As a major event in every child’s life, the First Communion is actually the most important step into embracing religion on their own. Most Catholic children receive the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist at the age of 7 or 8 because it is considered the age of reason.Such an event needs preparation, both spiritual and material. The child must understand that not only does he/she need to dress up and look nice, but more importantly – honor and respect the ceremony and its significance.Traditionally, young men wear nice suits and young women wear beautiful dresses.Picking up the perfect dress might be a long and difficult process but here are 7 most important things that you must take into account when doing so:
Communion dresses are available in traditional, classic or modern styles.Traditional style dress is the “little bride” lookalike with accessories: veiled headpiece, white gloves and pearls. “Our lady of Guadalupe”, Irish and Italian Communion dresses are considered to be traditional.Classic is a ball gown style dress with more clean, simple lines. It is usually tea length or full, gathered skirt with a sleeve.Modern style communion dress is a A-line dress, usually sleeveless that comes with a bolero or jacket. It is becoming more popular with parents and girls because of their elegance and simplicity. Halter neck and spaghetti straps are two of the little girls’ favorite features.
There are a few aspects you need to set before starting to look for the actual dress:- Length: it is highly recommendable to make sure the dress is below the knee. Best would be tea length or full, ankle length.- Fabric: knowing your daughter’s preferences and possible fabric allergies, consider selecting the material in advance. It will make the elimination process easier. Types of fabrics: satin, duchess satin, silk, organza, crystal organza and tulle.- Sleeves: some Communion dresses use halter necks or spaghetti straps, and may come with a matching jacket or bolero. Some parishes or traditions may not allow sleeveless dresses.- Color: white is the recommended color because it symbolizes purity and integrity. The only appropriate color for a communion dress is white.It is important to ask your priest or parish for general rules regarding length, accessories, headpiece and sleeve before you start looking for dresses.
Consider shopping for communion dresses taking plenty of time to search and order the dress, having it shipped or altered if needed. First Communion normally takes place May – June during the year. It is advisable to start looking for the perfect dress sometimes in January – February. We all know how fast things are moving these days, so if you find yourself in the month of April and still did not find the dress you are looking for, first find retailers that carry the size you need in stock and ship orders in due time.
It is important to establish a budget before starting to shop for the communion outfit. You can easily get carried away and considering you might need to buy shoes and different other accessories, you do not want to find you spent quite a lot. In the same time, do not shop with a low budget, it is your daughter’s First Communion and a major event in her life. The dress will be worn at the ceremony of First Holy Communion and it needs to look beautiful.
The sizes for different styles and types of communion dresses out there might differ, so it is important to take accurate measurements and have the dress altered if needed. It has to fit perfectly as this will reflect on the entire outfit. A larger dress might look slouchy. A good fitted dress will always make her look neat.In our opinion the most flattering First Communion Dress style for a plus-size girl is an A-line dress. That is because an A-Line dress is fitted at shoulders and chest and at the waist gradually gets looser.
5. Consider the entire outfit
It is not only the dress you must prepare for the First Communion. Here is a shopping list of things you might or might not need:
- Hair accessories or tiara;
- Bolero or stole;
- Socks or tights;
- For church: missal prayer book, rosary, rosary case, scapular and lapel pin.
6. Get your daughter involved
She is old enough to take this first step, it is her own major life event so it is important to get her involved into the preparation process. While paying attention to what she likes, guide her into selecting a modest, tasteful, and formal, neither extravagant nor casual dress. Remind her that the most important thing on that day should be religion and not how impressing the crowd with her looks. The dress is a symbol of respect for the ceremony and she should draw attention to herself.
7. After purchase advice
Hang the precious dress in a cool place, away from sunlight. Make sure you straighten it nicely and protect it against dust and accidents. Heavy materials should be stored flat to prevent stretching. Just shortly before the event, make sure it is neat and unwrinkled, clean and all layers of petticoat fluffed nicely. If needed, take it to a dry cleaners before the day of the event and make sure it is ready in time. Carefully read the instructions on the label before attempting anything with the dress: ironing or washing.
Preparing for the First Communion can be time consuming and quite stressful. Especially as the event date is getting closer and you still did not find the perfect dress.
We hope you found this article helpful and if you have additional tips, please share it with the others in the comments below.