Her day finally came!
Our daughter’s First Holy Communion was this Saturday and it was a great day!
The church was well put together, all crisply draped in white with the altar covered in large white bloomed bouquets all over. The walls of the church close to the pews held the children’s artwork depicting what receiving Communion meant to them. Very sweet. There was a choir made up of about 8-10 high school aged girls who sang wonderfully throughout the service. The priest was joyful and pleasant, and all the children were incorporated into the service somehow. The service was wonderful, though a touch long, but it really hit home the importance of this sacrament for the children and tied in the importance of their parents and family.
The best part, however, was when the children each got to sing a song directly to their parents at the pews; a sweet song about opening their eyes in the light of God and saying thank you for the opportunity… where, as you guessed it, I cried like a loon. The song was so pretty and she looked so beautiful singing it to us. It struck so many feelings inside me that I couldn’t help but be brought to tears, especially cause she looked beautiful all in white with her hair up and her veil behind her. She beamed. She made me so proud. 🙂
…And guess who didn’t bring a handkerchief!?
It was so wonderful to see all of those receiving Communion decked out ready to receive their first holy Eucharist, too. There were about 20 children in her class receiving Communion. And as I mentioned the children all took part in the service somehow. Some read. Some took up gifts. Some were asked impromptu questions to answer. Our daughter was chosen as one of the gift bearers for the service along with a few others. After they brought the gifts up, the whole class got to approach the altar to witness the Priest up close blessing the Eucharist and wine, as well as, sing a song. Then they were sent back down to their pews where they were then directed, along with each of their families (parents and siblings together), to approach the altar to receive their first Communion. It was such a sweet connection and feeling along with her Baptism day, being able to witness up close was an honor.
… I really love the aesthetics of our church a lot. It isn’t a large church, but it is a beautifully adorned one with stained glass, high cathedral ceilings and arches, and artwork all around, which I appreciate. The people have been super nice, too. We changed congregations right when our daughter was starting religious ed. so she could be with her peers from our area and school-I am so glad that I made that change happen cause I feel so much more at home at this church.
Then following the nice service we went back to our home where we opened our yard up for a reception for all our family and friends. Though the weather looked like it wasn’t going to cooperate at first..it did! Phew! Our daughter enjoyed every moment playing with her family and friends. The food was plenty and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, but most of all our daughter had a wonderful time, which is all I wanted. I tried my best to make sure that she could feel how special a little girl she really is by putting together a party she couldn’t forget!
Now… Let’s talk party!!
I am Italian, right, so this means the Communion and the reception is a super big deal. I normally celebrate their birthdays together to make it easier on family as they are two weeks apart in the month. This party was the first in a long time that our daughter had a celebration dedicated all to herself. So, since I make their bdays a big hoopla, I had to make sure that the Communion was too, though distinguished and set apart from those other parties. also, for this party because of the timing I had to give myself a super strict budget. Which I am very proud to say I came in under it by $300! Yahhoo!
So. This is the process I went through.
My eldest sister, the one who lives in Sicily, sent home a package of gifts at the beginning of the year. One of our gifts in the box was this…
She sent one napkin holder to each of us (my older sister, my Mother and myself). I loved everything about this napkin holder when I received it for some reason. It was unusually beautiful..shabby chic.. shiny.. looked homemade.. elegant, and it just popped into my head to use as a muse for our daughter’s Communion reception. Once I saw this the party ideas started flowing…
One thing I really wanted to incorporate was our daughter’s middle name into the day; which is Rose. I find her middle name such a great fit for her little rosy face. This is how I came to the shabby chic garden party theme…which evolved a ton before getting to this point. This theme gave me an opportunity to create a lot of pieces for the party (which I love to do the most!). A lot of the focal points were made from raw, floral or natural materials, which gave the reception a touch of whimsy.
So… let’s get started on the event:
The Invitation: I had wanted to create an elaborate invitation that used pink colored card stock with an overlay of doilies with a ribbon and a large rose, but then changed that idea last-minute when I saw this simple pink invitation online that I thought was a better match for the party. I cross checked with the guest of honor and she approved. heh It had my two favorite colors, light pink with a simple cross at the top in a light green. Then a satin double-sided matching green ribbon was tied to the invite before sending off in the mail.
Decor: Our yard was transformed, well as much as a yard on a budget could be, into a garden party. I ended up borrowing a few oblong tables from family, and renting the base linens/chairs from a local rental company. We set up the tables inside the patio and the food items along the side of the house where there was new space (from our kitchen construction we closed off a door) and it worked cause it was out of the way of the guests sitting. Each table was dressed in ivory with an over lay of burlap then topped with nature inspired centerpieces and candles. The centerpieces were large hurricanes my sister lent me that I filled with dried split peas then wrapped in ribbons with a sola flower, then flanked by two handmade votive candles dressed in burlap and lace ribbon.
I scattered big plantings all around the yard for splashes of color, my favorite being the orange begonias you see in some of the photos. But I had bought yellow as well, and some other colorful flowering plants too.
The place settings were not only super cute in ivory lace, very shabby chic, but were also fully disposable.
The Food/Dessert Tables: Inside the house I had set up the dining table in the kitchen with a white linen and a simple green runner going across. The table was then set with a few platters, one of which was a big big hit.. a large slab of marble which was dressed with salumeria/cheeses and olives. Across from the table I had set up a wine bar adorned with doilies, but I wasn’t able to capture a photo. There were two bottles of red, with a chilled white then a pitcher of red sangria next to a large silver bucket of ice. and a large round tray of wine glasses. All were on silver trays; it was real clean and elegant.
The buffet/dessert table was dressed in ivory with two beige jute runners along the front that were each decorated with handmade sola flower and rhinestone button arrangements I made. On top I had placed a collage I made of some of her photographs over the years..like her baptism, being silly, with her baby sister, etc. Then I had placed a vase of roses and a wicker bunny by its side. It was real simple and cute. It stayed static for both the lunch and dessert, though for the dessert portion of the day it was adorned with a lot of handmade serving pieces like a donut hole topiary and a cake pop pot.
The Cake: This part of the party was the hardest for me to put together cause I changed my mind on the cake a lot and tis is where I was strictest of all with my budget cause I can get carried away blowing money on cakes..don’t ask me how much the ice cream party cake was..holy moly!
Luckily, I didn’t speak to anyone about it till I really figured it out, and with the strict budget it dictated the shape/size of the cake. I originally wanted an oval tiered cake all in ivory with imprinted fondant, large cross, but..NO WAY! TOO $$$$!! Then I saw a sweet cake image on pinterest of a shabby chic rose cake for a birthday, it was round, but I loved the look. It was soft pink, with a ruffled border and roses all around. So, I brought the idea to the bakery, and asked for it to be similar with a large rose flowered cross in the middle with her name on the bottom…and this is what they made for us.
I loved it!
The whole day was a big success as our daughter really did beam throughout. She looked cute, she enjoyed all the food and guests, and overall, all the mental planning and make it happen moments made it such a special day for her. This was all for her, not for anyone else (ok, maybe for myself cause I loOove celebrations… and olives), but the proof of it all was when she went to bed that night exhausted and so happy, so happy that her family and friends were together for her, and happy that she had parents like us it made it all worth it. She is a very sentimental child, and she thanked me a ton for a fantastic day and that God gave me to her. <– THAT is what it is all about. Her understanding and appreciation of how loved she really is. Cause this little girl is something special all!
God bless you always in light my dearest daughter, Ava Rose. You are one of the sweetest little girls I know, and the excitement you share with us over all your life moments brings me a tremendous amount of joy. Only you and your little sister have that capacity to bring me so much joy. I love you always. 🙂
Now is there any more left over cartocci?? ;)~