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Old 04-04-2012, 10:24 AM   #1
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Unhappy 1st Holy Communion is driving me nuts!

HELP! I am a single parent to a great 8 year old daughter. I co-parent with her father, whom I was never married to. He and his family are Catholic. My family and I were baptised, but with the exception of me, no one goes to church and really don't consider themselves Catholic. My prob... Since his family is Catholic I decided to allow him to celebrate our daughter's 1st Holy Communion the day of and I will be doing it two week later for my family. I have never received communion and never seen a 1st Holy Communion either or gone to a celebration.
1. I have no idea what I am doing.
2. My mom, whom I live with, is driving me nuts and continues to yell/argue with me over everything. How I messed up her celebration, I am doing everything wrong, and implys all the time that I am weak and not a good mother for handling things the way I have...
3. I havent even covered the dresss! Oh, the drama over the dress... both grandmothers are crying over that one!

so here I am, asking complete strangers... What should I have at my kid's celebration? Since its two weeks later, I want it to be casual and fun... a celebration... I know there should be a cake, anything else? Lunch food? Ice cream?

I have no idea... any ideas and support would be so appreciated.... oh, I am unemployed as well, so budget ideas would be great as well.

Thank you, my fellow Disney Family!
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:29 AM   #2
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I grew up going to catholic school and had my own first communion many years ago. Unless something has changed drastically, i would say do the same food you would do for a family bday party, and then a communion themed cake. Oh, and wait until after Easter and get a communion dress somewhere like tj MAx from the leftover Easter dresses!
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:56 AM   #3
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First of all - stop stressing. You can't stop the drama/stress of others, but you can decide to stop it for yourself. Communion is CERTAINLY not something that is meant to be stressed about. It is meant to be a celebration.

I commend you for allowing your dd's dad's family to celebrate the day of. Great parenting in your situation comes down to compromise and it sounds like you are doing an outstanding job in that area. My own dh's family is way more religious than my own, and I often will have us join his family instead of my own for the main religious holidays - since to my family they are nothing more than a get together.

Decide what you want to do and just tell your mom and grandmothers and everything what will be what.

I've had one kid receive Communion for each of the last two years...This is what we did:
1) For the dress - bought one way clearanced months before at JCPenney. I've also seen some beautiful ones at Burlington. We have not worn it again nor do I anticipate it being used again, so, to me, this is a no brainer. I would never have spent more than $50 on it - as it was - I think I spent about $24.
2) DD saw my wedding veil in the closet and wanted to wear it. I wasn't really into the whole "little bride" thing myself but decided to allow her to wear it for the special significance since it was what I had worn at my wedding. No big deal - looked a bit foolish to me but she liked it.
3) For the party - just had a brunch at our house after the ceremony. Many people offered to bring something so we ended up with egg casseroles, ham, bagels, coffee cake, potatoes. Then I ordered a Communion Cake from the store.
4) For who to invite to the party - we just did immediate family - aunts, uncles (of my kids, not my own aunts and uncles), cousins, grandparents.
5) Had all the kids bring 'play clothes' to the party and they went outside and played. Adults hung out inside with coffee. In your case since it is on a different day - I would have DD wear her Communion dress from the ceremony at the beginning in case anyone wants to get a picture of her - then change after the first hour or so to something more casual so she can play.

VERY CASUAL, very little stress.

Good luck.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by brymolmom View Post
First of all - stop stressing.

3) For the party - just had a brunch at our house after the ceremony. Many people offered to bring something so we ended up with egg casseroles, ham, bagels, coffee cake, potatoes. Then I ordered a Communion Cake from the store.
4) For who to invite to the party - we just did immediate family - aunts, uncles (of my kids, not my own aunts and uncles), cousins, grandparents.

VERY CASUAL, very little stress.

Good luck.
Completely agree.

Many of the First Communion celebrations I've been too have been very low-key casual family get-togethers.

Brunch is really the best way to go since most First Communion masses usually takes place in the morning. If you want it to be really low stress, don't invite too many people, immediate family, less food, less worries.

For those who didn't come or couldn't make it maybe send them a card with a picture of your child. As for a cake, something simple and delicious from your local bakery or your own kitchen is absolutely fine, and it can easily be served after presents (if you're doing presents).

No worries!
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:27 PM   #5
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These traditions vary on a regional and ethnic background basis, so it's kind of hard to tell you what is usual. I grew up working-class Irish, and the standard in my family is a regular Sunday lunch with a special dessert, Grandparents invited over, and ONE keepsake gift that has religious significance of some sort, usually a piece of jewelry. We got my DS a silver celtic cross that he still wears every day; he's 14 now. Grandparents usually give a bit of cash, normally $10 or so. Other relatives don't come unless they happen to attend the same parish church; mostly they just send a congratulatory card.

I do know some Italian families where I live now who make a huge big deal out of the occasion, renting a hall with catering and entertainment, and buying a full-on flower-girl dress from a bridal shop. They also absolutely bury the kid in gifts; a couple of hundred dollars in cash plus all sorts of toys. That is their tradition, but I never once felt that we had to try to match it, because it is not our tradition, and my kids know how it works in our family. ("You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!")

Buy the dress at a thrift shop or on clearance after Easter, or better yet, borrow one if you know someone with a daughter the right age and size. AFA the Church is concerned, it does NOT have to be pricey or fancy; it just has to be white and have covered shoulders. My own dress was a plain white pique sleeveless sheath that my mother made; I wore it again all the time, even to school. (My DD is not a girly-girl, and I suspect that I'll put her in a similar sort of dress for hers; she won't tolerate frou-frou.) The shoes are likely to be more of an issue, actually; go with the cheapest you can find that won't hurt her feet (borrow from a cousin if you can), she will only need to wear them for a couple of hours.

For your party, just have a park picnic or a backyard get-together at home, with a cake. Kids that age tend to be happy with a low-key chance to run around with the cousins and make a lot of noise.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:32 PM   #6
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Like the PPs said, try to keep it low-stress and just a casual family celebration. If I were you, I'd probably invite the grandparents and maybe immediate aunts/uncles/cousins to mass and then brunch at your house afterwards. Even if your family isn't religious, the whole point is that she is receiving communion, so it would be fun for them to receive mass at communion with her. That will also keep the focus on the reason for the celebration rather than putting pressure on you for a big party.
For some reason, I remember vividly that we had crepes and strawberry shortcake at my first communion party. It was decades ago, so I have no idea why I remember it.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:17 PM   #7
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My DS is making his communion this April. I debated how big of a deal I had to make it. Would everyone really want to come? Would he want a big thing? and the Cost, We really did not have it for a big celebration. We finally settled on lets go out to eat after, (grand parents 3, me, dad, Ds, possible aunt, uncle and the 2 cousins).. Decided it is DS day let him choose where to go. LOL looks like we are going to IHOP. His favorite. Planning to do cake later in the day for a little bit more family, but just simple and casual. Family is near by so it will only be a quick gathering I am figuring hour and half maybe.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:30 AM   #8
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We usually do an afternoon party, church is over about 1 for us, so we have people over after that. I have a large family so we invite about 60 people (one of those where to cutoff invites kind of things) they dont all come but they want to be included. We have served a variety of things -- one year it was fried chicken (from a local place), cole slaw, pasta salad, mac and cheese, fruit salad...--cake, cookies,- beer, wine, soda, lemonade.
As for the dress, our church has some rules you must follow or they will pull the child from church, -- no spaghetti straps (tank is ok) white of course, to the knees or longer, white shoes no flip flops, socks or tights, no jewelry other than a cross necklace or earrings, no purses or gloves... I got our dress (all 3 have/ will wear it) at Penneys, and the veil from a catholic supply store.
Gifts, we usually give jewelry to our kids, they get rosaries, necklaces, bracelets, bibles, and money from other people anywhere from $15- 50.

Having said all that we are a big Irish catholic family, sacraments are a big deal for us, do what you feel is right and comfortable...if you get along with dad's family, is it possible to do one party together? It might be easier on everyone, and she might really find it special for everyone to be together on such a great day.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:33 AM   #9
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We are polish catholics, and our tradition seems to be alot more of a big deal than most others have posted. My dd's first communion is next year and I am starting to plan now.
I will reserve the hall soon. We will have a luncheon following the mass on Sunday. Its A HUGE thing in our family and we would expect to have around 100 guests.... maybe more. Tons of food and elaborate religous themed gifts... DD will have her hair done up at the salon once for formal pictures and also the morning of the mass. oh and the dress....and the veil and gloves.. I will be going on a shopping trip with DD's godmother to choose those things soon.

All that being said... I WISH IT WAS SIMPLER!!! I feel like its going to be like my wedding where I didn't have a moment to breathe let alone enjoy anything... or focus on the fact that you (DD) is receiving Jesus.

OP I feel your pain about the stress of it all...
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:37 AM   #10
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We live in Pennsylvania. First Communions are a really special sacrament.

Dresses and suits- Dresses range from J.C. Penny, Marshalls to custom dresses at St. Jude Trunk Shows and Boutiques. Suits were either all white or blue jackets with white pants. Most girls had their hair up or curled some with veils some with flowers. Our church the girls shoulders must be covered. Some girls wore their older sisters dresses.

Party/Lunches- We attended some family lunches at restaurants very intimate to larger groups. Some were held at home with bouncey houses similar to birthday parties and some were held at Banquet Halls.

Gifts- Ranged from cash to small communion frames, rosary beads necklace with cross. St. Jude or other religious stores have many gift ideas. Hallmark stores also.

I had a wooden hat box made for my dd14 when she made hers. It has her communion date and a little girl painted on it. It is a memory box with cards and things inside.

Our Church did stress that the ceremony and actual communion are the special parts and we prepare the children. Parties are nice but not necessary but enjoyed by all.

Don't stress ask you child. Do you want a barbeque or dinner! Some choice of what you think you are able to do. Whatever you decide the important part is the sacrament. A celebration can be very simple or extravagant its your choice but your child will remember the important part.

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Old 04-05-2012, 10:48 AM   #11
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This is what I did.

I bought a beautiful dress off of ebay for $25. Made my own invitations and invited only close family members along with my church family. We went to pizza hut and she received just a few gifts. I explained no gifts as we just wanted to celebrate the occasion, but she received gifts anyway. lol Just casual and had a chance to sit and chat while we ate.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:24 AM   #12
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Most here have pretty nice parties at halls or restaurants after Communion. We don't have a lot of family around, and my kids made their Communions with a lot of their friends, so no one really to invite to a huge party. Therefore, we went out to brunch afterwards with the grandparents.

Our kids did get the expensive dresses/suits, and the girls had their hair done. We actually attended another Communion party after my twins made theirs, so they got to wear their outfits longer.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:01 PM   #13
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I think everyone involved needs to be reminded to think WWJD?
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:06 PM   #14
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Wow - the regional and cultural differences are amazing!

We were in a sort-of similar situation family-wise. I'm married to DS's dad, but his family is Catholic, and mine is not. We just did one celebration with his family and our neighbors. I think my folks sent a card, but otherwise my family was not involved at all.

Does your daughter already know you're planning something extra? Are you on good terms with her dad? If she doesn't know, and you are, I would drop the matter and just attend the day-of celebration with his family. It would probably seem pretty special to her that you both came.

If that's not possible, for either reason, I would just do a simple party. We had DS's here at the house, ordered pizza (because that's what he wanted), and had cake. The only unusual thing we did was a blow-up jumpy thing. - He had always wanted one for his birthday, but that's in the winter, so we told him he could have one for his First Communion party instead. In general, something like that is not necessary.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:13 PM   #15
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My DD goes to a Catholic school and received her First Communion last year and is now an Altar Server. It most certainly is a HUGE deal. However, by huge I mean sacred. Sure, there were those parents that rented the hall and invited everyone under the sun including Uncle Jimmy they haven't seen in 10 years and had never met the child.

To me, that is not what it's about. For the ceremony itself, Godparents, and Aunts/Uncles came. Did not invite family friends, cousins, 2nd aunts etc. Had a luncheon at my home after that in which 50 people came. This is our "standard" family party. I think, as with a lot of things lately, people go over the top. I don't play that game.

Her dress/pocketbook/gloves were $25 from Burlington Coat Factory.
I made her invitations $15
I did get her hair done $25
No formal pictures
I made the food and asked some people to bring a dish as well $75
Beverages $50
Cake (BJ's) $25

I didn't want her to lose sight of what the day was really about.

As you can see, it varies greatly though.
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