Are joint birthday parties a good idea? Q

Q: A friend has asked me to celebrate my birthday with her, is this a good idea?

joint birthday partiesA: I was once asked to combine a birthday by a friend for our daughters birthdays and I declined.

I declined because I know my friends reason for asking was to share costs as oppose to sharing a celebration because you love the other person. Which is fair enough but her idea of a birthday celebration and mine are very different and also I knew my daughter would end up having the raw end of the deal. If you’re asked to combine a birthday, ask for the persons reasons and consider carefully if it can be worked out so each person receives equal attention and benefits. If that’s not the case it can wind up being a very sour occasion. Above all do not be afraid to say no.

On the plus side sharing a celebration party in order to save costs can be a good idea if you have some ground rules and you abide by them.

  1. Ensure you are able to invite an equal number of people. This sounds easy to manage but what if you don’t actually know that many people? Having an invite list of up to 50 is not great if you can only invite twenty and then only 15 attend. If the numbers of each persons guests are uneven by great numbers, you may feel like the party is for the other person and you yourself are just another guest. NOTE: If you share the same friends and better still the same family this matter is not so much of an issue and is an all round great reason to share celebrations as people may be able to make one party and not the other. Sharing a party can reduce this risk.
  2. Split the budget based on a per ‘guest’ amount. That way if you agree to having a different number of guests, you don’t end up paying for the other person’s guests to party. Pay an amount per ‘head’ and accept there may be losses by the inevitable amount of people who do not attend and do not give notice.
  3. Each write down your ideas on preferred themes and entertainment for the party. Swap lists and mark the items on that list you’d be happy to consider. Swap the lists back and see if there are any items that match. If there aren’t someone won’t be happy with being the one to compromise. With items that match discuss the ideas and see if you can mutually agree on how to celebrate.
  4. Do the same as the above re location and so on.
  5. Do NOT agree to combine a celebration of you KNOW the other person is dominant and will take-over unless you are happy for them to do so while you sit back and relax.

Sharing a celebration because you love the other person and want to celebrate together for that reason

I would advise that you still have the ground rules as applied above. Loving someone doesn’t mean you won’t feel put-out if things seem to balance more in the other person’s favor.

If you have had a combined, joint celebration, birthday party let me know in comments. How was it?


I have had some great feedback re this topic on Facebook. Most replies were in favor of joint parties but these were all instances where those sharing the party were either related or shared the same group of friends. I think sharing the same set of friends and family is critical to how successful a joint party can be.

The least favorable experiences are here (anonymous)

“I think it really depends on the situation and people sharing… and both times I got sidelined… first time I was thirteen and it was with a more popular friend. Second time it was with my daughter for my 30th and her 1st… I didn’t mind with my dau-ghter as I was more fussed about celebrating my first babies first…. but when I was 13 people I didn’t like were invited. And pretty much majority of the party attended for her even though my parents prob paid half….but it can work… if they share the same guests and people are willing to put the same amount of effort and attention on both people”

“Adults only – NOT kids – my brother & I are 4 days difference in mid December – so not only did I get combined with brother – I also got “I’ll bring you your gift when I see you at Christmas” OR “this is your birthday AND christmas gift” I HATED it!”

I think the reply regarding the ‘for adults only’ advice raises a very important point. Children more so than adults want  to be the center of attention. Also if the children have a few years age gap they’re likely to enjoy very different party themes and atmospheres. These joint parties may take a little more careful planning to ensure the birthday girls and boys enjoy themselves as much as the guests.

Keep the feedback rolling in folks!

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