Found on everything from family Bibles to signet rings, handkerchiefs to dress labels, the monogram is perhaps the most beloved and widespread tradition in the South. Monogrammed pieces are passed down through generations as a reminder of those who vowed their love before us, and the rows of monograms on an heirloom are an amazing encouragement to a bride just starting out on the marriage journey. However, the etiquette of which monogram to use when and where in your wedding can be particularly tricky, so we thought we’d revisit this topic and share a bit of what we’ve learned over the years!
From Farris + Taylor‘s wedding (photographed by Kristyn Hogan)
First of all, let’s define maiden monogram and married/joint monogram. A maiden monogram features your first initial on the left, middle initial on the right, and initial of your maiden name slightly larger in the middle (for example, my full name is Lisa Janel Olson, so my maiden monogram is LOJ). A married, or joint, monogram features the initial of the wife’s first name on the left, the initial of the husband’s first name on the right, and the initial of the couple’s married surname slightly larger in the middle (for my fiancé, David Kirk, and I, our future married monogram is LKD). Most etiquette books now suggest the order we have here, but in the past, the husband’s first initial was placed on the left because it was believed that his first and surname initials should not be separated.
Before the wedding: For anything you’re going to wear, such as a monogrammed robe, dress patch, clutch, or bouquet wrap, use your maiden monogram. For wedding details that are used before you say “I do,” such as save the dates, invitations, and ceremony programs, you can use your first initials joined by an ampersand with the bride’s first initial listed first (for Dave and me, this would be L&D). In general, a married monogram should not be used before the couple is officially married.
Clockwise from top left: Marenda + Jonathan (Anna K), Cameron + Evan (Virgil Bunao), Alyson + Brian (Leigh Webber), Eddie + Jordan (Harwell Photography), Angelica + Colby (Jake Holt), Celie + Shane (Sweet Tea Photography)
During the wedding: We love the idea of debuting your married monogram at your reception! It would be perfectly appropriate illuminated on your dance floor, iced onto your wedding cake, calligraphed on menus, or printed on your favor bags, to name a few. As an added bonus, if you don’t include your wedding date, some leftover monogrammed items (like cocktail napkins!) can be used long after your wedding day in your newlywed home.
Clockwise from top left: Blair + Brian (Justin DeMutiis), April + Nick (Pasha Belman), Kristin + Kyle (Martha Manning), Sarah + Nick (Pure 7 Studios), Sarah + Gabe (Ashley Seawell), Emily + Cole (Sposa Bella), Sarah + Gabe (Ashley Seawell), Claire + Michael (Watson Studios)
After the wedding: The exception to avoiding your married monogram until after the wedding is when registering for monogrammed items, since you’ll be using your registry gifts once you are married. Many stores offer monogramming on anything from candlesticks to cutlery, and in turn, these pieces may become heirlooms for future generations to cherish as much as you do!
For even more information about monograms, take a look at this past post, complete with a handy monogram guide, and find lots more monogram inspiration on our Pinterest board. Of course, if there’s anything we missed, chime in in the comments section!