When boys and girls make their First Holy Communion, it’s a big occasion for Catholic families. Like their Baptism, the day of First Communion is one filled with family, friends, and feasting after the sacred event has taken place in church.
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Girls typically wear white gowns and veils and often look like little brides, and boys wear their Sunday best or new suits and ties bought for the occasion.
With communion season fast approaching and as someone who knows very little about this very special occasion, I wonder if communion celebrations vary from country to country and how important the communion season is for trade within the balloon industry?
With the help from industry professionals, Luc Bertrand, WAW Balloons, Belgium, Tania Torre, Balloon Express Shop, Terme Vigliatore, Italy, Vanessa Moscardini, Balloon Express Shop, Firenze, Italy and Anne Cahill McGovern, Elegant Balloons, Pearl River, New York, USA I can see why this celebration is a very important time for some balloon companies.
How important is a child’s first communion in your country?
Luc: It is extremely important in the Flemish area but somehow a bit less in the French-speaking part of Belgium.
Not only First Communion but Confirmation would be as important.
As for balloons, we will sell for both occasions: albeit that the demand might be different.
Then there would be the non Christians… they want to throw in a party for their kids as well and call it something that can be translated into “spring-party”.
Tania: It's the most important religious event after the christening.
Vanessa: It is really important and a strongly felt occasion.
Anne: Communions are very important here in the US. It is a short period - (6 weeks starting the week after Easter). Over the years it has gotten a little crazy - little girls get their hair done, nails done and dresses can cost over $500.00 but I think most people pay around $100-250.00 for dresses. While communions don't tend to have the biggest budgets they are very important to us and we have done very well over the years marketing to this area.
Can you describe a 'typical' communion celebration?
Luc: Obviously there will be a celebration in church. This should be the most important moment of the day, but parents see the little kids dress, the party afterwards and the impression they will leave as more important. (We call these parties “the little weddings”)
Nowadays some priests try to boycott the party by having the celebration in church at a time that makes it impossible to organize a full party afterwards.
The party could be at home, a table in a restaurant or renting a whole venue. It all depends on how many guests are invited.
Tania: The religious ceremony is in church; the party is celebrated in a restaurant with relatives and closest friends.
Vanessa: Communions in Italy are usually celebrated at a venue.
Anne: Some people have parties at home but All the venues in my area are completely booked out nearly every weekend during communion season except maybe Memorial Day weekend which seems to be the slower weekend for communions.How important is the communion season for your business?
Luc's store during communion season!Luc: This is the moment with the biggest sales of the year. Early in the morning we inflate so many balloons, that we barely can see the ceiling of the shop any more!
Tania: For us, it's the most important event after the marriage and eighteenth birthday, especially if we consider that it is concentrated in one month only.
Vanessa: Communion is huge business in Italy!
Watch out for part 2 of this blog when we will share some fantastic tips that will make communion season a success for your business.Anne: Communion Season has always been a very important time for our business. We sometimes have as many as 20-30 communions added onto our regular schedule (bar mitzvahs, birthdays etc.) We know it is a short period and try to take as many as possible to make as much money as possible since the summers tend to be slower for us.