The digital age has upended many of life's traditions, from the household landline phone to printed newspapers, but one special event essential seems to be holding firm—the physical event invitation.

According to the latest online survey from Special Events, not one respondent uses digital invitations exclusively. Instead, 27 percent say they prefer to use physical invitations, while 73 percent use both physical and digital invitations depending on the nature of the event.

Raymond Ramsay, head of Raymond Ramsay and Associates of Orlando, Fla., expresses the opinion of all invitations specialists interviewed by Special Events when he says, "I like to do both; however, it depends on the event." Ramsay and event partner Jennifer Goldberg won the Gala Award for Best Invitation on Jan. 10 at The Special Event 2014 for their high-style fashion magazine that served as the invitation for a girl's bat mitzvah.

LET'S GET PHYSICAL

Lindsey Luxa, head of Dragonfly Custom Design of Orlando, Fla., likes the statement that a physical invitation makes. Another Gala Award nominee for Best Invitation, Luxa says, "For personal use, I most definitely use physical invitations 100 percent. Physical mail can be very special and gives me an opportunity to be creative and stretch boundaries."

Luxa's clients agree.

"Some 98 percent of my clients still prefer traditional invitations," she says. "Now and then, a situation arises that necessitates a digital invitation; more often than not, we use digital invitations for save-the-dates for corporate parties and send out a 'traditional' invitation at a later time. The digital invite is to just make sure that the guests don’t make plans."

And just what makes physical invitation so special? "It is my belief that a physical invitation shows care and attention to detail, regardless of the budget," Luxa says. "People love to get mail that isn’t a bill, and that is rather rare these days. It’s a great opportunity to stand out from the hundreds of emails--and e-vites--that flood inboxes!"

Cheryl Fish, vice president of design services for Someone's in the Kitchen of Tarzana, Calif., and Gala Award winner for invitations, reminds event planners not to forge the tactile punch that physical invitations provide.

"I prefer physical invitations because of the textures and special feel of the paper stock and personally touching the presentation and the beauty of the piece that opens the door to what lies ahead at the event," Fish explains.