Sunday, August 24, 2008

Monogramming Etiquette Tips

So, you have decided to take the leap and start personalizing gifts for your friends, family, and yes, even for yourself. Making sure you get the monograms right can be a little confusing, so lucky for you, we here at Swagger have put together a little “cheat sheet” for making sure you never commit a monogramming faux pas.

Women’s Monograms: For most, the conventional monogram for women consist of three letters with a larger letter in the middle flanked by two smaller letters on each side. Traditionally, the larger middle letter is for the last name, the smaller letter on the left is for the first name and the smaller letter on the right is for either the middle name or maiden name. Check out our handy little example below:

Name: Jill Ann Smith

Monogram: JSA

Now, if Jill got married to James Martin Barker and she kept her maiden name as her middle name here’s what happens.

Name: Jill Smith Barker

Monogram: JBS

Men’s Monograms: The traditional monogram for a man is a horizontal monogram. Each letter is the same height and appear in the same order as the actual name – first name, middle name, last name.

Name: James Martin Barker

Monogram: JMB (all letters being the same usually in a block font)

Couple’s Monogram: This is where it starts getting a little tricky for a lot of people. Traditionally when the bride takes the groom’s last name, the monogram is Bride’s First Name, Last Name, Groom’s First Name. However, it is totally up to the bride and groom how they’d like their married initials to appear, so it is always good to check with the couple beforehand. If you are in a pinch, just monogram the last initial – it still looks great and they will have no clue how befuddled you were. Here’s an example or a traditional couple’s monogram:

Couple’s Name: Elizabeth A. Jones marries Davis C. Kelly

Blended Monogram: EKD

The Single Letter Initial: Since we have monogrammed thousands of items over the years, we feel really comfortable suggesting when to use the first initial and when to use the last. Remember, these are just our suggestions – you’re the one giving the gift…

Jewelry, Handbags, Bath wraps and other accessories for Women: Use the first name of a woman if you are going to monogram any of these items.

Glassware, Soap, or Candles: Use the last name or a woman, man or couple if you are planning to monogram with a single initial.

Stamps and Embossers: This one is tricky! For a woman, if you are putting a single initial, you can use either the first or last initial but we tend to lean more towards the first name initial. If the stamp is for a man or a couple, we suggest using the last name.

Towels: I bet you never new these can get you into hot water! We suggest following the same rule that we mentioned for stamps. You can use either initial for a woman’s towel (using a single initial) with the first name being our preference. For a man, or couple, we think using the last name is more appropriate.

Now that we’ve helped navigate you through the murky waters of monogramming, personalize away!


Diane said...

How do you recommend monograming linen dinner napkins with the couple has two different last names?

Mandy said...

What we have done in the past is put the women's last name then a diamond (or some type of icon) then the man's last name. So it would look like this for the Couple Mandy Smith and Nathan Becker S * B!

laurieb422 said...

What do you suggest doing for someone who has four names? I'm looking to get custom made shirts for my boyfriend, and ideally have his initals, but it seems like the only options are for 3 initials, and less than that seems to look awkward...

Mandy said...

Laurie - does he have two last names or two middle names? If it is two last names I have seen the monogram look like first name smaller on the left, middle name smaller on the right, and then the two last name initials stacked in the middle. However, it is hard to find someone who will do this for you. The other option - which is typical for a male monogram is for the initials to read first, middle, last all the same size in that order. I would think you would be able to find someone to do it that way! Good Luck!

bzzadriana said...

What do you suggest when the man has 2 middle names causing four total names and the item only allows for 3 initials?

Mandy said...

Hi bzzadriana - depending on the item, you will need to drop one of the names (which one does he like least:)) For instance, if you would like a pair of cufflinks there really isn't room for 4 initials, but if you were getting a golf towel you could monogram all 4. Also, with four initials you will need to make them all the same size in the "correct" order. (i.e. - for the name Matthew James David Nesta it would be MJDN. I hope that helps!

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