Monogram Etiquette

July 1, 2022

Monogram Etiquette: The Right Way to Monogram (+ Examples)

Monogram gifts are a unique way to show your loved one how much they mean to you–so you want to make sure you do it the right way! But choosing which style to use, and exactly how to order their initials when monogramming can be a bit confusing. This blog post will explain monogram etiquette, give examples of different monogram styles, and share unique gift ideas that are perfect for monogramming.

What is a monogram?

Monograms are letter combinations of a name used to personalize items owned by that person. Several monogram combinations include the first letter of the first, middle, and last name. Many monogram styles include different name combinations for single people and couples. 

Are monograms out of style in 2022?

In a word–no! Monograms are a classy and timeless tradition that has evolved to fit into modern styles. From elegant monogrammed handkerchiefs to ruffly baby onesies–it’s hard not to be delighted to see your initials thoughtfully crafted into a gift.  Monograms are not limited to fabric or clothing either–you can find monograms on jewelry, cups, keychains, stickers and decals, and more. Popular monogram styles are minimal and timeless, serving as special keepsakes for individuals, parents, and couples. 

What are the rules for monogramming?

For a traditional three-letter monogram, the initials should be ordered: first name initial, last name initial, and middle name or maiden name initial. But different monogramming styles will change the rules a bit. You’re also allowed to discard the rules altogether and make it your own! 

Other monogram styles range from letter positions for singles, married couples, multiple last names, or no middle name. Simple, two-letter monograms that use the first initial of a first and last name are another popular option. Married couples tend to use the three-letter style, which reads as the bride’s first initial, shared surname, then the groom’s first initial. 

Check out a few monogram examples and styles below. 

Monogram Examples

Traditional Three-Letter Monogram

Example – Ebony Yvette Simpson 

A traditional three-letter monogram reads as first initial, surname initial, then middle initial. Generally, the surname is the largest letter framed by the smaller first and middle initials. 

Three-Letter Monogram Straight Across

Example – Jennifer Michelle Stewart

This style is similar to a traditional three-letter monogram. The initials appear in the order of first, middle, and last. Each letter is usually the same size. 

Traditional Two-Letter Monogram

Example – Olivia Richardson or Sarah O’Connor & Matt Roberts 

The approach to this monogram style is done in a few different ways. One option is to use the first initials of the first and last names of one person. Alternatively, you can monogram the first initial of different first or last names. 

Three Initials Stacked

Example – George A. Miles 

This style is a modern twist on the traditional three-letter monogram. The initial of the first name is in the top left or right corner, above the initial of the middle name. The first initial of the last name is beside the first two initials. 

Single Letter

Example – Mary Williams or William Clark 

If you are searching for a minimalistic monogram, this style uses only the first initial or a first or last name. 

Married Couple Monogram

Example – Brittany and Cory Horton 

This style uses the first initial of each partner’s first name and their shared surname. It is read as the bride’s first initial, surname, then the groom’s first initial. The surname is the largest letter, accompanied by two smaller letters on each side. 

Married Woman’s Monogram

Example – Naomi McDade Jones 

This monogram is read as the first initial, married last name initial, then the maiden name initial. Another alternative is to use a middle name instead of a maiden name.

Prefix Last Name

Example – Mary Alice MacDonald

Last names that contain prefixes (such as Mac, Mc, Van, Le, etc.) will use the first initial of the surname.

Same-Sex Couple Monogram

Example – Martin Stevens and Todd Goldberg 

This monogram uses the first initial of both first names and last names. It reads as partner one first initial, partner one last initial, partner two first initial, and partner two last initial. The middle two initials are usually larger. 

Same-Sex Couple Four Letter Monogram

Example – Toro Smith and Rachel Moore 

Uses the first initial of both first names and last names. It reads as partner one first initial, partner one last initial, partner two first initial, partner two last initial. The middle two initials are usually larger. 

Monogram Gift Ideas

Below are some of the best gift ideas that work well with the above monogram etiquette. 

Monogrammed Handkerchief

Handkerchiefs are stylish, individualized gifts–and they’re useful, too!  

Anyone can benefit from carrying a handkerchief, and it can serve as a fashion statement. 

Personalized handkerchiefs are an expression of elegance, and are a sustainable alternative to paper tissues. 

Embroidered monogrammed handkerchiefs can also be used as “something blue” at a wedding!

Monogrammed Guest Towel

Guest towels are a practical, useful, and underrated gifts. They make great personalized gifts for married couples or for any new homeowner. 

Guest towels have endless utility, ranging from decoration to daily powder room use. 

Monogrammed Napkins

Cloth cocktail napkins are a perfect gift for your loved one to display at dinners with friends and family. Cocktail napkins serve as a beautiful reminder of the couple’s wedding day and add a personalized touch to get-togethers. 

Other Monogrammed Gift Ideas

Monogrammed baby clothing makes for a thoughtful gift to new parents. For this gift, use the baby’s name instead of the couple. Monogrammed clothing, bibs, hats, or burp towels serve as great first gifts and communicate care and excitement for the family. 

Monogram Etiquette: Frequently Asked Questions

If one of my friends is getting married soon, should I use their given last name or their married name?

Before monogramming a gift, confirm that they will be taking a married name. If they are, use the married name for the gift. 

If I’m giving a gift to an engaged couple but more so meant for a specific person, should I use just their initials or the couple’s initials?

This question depends on the gift you are giving. If the gift is meant to be used by multiple people, like napkins, flatware, plates, or hand towels, use the married couple’s initials. 

If the item is more personalized, like a robe, mug, or bath towel, then use the specific person’s initials. 

You could also give a personalized gift to the couple and use each person’s initials for their separate gifts. 

How should I let my guests know I want a monogrammed gift? 

You can inform your guests you would like specific items monogrammed on your wedding registry by accompanying notes with the item. Include guidelines on the letter style and letter order you would like for the item. 

Where can I purchase monogrammed gifts?

Monogram etiquette is meant to serve as a guideline–you have the freedom and flexibility to arrange the letters in any way you would like!

The best monograms are handmade with time, effort, and love. Stitched by Nakia offers high-quality, customized monogrammed items ranging from towels to handkerchiefs to bibs. 

Stitched by Nakia is a small minority and women-owned business that strives to deliver the best-handcrafted monograms for every occasion. Contact me today to get started on your very own monogram personalizations.

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