Birthday Party Etiquette

Birthday parties can be a highly fun event full of happy and positive energy. They can be a delightful time to take a break from everyday life and enjoy company of loved ones. But whether you are the guest or the host, birthday parties can also be somewhat exhausting. No matter the age of the guests at the party, or what part you play in the process (i.e. the parent of a child guest, the host of your teenager’s birthday party, or an adult party attendee), birthday party etiquette is a definite must during the event. Birthday parties serve as a happy occasion and having the right etiquette ensures it stays that way and in turn becomes a pleasant memory for everyone involved. birthday party etiquette

First, let’s talk about basic etiquette that should be shown at every birthday party you attend—no matter what the age of the party guests. Follow these rules and you’ll be the perfect guest or host for any birthday party:

  • Always RSVP. You were extended the warm invite to the party and the least you can do is respect the host enough to let them know if you are attending.
  • Never come to a birthday party empty-handed. Even if the host requests you not bring gifts, you can still be gracious and bring something simple such as flowers, cheese plate, bottle of wine, etc.
  • As the host, no matter what time the party is, always have food and drink available for your guests.
  • Send a thank you note to the host no more than a week after the birthday party. It’s a lot of work hosting a party—make sure the host knows how gracious and thankful you are to them for doing it.
  • As the host, send a thank you note to all your guests that came no more than a week after the birthday party. They came and supported your event that you worked so hard on.

Apart from the basic etiquette for any birthday party, there are a couple of etiquette tips that pertain to the three age groups of birthday parties.  A child’s birthday party, a teenager’s birthday party, and an adult’s birthday party have slightly different additions to etiquette.

A child’s birthday party covers ages from toddler to 13, and the biggest question of graciousness might be, do you drop your kids off at the birthday party or do you stay? As a busy parent, dropping your child off might be beneficial to giving you much needed time to check off some things on your busy to-do list. Both options are acceptable, but to figure what is the most appropriate, you have to take a few things into account: the age of your child, the temperament of your child, and your relationship/trust with the parents throwing the birthday party.

A teenager’s birthday party covers ages 13 through 19 and this etiquette tip might be an unexpected one. Technically, a teenager is still a “kid” and even if their etiquette is not perfect, as an adult host, yours can be. As soon as the teenagers enter your home, greet them immediately and use a polite and open way to establish your adult presence. Greeting them and welcoming them into your home normally serves to be enough to do this. The reason for this is to ensure respect in your household the best you can while the party is going on, as usually the parents of the guests do not stay.

For an adult birthday party, there are two important etiquette rules to remember. First, don’t show up early. The host will be running around trying to make sure everything is good to go and you don’t want to add to that stress. Secondly, keep your cellphone use to a minimum. Smartphones make it simple and tempting to take a sneak peek at our cells every few minutes, but the age old rule stands—it’s rude. Take the time to enjoy the birthday party the host has worked so hard to create.

With the upper hand on great etiquette, you are sure to be a guest or host that your loved ones will want to share the experience of a birthday party over and over again.