Birthday Party Etiquette Guide

Birthdays happen every day. No matter what happens, someone in the world is always growing one year older. In my family we have at least one birthday each month out of the year, some months have more than one birthday! It seems that I am always either throwing or attending some sort of birthday party. And you know what … I love every minute of it!

Birthdays are definitely my favorite holiday. It is that person’s very own special day! How exciting! However, it is so easy to get stressed out about a birthday party. Even if you are just attending the party you can easily get stressed out. I am writing this guide to give each of you a few pointers on the simple how to’s of birthday party etiquette. The etiquette rules may seem simple enough, however, they are easily forgotten in the midst of the busy lives we all lead in this day and age.

Birthday Host Etiquette

1. When should you send out invitations? Invitations should be sent out 2 weeks in advance of the party. As I said earlier, we live in an age of super busy lives. Kids are involved in tons of extra-curricular activities, as are parents. This makes for complicated schedules and getting those invitations out early helps to allow plenty of time for all of your guests to arrange their schedules to be able to attend. If you wait until closer to the actual party date, you run the risk of more people not being able to attend due to schedule conflicts. There is no way to insure that you will be able to schedule your party around each and every guests lives, so do not be surprised or upset if some guests are still unable to attend even with the early invitation send off.

2. Welcome, welcome everyone! Make sure you are able to greet everyone at the party. Best case scenario is to be at the door when they arrive. However, this is not always possible. If you are not at the door to greet guests as they enter, then be sure to make your way to them as soon as you can to say hello, and give them any details they may need from you.

3. Food and drink patrol! Sure, you don’t want to spend your entire time at the party handing out drinks and food to all the guests, however, you need to make sure you show your guests where they can get food and drink. Plus you need to make sure you keep any items filled that will need refilling (punch bowls need to be topped off, chip bowls, and etc.). It seems tedious, but it is such an important part of a party! You want to make sure your guests are well fed, and not parched!

4. Be the guide! If you have different activities scheduled for your party, you need to make sure to guide your guests through the party. Whether it is time to play games, eat cake, open presents, dance, or any other special party activity; someone has to let the guests no what it is time to do or else no one will know the plan. This is a huge responsibility as the host.

5. Don’t forget to say “Thank you!” This is such a dying art, but it is so important. You really should make sure to thank each and every guest. I always make sure to thank everyone as they leave. However, a written “Thank You” note is such a wonderful notion as well. This can easily be sent in an e-mail as well as sent through the post office. It is such a rare thing to actually get a “Thank You” note in this day and age, that it is always such a wonderful surprise to your guests. It really makes them realize how important they are to you, plus they are more likely to attend your next event!

Birthday party Guest Etiquette

1. R.S.V.P Sure it seems obvious, but it really is shocking how many people completely forget or ignore this simple rule. How can a host be expected to appropriately plan for a party if she does not know how many people are to attend? In order to have enough food, drink, and party favors to include you, it is absolutely necessary that you R.S.V.P. It is such a simple task. A phone call or an e-mail to say yes we would love to come, or I’m sorry we can’t make it this time. It doesn’t even take you five minutes. Such a short and simple thing, can make a hostesses job that much easier!

2. Rules! If you are attending a party, then make sure to set up rules before you arrive. This does not only apply to children. Of course, for children it is also very important. However, the rules you lay out must be stuck to, no matter what! Some rule examples for adult parties would be: how many drinks you can drink, who will be the designated driver, how long you plan to stay. Some rule examples for children would be: playing nice, not blowing out the candles on the cake, not opening presents for the party child, when you plan to leave. With children it is important to inform your child what the consequences will be for not following these rules as well.

3. Be on time! Sure it can be cute to be fashionably late, however, it is also very important to be on time! If you can not make it on time, make sure to inform the party host that you will be late. If the host is expecting you he or she will not want to start the party without you, so the party will be sitting on hold while waiting for all the guests to arrive. So make sure you are on time!

4. Offer your help. Even though the host or hostess will more than likely tell you to just enjoy the party, it really is a wonderful gesture to offer to help out if you can. Even calling ahead of time to see if you can bring anything along is a wonderful way to do this. My dad is always so great about asking if we need him to bring ice or drinks along. Many times I have told him that we have everything we need, however the times that I have forgotten those details it has been such a huge help for him to offer and follow through on that help! My mother is wonderful about helping me with cakes. She has an amazing talent for decorating cakes, and I know how much we thoroughly enjoy working together to make cake masterpieces! so make sure to offer your help whenever you can!

5. Don’t forget to say “Thank you!” Yes, I know I said this before. However, it is just as important for the guest as it is for the host or hostess. Birthday parties are a fun time for everyone not just the guest of honor, so make sure to thank your host for having you over for the great time! On your way out is the easiest way to do this. However, you can take this a step further as well. A phone call after the fact, an e-mail, a mailed “Thank You” note, or even a host or hostess gift are all wonderful ways to thank someone for hosting and having you at their party.

Birthdays come and birthdays go, make sure you enjoy each and every one of them no matter who you are at the party!


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