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Poolside party tips 

How to decorate and what to drink

With the temperature hovering at 90 degrees or higher for the next couple of months, a pool party is the perfect marriage of form and function for those who prefer to entertain outdoors but don't want to roast while doing it. With advice from a few pros and some fun tropical accessories, throwing a pool party has never been easier.

 Mary Spera of Spera Special Events has planned hundreds of events, many poolside.

 "Most of the events I've done use the pool as a backdrop, which I incorporate into the party's design," she says. "I've used Plexiglas to cover the pool and put chairs on it for additional seating or to use as a dance floor, so people aren't necessarily in the pool, but they're around it."

 For those gatherings, Spera focuses on ambience.

 "I love to use illuminated globes and oversized balloons in the pool ... for a bit of extra punch for nighttime events," she says.

 Spera likes offering guests a specialty cocktail at pool parties.

 "You can serve something simple like prosecco and fresh fruit or something more summery like watermelon margaritas. You can also arrange for a food truck instead of hiring a caterer, which is something fun and different."

 But if the budget or occasion doesn't call for hiring a professional, creative poolside entertaining can still be a breeze. Designer and frequent hostess Jill Dupre of Jill Dupre Designs likes to host "dive-in" nights — she gets her friends (or the kids) together to lounge in the pool while watching movies projected onto a wall.

 "It's a great way to spend a hot summer night. Just throw in some pool rafts and hit play."


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