It’s no secret that sometimes life just gets away with you and, even though we hate to admit it, special moments like birthdays can pass us by. It can be a stressful experience to realise you’ve missed a loved one’s birthday, so we’ve put together some quirky, sincere and heartfelt messages to help you find the right way to convey your belated wishes and patch up any damage it might have caused.
There is some confusion about the correct way to send late birthday wishes. Some of you may be wondering, is the correct phrase ‘happy belated birthday’ or ‘belated happy birthday’? Well, let’s break it down so it’s easier to understand.
Is Belated Before or After?
Let’s start with the meaning of ‘belated’. Belated means ‘coming later than expected’ or ‘delayed beyond the usual time’. It applies to something that is late or perceived as late. For example, if you received Christmas gifts after 25th of December, they would be belated gifts.
What does “happy belated birthday” mean?
When you wish someone a belated happy birthday, you are wishing them after the birthday has taken place. It follows that, when you put the word ‘belated’ before ‘birthday’, you are implying that it is the birthday that came later than expected. But when you put the word ‘belated’ before ‘happy birthday’, then you are showing that it was, in fact, the wish that was late.
So while the phrase“Happy belated birthday” means the birthday came late, “Belated happy birthday” means the birthday wishes came late.
Is it correct to say belated happy birthday?
Since our birthdays can never be late, the correct phrasing is ‘belated happy birthday’. So for all of you that are concerned about being grammatically correct, now you know!
How do you wish someone a belated birthday?
While it can be an awkward thing to do, the best way to wish someone a belated birthday is honestly and from the heart. People’s lives are busy, and it’s not uncommon for people to forget even the most important occasion. Even if the person is a bit hurt, they’ll understand. That being said, people often wonder what the best way is to apologize for a belated birthday. Is it better to make a joke? Or to go for a more sincere approach? What we’ve found is that it really changes from person to person. If it’s a particularly important milestone, you might want to proceed with caution. Making a joke might make the situation worse but can also help to lighten the mood, so try your best to gauge how the person might be feeling.
Ideas for Belated Birthday Wishes
We’ve made a list of some belated birthday wishes for all members of your family, from your auntie to your dog, and maybe even for your French travel abroad student. So the next time you forget a special birthday, you don’t have to waste any time thinking about what to say to make it better.
Belated birthday wishes for a friend
- Happy Little-Bit-Late Birthday! Sorry I forgot, but I wanted to send you belated birthday wishes all the same!
- Wishing you a belated happy birthday, pal! Sorry I missed the big day, but thought I’d extend your birthday a little longer.
- A belated happy birthday to you. May all the good things that life has to offer always find their way to your doorstep (hopefully quicker than this card!)
- Despite my wishes being a little late, you know they are straight from the bottom of my heart. I wish you success in all your endeavors. Happy belated birthday, my friend.
- It’s never too late to wish a wonderful friend like you happy birthday. May your life be full of peace, joy, happiness and success. Happy belated birthday friend.
Belated birthday wishes for your cousin
- Good things come to those who wait! Happy belated birthday Cousin!
- We all know that birthdays are special, but someone like you is special everyday! Happy belated birthday Cousin!
- I didn’t forget your birthday, I just wanted to prolong the celebration! Happy happy birthday cuz!
- In another part of the world it’s custom to send birthday wishes the day after someone’s birthday. I don’t know where, but I’m there! Happy belated birthday to my favourite cousin.
- I know it seems like I forgot your birthday, but actually I was just waiting for a quiet moment to tell you how special you are. Happy belated birthday cousin!
- Wishing my dear cousin a happy belated birthday! You will always be more like a sibling to me. Sending lots of love to you.
- Sorry this card is a bit late. I remembered your birthday, just not the date! Happy belated birthday cousin!
See more Birthday Wishes for Your Cousin >>>
Belated birthday wishes for your niece
- Even though this is late, it’s never too late to wish you the best of everything! Happy birthday niece!
- Your birthday came, and then it went. Here’s the message I should have sent. Belated happy birthday my beautiful niece! Sorry this message is late, but I thought I’d include a small poem to make it up to you.
- May you always be as wise as the old oaks, as graceful as the falling leaves and more punctual than this birthday card. Happy birthday my dear niece. Sorry for the late wishes!
- Since you were born I’ve been wishing you only the best. It’s been a pleasure to watch you grow into the incredible woman you are today, and I am so sorry to have missed this momentous occasion. Sending you much love and the heartiest belated birthday wishes.
- You are an absolute joy in our lives and not a day goes past that I don’t think of you. Sorry to have missed your birthday, but I celebrate the woman you have become every day! Happy belated birthday niece!
Belated birthday wishes for your aunt
- This wish is late so that you can celebrate longer! Happy belated birthday aunt!
- To my favourite Auntie, happy happy belated birthday! I’m so sorry that I missed the special day, but, to me, you are special every day!
- Thank you for always being like a second mother to me. I appreciate all you do and wish you only the best for the next chapter in your life! Apologies for the belated birthday wishes!
- I’m so sorry I forgot your birthday, but how do you expect me to remember when you don’t look any older! Belated happy birthday to my beautiful aunt!
- Now that everyone else’s wishes have worn off, you can have a great big one from me! Happy belated birthday sweet Aunty!
- I’m so incredibly sorry for missing your special day Auntie! Please forgive me and accept my sincerest wishes in celebration of your birthday. I know that you will succeed in all that you set out to achieve.
Belated birthday wishes for your uncle
- The world is made up of two types of people. Meticulously punctual types and the awesome fun people like me who don’t own calendars. Happy belated birthday uncle!
- Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about you. Apparently very ‘lately’! Happy belated birthday uncle! Sorry I missed it! Will be sure to catch the next one. Wishing you all the best.
- Sorry I missed the beginning of this new chapter, glad to see that it’s off to a roaring start! Happy happy belated birthday to you, Uncle!
- Sorry for the belated wishes but today, I’ll raise a toast to you and hope you enjoy all the finer things in life. You’ll always be the coolest uncle around. Happy belated birthday uncle!
Belated birthday wishes for your dog
- In my eyes, every day with you is worth celebrating! Sorry I missed your birthday my special pooch.
- Happy belated birthday dog! Sorry for the late wishes, but the treats will make up for it I’m sure.
- Thanks for being happy to see me when I come home, even when I miss your birthday! Happy belated birthday dog friend!
- Even though you had no idea, I feel terrible for missing your birthday! Happy belated birthday dog. Wishing you a happy future filled with walks, tennis balls and treats! Thanks for being my best friend.
- Sorry I missed your birthday, bud. It was the cat’s fault! Your belated birthday wishes come complete with a fancy cooked dinner and your favourite back rub. All the best for the dog years head!
Belated Happy Birthday Wishes in Different Languages
Belated happy birthday in French
The French express their belated birthday wishes by saying ‘Joyeux anniversaire avec un peu de retard’.
Belated happy birthday in Spanish
In Spanish, they say ‘Feliz cumpleaños atrasado!’.
Belated happy birthday in Chinese
The way to wish someone a belated happy birthday in Chinese is ‘请接受我迟到的生日祝福’.
Belated happy birthday in Italian
In Italian, to wish someone a belated birthday you say ‘Auguri in ritardo’.
If you’ve missed a loved one’s birthday don’t fret! These things happen and now you’ve got some ideas of how to make it up to them. Just remember that it really is the thought that counts. Even if it’s a little late.