A First Communion is not only a milestone event for a child and his or her family — it is a wonderful opportunity to bring together the people who play a role in the young person’s spiritual journey. While a First Communion celebration can vary in scale and style, it always is a joyful and meaningful gathering for all.

young girl with a high hairstyle and a bow

The meaning of First Communion

First Communion is a religious ceremony in Christian tradition during which a child in the church — usually one 7 or 8 years old — receives the Eucharist for the first time. It usually is part of a succession of events between baptism and confirmation.

Planning essentials

A First Communion party usually takes place immediately after the First Communion service, which is generally held in the morning, so arranging a brunch or lunch makes the most sense. Confirm the mass times, and leave ample time for guests to travel from the church to the venue.

The guest list should include the recipient’s immediate family, grandparents, godparents, and close family and friends. These are typically small events, so don’t feel pressure to invite work colleagues or other folks you are not as close with.

Invites with significance

Provide the proper info on the invite, such as the child’s name, the date and time of mass and the party to follow, the address of the venue, and RSVP. In designing your invitations, you can either use subtle colors (blue for a boy, pink for a girl) or keep them in tones of white — the traditional color recipients wear for the ceremony. Appropriate communion symbols include an angel, a cross, or a dove. Send invites out a good 8 to 10 weeks prior to the event, given many people might be traveling for the occasion.

MORE: What to Write in a First Communion Card

Setting the scene

When decorating for a First Communion celebration, whether at home, a restaurant, or another venue, be sure to design a space that considers the spiritual nature of the event while also creating a joyful party atmosphere.

Stylish symbolism

Beautiful motifs can create meaningful moments around your party space. White paper doves hung from the ceiling or arranged in clusters on tables are beautiful and represent the presence of God. Crosses and angels are other appropriate symbols to incorporate into a party theme. To make it even more personalized, incorporate the child’s name into the table decor, banners, and cake. You can even create a mini altar in the room, including flowers, a bible, a cross, a candle, and a framed photo for the recipient.

first communion party ideas tablescape

Festive and subdued

Traditional party dècor like balloons and flowers are appropriate for a First Communion. Opt for white or gold balloons to symbolize the sacredness of the occasion. Scatter balloons throughout the space, dedicating some to popular spots like the entry, cake area, or gift table, or place them on the tables. Keep the flowers simple, choosing shades of white, blue, or pink to add freshness and texture to the room. A pretty wreath is a nice way to welcome guests. Candles add a warm and inviting atmosphere to the space; just be mindful to place them out of reach of little hands.

Food for all to enjoy

first communion party ideas cake for the celebration of a first communion

Family parties mean that you must please many palates, young and old. Because the recipient’s family is busy throughout the day, having the event catered at your home or hosted at a restaurant is a good idea. This will allow you to spend your time with guests and not at the stove. A light buffet or family-style arrangement is best, as many kids will not sit through a full-course meal.

For an effortless approach, serve young ones their favorites, such as chicken fingers and sliders, alongside fruit skewers and chips. Adults can sample hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie boards, and gourmet sandwiches or pasta. Of course, restaurants can have more substantial items, such as meat, fish, and vegetarian entree options for guests.

The main event is the communion cake, which can be made in advance or ordered from a bakery. Familiar shapes are a cross, dove, or chalice, but a sheet cake is fine, too. Select a flavor the guest of honor loves and provide smaller treats as well, such as cookies and cupcakes for smaller ones to savor.

Entertainment & activities

While adults will be content to converse for hours, kids will get bored and want something to do. Having fun activities available will keep everyone happy and entertained.

Here are four ideas to consider.

  1. Arrange a scavenger hunt or provide crafting stations for younger guests.
  2. A cross or dove piñata allows kids to swing for First Communion goodies or toys hidden inside.
  3. Hire a magician or face painter to captivate the little ones.
  4. Set up a photo booth where kids and adults alike can pose and play.

Speaking of photos, you’ll want to hire a photographer or assign a family member or friend to take candid shots of the party. A DJ or band can provide music. The soundtrack should be inspirational and appropriate for a religious celebration.

first communion party ideas favors

Party favors

Giving guests a small but meaningful keepsake is an excellent way for family and friends to remember the occasion for years. Personalized religious items can include ornaments or rosaries for adults and candy bars with personalized wrappers for younger guests. Other poignant favor ideas include a simple cross necklace or bracelet and customized bookmarks printed with the recipient’s name and an inspirational quote. You can also go for an edible treat, such as cookies in a meaningful shape or a small bundle of candy.


Kerstin Czarra is a writer/editor covering design, culture, and entertaining for publications like domino, T Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens, and others. She resides in Los Angeles, and her dream interview will forever be a tie between Joe Strummer and Agatha Christie.

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