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Belated Happy Birthday: 40 birthday wishes + 5 longer messages + 5 top tips

Plenty of you have been there: you look at your calendar and suddenly realize that there was a birthday a few days ago and you completely forgot! We’ve put together a few suggestions for you below so that your birthday wishes will still be well received, even after the fact.

You never feel good about forgetting birthdays of people who are important to you and most of the time, you didn’t do it on purpose. All the same, you should make sure you send them some belated birthday wishes as soon as you remember.

Belated birthday wishes

Belated birthday wishes

Sending belated birthday wishes is not a particularly pleasant affair, but with the right saying or message, you’ll still be guaranteed to put a smile on the birthday boy’s or girl’s face, even if it’s late.

Funny belated birthday wishes

Humor can take the seriousness out of many a situation, including the awkwardness of having forgotten a birthday, so why not make a bit of fun out of how forgetful you are and lighten the mood a little?

Here we have some funny ways of saying a belated happy birthday, so if anyone’s annoyed about you forgetting their birthday, they’re sure to quickly forget.

  1. My dog ate your birthday card, so that’s why my birthday wishes are a little late. Nevertheless, all the best and all my love belatedly.
  2. I’m sure you didn’t expect me to actually wish you happy birthday on time and I would hate to disappoint.
  3. I once heard that late birthday wishes bring double the luck. So that’s why I’m only congratulating you now. From the bottom of my heart: belated happy birthday!
  4. Unfortunately, I was abducted by aliens on your birthday. But fortunately, I’ve now made it back to earth and can finally congratulate you. Happy Birthday!
  5. It’s not just you, I’m getting old and forgetful too. I’m sorry that I forgot your birthday. So here are some belated birthday wishes!
  6. Late birthday wishes are better than no wishes at all, right? Just be thankful that I even remembered! A belated happy birthday to you!
  7. I’m a little late because I wanted to give you time to get used to your new age. But now I guess I can start congratulating you. A belated happy birthday!
  8. In some cultures, being late is considered polite – and so I just wanted to be polite. Belated happy birthday!
  9. I’m sorry for being a goof,
    A little behind this year,
    And letting your birthday
    Slip my mind, my dear!
    Belated happy birthday!
  10. I hope you celebrated your birthday the way you came into the world – naked and screaming. Belated Happy Birthday!

Here you will find a great selection of funny birthday wishes that you can send belatedly.

Short belated birthday wishes

Short belated birthday wishes

If you have some small space on a card or want your belated birthday message to be featured on a cake or funny picture, it’s best to keep your birthday wishes short. Or maybe you just want to add a nice saying to round off a longer, personal message you’ve written.

  1. My congratulations are unfortunately late … but still from the heart: all the best!
  2. I’ll sit myself on the naughty step and think about how I forgot your birthday. Belated happy birthday!
  3. My birthday wishes may be late, but this means you can celebrate longer. All the belated best!
  4. Just to say a belated happy birthday to you!
  5. Congratulations are good on any day as long as they’re heartfelt, right? Therefore, all the belated best!
  6. Better late than never! I hope you had a nice day. Belated happy birthday.
  7. I just didn’t want your birthday to be over already, that’s why I’m only wishing you happy birthday now. All the best!
  8. You just don’t look any older, that’s why I forgot your birthday! All the belated best!
  9. Oops, I overslept. Belated happy birthday!
  10. Wishing you a belated happy birthday, pal! Sorry I missed the big day, but thought I’d extend your birthday celebrations a little bit longer.
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The correct term to use if you’ve forgotten someone’s birthday and want to send them some late wishes is actually "Belated happy birthday", as this implies that the wishes are late. The phrase "Happy belated birthday" is technically incorrect, as it implies that the birthday itself is late, which seeing as it refers to the day someone was born, cannot really be the case.

Sorry-I-forgot-your-birthday wishes

Sorry-I-forgot-your-birthday wishes

If you really feel bad about forgetting someone’s birthday or simply don’t feel like being so light-hearted about the whole situation, you can choose one of our apologetic birthday wishes.

They can be used to ask the birthday boy or girl to forgive you for being forgetful and some even feature some charming rhymes.

  1. My warmest belated congratulations!
    They’re late, and I am unspeakably sorry.
    Please, please forgive me!
    I hope my best wishes can bring you some glee!


  2. I know you must have been waiting to see a message from me appear, and I’m sorry that I missed your special day.
    But you know what they say, my friend – save the best ’till last!
    Happy birthday to you!


  3. My memory is a sieve,
    I truly hope you can forgive.
    So belated happy birthday to you,
    All the best and I hope your dreams come true!


  4. Happy birthday, my friend. Life is so hectic right now that I even forgot your special day. I hope you had a wonderful time with your family and friends.


  5. Sorry I’m only messaging now.
    I’m horrified, I don’t know how,
    I managed to forget your special day.
    Believe me, I know it’s not okay!
    Please accept my belated congratulations,
    And I wish you only good vibrations!

  6. I am frustrated that I couldn’t wish you a happy birthday on time, but it was actually intentional because I wanted to give you a big surprise. I hope you had a wonderful day. Happy birthday, my friend.


  7. Even though these birthday wishes have arrived a little late, they’re still full of love, my friend. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. Please forgive me for the delay – belated happy birthday!


  8. I’m so sorry I’m late.
    But all the more I congratulate you, mate,
    And send you my best wishes – so please don’t be irate.
    I wish you a wonderful year filled with health, joy and success.
    And I can’t wait for our next meeting – wear your best dress.
    Belated happy birthday! Next year I’ll be on time – more or less!


  9. Please do not be angry with me,
    Even if I’m dozy – I do agree.
    Your birthday passed me by,
    But I promise I’m not a bad guy.
    So I’ll say sorry and keep it short:
    Belated happy birthday, you old sport!


  10. Hi, I’m sorry I forgot your birthday my friend. Please accept these belated birthday wishes. I hope your birthday was incredible.


Belated birthday wishes for WhatsApp

Belated birthday wishes for WhatsApp

Sometimes the stress of everyday life just doesn’t allow for anything else and we have to resort to the quick, digital way.

You may also just want to send your belated birthday wishes as quickly as possible, so WhatsApp is usually the fastest solution.

  1. Here comes a digital belated birthday wish! Belated happy birthday!
  2. My cell phone was gone.
    For days, and I’m not having you on!
    That’s the reason why today,
    Is the first opportunity for me to say –
    Belated happy birthday!
  3. I’m late to congratulate …
    But I was still thinking of you!
    And so no longer will I make you wait,
    Belated happy birthday – I hope it’ll do!
  4. It’s not only you, I’m getting older and more absent-minded too. Sorry that I’m only writing to you now. A belated happy birthday!
  5. As we are growing older, we’re becoming more and more forgetful. I am really sorry for forgetting your special day. Belated happy birthday!
  6. I don’t know how I lost track of the days. I hope you understand the situation I was in. Belated happy birthday and I wish you all the best for the coming year.
  7. I am not really late in wishing you a happy birthday – I just thought that a special person like you should also celebrate the next day. Have a nice day ahead.
  8. You look the same every year and I think that’s why I forgot you’re getting old. Belated happy birthday.
  9. It’s true I forgot your birthday, but I didn’t forget you and that’s the most important thing. I hope you have the happiest year ahead!

Longer messages for sending belated birthday wishes

Longer messages for sending belated birthday wishes

If you think that the phrases and wishes you’ve seen so far have been a bit too short and impersonal, here are some longer messages for you that you can customize and use for inspiration.

  1. Dear [name],
    Unfortunately I missed your special day this year. But forgetting a birthday does not mean the person has been forgotten too.
    You are always in my heart, only unfortunately I am a bit forgetful when it comes to dates. So I hope you had a wonderful day and wish you all the belated birthday love and good vibes. Love you!

  2. Dear [name],
    We’re both familiar with a good ol' bit of everyday stress. Work, family and the other little things all play their part and before you know it, you’ve forgotten the special day of a person who’s important to you.
    I hope you’re not too angry with me. We’ll go out together soon [to the movies, restaurant …] and I’ll make up for my forgetfulness! Until then, I hope you had a great day. Belated congratulations!

  3. Dear [name],
    I would love to give you a good reason why I didn’t wish you a happy birthday on your birthday. But there isn’t one. I’m just a forgetful jackass and I’m very sorry that I slept through your special day. And so I now wish you all the more all the best and that all your wishes and dreams come true.

  4. Dear [name],
    I am slower than any snail and more scatterbrained than a forgetful eccentric. Shame on me for forgetting your birthday. I hope you don’t hold it against me too much.
    To make up for it, I’ll take you out to dinner [alternatively, any other activity, of course] and we can spend a nice evening together. Until then, all the belated best!

  5. Dear [name],
    I could write you a novel and invent some absurd, funny stories about why I forgot your birthday. But my problems and I are not important right now, it’s all about you and your special day.
    I wish you all the best for the coming year and that all your dreams come true.

Top tips for belated birthday wishes

Top tips for belated birthday wishes

Birthdays slip your mind – it happens. Nevertheless, it’s not a nice situation for the birthday girl or boy or for yourself. Of course, the more important the birthday boy or girl is to you, the worse it is.

Who likes forgetting their mother’s or sibling’s birthday? In addition to friends, relatives take it especially badly when their special day is simply forgotten.

Be honest

Everyone can forget a birthday now and then. It’s far from the end of the world, and that’s exactly why you should be honest when admitting and excusing your little faux pas.

You don’t have to make up wild stories about stress with your boss at work or sickness in your family: be honest and confess that you simply forgot about the day.

Otherwise, you’ll make it worse should your lies come to light. Everyone forgets things from time to time. It’s annoying, but it happens. No one will be mad at you forever because of it.

However, if you make up any stories and your lies are exposed, that’s much more of a reason to be angry.

Avoid long excuses

When you send out belated birthday wishes, don’t forget who it’s about. It’s not about your never-ending life story justifying why you missed an important date, but about belatedly congratulating the birthday boy or girl.

If there was a really important reason, you can of course mention it briefly. However, it should not be about getting as much sympathy as possible from the birthday boy or girl. After all, you want to make them smile with your belated birthday wishes and not beg for attention.

Have fun with your belated birthday wishes

In general, joking about how forgetful you are and that it’s easy to forget something is a good idea. It lightens the situation and lifts the mood, and the little grudge held against you will be quickly forgotten over a few laughs.

However, this also depends on whose birthday you forgot. If it’s your mother or partner, or a friend who is actually really upset with you, you should still show remorse and not make too much fun of the whole thing.

Don’t wait too long

Don’t wait too long

If you realize that you forgot a birthday, it’s best to catch up on the congratulations as soon as possible.

There’s no set cut-off for when it’s too late, but try not to wait several weeks, months or even half a year later.

If you want to send written birthday wishes, a few days later is still okay, but they become more awkward as the days go by. However, if you are not that close to the birthday boy or girl and happen to meet them in person two or three weeks later, it is still legitimate to offer your belated congratulations.

If you’re lucky, they won’t have even expected you to know their birth date in the first place and will be delighted to receive any wishes at all.

Customize the card

Especially if you want to joke about forgetting someone’s birthday, it’s a good idea to spruce up your birthday card a bit – you could draw a snail or turtle, or a cute, sleepy animal, for example.

If you still want to give a gift also after the fact and feel really guilty about not doing so sooner, you might want to give a little something extra, like a cake. That way, you’re sure to be forgiven for your little oversight in no time.

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