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Happy Belated Birthday Wishes: What to Write to Make Up for Forgetting

Originally Published May 28, 2024Updated Jun 03, 2024

The sun is shining, a beautiful day awaits you. 

You open your eyes, and slowly roll over to check your phone when you see it. The dreaded post (Facebook users, we won’t judge!) or story … “Here’s to 30!”. You’ve forgotten your friend’s* birthday.

*or brother, or cousin, or colleague …

Before you start to freak out, keep in mind it happens to even the best of us! A long day at work, or a weekend away, or just a lapse in judgement, there are lots of good reasons why you may have forgotten the birthday. The good news is, there is a whole card category for this, so you can’t be the only one in this situation! 😅 The next step is crafting the perfect “Happy belated birthday” message to send to the person.

Want to make up for it quick? Write a nice little note and send it over by email or text, or Insta DM for the tech-savvy!

Want to make up for it big? Go all out with a card and a lovely handwritten note and send it via snail-mail, a touch of nostalgia to make the person smile!

What to write in for happy belated birthday wishes?

First things first, start off with the person’s name! Then I like to head into a first phrase that cuts right to the point “Happy belated birthday!”. You can add in a little message for an apology if you wish, however keep in mind that this is not an apology card, it’s a birthday card full of celebration! (albeit late)

Add in a little note wishing that the person had a great day, you can also throw in a sentence or two about what the person means to you or a special memory you share to add a cute and personalized touch!

Sign your name (throw in an emoji or two) and you’re good to go!

Belated Happy Birthday Quotes and Messages

  1. Happy belated birthday! I hope you had an amazing day filled with joy and laughter. Sorry for the late wishes, but know that you are always in my thoughts. 🎉🎂
  2. Dear [Friend's Name], I'm so sorry for forgetting your birthday. I hope it was a fantastic celebration! Sending you belated wishes for a year ahead filled with love, success, and happiness. 🎈🎊
  3. Belated happy birthday, [Family Member's Name]! As the days go by, my love and admiration for you continue to grow. I'm sorry for missing your big day, but I hope it was filled with laughter, smiles, and precious memories. 🥳🎉
  4. Happy belated birthday, [Friend's Name]! Even though I missed the big day, I want you to know how special you are to me. May this year bring you endless opportunities and beautiful moments. 🥳🎉
  5. To the one who brings so much joy into my life, happy belated birthday! I'm sorry for the delay, but I hope your special day was as wonderful as you are. Wishing you a year of blessings and unforgettable memories. 🎂🎈
  6. Happy belated birthday to the most amazing [Family Member's Name]! I may have been late, but my thoughts of you are always constant. May this year be filled with happiness, success, and all the things that bring you joy. 🎂🎈
  7. Oops! I can't believe I missed your birthday, [Friend's Name]. Please accept my sincerest apologies. I hope you had an incredible day surrounded by loved ones. Sending you belated wishes for a fantastic year ahead. 🎉🎊
  8. Happy belated birthday, my dear friend! Time may have slipped away, but my love and appreciation for you remain constant. May this year be filled with endless happiness, success, and all your heart desires. 🎂🎈
  9. Hey there, [Friend's Name]! I'm fashionably late to wish you a happy birthday. I hope it was a day filled with laughter, good food, and amazing memories. Cheers to another year of adventures together! 🎉🥳
  10. Belated happy birthday, [Friend's Name]! I'm sorry I missed the opportunity to celebrate with you. Nevertheless, I want you to know how much you mean to me. Here's to a year filled with dreams come true and moments of pure joy. 🎂🎈
  11. Dear [Family Member's Name], although my birthday wishes are late, my love for you is always on time. I hope your birthday was as wonderful as you are, and I'm grateful to have you in my life. Wishing you a year filled with blessings and joy. 🎈🎊
  12. Happy belated birthday, [Friend's Name]! I hope your special day was absolutely fantastic. Sending you lots of love, hugs, and belated wishes for an amazing year ahead. 🎉🥳
  13. Oops, I missed your birthday, [Family Member's Name], but my love for you remains unwavering. I hope your special day was nothing short of extraordinary, just like you. Wishing you a year filled with endless love and unforgettable moments. 🎉🥳
  14. Better late than never, right? Happy belated birthday, [Friend's Name]! I may be late to the party, but my wishes for a wonderful year ahead are always on time. May all your dreams and aspirations come true. 🎂🎈
  15. Happy belated birthday, [Friend's Name]! I'm fashionably late to the party, just like a fashionable celebrity arriving late to the red carpet. I hope your birthday was as glamorous as you are! 🎉🥳
  16. Oops! I'm a bit behind schedule, just like those people who sing "Happy Birthday" out of tune. Belated wishes for a harmonious year ahead, filled with laughter and joy! 🎂🎶
  17. Happy belated birthday, [Friend's Name]! They say age is just a number, so I figured a belated wish is just as good. May your age be forever stuck at your favorite number! 🎉🔢
  18. Better late than never, right? Happy belated birthday! I was going to send you a cake, but I figured the calories would be better off celebrated in spirit. Cheers to a year of guilt-free indulgence! 🎂🥂
  19. Congratulations on surviving another trip around the sun, even if I'm a little late to acknowledge it. Wishing you a belated birthday filled with laughter, love, and an endless supply of cake! 🎉🎂
  20. Happy belated birthday, [Family Member's Name]! You hold a special place in my heart, and I'm sorry for missing your special day. May this year bring you an abundance of love, happiness, and cherished moments. 🎉🎂

We hope this article of ideas to write in a belated birthday card help! Helpful hint: put a reminder in your phone so you don’t make the same mistake next year (take it from someone who has this problem often!).


Leah from Picta

Written by Leah from Picta

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Leah is a self-proclaimed iced coffee enthusiast, "word artist", and brunch connoisseur. 
By day, she makes a living by creating all this content you know and hopefully love for Picta on the blog, in your inbox, or on social media. 
By night, she enjoys cooking up something new in the kitchen, hopping on her road bike, and painting watercolors with a glass of rosé (or two or three)!

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