How much does the average Communion cost?

The celebration of the sacrament is still big business as people are prepared to pay big bucks

Children all over Ireland are set to make their First Holy Communion over the next two months.

While the economy continues to recover, as the country's relationship with the Catholic Church doesn't, what is supposed to mark the blessing of the third sacrament has, for many families, become a costly one-day affair.

A report on Newstalk Drive saw parents confessing to shelling out an average of €1,000 in total for their child's big day, with children receiving an average of between €800 and €1,000 in gifts.

"A princess for a day"

In Alexandra's Bridal on Parnell Street, Co Dublin, Tara Crook told Newstalk the bulk of their Communion dresses have been sold, with their remaining stock comprising of accessories.

"We find we are very competitive with prices," she said, as dresses start at €225. The shop's most expensive dress retails at €350, with Crook adding they haven't seen an increase in pricing in recent years.

"It's a day of celebration for the family. It's a day to see people you might not have seen from one end of the year to the next," she concluded.

At other independent Communion dress sellers, including The Sisters, Elliot Chambers and Maynooth Communion Dresses, dresses range between €100 and an eye-watering €520

High street

Littlewoods stock dresses in a slightly lower cost bracket from brands such as Monsoon, ranging between €62 and €75. Shoes on the site will set you back somewhere between €28 and €32. This tiara, also from Monsoon, costs €20.

High street stockists of Communion dresses and accessories include Debenhams and Arnotts. The cheapest dress available on arnotts.ie costs €146.40, while if you're splurging on a suit, the minimum you'll spend is €69.30.

On debenhams.ie, dresses start at €44 going up to €120. The retailer's online site currently only stocks one full suit set - costing €56. A shirt and pants from John Rocha's 'Rocha John Rocha' line will cost an average of €56.

Lidl's new range of suits for boys start at €19.99, and come in navy, light blue and beige in sizes 1-6 years and 6-14 years. A shirt with a waistcoat and bow tie/tie can also be purchased, available in the same colours for between €9.99 and €11.99.

Designer Paul Costelloe lent his hand to a line in Dunnes Stores, with dresses starting at €65, blazers starting at €50 and trousers at €35. Accessories and shoes are also in the mix, prices starting at €8. 

(Left) Navy suit blazer, €50; Pink shirt & tie, €35; Navy trousers, €35; Leather shoes, €45; (Right) Nicole dress, €70; Bow veil, €20; Occasion tights – Pack of 2, €6; Diamante shoes, €45 (all from Dunnes Stores)

Second-hand

If you're looking to save cash, second-hand is the way to go. Hand-me-downs could be hard to come by, but if so, online classifieds sites like Adverts and DoneDeal host a trove of second-hand dress and suit options.

On Adverts, some dresses are advertised as free while other sellers welcome offers. However, the average cost across the site comes out at around €50. Suits come out a little more expensive, with the average seller listing sets between €50 and €60.

DoneDeal's selection is a little more expensive - the average dress listed is somewhere between €80 and €100. For a suit, it'll cost you an average of €60.

Children in white dresses sit anxious for the First Communion in Baierbrunn, Germany. | Image:Stephan Jansen/DPA/PA Images

Misecellaneous

It's important to factor in the cost of the whole family if they choose to get a new rig-out for the occasion.

Some families also undergo intense beauty regimes for the main event. The price of packages varies, but you're looking at a minimum price of €35 for Gelish nails and a spray tan.

Packages

As reported on Newstalk Drive, most families are choosing to eat out and book venues for post-Communion events. County-by-county, hotels are offering variety of Communion packages. 

In Dublin, Newstalk.com looked at packages offered by:

  • The Gibson Hotel
  • Castleknock Hotel
  • Crowne Plaza 
  • Red Cow Moran Hotel 
  • The Beacon
  • Royal Marine Hotel

The Gibson offers a a 3 course meal for €29 per person in their Coda eatery, with children eating for €15 a pop.

Castleknock Hotel is selling two different packages depending on your price point - package 1 includes dinner in a private function room for up to 80 friends & family members, with a choice of a 4 course meal or a buffet meal from €32 per person.

Package two - at €40 a head - gives diners a 4 course meal at the hotel's Park Restaurant.

At the Red Cow Moran Hotel, Tom's Table Restaurant sees the Communion child eating for free. Adults get a 3 course meal for €26.95, with a child's 3 course meal costing €10.95.

Communion parties at the Beacon Hotel can avail from an Asian Fusion menu at €27 per adult and €10 per child. 

The Crowne Plaza Hotel, with branches open in Blanchardstown and Northwood, have prices from €25 per adult & €12 per child - the Communion child goes free.

In Cork, Newstalk.com looked at:

  • The Ambassador Hotel
  • Cork International Hotel
  • Midleton Park Hotel
  • Vienna Woods
  • Lee Valley Golf and Country Club

Midleton Park Hotel charge €26.95 per adult for a communion meal, with the child's rate set at €12.95 (the celebrating child eats for free). 

Cork International Hotel charges a flat rate of €27.50 per person, while The Ambassador's adult menu €28.95 per adult and €14.25 per child.

At Vienna Woods, menus are available from €28.50 per person for a 4 course lunch and €32.50 per person for a 5 Course Lunch. However, the €28.50 menu is not available on Saturday's during the month of May.

A four course Communion meal at the Lee Valley Golf and Country Club will set you back €25.95 per head, with children's meals priced per item.

Transport

Some parents may be considering limousine hire for their little one's big day, in order to seriously hit the pews in style.

One hire company - Absolute Limos - has a white baby Bentley on its roster is €150 for the 1st hour and €70 for every hour after for up to 8 people with champagne included.

There's also a pink Playboy Hummer H2 up for grabs for €235 for the 1st hour and €100 for every hour after for 16 people with champagne included (it's also the country's only 16 seat pink H2 Hummer).