No matter how hard we try, each of us has had to send belated happy birthday wishes at some point.
Heck, I can make and print my own birthday cards, and occasionally I’m still late.
But after blowing it once you usually want to send something clever or heartfelt and then the pressure’s on and sometimes the old brain just seizes up. A blank, silent, idea-less void. And now you’re afraid you’re going to blow it twice.
This post may contain affiliate links.
That’s why I’ve pulled together a list of the best belated happy birthday wishes. All thought up or re-written by me and my team.
Before we get to that, though, let’s talk about what belated actually means.
Definition and Meaning of Belated
So what does happy belated mean?
Belated, especially as it relates to birthday wishes, means that you are telling someone happy birthday later than you should have. In other words, the actual day of their birthday has already passed.
There seems to be an unspoken rule about sending belated happy birthday wishes. Let me explain.
If you missed the birthday of a close family member or a dear friend, you may need to send an extra special gift along with your late birthday greetings.
Honestly folks, unless you’re unexpectedly out of cell service or without a phone don’t miss your kids, parents, or spouse’s birthdays, that’s bad. You just may be in the dog house for a while.
Next time you may want to plan and send a card ahead.
For most other relationships, just a funny belated birthday wish or genuine belated birthday greetings are appreciated.
Most friends will forgive you readily as they have been guilty of being late themselves.
We’ve all received a Facebook message from a friend or acquaintance we haven’t spoken to in years and felt so special that they reached out despite being late.
If you’re reading this blog, that likely means you are in need of some inspiration for writing a late birthday message. I’ve compiled a list of belated happy birthday messages to help you make the belated birthday person feel special after their special day.
This list covers a range of sentiments from warm birthday wishes to funny belated birthday messages. I hope you find what you need to make up for not sending a punctual birthday message.
Funny Belated Happy Birthday Messages
I’m a sucker when it comes to funny birthday cards to begin with, but I think humor especially helps smooth over your late birthday wishes.
Of course, you have to keep your audience in mind. Someone who is especially hurt by you missing their birthday may not receive happy belated birthday humor well.
|Everyone else may have told you happy birthday yesterday, but they aren’t thinking about you today, like I am. Happy birthday! From, Your One True Friend.|
|When the cake is eaten, gifts are put away, and the spotlight is gone, who is still showering you with birthday love? That’s right, I am! Happy birthday from your chronically late friend.|
|Better late than never, am I right? Happy belated birthday!|
|Remember that one time you turned another year older? Just wanted to make sure you didn’t forget. That happens with age. Best belated birthday wishes.|
|I waited to tell you happy birthday because I didn’t want my gift to make other people feel bad about the junk they got you. Happy birthday!|
|A late birthday wish means you’re entitled to doubles kisses, Hershey kisses that is. Happy birthday!|
|I was going to give you your favorite jewelry, but I knew you’d be upset I missed your birthday so I decided to keep the jewelry to console myself. Now all you get is this belated birthday card. I hope you learned your lesson.|
|I hope you had a decent birthday. I know it couldn’t have been that great because I wasn’t there. Maybe next year.|
|I didn’t know it was your birthday because you didn’t invite me to your party. I think we all know who’s to blame for this late happy birthday message.|
|Happy belated birthday! Belated means you get to eat more of your favorite candy and desserts today, in addition to your actual birthday.|
|Let’s just pretend I got this card to you on time. Happy|
|An elephant never forgets. Unfortunately, I’m not an elephant. Happy belated birthday!|
|Sorry I missed your birthday. Hopefully, you’ll have one next year.|
|I’m sorry that I was late to tell you happy birthday. I’m even more sorry that I didn’t get to taste your birthday cake.|
|Sorry I couldn’t make it to your birthday party. I was looking forward to eating birthday cake. Next year, save me a slice.|
An elephant never forgets. Unfortunately, I’m not an elephant. Happy belated birthday!
|When my age, my IQ and the price of a tank of gas all seem to be converging on the same number how can I be expected to remember a birthday too??! Happy belated B’day.|
|Some days I can’t even get my own kid’s names right. So I hope you’ll excuse me forgetting your birthday. Hope it was happy.|
|Sometimes birthdays seem like facts from my 8th grade History class. It’s hard to remember why they matter. Happy birthday anyhow.|
|Did you get to finally drink on this birthday? No! Do you finally qualify for the senior discount on this birthday? No! Then does it REALLY matter? Happy birthday anyhow.|
|You know you’re getting old when you can remember every word of that phone number song from the 80’s but can’t remember your own friend’s birthday. Happy belated birthday.|
|At my age close DOES count. Happy belated birthday.|
|Most days I can’t manage to find a pair of matching socks. Do you think there’s any hope I’ll remember your birthday??!! I hope it was happy.|
|Who wants all their birthday wishes on the same day? I’m here to spread the love. Even if it is a week or two late.|
|You know…on a tectonic scale of time I nailed it. Happy belated birthday.|
|The term birthday is so specific, so limiting. I prefer birthmonth. It’s hard to be late when you wish someone Happy Birthmonth.|
|I just wanted to keep the party going. So Happy Birthday. Even if it is a few weeks late.|
|At this point I’m not even sure YOU remember your birthday. Happy birthday anyhow.|
|Three days late. It’s the new “on time”. Happy birthday!|
|If you wanted me to remember your birthday you should have chosen a better date, Christmas or Halloween or New Years. I think it’s your fault. But happy late birthday anyhow.|
|I didn’t call on your birthday so no First Prize. But I sent this card so I guess I get a participation trophy.|
|Our friendship is too big to get hung up on things like timeliness and punctuality. Happy birthday, whenever it was.|
At this point I’m not even sure YOU remember your birthday. Happy birthday anyhow.
|A good friend tells you happy birthday on your actual birthday. A best friend waits a day to make you feel special for an extra day. Happy birthday!|
|Is this a belated birthday card or a really early one? Let’s just say it’s half full.|
|We all know the best birthday wishes don’t come in the form of a punctual birthday message. That would be boring and predictable.|
|I’m not late. I made it just in time for the after-party. Happy belated birthday, my friend.|
|Sorry about the belated birthday card. I thought we were celebrating according to the lunar calendar this year.|
|Hope you had a nice time at your pre-party. Now it’s time for the after-party! Happy belated birthday!|
|Happy belated birthday wishes from the deepest part of my heart – my endocardium.|
|Belated birthday greetings! Since I couldn’t be with you in person, this card is redeemable for (#) birthday cocktails.|
|A great friend like you deserves to be celebrated all month, not just on one day. Happy belated birthday!|
|Snailed it! Happy belated birthday!|
|We’re too young and hip to be forgetting birthdays. Sorry, friend! I’ll get you next year…if you have another birthday.|
|Sorry about the late birthday card. My owl had trouble finding your address. Happy belated birthday. (Harry Potter theme)|
|Of all the human beings, I tolerate you the most. Best belated birthday wishes.|
|If you feel like your age is starting to show, just look at the positive side; you don’t look a day over 100. Happy belated birthday.|
|I didn’t forget your birthday. You forgot my after–party. Happy belated birthday.|
A good friend tells you happy birthday on your actual birthday. A best friend waits a day to make you feel special for an extra day. Happy birthday!
|Congratulations are just inefficient. So from now on I’m batching. Happy New Year. Happy Valentine’s. Happy St Patrick’s day. Feliz Cinco de Mayo. Happy 4th of July. Happy Halloween. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas. And Happy birthday. Wasn’t that fun!|
|I propose a penalty system. You get one free drink for every day that my birthday wishes were late. It’s gonna be a rough night!!|
|On a cosmic scale does a week or two really matter? Happy birthday.|
|The kids want me to remember their birthday. The ladies want me to forget their birthday. How is one guy supposed to keep it all straight? Happy late birthday.|
|If you weren’t always one step ahead of me I may have remembered your birthday on time. It’s all your fault really. Happy belated birthday!|
|I know you expected my birthday wishes to be late and I didn’t want to disappoint you. Happy belated.|
|It’s so weird I missed your birthday. It only happens to me maybe once per year.|
|All great things take time. Like me wishing you the happiest of birthdays.|
|This is a free pass allowing you to be late for my next birthday. You’re welcome.|
|With so much chaos and turbulence isn’t it nice to know that some things never change? Like a friend who forgets your birthday… Every, single, year. Happy birthday|
|A friend who remembers your birthday? How much fun would that be?? I prefer the strange and the unpredictable, random birthday wishes at unexpected times. So happy birthday from an unpredictable friend.|
|It’s not irresponsibility. It’s me brushing up on chaos theory.|
|If I called you on your birthday that would be predictable. And predictability is bad, right?|
It’s so weird I missed your birthday. It only happens to me maybe once per year.
|You’re too special to forget (for long). Hence the belated birthday card.|
|Darn, I missed your birthday. The good news well-wishes do not have an expiration date. Happy belated birthday!|
|Wishing you love, joy, peace, health, and friends who don’t forget your birthday in your next year of life. Belated happy birthday!|
|Dam, I missed your birthday. (Beaver themed card)|
|I got you cheese and crackers to go with you wine-ing about me missing your birthday.|
|In case you’re deflated by my belated…here’s a card full of nothing. Best belated birthday wishes.|
|Missing your birthday is a crime and I’m guilty as charged.|
|I tried to think of a way to repay you for missing your birthday, but then I thought of three other birthdays I had forgotten. I’ll make it up to you next year!|
|Roses are red, violets are blue, this card is really late and I am terrible at poetry. Belated happy birthday.|
|You’re upset that I missed your birthday? I was helping move baby animals from an endangered species out of captivity. Who’s the jerk now? (With a wild animal theme card)|
|Was something happening yesterday? I thought I heard the fire trucks going to your house, something about too many candles. Happy belated!|
|Here’s me, always late and without a gift. But you love me anyways. Hope you had a great birthday.|
|I didn’t forget your birthday, I’m fashionably late.|
|I may have forgotten your birthday, but I forgot your age as well. So all is good.|
|You can pat yourself on the back for being a very patient person. Happy belated birthday!|
|Surprise! Your parents lied to you all these years and your birthday is actually today…. Or I’m late, take your pick.|
|Live like every day is your birthday. Like today, even though it’s not. Happy belated birthday!|
|I didn’t forget your birthday, I thought you deserved an extra day of celebrating!|
|I’m only a day late this year for wishing you a happy birthday! Aren’t you proud of me?|
I may have forgotten your birthday, but I forgot your age as well. So all is good.
|I’m a little disappointed. It seems like you just sat around and waited for this birthday thing to come to you. So by me getting a card I put more effort into your birthday than you did, right? So we can agree to forget that it’s five days late?|
|If you had a dollar for every time that I sent you late birthday wishes then… Well then you could buy your own birthday gift! Happy birthday|
|It’s always the fussy, cranky people that care about tardiness. But you’re not fussy, right? Happy birthday|
|If birthdays are so important why do they have to come at such inconvenient times? Happy belated birthday|
This cards’ late,
But who’s keeping score?
Happy Very Late Birthday
|Lateness isn’t a character flaw it’s a way to make the world more exciting and unpredictable. Happy exciting, unpredictable birthday.|
|If the gift is nice enough it really doesn’t matter when I wish you happy birthday, right?|
|I have an idea. We agree that the day that I send you a birthday card is your new birthday. How does that sound? Happy belated birthday.|
|You know, if you could send me a reminder that your birthday was coming up I would probably get you a card on time. But happy birthday anyway.|
|My birthday, your birthday, the birthday of the crazy old man who lives down the street. Does it really matter? I sent you a card!|
|But if I sent you a birthday card on time I’d never feel guilty enough to buy you a present. So here’s to late birthday wishes.|
|Three easy steps to turn a forgetful friend into a fancy dinner.|
Step one- Friend forgets birthday.
Step two- Turn on the guilt trip.
Step three- Order the steak and seafood!
I can’t wait for next year’s fancy dinner.
My birthday, your birthday, the birthday of the crazy old man who lives down the street. Does it really matter? I sent you a card!
Sincere Belated Birthday Wishes
If you’re looking for a kind birthday greeting to send to a friend or loved one after their birthday, I have pulled together additional ideas and you can also check out my large list of birthday wishes and messages.
It’s always the right time to send well wishes.
|I hope you had an amazing birthday full of birthday cake and so much love! Hopefully, I can be there to celebrate with you next year!|
|An amazing person like you deserves all the good wishes, even the belated ones. Happy birthday to my good friend!|
|Here’s to good health and a new, wonderful year! Sending my sincere belated birthday wishes.|
|Sending belated birthday wishes from the bottom of my heart.|
|My timing isn’t perfect, but my birthday wish holds true. I hope your day was as wonderful as you.|
|A good friend tells you happy birthday on your actual birthday. A best friend waits a day to make you feel special for an extra day. Happy birthday!|
|I hope you had a wonderful birthday. And I hope you have an even more wonderful year. Happy belated birthday!|
|There’s no wrong time to share good wishes. So here are some happy belated birthday wishes!|
|I hope my belated happy birthday message finds you well! May your new year surpass your last!|
|You’re a saint for putting up with my chronic tardiness. Belated happy birthday!|
|Having you as a friend is a blessing and I hope you can forgive me for forgetting your birthday. Hope you had a great one.|
|Time goes by way too quickly in our hectic world and I’m sorry I missed your birthday. Happy belated birthday!|
|I wish I could rewind the clock and send you my best wishes for your birthday on time. Hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.|
|My wishes may be late but my feelings for you always hold true. I love you so much.|
|Please accept my best birthday wishes with my sincere apology for being late this year.|
|I lost track of time, got stuck in traffic, had a family emergency…there is no excuse that’s good enough for missing your birthday. So I’ll just say I’m sorry and happy belated birthday!|
My timing isn’t perfect, but my birthday wish holds true. I hope your day was as wonderful as you.
|I may have forgotten your birthday but I’ll never forget you.|
|Sorry, I totally spaced it was your birthday! I hope it was out of this world!|
|Sorry! I took a while to wish you a Happy Birthday. Love you!|
|Your willingness to work hard has inspired me. And I hard-worked my way right past your birthday. Happy belated birthday boss.|
|Love is never meant to make you wait. I do love you, sorry I missed your birthday.|
|Happy birthday to the most amazing friend. I’m so sorry for not sending my wishes on time this year.|
|I have no good excuse for being late to wish you a happy birthday. Just name your price.|
|Since you haven’t aged a day, there was no reminder for me that you’d had another birthday. Sorry for being late. Happy birthday.|
|Late birthday wishes only make the celebration last longer. Happy birthday!|
|A date and an age are mere numbers, my love for you is infinite.|
|After so many concerts and trips and crazy adventures, the date you were born on seems almost too dull to care much about. Happy birthday my wild, crazy friend.|
Sorry, I totally spaced it was your birthday! I hope it was out of this world!
Belated Birthday Notes About Faith
Looking for a belated birthday message that evokes faith?
Here are a few birthday blessings for you to consider. If you need more options to choose from, check out my blog post, 100 Inspiring Religious Birthday Wishes and Blessings for Christians.
|The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. – Exodus 6:24-26 (ESV)|
|May the Lord bless you with a long, happy life and bless me with better memory. So sorry that I forgot your birthday. Please forgive me. Happy belated birthday.|
|May God bless you in your new year with lots of love and laughter.|
|Happy belated birthday! Birthdays are an opportunity to reflect on God’s blessings in your life. Even the small blessings, like birthday cake. Thank you, God, for birthday cake.|
|I’m thankful to God that I have you in my life. Don’t let my tardiness in wishing you a happy birthday tell you otherwise!|
|Having an amazing friend like you reminds me of what an awesome God we serve. Happy belated birthday, my friend.|
|Happy belated birthday, dear one. Remember to thank God for each passing year because the older you are, the more life you’ve lived.|
May the Lord bless you with a long happy life and bless me with better memory. So sorry that I forgot your birthday. Please forgive me. Happy belated birthday.
I hope you found my list of belated happy birthday messages helpful. Finding the right message to convey your birthday wishes when you’ve missed the actual birthday can be tricky. But it’s not impossible.
Did my list inspire you to write your own belated birthday greeting? Let me know in the comments!
Need inspiration for gifts? Check out my gift guides.
Don’t forget to pin these belated happy birthday wishes: