Make a wish! Here’s when to send out birthday party invitations

A carrot cake with white frosting and a slice cut out sits next to the missing slice on a pink tablecloth beside silverware.
Paperless Post BlogKids > Make a wish! Here’s when to send out birthday party invitations

Throwing a birthday party can be fun and exciting, and a fantastic way to honor someone you love (yourself, included!). From one to 100 and every age in between, knowing when to send birthday invites will ensure your bash is a celebratory success. In charge of planning a birthday party? Who you’re inviting and where the party will be held are important things to keep in mind, so you can give guests plenty of time to make arrangements and guarantee a great turnout.

Find out how far in advance to send birthday invitations for the 10 most popular types of birthday parties below. 

When to send invites for a 1st birthday party
When to send invites for a kids’ birthday at home
When to send invites for a kids’ birthday party at a venue
When to send invites for bar and bat mitzvahs, quinceañeras, and sweet 16s
When to send invites for milestone birthdays
When to send invites to a casual adult birthday party
When to send invites for an adult getaway birthday party
When to send invites for a surprise birthday party

A rainbow-colored chart shows how far in advance to send birthday party invitations depending on event type and formality.

When to send invites for a 1st birthday party

A baby’s 1st birthday is perhaps the most memorable birthday of all. It hardly seems like a year has passed since your baby arrived, but here you are, approaching this monumental milestone. Friends and family will want to celebrate with you and your little one, so it’s important that you give people enough notice to add your party to their schedules. 

Most parents send out 1st birthday party invitations at least four weeks before the event, which is the perfect amount of time—not too late, and not so early that people will forget about the festivities. (Of course, when you use Paperless Post, you can send scheduled reminders to guests as the party date approaches.)

Choose from hundreds of beautiful 1st birthday invitations and find something that suits your theme—like a prehistoric party brimming with adorable dinosaur details. Or celebrate by sending a photo invitation featuring your favorite moments of that special first year. 


Left: An invitation shows a rainbow unicorn jumping above a cloud with gold stars above. Right: A unicorn-themed tiered cake sits on a pink dessert table with a pastel rainbow behind it and pink, purple, and white balloons above.“Unicorn Leap” by Hello!Lucky for Paperless Post; Image via Parties 365.

When to send invites for a kids’ birthday at home

From toddlers to pre-teens, hosting a birthday party for your kids at home is sure to fill the house with fun energy. Sending kids’ birthday invitations a month in advance gives other parents enough time to slot your party into their family’s schedule. 

Young party-goers are a lively bunch, so creating activities that positively channel their excitement ensures a great time for everyone. Our ideas for fun kids’ birthday party activities can help you find creative, memorable ways to keep the group entertained and engaged.

With Paperless Post, it’s easy to find invitations that match your party’s theme, from unicorns to excavators and outer space. Then, customize the look of your invitation, add information for activities like sleepovers, poll guests on any dietary requirements, and instantly track RSVPs as they roll in. 


Left: A laser tag course with neon and black lights. Right: A black laser tag invitation with colorful intergalactic squiggles along the border.Image via Mountasia Family Fun Center; “Laser Land” by Paperless Post.

When to send invites for a kids’ birthday party at a venue

Hosting a birthday party at a venue is a great idea. It eliminates the need to prepare your home before the party, and saves you from cleaning up after. Think about the type of venue you have in mind and plan from there. For example, a picnic in the park will have different time commitments than a day at a water park or the zoo

Once you’ve confirmed your location, give parents plenty of notice and send your invitations out at least six weeks in advance, or sooner if you need to confirm a final head count with your venue. Looking for ideas on where to hold your event? Our guide to kids’ birthday party locations is full of inspiration to get you started.

Once you’ve confirmed the reservation or booked your venue, it’s time to customize your invitations and send them to your eager guests. As the party date draws near, Paperless Post makes it effortless to send event reminders to guests so everyone is on track to attend. 


An online invitation with a bouncing circular white balloon secured with a green leafy vine on a light orange backdrop and the words “Jen’s XV” in the center.“XV Balloon” Flyer by Paperless Post.

When to send invites for bar and bat mitzvahs, quinceañeras, and sweet 16s

Are you planning a bar or bat mitzvah? You’ll want to send out your invitations as early as possible. Most people send out bar and bat mitzvah invitations 10 weeks in advance and begin planning up to a year before. Since these parties typically have an extensive guest list and are often formal events, friends and relatives need plenty of time to plan their attendance, especially if they’re traveling from out of town. 

Our guide to bar and bat mitzvah invitation wording takes the guesswork out of what to write, making it easy to customize your invitation and include all relevant information, like the event schedule, travel details, and accommodation options. For more inspiration, our fun and unique b’nai mitzvah party ideas help you plan a celebration that stands out.

If you’re planning a quinceañera with your daughter, you already know how important her big day is to her. You’ll want to give your guests as much notice as possible and send invitations as soon as the venue is confirmed. Like a bat mitzvah, most hosts send invitations at least 10 weeks in advance. Get started with our quinceañera theme ideas to help you plan a special celebration. Choose from an assortment of gorgeous quinceañera invitations that reflect her personality or highlight a favorite photo of the birthday girl. After you send your invitations, keep guests up to date on any changing details or reminders with broadcast messaging. 

Turning 16 is a special time in any teen’s life, and a sweet 16 birthday party is the perfect way to mark the occasion. Depending on how formal and extravagant, you’ll want to send out sweet 16 invitations between six and eight weeks ahead of time. Capture your teen’s spirit and creativity with themes ranging from rock ‘n’ roll to red carpet glam, and score mega parent points with the help of our teen birthday party ideas. Enable the comment wall on your invitation page so friends and family can post their well-wishes and share photos to build pre-event excitement.


Left: A cream 50th birthday invitation with a gold sunburst in the center and gold border, and the word “FIFTY” written vertically. Right: Four Champagne flutes with blackberry garnishes and striped straws.“Around the Sun” by Paperless Post; Image via The Perfect Palette.

When to send invites for milestone birthdays

We love milestone birthdays. Whether you’re celebrating your official grown-up status at 21 or turning over a new leaf at your 50th birthday, there’s a fun party to plan. 

When to send out birthday invitations depends on your event type. If you’re planning a destination birthday with a group, you’ll need to give friends at least eight weeks’ notice (more on that in a minute); otherwise, a month should be enough time for friends to prepare to attend your special day. 

Kick off adulthood with a bang with our 21st birthday ideas that will get your creativity flowing and help make it the best bash your friends have ever attended. Turning 21 is just the first in a series of milestone birthdays, and we have invitations for all of them—30, 40, 50, and beyond. Choose from our festive collection of milestone birthday invitations and plan a party that’s one for the ages.


An online invitation with palm fronds against the sky and the words “AGING AND RAGING” in black and white block letters with a beer bottle rocking.“Aging & Raging” Flyer by Paperless Post.

When to send invites to a casual adult birthday party

Some people enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, which extends to their ideal birthday get-together. Even if you’re planning a simple birthday party, giving guests a heads-up of four weeks is still a good idea. Waiting any longer could cause schedule conflicts if friends have already committed themselves to other events. 

With Paperless Post, customizing and sending birthday party invitations is a breeze, whether you’re planning a retro karaoke night or an afternoon of backyard beers. To make your soirée stand out, our casual adult birthday party ideas offer plenty of fun ways to celebrate in style.


Left: A wooden banquet table with wide brimmed straw hats on the backs of the chairs topped by tropical fruit and surrounded by lush greenery, like banana leaves, and a peacock hanging from the rafters. Right: A green birthday invitation has a border of monstera leaves.Image via Alida & Miller; “Monstera” by Rifle Paper Co.

When to send invites for an adult getaway birthday party

A destination birthday party can be a fabulous choice, whether it’s a tropical vacation or a group golf trip. When inviting people to an out-of-town event, a bare minimum of six weeks’ notice is a good idea, but try to give more, especially if you’re heading to a far-off locale that requires a longer trip and more planning. Like any other group destination activity, there are lots of details to work out before the big day. You’ll want to give guests maximum time to make travel plans, notify their work if time off is required, and arrange accommodations. 

Choose from our wide array of adult birthday invitations to announce your party and send the details to your guests. Then, use your invitation page to keep friends updated on plans and share information on your upcoming trip.


Left: A surprise party invitation shows a small door opening in the upper right corner streaming light into a black room with rainbow confetti. Right: A woman in a red top and black bottoms stands holding oversized baby pink and glitter balloons behind a table loaded with desserts, flowers, and taper candles.“Last Door on the Left” by Paperless Post; Image via Paula Ordovas.

When to send invites for a surprise birthday party

A surprise birthday is a masterpiece of planning and secrecy. Not only do you have to make all the arrangements for a regular birthday, but you also have to keep the guest of honor from finding out. To give guests plenty of notice, send your invitations six weeks before the bash. 

Our surprise birthday party ideas give you plenty of inspiration for your celebration and our tips on how to throw a surprise party help you organize all the elements of an epic event. Choose from our excellent selection of surprise birthday party invitations and let the whispered planning begin.


The best birthday parties start with Paperless Post

Now that you know when to send out birthday invites for any age or type of affair, you’ll be an unstoppable force in planning the perfect event. No matter what kind of celebration you throw, our birthday invitations make the process enjoyable and easy. Send them via email, text, or shareable link, communicate with guests directly through our platform, and track RSVPs instantly.

And if you’re looking for party supplies and décor to make your birthday celebration even more unforgettable, head to Paperless Post Party Shop for everything you need (and then some!). 


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Hero image via Bryan Gardner.