9 Steps to Successfully Organize a Communion
– Step 1: Make a checklist to organize yourself before the communion
– Step 2: Choose a location for the reception
– Step 3: Choose a theme
– Step 4: Send out First Communion invitations
– Step 5: Choose the decoration for the communion reception
– Step 6: Organize the communion meal
– Step 7: Choose the gifts for the communicant
– Step 8: Think about the entertainment for the communion day
– Step 9: Manage the last minute preparations
An important moment for children and their parents, First Communion is a religious and family celebration. And to organize it well, parents should plan! Follow these essential steps to organize a communion and enjoy the party without stress.
1. Make a checklist to organize yourself before the communion
Organizing a communion requires a good overview. Start by making a to-do list including these actions:
– Get the date.
– Define your budget.
– Establish the guest list.
– Select the reception venue.
– Book services if needed (photographer, florist, restaurant, caterer…).
Good to know: do it as soon as you get the date of the communion to be sure that the providers are available.
– Choosing the attire: a white outfit is appropriate for the communicant at the church. An alb is also appropriate, although it is significant for the profession of faith. In this case, consider renting it well in advance. Also, plan an outfit that he will wear underneath for the meal, usually white.
– Prepare and send the invitations (about one month before the communion).
– Choose the decoration, possibly define a colour theme.
– Follow up with the guests who have not responded: you will need their exact number to order the caterer or reserve the restaurant.
– Define the menu.
– Buy the gifts.
– Plan the entertainment.
2. Choose a location for the reception
Communions usually bring the family together. Please make a list of guests, their spouses and children. Depending on your budget, adjust the list. Also, allow enough room for the children to run around and move around, as they will not be sitting at the table without moving.
Tip: If you are planning an outdoor communion, keep an eye on the weather and plan a fallback solution for shelter in case of rain (tent or dedicated room).
If you have a garden, do not hesitate to use it for the reception. If you are on a tight budget, this is the least expensive option. If you are hosting several children, clear the spaces and store fragile objects.
In the restaurant
Reserving a restaurant room allows you to unburden yourself of a host’s obligations and better enjoy the moment. On the other hand, you will be subject to a unique menu for all your guests, to the schedules defined by the restaurant and to the decoration of the place.
In any case, book as early as possible. Then determine the menu without forgetting to consider the guests’ possible allergies and food intolerances. Remember to plan a menu for adults and another for children.
Good to know: keep a close eye on the prices; they can increase with the number of requests.
In a reception hall
Depending on the parish, the number of children attending the First Communion ceremony can be large, requiring many parents to rent a reception hall on the same day. This can cause problems with availability or increased fees. If you are considering renting a hall, start organizing the communion even before you know the date by identifying halls that may interest you. This way, as soon as the communion date is known, you can start the reservation process.
To choose your hall:
– check the presence of essential equipment (tables, chairs, dishes…) or organize its transportation;
– Ask about the services included, such as the caterer or the staff;
– check that it is possible to park quickly nearby;
– if you are expecting a large number of guests from far away, make sure there are hotels, B&Bs or guest houses nearby;
– Find out if rental insurance is available.
Tip: If the hall and caterer are not available on the communion date, arrange for a family celebration on a different date.
3. Choose a theme
The first communion is a religious celebration, symbolizing the spiritual maturity of a child through access to the Eucharist. Therefore, it is generally placed under the sign of purity and simplicity, with the colour white as a central theme. You can then choose a more specific theme: floral, striped or refined.
Tip: you can add another colour to the white in discreet touches. White and pale pink, white and ivory, white and green, white and gray…
Finally, nothing prevents you from adopting a less religious and more personal theme.
4. Send the invitations to the first communion
Once you have decided on the theme, choose or create your invitations. You can use a printer, customize them and order them online, or create and print them yourself.
In any case, here is how to proceed:
– Choose invitations based on your theme, far enough in advance to have time to print or receive them. You must send them at least one month before the communion date.
Please note: consider the price of the invitations when choosing them, depending on the number to be sent.
– Specify on the invitations the first and last name of the communicant and your name and contact information.
– Indicate the date, the coordinates of the place of celebration and reception, with the times.
– Specify the desired response time, possibly adding a “reservation” coupon.
5. Choose the decoration for the communion reception
It is essential to plan the decoration to purchase or order the necessary elements in advance.
The menu, place cards and thank you cards can be ordered or made simultaneously as the invitations, using the same design.
The art of the table
Choose tablecloths, table runners and napkins according to your theme. As for the tableware, make sure you have all the elements (different types of glasses, cutlery and plates) needed for your menu.
Communions are usually held in the warm season, so you can use flowers to decorate; white flowers are a must! You can choose flowers from the fields, garden, or call a florist.
The other elements of decoration
Don’t forget the religious significance of the event. Place cherubs on the tables, light candles or add pictures and excerpts from appropriate texts. Also, think of a small gift for the guests such as a small bag of almonds, a photo, a handwritten blessing…
6. Organize the communion meal
Start by defining the type of meal: do you want a classic meal served at the table or a buffet? Consider the options according to your budget.
If you choose to cook for yourself, avoid complex or last-minute dishes. I prefer recipes to be prepared the day before or in advance, cold or reheated at the time of the meal, or even a slow-cooked piece of meat to be put in the oven in the morning.
Be careful: beyond 15 to 20 people, it is better to call on a caterer unless you choose a cold buffet and bet on frozen food.
If you wish to order a cake or a “pièce montée” for the dessert, place the order at least one week in advance.
Finally, plan for drinks, from aperitifs to wines, without forgetting non-alcoholic beverages.
Good to know: prepare a table plan. The communicant should be placed between his godfather and godmother at the head table.
7. Choose gifts for the communicant
Communicants usually receive religious gifts such as a medal, a crucifix, an icon, a bible… They can also receive more traditional gifts such as high-tech products, jewelry…
Tip: provide a gift list for guests to choose from and a ballot box for entries.
8. Think about activities for the day of the communion
The presence of several children and several generations makes it worthwhile, even necessary, to organize activities to keep the youngest occupied.
Tip: ask your guests to join in the fun, as some adults may be happy to participate!
At the table
Think of games that can be played between courses and involve both adults and children, such as quizzes, mimes or riddles.
Also, have colouring sheets and a few crayons on the tables to keep the little ones waiting during the meal.
Good to know: avoid markers that could cause damage…
Off the table
Set up a reading nook for the quiet ones, with a couple of cushions on a rug, blankets, a pile of books and comics.
Let the little ones play hide-and-seek inside or ball games outside while the adults finish their meal.
After the meal
You can organize a big team game such as an Olympics with obstacle courses or sack races. Or prepare a treasure hunt, possibly thematic.
You can also make a pinata, a fun game for all ages.
Think of a series of games that are easy to implement outdoors: dodgeball, sparrowhawk, cheetah, tomato, unleash…
9. Manage last-minute preparations
As the big day approaches, things get faster. Make to-do lists and divide the tasks between family members, godparents, etc. Get help, especially if you have chosen to organize the communion reception at home and without a caterer.
A week before the communion, go shopping. Reconfirm rentals and services booked.
The day before the communion, checklists, iron outfits, decorate, cook and prepare anything you can prepare.
Tip: If you don’t use a professional for the photographs, make sure someone close to you is responsible for capturing the event at the church and during the reception.
Once the christening is over, send cards with a picture of the communicant to thank the participants.