Planning is key to every successful party and organised preparation leaves the host more relaxed and able to enjoy the event. Make lists for everything, add reminders to your phone or diary, invite your guests, order food and decorations in time and allow plenty time for both food preparation and party decoration.
First Holy Communion parties begin in late Spring and continue until early summer – that’s important in Ireland because of our unpredictable weather. But let’s stay positive and plan an outdoor element, with a contingency if it rains. Creating a party space outdoors encourages the kids outdoors and allows them to ‘let off steam’ after being confined in a formal situation for several hours.
Party planning – let’s get going!
As soon as you have your date, you should start your planning, particularly if there are a lot of children making First Holy Communion on the same day in your area. Also, if you decide to use outside caterers, these will need to be booked well in advance.
A check-list and strict budget are vital, here’s what to include:
- Number of guests
- Catering – buffet or sit-down meal?
- Cake – are you having one? Book early!
- Entertainment and activities
- Photography – friend or professional?
Budgeting is key to all the above decisions. Work out what is affordable and stick to it. Putting yourself under financial pressure is not necessary, as this is an event that must cater for all ages – everyone should have a day to enjoy and remember.
Communion party food
You can do the food yourself and we would advise sticking to a cold meat and salad spread, with perhaps one hot dish people can help themselves to – such as curry or stew. However, it will make life far easier if you use outside caterers and quite often, it works out the same price-wise, but without the stress!
A buffet-style spread is often the most popular choice as it offers guests a variety of dishes to suit all tastes. If you get the caterer to supply the main dishes, you can bulk up the offering with some homemade desserts and cakes to add a personal touch. You could ask family or friends to bring desserts/salads. If serving hot food, hiring in chafing dishes or a bain marie might be worthwhile.
Where will we fit them all?
Make sure you have a sufficient number of tables, chairs, cutlery and linen ready in advance of the party. These can be hired in and the best part is that someone takes them all away afterwards!
Outside, it might be an idea to have a gazebo or covered area for people – just in case the weather turns bad, or you need extra room for everyone to fit comfortably.
Also, ensure you have appointed someone with a good eye to take some pictures; it is a precious family day after all.
Decorate to impress
If you are having a buffet, disposable tableware and glassware might be the way to go. However, if your numbers are bigger and you want a sit-down meal, or just a more elegant feel to your buffet, you can hire in everything. It’s a great option; from the cutlery and crockery to table linen and glassware – there’s no clean up!
Strategically placed bunches of helium balloons, sparkling banners, sashes and streamers will set a scene for them to enjoy themselves while the adults can relax in the knowledge they are close by and safe.
Ask for help and do as much as you can before the day. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to come to the house while you are at the church to help get everything ready. You will have your hands full getting yourself and your child ready in the morning.
Keep little ones busy!
Ask an older cousin if they would like to ‘entertain’ the younger ones for a little while during the party. Story-telling and face-painting are always fun on these occasions and it keeps the little ones occupied and engaged. Appoint someone to supervise small children at all times. Setting aside a ‘play area’ and perhaps some games for the children gives them focus.
The usual option for activities is a bouncy castle. However, this has been a bit overdone in recent years, plus it encourages a total separation of kids and adults.
Garden games are a good alternative option. Toss a can, pick-up sticks, lawn darts, giant Jenga, board games and even a handy football will get everyone involved and makes it more about fun and less about grown-up conversations and drinking. This allows children and adults to have fun together and helps create great memories.
Set an approximate end time for the party – tired children become fractious but want to continue playing and a time limit allows you to end your party on a high note; rather than coping with tired children. It’s also a good idea to have a small favour or party bag for each child as they leave to return home. This could contain some cake, sweets, a small toy, or stationery.
Above all, have the comfortable shoes ready for the party at home and above all, relax and enjoy this truly special day in your child’s life.
At National Event Hire, we have decades of experience supplying furniture, crockery, cutlery, kitchen equipment and linen to Communion parties. Remove the stress and hassle and contact National Event Hire. We organise delivery and collection as well as doing the wash up afterwards.