How to Honor an Important Guest’s Birthday at Your Wedding

A young woman blowing out candles on a birthday cake at a wedding.

Having another celebration, such as a birthday, coincide with your wedding day is not as uncommon as you might think. While some to-be-newlyweds may find it awkward to share their special day with someone else, it may be unavoidable if it involves a very important guest. Ultimately, it is a personal choice whether to make any fuss about someone else’s celebration when you’re celebrating a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime event yourself. However, according to etiquette, it is not only polite, but may be expected.

What May Draw the Line

You absolutely don’t need to make any deal about someone’s birthday when it comes to your wedding day, but you may feel inclined to if that guest is someone close to you. There is plenty of debate whether it should be done and how it should be done.

Some brides and grooms don’t like the idea, while others think it would be impolite to stay silent. And this also applies whether that person’s birthday is on the same day as the wedding or a day or two around it. Whether you find it awkward or not, do recognize that the person may feel awkward themselves. It’s always tacky to upstage the bride or groom, so the person may not want to be made a big deal of when the event wasn’t meant for them in the first place. And in most cases, your guest of honor won’t expect anything, anyway.

So, if you feel unsure, you can even ask ahead of time if they would mind you taking a few minutes during the party to make an announcement. If they decline, find a more private way of expressing your happiness for them.

Ways to Share the Celebration

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to deal with cross-over holidays. You can be as timid as you want with one-on-one congratulations, or spare just a few minutes to let that person know they are truly special to you. If anything, this shouldn’t take away from your big day and will only add to the festivities. People love an extra excuse to celebrate and they will find it very noble of you to share your special moment with someone else.

Make a Toast

A man toasting a friend for their birthday at a wedding.

A toast is a simple gesture that takes just a moment of your time. If you’re making a speech at the reception, this would be the perfect time to tack on a “special thanks.” Not planning to make a speech yourself? Why not ask someone else, such as the DJ, to wish them all the best on behalf of you.

Bring out the Cake

If you want to bring extra attention to the occasion, why not invite everyone to sing “Happy Birthday” after your toast? You can accompany it with a small treat, such as a cupcake with a candle. As another suggestion, some couples have asked the birthday boy or girl to participate in the cake-cutting ceremony instead. Others have even prepared a separate, though smaller, cake in addition to the wedding cake itself.

Prepare a Special Present

Whether made public or private, bringing a small something to let them know they mean a lot to you can be a simple solution. If you have a seating chart, you can even leave it as a special surprise for them to find when they arrive. Alternatively, send your gift separately, but do leave or give them a special hand-written note as an acknowledgment.

Share a Dance

Another way to share the special day is for the bride or groom to invite the birthday guest of honor for a one-on-one dance after the couple’s first dance or sometime later on in the evening. However, since not everyone enjoys dancing in public, make sure they won’t mind the publicity.

It’s all in the Details

A woman dancing at a wedding.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that count. Should you choose to keep things more on the down-low, think of ways to make the person feel special without announcing anything. This may be making sure they sit with their friends or are allowed a plus one even if others are not. You may want to add a unique detail to their table that they’ll recognize. In addition, you can arrange for a special bottle of champagne or treat for their table-mates to share.

Or, instead of having them participate in the cake-cutting ceremony, ask them to participate in another way that will make them feel more involved and meaningful to you. For example, ask them to choose a song or two for the DJ to play or offer another role in the preparation process.

Say it with Sincerity

If you don’t feel right making their birthday public, or think the person wouldn’t appreciate the extra attention, spare a moment to congratulate them at some point during the reception. It is a small gesture, but will mean a lot to them.

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