• Got a pool? Buy some fun inflatable rafts even if they’re just for photos. Snag a much smaller inflatable drink holder—swimming and drinking is definitely legal.

  • Set up a cooler outdoors just for drinks so a cold beer is never too far away. Plus, that leaves more room in the fridge for important things like key lime pie and popsicles.

  • Bring “the big screen” home. Buy an outdoor projector, ranging from $70-$200 online, and entertain guests all night long with a makeshift outdoor theater. Throw a white sheet on the fence as a screen, or build a frame with PVC pipes.

  • Don’t be afraid to cater your food or pick up from your favorite restaurant. Homemade is nice, but enjoying your own party without slaving over the stove is even nicer.
  • Make your party picture perfect with a photobooth. Make a fun background with colorful ribbons tied to a clothesline or string up a tye-dye sheet. Tack the clothesline to your fence and ta-da! Get everyone to put away their phones by providing guests with disposable cameras; adults will love the nostalgia, and kids will love the novelty.   

  • Don’t be afraid to make it themed and highly encourage/require costumes: tacky tourists; ‘90s; Red, White and Blue; famous beach characters from Jaws to Bay Watch to the Little Mermaid—get creative!

  • Have plenty of extra koozies, or get custom-made ones to commemorate your Summer ‘17 bash.

  • Do a morning brunch party: serve pancakes and bacon, mimosas with different flavored juices like mango and pineapple, and get creative with a bloody mary bar. Freeze juice ice cubes the night before to keep your mimosas cold.

Cute but not worth the trouble:

  • Paper straws: they don’t stand up to a hot day or multiple drinks.
  • That “Wheelbarrow Ice Cooler” and other alternative coolers on Pinterest. With no insulation that ice is a goner in the Texas heat. Just use a regular cooler.
  • Fancy paper plates and napkins: they’re super cute but super expensive. People will remember the awesome food, drinks and inflatable Pegasus everyone took photos with—not what kind of plates they ate on.

Cori Baker

Cori Baker is the former creative editor at Local Profile. She is an alumna of Plano Senior High School and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor's in Journalism and a minor...