How to Create a Private Facebook Event | Secret Events & Surprise Parties
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Creating a Secret, Private Event on Facebook

Posted in Search & Social — January 3, 2013

Private_Event

About two years ago, I wrote a post which posed the question: How can I create a public event that blocks certain users? I wanted to create a public event that everyone could see *except* the person whose surprise party it was.

I still don’t have the answer!

In the meantime, however, that post continues to be of the most-viewed articles on our entire site. It attracts visits from people asking questions like:

- How to block someone from seeing an event on facebook
- How to make a surprise party event on facebook
- How to make a facebook event secret
- Surprise party facebook event
- And more…

Even though the post attracted a ton of traffic, it also had a fairly high bounce rate and low amount of time on the page. This caused myself to ask: What can I do to improve this page?

Well, by looking at the average searches that lead users to this page, it was obvious: my post doesn’t answer questions about creating a basic private event. Most people are looking for a simple way to just create a private Facebook event or surprise party; the issue of blocking only one person is less of a concern.

So without further ado, here are screenshot instructions for how to create a Private Facebook Event, whether it’s a surprise party or otherwise. Um, and sorry it took me two years to do this:

1. Go to your Facebook Homepage. Click “Home” on the upper right-hand corner of the screen:

Facebook Home

2. Click on your “Events” from the left-hand column:

Facebook Events

3. Click “Create Event” from the top right-hand side of the screen:

Facebook Create Event

4. Choose “Invite Only” for the Event Privacy. The next screen is where you can add the event name, time, location, details, and privacy settings. If you want the event to be totally secret and private to only those who you invite, select “Invite Only”:

Facebook Invite Only

5. Decide whether you want guests to invite friends or not. If the party truly needs to be as secure and private as possible, you’ll probably want to leave this unchecked.

Facebook Guests Invite Friends

6. Customize your event with photos, invite friends, message guests and more. See the upper right-hand corner of the screen for full controls over your event. And by the way Facebook – how come we can’t use larger featured images for events?!

Facebook Add Photo Facebook Customize Event

7. That’s it! Hope this additional information helps you create your top-secret, invite-only Facebook event.

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39 Comments

  1. Hey, just to make sure if I create an event on FB and click on “Invite Only” no one except invited people will see it, right? Also, sometimes you can see people RSVP on timeline but since it’s for my husbands surprise bday party will he see their rsvp’s ?

    Thanks

    Posted by Aga, July 4, 2014 | Reply

    • Hi Aga,

      Yes – I promise that if you click “Invite Only’, no one except invited people will see it. Also, only people invited to the event can see RSVPs in their timeline / on the event page. Your husband won’t see RSVPs.

      Hope this helps!

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, July 8, 2014 | Reply

      • We are having a surprise party for someone. If we post a picture of them on the private event wall/cover photo, and someone accidentally tags them using Facebook’s facial recognition feature, will the person tagged be able to see it, even if they haven’t been invited? We don’t want the surprise to be blown, so maybe it’s best we just pull down the picture to avoid that accident.

        Posted by Mike, August 27, 2014 | Reply

        • Hi Mike,

          I tested this out for you! I created an invite-only event. I uploaded a photo of a friend and tagged him in the photo. He never got ANY notification at all that I tagged him. Then, I asked him if he got a notification that I tagged him. He never did – he has no idea the photo or event exists, he can’t see this anywhere. So you should be okay. The main idea if you create an invite-only event, and you don’t invite a certain person, they will never be able to see anything that is going on with that event. Even if someone “tags” them.

          Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, August 28, 2014 | Reply

      • this is not true? Still shows on your timeline.

        Posted by aishs, September 22, 2014 | Reply

        • You can see it – no one else can unless they are also invited to the event. It’s normal to show up on your timeline, this doesn’t meant there is a problem or others can see the event.

          Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, September 22, 2014 | Reply

        • Anyway to not show on my timeline?

          Posted by hollyp, November 30, 2014 | Reply

          • Hi Holly – You can easily remove individual items from your timeline. Click on the arrow in the right-hand corner of the post, and select “Hide From Timeline”.

            Remember that, in general, if your private event is showing on your timeline or in your feed, only you and people who are invited to the event can see it. No one else can.

            Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, December 1, 2014 |

  2. What about having it show up in the news feed as mine seems to have done? Any way to stop that?

    Posted by R, September 16, 2014 | Reply

    • Hello – It’s normal to have your own events show up in your news feed! It’s just that – YOUR personal news feed, full of things tailored specifically to you only. Don’t worry – only invited people will see the event in their news feed. No one else will.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, September 16, 2014 | Reply

  3. Thanks for this post. What about inviting faceboook friends of the person whose being surprised – when they are your friends also? Is there any way to “grab” their fb friends to invite only?

    Posted by judy, October 6, 2014 | Reply

    • Hi Judy,

      So: I what I *think* you are asking is how you can invite friends of your friend, or see a list of your friend’s friends? (That’s a lot of friends in one sentence.)

      You can only invite people you are personally friends with – and the only list of people you’ll be able to invite is the list of your own personal friends. There is no way to get “access” to a friends list of friends, and then invite them. (Note: that’s a good thing. If Facebook allowed just anyone to create events and invite whomever – even people they weren’t friends with – this could result in a lot of event spam.)

      One way around this is to add other people as event hosts: they might be able to invite other people that you you personally aren’t able to. If you’re organizing the surprise party with a a few other people, make them all hosts so the invite list can best be rounded out. Another workaround is to also simply send new friend requests to other people you’d like to invite – and then invite them once you are actually friends.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, October 6, 2014 | Reply

      • My problem is I am throwing a surprise party for my uncle and want to create an event for these people. But, a lot of them are old friends of his that only he has on his friends list. If I were to add them, he would see that we are no friends and know something is up. I tried creating a secret group but it too is not working. Is there no way to send a link? I tried sending a link to my secret group but hen you click it, it doesn’t how any content. Do you think making a privet facebook page would work? This is very frustrating, it should at least allow you to send a link.

        Posted by Rachel, October 9, 2014 | Reply

        • Unfortunately, there is no way to invite people to your personal event unless you are friends with them. If I were you, I would try to get help from other friends and family. They might be friends with your uncle’s friends, even if you aren’t. Add them as event “HOSTS”, so they’re able to invite other people that you can’t.

          Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, October 10, 2014 | Reply

  4. hello, I’d like to create a Fb Jewelry trunk show. I don’t want to have it announced immediately that I’ve created it. It will take me some time to get all of the information uploaded. How can I keep it unpublished while I work on it?
    Please & Thank you, Leah

    Posted by Leah Williams, October 19, 2014 | Reply

    • Hi Leah,

      I would just create the event but not invite anyone until you’ve uploaded all the info. Once it’s “ready”, then you can invite people. No one will be able to see anything (that is, if you’ve made it a private event) until you invite them.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, October 20, 2014 | Reply

  5. This info is very helpful! The fb QA page states “People who aren’t invited cannot view the event description, photos, Wall posts and videos.” But it doesn’t mention whether they can see the event title. Thank you for answering that question! They could save a lot of confusion by clarifying that there!

    Posted by rachel, November 11, 2014 | Reply

  6. Sarah, I just created an event, made it an “Invite Only”, but needed to come back to it later to add some further details and photos. I only want to invite some people, but immediately, it showed up in the news feed that I had “created this event”. So, does everyone on my friends list see this or not? I looked on my homepage and it wasn’t there. Please advise. Thanks!

    Posted by Donna, November 17, 2014 | Reply

    • Donna, it only shows up in YOUR news feed, or the news feed of someone that you invited. People who are not invited can’t see anything in their feed. No worries, you’re safe! Remember, each person’s feed is customized to them and no one else.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, November 18, 2014 | Reply

  7. Just wanted to say Thank You for making this very informative post! I’ve doubled checked and as of December 1st, 2014 this workflow still works for a secret/surprise party.

    The event updates (people who are going, new posts to it and such) will appear in your news feed/timeline, but only if you have been invited/are going.

    There’s no need to worry about the person who you’re trying to surprise seeing it, as long as they don’t look at your facebook account’s personal news feed when you are logged in, in person (over your shoulder, etc).

    Posted by David, December 1, 2014 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback David – so glad the post was helpful! :)

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, December 2, 2014 | Reply

  8. Hi there. So, I have an invite-only event. If I were to post a link to it on facebook… would only the invited folks see it? Or would non-invited folks see the link, but just not be able to view the event page? Thanks!

    Posted by Gary Reckard, December 21, 2014 | Reply

    • Hi Gary,

      I don’t have time to test this out for you, but I would recommend commenting within the event or creating a new post on the event itself (people will get an update when you do so), not sharing the link on your public page. If you want to issue a reminder about the event, for example – post ON the event page. That will ensure things are kept private.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, December 22, 2014 | Reply

  9. thank you for this! i had created an event about a couple hours ago and my heart almost jumped out of my mouth because i thought that everybody could see the event when it’s suppose to be private! thank you again. All of my worries all gone!

    Posted by k, December 29, 2014 | Reply

  10. Hi! Is the guests and friends option still private I need to invite ppl and allow them to invite whoever they want but still keep it a private event only visible to guests? I’m confused lol hope you can help!

    Posted by Sonia, January 12, 2015 | Reply

    • Hi Sonia,

      If you want guests to be able to invite people, then you will want to select “Guests and Friends” instead of “Invite Only”. This will by default make the event a little less secure: once you allow anyone to be able invite others, it’s possible they may invite someone you didn’t want to know about the event or attend. You can learn more here: https://www.facebook.com/help/208747122499067. Here is how Facebook describes the “Guests and Friends” option: Only people who are invited can join the event. They may invite others without host approval. People who aren’t invited cannot view the event description, photos, Wall posts and videos.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, January 13, 2015 | Reply

  11. Hi, I’ve set an event up as invite only for a surprise party but need to add another host so they can invite their friends. The hosting button is greyed out and I can’t see where I add more hosts, I’ve looked in edit too, could you help?
    Thanks

    Posted by Sharon, January 24, 2015 | Reply

    • Hi Sharon – On the event page, click the little “EDIT” button (it has a pencil next to it). This will bring up a pop-up window. This is where you go in to add the event name, detail, locations, time – and where you can also add hosts.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, January 26, 2015 | Reply

  12. Sorry if this is repetitive…but I’m arranging a surprise party for my boyfriend and I want to create an event. When our mutual friends click to say they are attending…it definitely won’t show up on my boyfriends timeline will it??

    Posted by Chloe, March 25, 2015 | Reply

    • Hi Chloe,

      Nope – your boyfriend will NOT be able to see any of that as long as he’s not invited to the private event. Even if you see it in your own feed, don’t worry – his feed won’t show any of it. :)

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, March 25, 2015 | Reply

  13. Hi! Thank you so much for this information, Sarah. I just wished I would have read it before I deleted the event I created for my husband’s surprise party! I got nervous when I saw someone’s RSVP, who is mutual friends with my husband and I, show up on my timeline after I set the event to “invite only”. Not only was I able to like and comment on that RSVP, I was also able to share it! After reading your posts, I am a little more confident that my husband hasn’t seen the event. However the fact that I had the option to “share” that RSVP still has me nervous! If I would have shared that RSVP, who would have been able to see it?

    Posted by Robyn, March 31, 2015 | Reply

    • Hi Robyn! I haven’t had time to test “shares” in particular, but it should not matter at all. Facebook settings make sure that if an event is private, then the only people who can see activity about the event in their feed are those who are also on the invite list. If you see something in your feed about the event, doesn’t automatically mean everyone else can. Just those on invite.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, April 1, 2015 | Reply

  14. Thanks so much for this info! After you create the event as invite only can you change it to public later?

    Posted by Hadley, April 21, 2015 | Reply

    • Yup, you can easily change to public!

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, May 2, 2015 | Reply

  15. Hello Sarah! Thank you so much for your helpful information it does put my mind at ease. I did find a way to send invite’s to the surprise person FB friends list that I am not friends with. I took a screen shot of the event invite and messenger it to them. So far it has worked great. Only one problem with the event invite that we both were friends with was the event time. On the event it showed the correct time if 2-4 but when you opened for more information it showed 1-3. Its aa mystery. :O

    Posted by Donna I Witt, April 26, 2015 | Reply

  16. I accidentally made an event private and I want it Public. How do I change it?

    Posted by Tina McDonough, April 29, 2015 | Reply

    • Hi Tina,

      Unfortunately you need to recreate the event as a public one – it appears that this feature can only be stipulated when you first create the event.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, May 28, 2015 | Reply

  17. We have a Community FB group and I’m throwing a baby shower for one of the gals where we live. I dont want to invite all 900 homes – I just want to invite specific members of the group but when I tried creating a private event….it never gave me the option to pick specific people so it went on the group page for everyone to see. After it was created – I tried Inviting people but the only people that showed up on the list are the people on my own friends list. Please help!!

    Posted by Teresa, May 20, 2015 | Reply

    • Hi Teresa,

      Group events (that you create inside a group) work a bit differently than personal events (that you create from your own profile). When you create an event for a group it automatically notifies *anyone* and *everyone* in the community of the event, although they may not be on the “invite” list yet. In fact, you’ll notice that no one is invited to group events by default. They must be invited individually – but YOU personally still only have the ability to invite people you are friends with, even if there are lots of other people in the group. Other users can invite their own friends, if you give them that ability.

      My advice is to individually friend any group members you want to come to the shower – otherwise, you can’t invite them. Then, create your own private event, and invite everyone. In this instance, since you only want to invite certain people, don’t create the event inside the group.

      Posted by Sarah Mackenzie, May 28, 2015 | Reply

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