Monogram Etiquette: Guidelines for Monogramming

by - Wednesday, December 26, 2018

guidelines for monogramming everything

As we always say, “If it’s not moving…monogram it!” Monograms are an easy way to put your own personalized spin on everything. From towels and cosmetic bags to purses and pullovers, there are few things that you can’t stamp with your initials. However, monograms aren’t as straightforward as some may think. There are traditions involved which you may want to consider before giving out monogrammed bridal gifts or buying a new monogrammed plaid tote bag. To help you monogram like a pro, here are a few guidelines that you should know:

Monogram Online Options

If you’re ordering monogrammed items online from sites like Marleylilly, you have a wide range of styles, fonts and colors to choose from. At Marleylilly, we made the decision easier for you with our Monogram Preview tool, which includes color recommendations to help you find the perfect coordinating color.

Different personalization options can include one-, two-, and three- and four-letter monograms. They also come in various styles, including Monogram, Initial, Name and Letter style.
Which one makes sense for you? As we will cover below, the answer depends on your relationship status and personal preference.

three monogrammed necklaces on blue background

Monograms for Single Ladies

If you’re giving gifts to your single gal pals, their monograms will consist of three letters in a Monogram style. This style has the last initial of their name enlarged and centered. For example, Savannah Rose Gibson would be personalized as follows:


Monograms for Single Guys

For guys, the traditional style is Initial. This style displays their initials in the first, middle and last order all the same size. For example, Nathan William MacKenzie would be personalized as follows:


P.S. In case you’re wondering, last names that start with “Mac” or “Von” or some similar variation will have the first letter capitalized. In the example above, “MacKenzie” uses a capital “M” as the last initial, as opposed to “K.”

Married Monograms

What’s your personal monogram if you’re married? How should you monogram something that belongs to both spouses? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers! Per tradition, a married woman’s monogram will be her first initial, last initial and the initial of her maiden name. For example, if Mary Henderson’s maiden name was Smith, it would be as follows:


A married man’s monogram is in the same style as a single man (i.e., Nathan William MacKenzie as NWM, with the middle initial enlarged). For married couples, we typically suggest that their collective monogram be the wife’s first initial, their married last name (enlarged) and the husband’s first initial. For example, Elizabeth and Joe Wright would be as follows:


Some traditions hold that the order of the husband and wife’s initials will depend on the item being monogrammed. For example, linens usually place the wife’s initial before the husband’s initial.

Monograms for Hyphenated Names

Many couples today choose to hyphenate their names rather than take one last name. This can be confusing in more ways than one. Hyphens aren’t traditional, which means that there isn’t a “rule” to decide how you should monogram your hyphenated name. This is a good thing because it means that you can do whatever you please with your monogram online. However, most people in the monogramming community omit the actual hyphen because it doesn’t look as clean as a regular monogram. Instead, some couples will simply have a four-letter monogram with their initials in order. For example, Hannah Marie Edwards-Peterson would be written as follows:


If you’re giving a gift to a newlywed couple with a hyphenated name, tradition drops the last part of the hyphenated name. For example, Hannah and Michael Edwards-Peterson would have a three-letter monogram written as follows:

However, some couples might take offense at this tradition. If you want to play it safe, you can give them a monogrammed gift using the initials of their first names.
For example, Hannah and Michael Edwards-Peterson could receive a gift with MH rather than a three- or four-letter monogram. This is especially helpful when monogramming on an item without much space.

monogrammed brown leather keychain in hand with keys

Etiquette for Ordering a Monogram Online Gift

When ordering monograms online for a big event, remember to place your order well in advance! Not only will this save you money on rush order fees, it will give you enough time to re-order if something wasn’t how you imagined it.

Have questions about monogramming? We’re listening! Leave a comment below or get in touch with us and we’ll help answer any questions you have!

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