A Preparation Guide for First Communion: The Big Stuff

A Preparation Guide for First Communion: The Big Stuff

A Preparation Guide for First Communion: The Big Stuff

There’s a lot to think about and do in preparation for your child’s First Holy Communion.  From making sure your child is spiritually prepared for the big day down to the concrete practical details of party planning—it’s a big job. Here’s an overview of stuff you need to think about along with ideas to streamline your preparations.

Your Child’s Spiritual Preparation 

The most important thing to do for your child’s First Communion day is to make sure they are well catechized and understand exactly why this Sacrament is so special. Don’t rely solely on what they may learn from their CCD or Faith Formation classes.  Be sure that you’re talking about this Sacrament at home, asking them questions, and getting them excited about it. You can read more tips on this with this helpful article, How to Spiritually Prepare Your Child for First Communion.

First Communion Crafts

monstrance craftAnother good way to prepare your child for their big day is by doing First Communion crafts. There are many, many great activity ideas by professional Catholic mothers and homeschoolers.

I think the best crafts are those that can do double-duty, not only catechizing your kids but that can also be put to use at the First Communion party, such as First Communion banners, First Communion shortbread cookies, and First Communion party favors. Catholic Icing is a fabulous online resource for Catholic crafts for kids. I love this kid’s monstrance craft that would tie in well to preparing your child for First Communion. And it would be great to show off at the First Communion party too.

First Communion party

10It’s customary to have a small gathering of friends and family following your child’s First Holy Communion. I mentioned above that your kids can help make shortbread cookies to serve. Don’t worry if the cookies they made don’t look the greatest; no matter how terrible they may look, they’re still cute.

Have your kids come up with shapes that symbolize the Sacrament, such as a cross, a host, a chalice, or grapes. Use the shortbread cookies your kids made as the cookies to serve at the party, while you make the nicer cookies and wrap them in cellophane as party favors. Use the First Communion banner and other crafts your child made and display them on the food or gift table.

With the First Communion party food, keep in mind that presentation goes a long way even if the food itself is very simple. The easiest way to give your food presentation pop is to do layers or tiers. If you don’t have fancy tiered serving trays or can’t borrow some, create the tiered effect by stacking up boxes, tupperware, or even books and drape a table cloth over them. Keeping a unified color theme is good too, even just picking a single color works well. A clean, uncluttered display of simple foods like cookies and cupcakes goes a long way.

First Communion Photography

CaptureYour child will definitely need great photos of their First Communion day. If you aren’t a fabulous photographer and don’t plan on having your child’s photos professionally done, don’t fret.  There are plenty of photo editing tools that make you look like a pro, such as Picasa and Instagram, and both are free.

To help you generate some photography ideas, check out The Catholic Company’s photostream on Flikr and view the entries for their annual First Communion Photo Contest. There’s lots of creativity on display there. 

First Communion Apparel 

Shopping for First Communion apparel is easy enough for boys, because boy’s suits are pretty versatile. But a girl’s First Communion Dress is something special because it’s only worn for this one occasion. Picking out a First Communion gown can be a little tricky, but here is a helpful guide, How to Choose a First Communion Dress that takes you through the steps to make your shopping experience a bit more straightforward.

First Communion Gifts

It’s traditional for parents, grandparents, godparents, friends, and relatives to get the little girl or guy special gifts to have as keepsakes of the special day.  These range from rosaries to photo frames, from jewelry to Bibles. To get an idea of what’s popular, here’s a First Holy Communion Gift Guide for Girls and a First Holy Communion Gift Guide for Boys.

Hopefully this overview helps you to stay focused and organized while planning for your child’s First Holy Communion. Even if the day ends up being harried and your child doesn’t really soak in or reverence the Sacrament they received that day, don’t worry; you always have every Sunday mass to continually prepare your child to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. 

Copyright 2013 Gretchen Filz


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  1. Hi,my daughter is 14,and finially made her First holy communion last may after it being put off over the years for various reasons and situations.Our parish is strict and requires the communion dress,veil,gloves,tights and white mary janes.her and i went to a few places looking for the larger size communion dresses and finially wound up at a bridal shop.there she found a cute,poofy communion dress in her size with the matching veil.We then got her gloves and tights there also.We then went to a childrens shoe store and found a pair of white mary janes in her size.We took her outfit to the parish so the Religious Ed.Director could approve it.She then told us that even tho the daughter is 14 and in the class with the 7 and 8 year olds,that she had to wear the same white plastic pants[rubberpants] under her tights that are required for the little girls.the daughter wasnt happy about having to wear them,but accepted it.i ordered a pair of the white rubber pants in her size from a website.The morning of the ceremony,i dressed her in the outfit and she looked cute and gorgeous.I was one proud mom.she told me after wards it was weird having the rubber pants on under her tights.I put the rubberpants away with the rest of her outfit in a box that was sealed.

  2. Hello, my daughter is about 12 years old, and she is almost ready to take her first communion, she’s been studying and preparing for it. And I want it to be very special and memorable for her. When I read your article I got a lot of tips that will definitely help me make the event special to my one and only daughter. To God be the Glory! Thank you.

  3. To Karen Schisler-I assume by now your daughter has made her first communion.How did it go?and i hope it was a very special day for her!Our niece is 12 and made her first communion last may.she picked our her own dress and veil and then wore my daughters communion rubberpants and tights with her dress.she looked gorgeous in her outfit.what did your daughter wear on her big day? did you do rubberpants and tights on your daughter also?Many girls wear them,but our parish requires them.

  4. These are wonderful tips. We work with parents all the time as they prepare their children for First Holy Communion. I will share this post with them since you did just a beautiful job pulling all this information together.

  5. To Leanne-I experienced my cousins first holy communion when she was 14 and at her parish in Algona,Iowa.her parish was very strict and the girls required First communion outfit was just like a baptism outfit! All of the girls had to wear a poofy,top of the knees,white communion dress with a bonnet instead of a veil,lace anklets and the white mary jane shoes.A cloth diaper and rubberpants had to be worn under the dress with an under shirt.The cousin was ok with having to wear the bonnet,but did not like the diaper and rubberpants under her dress.the rubberpants were the largest toddler size her mom could find and they fit her tight over the diaper.

    • My 10 year old daughter just made her First holy communion on May 17th and had to wear rubberpants under her communion dress.i got her the youth size rubberpants in the required white and they fit her a little loose.My question is,should i put the rubberpants and her under shirt away with the rest of her outfit or keep them out for her to wear in her neices wedding in august as the flowergirl?

      • Well…let’s do this again. All the data got lost but what little I wrote may have been sent. As I was saying, Sarah, let your 10 year old daughter make up her own mind at the wedding what apparel she wants to wear (under her dress). “Purity” at a wedding of “another” is not her “own” purity. Although one might understand the authority of the church with it’s conventions and dogma — the symbolism of “personal” commitment in a “confirmation” to “purity”, and along with this the
        “submission” of that authority; a wedding is different. It’s not your “daughter’s” wedding and even if it was, she was “cleansed” in baptism, so she’s already pure. At 10 she is already making up her own mind how important it is to follow the parish’s strictness. She is now confirmed. Let her be her own individual. After all, isn’t that was “confirmation” really is? She is now confirmed in her own mind that she believes in the “Christ Consciousness”. She is saying, “Christ is now within me”. That’s what really matters, what is in her “heart” rather than some symbolism. But in First Communion and Confirmation, it’s alright if she (or you choosing for her) submitting to the infantile undergarments because you both “are” Catholic and along with Catholicism is following the Sacraments. But no…in my opinion, not someone else’s wedding, even if it is a relative. Yes, I’d put them away with the rest of her outfit and let the wedding party decide on the color of apparel knowing that what is underneath doesn’t matter.

  6. Our 15 year old daughterjust made her First communion yesterday,May 15,in the clas with the 7 and 8 year olds.She wanted to be like the little girls and wore a poofy,knee length communion dress with the veil,lace anklets and white shoes.For her communion diaper she chose to wear a size 8 pampers with rubberpants over it and a white tee shirt as her top.She looked cute and little girlish in her outfit and the pampers and rubberpants made her feel pure like a baby!

  7. To Steven-It is very real! the diapers and plastic pants worn by the girls symbolize their purity of an infant for their first communions or as a flowergirl.

  8. But infants these days don’t wear plastic pants; just modern diapers.

    I’ll believe it if you or anyone can post a link to an actual church website showing it as a requirement/practice; to a communion clothing supplier offering diapers and plastic pants; or to any other source that is clearly NOT making it up!