12 Birthday Etiquette Tips for Adults

Birthday Etiquette for Adults
When planning or attending an adult birthday party, be sure to plan ahead, choose an appropriate gift, be appreciative and grateful, treat your guests politely, and always be aware of cultural differences.

1. Plan In Advance

When planning a birthday celebration, whether for yourself or a close friend, it is important not to wait until the last minute to plan the festivities. Create a guest list and send the party invites with an appropriate lead time so that guest have enough time to RSVP.

If it is your birthday, but you are unsure about planning your birthday party, discussing how you want to celebrate with friends and family is a great way to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Whether you just want to celebrate with a birthday dinner, a small get-together, or go all out with an adult birthday party, make sure they know your plans and ideas.

2. Be Appreciative

Suppose you throw a birthday party for yourself, your best friend, a significant other, or a family member. In that case, it is within proper birthday party etiquette to be appreciative and thank everyone for coming and for any gifts they may have brought.

After each birthday celebration, sending out thank you cards to each of your guests is a nice gesture, especially if they brought you a gift. This is a great way to make a special day even more special.

If, in the future, a party guest invites you to a special event, no matter what type of party, it is nice to consider attending since they were there to celebrate your special day.

3. Choose The Correct Gift

Handing over a gift card
Handing over a gift card

If you are throwing a party for yourself and want guests to bring gifts, it is a good idea to set up a budget for them and communicate it to them when necessary. This will keep your guests from feeling ashamed if they bring a smaller gift.

If you buy a birthday present for the birthday person, keep their interests in mind. Getting something meaningful rather than a simple gift card (unless they explicitly say that is what they want).

If they aren’t big drinkers, a bottle of wine is probably not a gift they would enjoy, so make sure it is something they can use. You should also avoid giving cash as a gift unless it is a tradition in their culture. This is usually seen as impersonal and may be taken the wrong way.

4. Don’t Forget The Goodies

A birthday cake is one of the biggest birthday traditions, so make sure you don’t forget it! If necessary, coordinate with the venue or the baker to ensure that the cake arrives on time, as no one wants to miss out on the cake!

If you are selecting a cake, be sure to consider any dietary restrictions your guests may have. If you are unsure, it is safest to go with a cake suitable for almost anyone or to get more than one cake (in which case they can be smaller cakes).

Of course, a birthday cake isn’t complete without the candles. Make sure to bring candles and matches or a lighter so the birthday boy or girl can blow them out after you sing “Happy Birthday.”

5. Be The Host(ess) With The Most(est)

When hosting any party, from a baby shower to a housewarming party to a birthday party, you should always strive to be gracious. Make your rounds and greet all of your guests. Also, be sure to make introductions when needed.

Try to ensure guests are comfortable at all times and keep the conversation flowing. You don’t have to be the party’s entertainment, but you should make sure the party itself is entertaining.

Another important part of hosting is ensuring that there is enough food and drink for everyone. Also, keep in mind any dietary restrictions and offer suitable options.

6. Be On Your Best Behavior

Good manners are important at any birthday party. Remember who the other guests are and mind your language and behavior. This is especially true if there are children, elderly guests, or guests you may not know.

Try to avoid drinking too much or overindulging in food. Keep your composure while still enjoying yourself and your company.

Keep the conversation light, and avoid controversial topics that may make other guests uncomfortable.

7. Respect Cultural Differences

You should always be aware of the different customs or traditions that some guests may observe. Avoid assuming that everyone celebrates the same way. If you are throwing a friend’s birthday party, ensure you understand their traditions and respect their wishes.

Also, consider offering alternative food options if guests have any dietary restrictions or preferences. If you are throwing a dinner party, it may be a good idea to give your guests options to choose from ahead of time. That way, you will be prepared with their orders.

8. Check In After The Celebration

Reaching out to guests and reflecting on the celebration is always nice. Finding out what guests enjoyed and areas that can be improved during future events will help you become a super-host.

If there were guests that were unable to attend but still sent you well wishes, make sure to reach out and thank them. They went out of their way to appreciate you on your special day, so you should return the sentiment.

It is also great to catch up with friends after the party to celebrate your achievements over the past year and reflect on what is to come.

9. Dress Appropriately

It is always important to consider the venue and type of party when selecting an outfit. Ensure you are dressed appropriately and avoid wearing anything too revealing or inappropriate.

If there is a theme to a birthday party you are attending, make sure to adhere to that theme and dress accordingly. After all, you don’t want to be the only one there out of costume or color scheme.

10. Be Mindful Of What You Post

In a world of social media, it is always important to consider others before posting. Always ask your guests’ permission before posting videos or photos. Some people do not want to be a part of social media and may be offended if you post something without their knowledge.

A great way to share these fun memories is to create a private group or a shared photo album with your close friends and family. That way, you can relive all of the memories of the celebration without sharing them with the whole world.

Always avoid oversharing or posting things that could offend or embarrass others. You certainly wouldn’t want anyone embarrassing you on social media, so avoid doing it to others.

11. Always RSVP

If you are invited to a party that requests an RSVP, make sure to do it. Never show up without informing them beforehand, as parties and special events take a lot of planning.

It is also a good idea to share any dietary restrictions or preferences with the host ahead of time so they can accommodate you. If there is nothing you can eat at the party, avoid complaining and be grateful you were invited.

Be sure to follow up with the host if you have any questions or concerns. Also, if you RSVP, then you should show up. If something happens and you cannot come, be sure to let them know. And if you’re at the receiving end of the no RSVP, do so graciously.

12. Have Fun!

People laughing and raising their glasses for a toast
People laughing and raising their glasses for a toast

Planning a party can take a lot out of you, but it is important to remember why you are doing it. You are celebrating a birthday! Take time to enjoy the moment and the company.

Don’t stress over every tiny detail. Things are bound to go not as planned, but it is not the end of the world. Try to relax and go with it.

Make sure to have fun, be present in the moment, and make memories with those closest to you. After all, you only turn however many years old once!

Should you pay for everyone on your birthday?

It is most certainly not expected of you to pay for everyone on your birthday. After all, it is your birthday, and you may want to celebrate it with your good friends without worrying about breaking the bank.

If you have the means and want to, paying for your guests is fine. If you are planning something that will cost money, you may want to communicate it to your guests beforehand so that they come prepared.

What is the difference between a birthday party and a surprise party?

If you are invited to a birthday party, chances are the birthday person knows about it and you can openly discuss how excited you are with them. However, if you receive an invitation to a surprise party, you should never discuss it with the birthday person.

The name says it all: “Surprise.” Don’t ruin it for everyone by spilling the beans! Keep it quiet and know how much your friend or family member will appreciate it.

How should I celebrate my birthday with my children?

If you have children, you can celebrate your birthday with them in several ways. You can have an intimate family birthday party with only close family members. Or, you can celebrate with them one day and then have a party with your friends another day.

Whatever you choose to do, you should spend your special day with the ones you love the most and enjoy every minute of it.

Margaret Dunn

Margaret is a passionate writer based in Costa Rica, though she was raised in the southeastern US. Being from the South, good manners and proper etiquette were ingrained in her from a young age and she has always been fascinated with etiquette in different settings and places. When she is not writing, you can find her exercising, reading, or spending time with her family at the beach.

Recent Posts