Parents cut back on First Holy Communion spending
Families in Northern Ireland are spending less on First Holy Communions.
This year parents splashed out an average of £502 on their child's outfit, celebrations, and new clothes for other family members.
That is down by £85 in the last three years, according to research from the Ulster Bank.
It is also cheaper to have a boy than a girl, the report suggested.
In total parents spend an average of £562 on a daughter's first communion, but boys are more than £100 cheaper, with mum and dads handing over £446 for their sons.
Traditionally girls wear white dresses and often a veil for the occasion, while boys are usually in their Sunday best suits.
Parents also splash out £49 on making sure their children have their hair done.
Some even stretch to a fake tan to keep their kids looking bronzed and glamorous.
However, it seems some parents are beginning to tighten their purse strings.
While many stores specialising in first communion outfits do a roaring trade, dresses are also popping up in classified advertisements or online.
Parents may fork out a whopping £134 on their child's outfit for the day, but add on smart clothing for the rest of the family and the bill tots up to almost £300.
Another big outlay was on the party, celebration, food, and drink, which cost around £300.
Children making their First Holy Communion are often inundated with gifts, ranging from religious tokens to cash and cheques.
But presents are also on a slight decline, with boys and girls receiving an average of £283, £10 less than the previous year.
Stephen Cruise from Ulster Bank said: "Encouragingly, on average only 17% of the money that young people have received for their First Holy Communion has been spent to date, indicating they are being careful with their money."