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helen HUDSON

helen HUDSON

There'll be no limos or fake tan when eight-year-old, Alice Smyth, makes her Communion in May. Her mum Helen Hudson says she decided from the outset they wouldn't be spending a fortune and would keep things nice and simple.

She looked around at Communion dresses in specialist boutiques but found Debenhams had a good range with their choice coming in at €120, while they picked up a veil and cardigans in Dunnes.

For the party, they're having a family celebration for around 35 people, and Helen says she decided that using a caterer would be the easiest option and will be getting a Thai chicken curry with a vegetarian option and salads for €200. "When you look at the amount of time and energy you'd put into doing the food yourself and the fact you'd probably over-shop for it, I don't think it worked out much more expensive," she says.

Several guests are also bringing cake, as people wanted to help out and it took the pressure off, she says. For wine, she's been looking out for good deals in Tesco in recent weeks, but says she wouldn't need a huge amount anyway. She'll borrow chairs off neighbours as they always helped each other out for things like that.

She'll get smart shirts for her two sons, Andrew (6) and Shane (2), and a new outfit for herself, but wouldn't count these as communion costs as they'd get lots of wear out of them.

Helen says she's also going to buy some giant outdoor games like Connect 4, draughts and Jenga for kids entertainment, as they'll be a good investment for the summer as well. She says there is a lot of money being spent on communions - she runs mariaslittlewrappers.com which supplies personalised chocolates for major occasions like communions and weddings, with the child or adult's name on the wrapper, and says demand is through the roof this year with a typical order of €50. She estimates the whole day will cost her family around €500 to €600.

'I don't think the caterers were more expensive'

Irish Independent