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Tag: monogram etiquette

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!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Bumby G reply

    I just love all the monogramming. Especially those purses. :)

  2. avatar Kat reply

    Love this post!!! Monograms & weddings go hand in hand :)

  3. avatar Mackenzie reply

    Love this post! I am thrilled to slap a monogram on anything that will stop moving long enough for me to do so. I do have a quick question, though. What are y’alls thoughts on a monogrammed aisle runner? Maiden monogram or married?

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thanks, Mackenzie! That’s a tough one–we think the most appropriate option would be your first (or last) initials joined by an ampersand, or a 2-letter monogram as shown in this post: /2012/09/19/monogram-etiquette-from-emma-j-design/ Hope that helps!

    • avatar Britt reply

      Love this!
      What about on the morning of the wedding on the wedding dress hangers?
      I see a lot of girls and on Etsy use Mrs. (Who they are getting married to). Should I use my Soon to be Last Name or my Maiden Name?

  4. avatar michele reply

    My wedding invitation monogram template only allows for 1 letter. Now what? help

  5. avatar Nursery Rhymes reply

    […] Daddy’s setting up the nursery donning goodies from our baby shower over the weekend… We just LOVE these monogrammed burp cloths from Auntie Lyndy ~ so Southern […]

  6. avatar Andrina T reply

    Help! I am embroidering a handkerchief as a wedding gift and am stumped on the monogram. Should I just use the bride’s first initial? Bride and groom first initials (in opposite corners)? Or maybe just her new last name initial, in case it gets passed down as an heirloom? Thanks!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Andrina! So fun! I think either the bride’s first initial or just her new last initial would be great. Don’t worry too much about what others will think if it’s passed down – I think part of the reason people love heirlooms is not because they have the right initial for them, but because the details remind them of dear family members!

  7. avatar Brenda reply

    I bought a bible for a wedding gift and I need to know on the page where it says presented to , do I put the brides name first or the grooms ?
    Thank you

  8. avatar Judy reply

    Monogram for bride’s bouquet …new or old? What about changing the ribbon on bouquet after the ceremony for photos from old to new? Thank you for suggestions.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Around these parts, it’s been said that if it stops moving, I’ll monogram it. To be honest, that couldn’t be more true. Growing up, my initials were MNA, which is perfectly fine until you use a 3-letter monogram. Then it’s mAn — not so cute! So when I married my adorable hubby and became MAK (or mKa for 3-letters), I could not have been more thrilled and literally made up for lost time monogramming everything that well…stopped moving! As a Southerner, we’re born monogrammed (or at least my babies will be), but the formal etiquette of which letter goes where can become a bit tricky.

That’s why we turned to our friend Emily at Emma J Design. She created this handy-dandy “cheat sheet” to help unfold the etiquette of the monogram. It will help you choose the appropriate monogram style for before, during and after the wedding.

Emily says, “we know as much as the next bride that we cannot wait to use our new last name and incorporate it into our lives as newlyweds! From your thank you notes to use as an engaged woman to your thank you notes as a married woman, your monogram evolves throughout the process. Whether your style is modern, traditional or vintage, there are many ways to incorporate your initials, your fiance/husband’s initials or your new married name together.”

Need a little more guidance? She also created a cheat sheet for invitation etiquette as well! Be sure to check it out here. Thanks for your help, Emily!

Now, tell me, how will you be incorporating your pre- and post-wedding monogram into your wedding and daily life?

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Rachel A. reply

    This is what I call my #southerngirlproblem
    I married a boy and now my monogram is rAw
    (not so cute on a bathrobe)
    Can I use my maiden middle name, L, instead?

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Rachel! I love the #Southerngirlproblem hashtag! Too fun! You absolutely can use your maiden middle initial. That’s actually what I do! Get to monogramming, girl! xx

  2. avatar Sheila Marie reply

    Oh no, I just realized I did my monogram wrong on my wedding invites, I used our (to-be) joint monogram on the invitation. My MOH designed it, I just couldn’t help but put it everywhere, I LOVE IT!

    I’m in love with my invitation suite and I did all the other invite etiquette rules correctly, so I guess I’ll be able to live with one mess-up. ;)

  3. avatar Courtney H. reply

    Another “oh no”- apparently my wedding monogram is backwards! My initial is on the right and his is on the left, how serious is this? Should I have my invites reprinted?? Are my in-laws going to brand me a Yankee and never let me bring the pecan pie to Thanksgiving?!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Oh, Courtney! Bless your heart! No, there is no need to re-print or panic. Your in laws will completly understand that little snafu. Just keep in mind for future monogramming that your first initial will always be first. And as long as you bring pecan pie, you’re always be welcome to any Thanksgiving in the South! xx

  4. avatar Victoria reply

    This just saved our registry from being wrong- I had no idea the wife on the left and the husband on the right was specified! Logged onto pottery barn immediately to fix! Thanks so much! I’ve gone a little monogram crazy with this new change! :)

  5. avatar Katie reply

    Wow – monograms are so confusing – I always thought the man’s initial went first in a joint monogram – and I think I read that on this past post!

    Ah – now I’m so confused!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Katie! Yes, monogram etiquette can be quite confusing and definitely varies from person to person. In that previous post, it was KTW’s preference of the older tradition in which the man would go first in a joint monogram. Emily is using a more modern way with the lady going first. There is no right or wrong way, so monogram your favorite way! : ) xx

  6. avatar Courtney Hill reply

    Love, love, love this! You absolutely cannot have too many monograms!

  7. avatar Dishie Rentals » Blog Archive » Monogram Etiquette reply

    […] monogram? Here in the South, we think not. Go ahead and pin this handy cheat sheet. Our friends at Southern Weddings originally posted this beauty, designed by Emma J Design. One of my first orders of business after […]

  8. avatar Deborah Hayes reply

    First of all, this is a great website! Thank you. My question regards monogrammed towels for guest baths: 1 Letter Monogram or Marriage Monogram?
    P.S. You would have loved my wedding!

  9. avatar Jeannie reply

    If you are doing a bridal shower invitation for a girl whose last name is McNamee, how do you write the initials for the last name? Do you simply use a M? We are at a loss and hope you can help. Thanks!

  10. avatar Frani reply

    If the man’s last name is McDonough, are there any other options besides the interlocking letters? Thanks….

  11. avatar Pam reply

    I can’t find the answer to this one ANYWHERE! Suppose a woman has remarried. Example: Maiden name: Paige Rita Calhoun First Marriage: Paige Rita Calhoun Douglas Second Marriage: Paige Rita Calhoun Douglas Anderson? If she wants to mongram something with three initials, presuming she uses her first initial on the left, (P) and her (second) married name in the center (A) ….which letter would she use on the right? Please help! Thanks!


    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Pam! It’s totally up to you! I assume after she’s been remarried she’d drop Douglas, so it seems like the choices are either R for Rita or C for Calhoun. Totally up to preference at that point, though, and what her legal name is!

  12. avatar Beverly reply

    What if I want to monogram something for someone whose name is Laura Rachel Van House? (Name has been changed for privacy!) What 3 letters would I monogram? I’m confused!

    • avatar Kelsey reply

      Beverly – According to this source, you would get the monogram done as LRV or LVR, taking Van House as beginning with a “V.”

  13. avatar Leah G reply

    Super info thank you, love your site too :) LeahG

  14. avatar Terre harris reply

    What monogram do you use on ring eaters pillow!

  15. avatar Lorrie reply

    I want to put a monogram on bridesmaid gift but she is getting married 3 weeks after and she will have new initials. Which one should I use pre married or her soon to be married monogram ?

    • avatar Lisa reply

      We vote her married monogram, so she’ll be able to enjoy your gift for years to come! :)

  16. avatar Larissa reply

    I recently got married and hyphenated my last name. And I want to monogram EVERYTHING. But I can’t decide what my monogram should look like. When it comes to three letter monograms, should I drop my middle name and use my first and last name initials, or keep the middle name and use my married name initial in the middle? I’m not sure what the rules are, but I would love some input so I can keep on monogramming! :)

  17. avatar Doris Robinson reply

    What is the appropriate monogram for:
    Jillian B. von Oster

  18. avatar Mishelle Cavanagh reply

    Hi Emily, If I want to use the initial of my new last name as the middle letter in the monogram, who’s initial goes before the last name and who’s initial goes after the last name initial? Is it the husband’s initials, last name initials and then the wife’s initials Thanking you in advance for your help on this.

  19. avatar Lynn reply

    What is the best way to do a monogram with last name starting with Mc

  20. avatar Glenda Fodge reply

    I am hosting a bridal shower for friends. I wanted to do a monogram napkin. Can I use their initials including their last name to be? Or should I stick with 2-letter monogram of their first names only?

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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