Evites, Facebook invitations, email invites! Oh my!

If you’re like me, you’re getting more and more invitations through Facebook. Sometimes the invitations are for small events, like birthday parties or intimate get togethers, others are big events where everyone and their sister is invited.

You might wonder, as a friend of mine does, how to respond to the invitations. Do you need to always respond? Are there times it’s OK not to respond? Do you need to give an excuse? And, while we’re on the topic of online invitations, how about evites? How does one respond to those?

Let me start with Facebook invitations. The very nature of Facebook makes the invitations that come from them much more informal, even more informal than evites. Facebook has something called “suggested events” which are events that are suggested to you because of your connection to your friends, pages you like, places you’ve checked-in at and the apps you use on Facebook. So they haven’t necessarily been sent to you directly from your friends.

If the invitation is for a party a friend is hosting, you should respond whether you will attend or not. For instance, one of my friends invited me to a birthday party she is hosting. I declined because I’ll be out of town.

I also have several suggested events to things like a seminar, a Rat City Rollergirl event in the Pike Place Market and a networking event. While I’m certain the organizers would love to have me there, the invitation is more of an announcement and less of an actual invitation. I don’t typically respond to those unless the organizer is a good friend.

When you do decline an invitation, whether it’s a Facebook invitation or evite, you do not need to give a reason, unless you want to. I try to be honest, and if I really wanted to attend the event but can’t due to a conflict, I will write, something like, “Darn, I’ll be out of town, I’m sorry to miss it. Thank you for thinking of me.” But, if you aren’t sorry to miss it, don’t fake it. If you really feel compelled to give a reason, simply say you have a conflict. That conflict could be you washing your hair, but they don’t need to know that.

Let’s talk about evites. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but evites are more personal because they come directly to you via email. Evite does not “suggest” the events like Facebook does. So, they do require a response even if you can’t attend. Let me repeat that, you must respond to evites whether you can attend or not. If you can’t attend, it is not necessary to give a reason.

Now, let’s discuss invitation etiquette. If you are hosting an event such as a birthday party, baby shower, anniversary, etc, using Facebook to invite people is really not appropriate. It’s too casual and very likely overlooked. I often miss invitations to events that are posted on Facebook because I don’t see them, or I get on Facebook and get off quickly.

Not only will you likely have lower attendance and response rates from Facebook invitations, it’s really too informal for more personal celebrations. Send an Evite or Paperless Post. For more formal events such as a milestone birthday or anniversary, graduation or wedding announcement a mailed invitation is more appropriate.

What do you think about Facebook invitations? Do you respond to them? Why or why not? Do you respond to evites? If so, why, if not, why ever not?


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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. Guest on August 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    I am sick of people not responding to Facebook invites.  If it’s something that a billion people are invited to, that’s one thing.  But I sent out one for less than 10 people and only about half even bothered to reply.  It’s rude!

  2. ArdenClise on August 1, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    @Guest I agree. It’s so easy to respond and there really is no reason why someone can’t simply click yes or no. I hear your pain.

  3. qzsue on June 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    That’s the problem with inviting through facebook, it’s too informal. I received an invite to a friend’s daughter’s graduation party. (not a close friend) This daughter lives with her dad in another state and I’ve only met her once.  I’m not sure how many people were invited –did she invite all of her contacts, in which case I feel unimportant and more like a potential cash donation.

  4. Arden on June 26, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Hi qzsue,

    Yes, Facebook invites are very informal and okay to ignore, especially when you don’t know the person well. If the friend really wanted you to know about the graduation party she would have/should have sent you a personal invitation via snail mail.

    Thank you for commenting.

  5. Gary on August 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I disagree with you on the evites. Anything done via internet is informal and shows lack of time and effort on the person sending out the invite.

  6. ArdenClise on August 13, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    @Gary Thank you for commenting Gary. True, Evites are more informal, but they are the way invitations are going. That said, they are not appropriate for more formal or important events such as milestone birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and graduations.

  7. rose on June 21, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Call me old fashion. I think a personal invite via u.s mail should continue. Pretty soon, thank you notes will be done via email. I just got invited to a grad party via Facebook. It stated they would be sending invitations, mine must have got lost in the mail.

  8. Arden Clise on June 22, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Rose, I understand your frustration. A graduation party invitation should never be sent via Facebook. It’s too informal and too many people don’t see or respond to them.

  9. Ronnie on July 10, 2023 at 1:36 am

    The author’s thoughtful exploration of the pros and cons of evites, Facebook invitations, and email invites demonstrated a well-rounded understanding of modern etiquette. I particularly appreciated the practical tips and suggestions provided throughout the article, which offered creative and inclusive ways to personalize and enhance digital invitations. The article’s positive tone and emphasis on fostering meaningful connections in the digital age left me feeling inspired and motivated to incorporate these etiquette principles into my own event planning.

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