Happy planning and have a happy 18th birthday celebration!

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