Monogram Etiquette

Who doesn’t love a monogram gift? Monogrammed accessories make the perfect gift for everyone at every occasion. Birthdays. Christmas. Weddings. Especially weddings. But wait, how are we supposed to monogram items for the happy couple? What if she keeps her maiden name? What if they hyphenate their names? What if their name is “von” something or “O’” something? Our Monogram How-To Guide teaches you how to monogram anything with any name in any situation…Everything you need to know about monogram etiquette and more.

There’s only one small problem with monograms: understanding the proper monogram etiquette for arranging the initials for any person. No need to fret, we’re going to clearly explain monogram etiquette so you are sure to give not only the perfect gift, but a perfectly monogrammed gift.

Monogram Etiquette Basics: Single Man or Woman We will use Lauren Danos Manuel in our example here. There are three common ways to create a monogram for a single man or woman. You can use the no-frills single letter of the last name, which in this case would be: M. Or you can use all three initials in the same size: first, middle, last–what we call straight initials, which in Momma Latte’s case would appear as LDM. Or you can use three initials with the last name initial larger and in the center between the first initial and middle initial: first, last (larger), middle—what we call monogram style. For Momma Latte, this would look like LMD, with the M larger in the center.

Monogram Challenge: Complicated Last Names But what do you do if you are going to make a monogram for someone with a complicated last name like “von Miller” or “O’Henry” or “McDonald”? This seems complicated, but in most situations it’s easy: just use the first letter of the last name: “V,” “O,” or “M.” For example, if Latte Lady Emily got married and became Emily Gruner O’Henry, her monogram would be EOG or her three straight initials would be EGO. For a fun variation, instead of using the single initial for the last name only monogram, you can refer to the complicated last name: “vM” (make sure you know whether the family capitalizes the “v”—some do and some don’t!) or “OH” or “McD.”

Monogram Rules: Married Individuals and Couples Things get a little more complicated when people get married, but here’s a quick guide to monogram etiquette for your married friends. If you’re giving a gift to the couple, and she’s taking his name, you typically put her first initial first, followed by their last initial (larger) in the center, followed by his first initial. So let’s consider this couple: Lauren Marie Danos marries Wilbur John Manuel III the proper monogram would be: LMW, with the “M” larger in the center. But if you were giving items to the bride alone, such as a monogrammed handkerchief, you would monogram with her three straight initials LDM or LMD, with the “M” larger. In this example, the bride moved her maiden name to her middle name & took her husband’s last name, giving her the married name Lauren Danos Manuel. If by chance she keeps her middle name and drops her maiden name altogether, you would follow the same pattern just mentioned, replacing the D with a M in the above examples. Items given to the groom should have his initials as before: WJM. If she decides to keep her maiden name, gifts given to the couple should use the same pattern as above, but if you are giving gifts to her alone, use her maiden name initials: LMD, LDM with the “D” larger. 

They aren’t even really rules, just monogram guidelines that make it easier for people to design, read and understand monograms. In the end, it’s your monogram, consider it your own personal logo and choose a monogram technique that you think fits your style the best. It’s yours, and you have full power over it and nobody can tell you different.