With a First Communion on the horizon, it was time we went shopping for the dress. Actually, as I found out, we probably should have went shopping months ago.
But as per normal, I hadn’t really thought about it. So instead we found ourselves on a rainy Saturday, walking Sydney Road and High Street in Melbourne (known for their rows and rows of bridal stores, with the occasional flower girl / Communion dresses thrown in), looking for the perfect dress.
Little did I know what that actually meant. More wedding gown shopping, than dress shopping. Appointments, change rooms, white gowns and accessories. More tulle than one person should really be exposed to in one day. Small children crying over princess dresses. Mothers crying over their children crying.
So to hopefully help you avoid such pain, I’ve put together some tips. For those of you who have daughters doing Communions, consider it a public service. For everyone else, consider yourself lucky.
- Give yourself time. If you leave it till a month before (like us) then you will likely have to buy the dress off the rack. This will limit your choices, and if you overlay that with a child who has sensory needs and the fact I wasn’t prepared to spend more on this than my wedding dress, then it will limit it further. The more time you have, the more choice you will have.
- Make appointments. We did ring ahead and make appointments. One store in particular opened early for us, which gave us time alone in the store and Poss was able to browse and try things on in her own time, and in the quiet. This made all the difference to her ability to handle the day.
- Do your research. It sounds silly, but Poss and I started a Communion Pinterest board a little while ago. This helped us narrow down what sort of dresses she liked. We also asked lots of questions of the school to see what girls have worn in previous years. Veils? Tiaras? Gloves? Full length or tea length dresses? If you have some of those questions answered before you go, you’ll be better placed.
- Be prepared to compromise. Poss wanted a marshmallow style dress, I wanted something more classic. I wanted her to wear flats, she wanted baby heels. She wanted a fur wrap, I wanted a simple cardigan or bolero. She wanted a tiara and veil, I wanted none of that. Let’s just say that after a full day of shopping, and about a bajillion dresses and many arguments, we both had to compromise.
- Remember they have to be in it all day. And they’re kids. And it’s not a beauty pageant (despite what Poss might think). So don’t be afraid to look for comfort over style. We packed a soft cotton singlet for her to pop under the scratchy, lacy dresses, but realised pretty quickly that that would probably cause more issues than it would solve. So we just avoided those dresses. Easy fix.
We did find a dress. And she looks beautiful in it. And we managed it all without tears from Poss, which was something of a holy miracle in itself, given all the grabbing, twirling, looking and touching she was subjected to.
And more than anything else, she loves it. So it was all worth it, really.