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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
11 Comments
  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: http://southernweddings.com/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.

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I firmly believe that if Shelby (from Steel Magnolias) was not a fictional character, she’d be obsessed with this wedding – it’s her signature color modernized. I personally can’t get over how stunning Callee + Calan’s florals are! After giving her soon-to-be hubby’s aunts only the color pink as a jumping off point, they took peonies, garden roses, hydrangeas, and turned “pink” into what Callee described as “breathtaking.” I also couldn’t help but stare at the sweet treats another one of the groom’s talented aunts created. Be sure to slow down and take a peek at the adorable helmet cupcake pops showing some team love!

Big hugs to Set Free Photography for sharing C + C’s big day!

Pink seersucker + a bow + a monogram = oh my stars, y’all!! And THAT bouquet!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
My mom and I went to the traditional chain stores in town and we didn’t have very much luck. I was on the computer one day and found this little dress store and figured we’d give it a try. I must have tried on 15-20 dresses before I got to the last dress. From then, it was history. I walked out and my mother and I both started crying. I knew from that moment that I found my dress.

I gave them my main color swatch (pink) and told them to do whatever they wanted. They chose to go with peonies, garden roses, hydrangeas, kiwi branches and dusty millers. On our wedding day they even surprised us with fresh blackberries on the bouquets and boutonnieres! The barrels with the overflowing flowers, the trunk and the arbor were just so breathtaking. The flowers truly made our day beautiful.

My most memorable moment was being at the altar with Calan. I just instantly flashed back to all of the reasons why I fell in love with him. I felt like we were the only two people in the room and it was so special to me.

Describe your wedding flowers. 
Nothing I say will describe what Calan’s three aunts and two cousins put together. They are officially the most talented people I know. I have seen what his aunts have done at other weddings and it is just remarkable how amazing every single thing they do turns out.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
I think our favorite thing about the wedding was that our families and friends contributed so much time and energy into making it perfect and helping us with so much. I think at some point, everyone was involved, which means all of the details came from the heart. (The chandeliers were my second favorite detail.)

My brother and father-in-law even built and painted custom corn hole sets with monogramed bean bags to match our bouquet sashes that had our monograms as well. We also had a lot of country music playing during the cocktail hour and during dinner, of course. Yee-Haw!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
I love everything Southern, from our mason jars to the Cheerwine and the BBQ food.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
Calan’s Aunt Donna owns a cake pop business and brings cake pops to every family function. You haven’t lived unless you’ve tried her Oreo flavored cake pops! We both aren’t big fans of traditional wedding cake, so we asked Donna if she could put something together that made our desserts unique and special. She came up with mini pies, cake pops (of course), cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, brownies, and key lime tarts. We also loved the idea of a hot cocoa bar, so we had spoons covered with chocolate and toffee shavings, marshmallows and peppermint sticks. These two tables were a big hit.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
Calan and I met 17 years ago when I was five and he was eight at The Storms Field. I cheered and he played football. Throughout the years, our families remained close, with my brother working under his dad at the fire station and our moms remaining friends. When I was 18, I was coaching at The Storms Field when I found out Calan was coaching there as well. We were close friends throughout the season (I thought he liked a close friend of mine) but I never thought we would start dating two years later. We’ve been inseparable ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! 
I had been giving Calan “subtle” hints about the color, cut and style of diamond ring that I had been wanting for a few months before he proposed. My mom’s not a very good secret-keeper and kind of let the cat out of the bag the day he bought the ring. As a normal girl who can’t wait for surprises to just happen, I went in search for the box. Calan isn’t a very good hider, considering it was under the bathroom sink! He asked me later that night while lying on the couch and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
When did y’all get married? 
February
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
150
Did you decide to do a “first look”? 
Calan is a very shy person and wanted to do the “first look” from the moment our photographer told us about it. I am so glad we did because it got the pre-wedding jitters out of our systems and the pictures from that moment turned out to be some of my favorites from the wedding.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
Corinthians 13
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I love music so I played this part out in my head non-stop. I decided to have my bridesmaids walk down the aisle to “Till Kingdom Come” by Coldplay. It fit so perfectly and had a great beat for my best girls to walk to. From the start, I knew I wanted to walk down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. If you’ve heard this song, you know it’s just amazing. Calan doesn’t like dancing, so when it came to our first dance I had to make sure it was quick and painless for him. I chose “That’s When I Love You” by Aslyn. It was probably the shortest love song I could find, but the words made me embrace this song even more. I’m so glad we went with it.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think just staying on track and making deadlines. My mom was here with me to whip me into wedding planning shape, which helped a lot. I managed to make most of the deadlines we set for ourselves.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? 
$25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
PHOTOGRAPHY!! Hands down. Stacy is amazing and I am so happy we went with her. In the end, all you’re left with is pictures. Let me tell you, I have some stunning photos.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Don’t stress the little things, and the sooner you get things booked and done, the better off and less stressed at the end you will be. At the end of the day, you get to marry your best friend, so no matter what just remember that.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
We are going to be continuing renovations on our house (Anthropologie here I come!) and taking care of our two pups. Calan is in EMT school at the moment and will be starting fire school in the fall to become a firefighter. God has blessed us with each other, great friends and amazing families. Wherever he takes us, we will be happy just to be with each other.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
23 Comments
  1. avatar Kat reply

    I love so many things I don’t even know where to begin!! STUNNING florals, beautiful dress and I love the sweet details!

  2. avatar Lauren reply

    I love how romantic everything felt about this wedding. Pink is such a romantic color and they pulled it off perfectly.

  3. avatar Ken Tan reply

    Such beautiful photographs!!! :)

  4. avatar Bridget reply

    Hyperventilating over that bow on the bouquet!

  5. avatar stacy sullivan reply

    Thank you for this incredible honor of being featured! We love Southern weddings and could not be more excited! A true dream come true.

  6. avatar Arlene Roth reply

    Callee and Calan,
    We loved having you here at the Burroughs Home! What a spectacular wedding!
    Arlene

  7. avatar Leigh Pearce reply

    I am OBSESSED with that bouquet bow! I don’t do it often, but that baby is being pinned on my secret ‘when i get married’ pinterest board ;)

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  9. avatar Jessie reply

    Where did you find those monogrammed bows?! Please email me!!! (: [email protected]

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  12. avatar Alyssa reply

    Where did you get the bouquet wraps? I would LOVE details such as the length and width! How can I get that information?! Thanks so much! What a beautiful wedding!

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Marissa has been known to admit she’ll monogram anything that stops moving, so I’m guessing today’s Southern Spotting will be right up her alley…

Gorgeous monogrammed bouquet wraps! I love that Jaime, the bride, not only had her bridesmaids’ initials embroidered, but a delicate emblem, as well. If I’m not mistaken, these “wraps” are actually handkerchiefs, making them a perfect little memento from the day, too.

Thank you so much to photographer Jennifer Stuart for sending this lovely our way!

Enjoy spotting Southern details? Check out these past posts…
Monogrammed flower girls
Modern beach ceremony
Forsyth Park ceremony

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Monogrammed bouque | Shihtzu4you reply

    […] Monogrammed Bouquet Wraps – Southern Weddings MagazineJul 26, 2011 … Gorgeous monogrammed bouquet wraps! I love that Jaime, the bride, not only had her bridesmaids’ initials embroidered, but a delicate … […]

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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