March 4, 2015

Mums spend an average of €703 on their child’s First Holy Communion, Ireland’s largest community of mums reveals the results of its research focusing on the cost of one of the biggest rites of passage for young Catholic children in Ireland – the First Holy Communion.

Most of the MummyPages mums feel that the First Holy Communion celebrations can be a bit excessive with 89% of mums saying that the parties, gifts and fuss surrounding the communion day, dress or suit often drowns out the meaning of the special sacrament that the child is to receive.

Full breakdown of costs incurred by families in Ireland at First Holy Communion:

Over half (55%) of parents report feeling the strain when it comes to paying for their child’s First Holy Communion with the average family spending €703. In Ireland, 38% of families will spend up to €500 on the big day, with 48% spending between €500 to €1,000 and 14% of families prepared to splurge between €1,000 to €3,000.

Holy Communion Dress/Suit: The amount of money being spent on a child’s Holy Communion outfit varies from zero spend for those who choose to borrow an outfit to those who spend up to €750. Overall, the majority or 61% of mums spend up to €199 on their child’s Holy Communion outfit including shoes and accessories, 37% of mums spend between €200 and €500 and 2% of mums spending up to €750.

A third of mums opt for specialist boutiques for their child’s communion outfit, followed by 18% who buy in popular department store Debenhams, with designer discount store TK Maxx the second most popular store for 5% of mums. A growing minority (15%) of mums choose to borrow a pre loved outfit from a friend or extended family member while 10% hire their child’s outfit.

Interestingly, mums are calling on primary schools to implement cost saving initiatives to help parents cope with the Holy Communion costs with 63% of mums agreeing that children should instead wear their school uniform on their special day.

First Holy Communion outfits, what happens next:
1. 46% of mums pass their child’s Holy Communion outfit onto a younger sibling
2. 36% of mum keep it as a memento of the day
3. 11% of mums sell it online
4. 7% of mums give it to a charity shop

Hair & Beauty appointments: Another added expense is hair styling for their child’s big day. 41% of MummyPages mums will style their own child’s hair for their big day with zero spend, while 55% of mums will spend up to €50, and 14% of mums will spend up to a whopping €150 on hair styling for their child’s First Holy Communion. The general consensus amongst mums is ‘less is more’ while it is deemed acceptable to wear subtle nail varnish or have ears pierced, wearing make-up and fake tan is considered totally inappropriate.

Clothes for the family: 22% of mums will spend up to €100 on new clothes including shoes and accessories for the entire family, 64% of mums will spend up to €250, 10% of mums will spend up to €500 and 4% of mums will spend up to €1,000.

Celebrations: It seems Irish families have learnt from past mistakes, with half of mums surveyed choosing to keep celebrations low key by having a party at home, a third of mums make a reservation in a restaurant while the rest choose to visit family and relatives.

The celebrations will cost 26% up to €150, while 62% of mums will spend between €200 and €750 and 12% of mums will spend between €750 and up to €1,500 on catering in celebration of their child’s First Holy Communion.

Entertainment: Surprisingly, 51% of mums will spend no money on entertainment for their child’s First Holy Communion after-party allowing children to entertain themselves, 23% of mums spending up to €100 and 26% of mums spending between €100 and €200.

Gifts: Another big expense for parents is the Holy Communion gift, which according to 95% of parents, money and a card is the most appropriate gift surpassing a religious token at 88%.

Holy Communion money: Children remain the biggest winners with some receiving up to €1,500 in cash gifts. Overall, 26% will receive up to €299, 30% will receive between €300 to €499, 25% will receive between €500 to €999 and 6% receiving €1.000 to €1,500.

Mums are using this opportunity to introduce their children to saving with 87% of mums stating that their child will save most of their Communion money. The top choice for 50% of our young savers seems to be the Credit Union, 20% will use a bank and 15% will save with their local post office. Piggybanks are still popular for 11% of mums who don’t trust the banks with their child’s Holy Communion money.

Professional photographer: Over half or 51% of mums don’t feel the need to stump up for a professional photographer, and are happy to capture their child’s special day using a smartphone or digital device. Nearly a third of mums (29%) will spend up to €50 on the school communion photos and a minority or 19% of mums will spend up to €250 for professional photos.

Commenting is Laura Haugh Mum-in-Residence for
“It is amazing to see how much parents attitudes have changed in the last five years. The Tiger years are well and truly gone but that’s a good thing when it comes to First Holy Communion celebrations as the hype often overshadowed the importance of the special day.”

“These days, we are seeing more families choosing to host a party at home with friends and family after the church ceremony. This is a much nicer and more practical way for all members of the family to enjoy the day especially when the weather is good. Restaurants and hotels might seem like a good idea as all the work is done for you, but children often end up bored and fed up when having to be on their best behaviour.”

“While a third of mums still buy their child’s Communion in a boutique, the ‘keeping up with the Jones’ mentality that was evident in the noughties has dispelled and we are seeing more parents buying in high street department stores, borrowing and even hiring their communion outfits.”