Meticulous Monograms: Which initials to use

by epi on August 22, 2012

Q: I am invited to a monogram wedding shower, but I am not sure whose monogram I am supposed to use on the gift. Do I use the groom’s or the bride’s?

A: You may use the bride’s, the groom’s, or a “joint” monogram.  It depends on the gift.  If it’s a gift exclusively for the bride, it should have the bride’s married monogram  For example, if Jane Smith is marrying Robert Doe, the monogram would be J-D-S (if she will be using her maiden name as her middle name).  If the gift would be for the groom’s use, then his monogram should be used.   For items that would be used by the couple, the appropriate monogram would be “J-D-R” or just “D.”

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa August 22, 2012 at 8:54 am

Please make sure what the married couple’s names will be. My husband’s family gave us some lovely items that we will never use because I did not take his name.


Elizabeth August 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I’m just curious – what kinds of things would you not use because they have the wrong letter on them?

I did not received anything monogrammed for my wedding (which was fine, monogramming really isn’t my thing), but there aren’t many things I wouldn’t use even if it did show my initials incorrectly. Except for stationary – that wouldn’t make sense to use. But towels, bags – I don’t think the incorrect monogram would bother me that much.


Lisa August 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm

I’m sorry- I should have been more clear. We received some beautiful guest towels and a monogrammed frame. If they were more utilitarian we might have used them anyhow but as it is my husband gets irritated whenever he sees them so we just keep them hidden away.


Elizabeth August 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Thanks for responding and satisfying my curiosity. I think it is very sweet of your husband to get grumpy about it! I didn’t change my name either, but I have a very let’s say “relaxed” attitude about how I am addressed in letters, etc. I mean, everyone knows that I haven’t changed my name, but for some reason both of our sets of parents still want to address things to me as Elizabeth RealLastname Husband’sLastName. I just recognize it as a lost cause and can’t get up the energy to care too much. My husband would like me to change my name, but respects my decision. Luckily, unlike CountryGirl, when we did get checks addressed to my “married” name for our wedding, our bank just asked me to sign twice and immediately accepted the checks.


Pam August 22, 2012 at 11:02 am

I was just about to say the same thing! It’s one of the reasons I always write “Jane Doe OR John Smith” on the check I write, I don’t like to assume the bride is changing her name.


Country Girl August 23, 2012 at 1:58 am

Great idea Pam, especially since I just ran across this same issue when I got married. I was not able to cash some of the checks we received as I had of course yet to go through the process of changing my name, the bank didn’t allow me to even deposit checks with my married name. So it took us more time to deposit. (Which is also a pain for the giver.)


Chocobo August 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

Hm, maybe there is a difference of opinion here. I thought that traditionally, you always gave monogrammed gifts to the bride in her maiden name. If her name is Jane Marie Black and her married name will be Jane Marie Smith, you would still use “J-B-M” regardless of her married name. The thinking behind this was that the gifts were given to her before she was married, therefore it is inappropriate to engrave in her married name.

Saves on trying to figure out what the married name will be, anyway.


Alicia August 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I’d as the bride what monogram she wants. Not everyone changes their last name. Not everyone decides they want to move their middle name ect. Just ask the bride. Some people only like their first initials for example .


Country Girl August 23, 2012 at 2:06 am

I personally think the most considerate thing to do is to give a gift sans monogram. It will eliminate the chance that you will spend money on a gift that will not get used. The recipient (like myself) may not care for monogramming or may not be able to use your gift for whatever reason (doesn’t match decor or duplicate of something they have). Monogramming makes it impossible for the poor couple to return, regift, or even repurpose the item. If you must, perhaps included a gift card or small check for the couple to get the gift monogrammed as/if they wish.


Ruth Peltier August 23, 2012 at 6:54 am

While I appreciate what Country Girl is saying, I think it would be rather silly to go to a MONOGRAM Shower with a non-monogramed gift just in case the bride did not like monograms. I think whoever planned the shower surely knew whether the bride liked monograms and I would either ask her or the bride what letters to use.


Country Girl August 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Yes, I just realized I responded after reading the comments and not the original question. Thank you for correcting me. I think if someone is having a “monogram shower” (which I’ve actually not heard of, and not quite sure I like the idea of since the host is assuming guests will buy a gift expensive enough to be monogrammed in the first place) it would have been thoughtful for them to include the desired monogram on the invitation to avoid this confusion. You might first try to check and see if they have registered for monogrammed items. I know when we registered, certain stores offered quite a few items be monogrammed and the couple could indicate on the registry the exact monogram they desired. This way you could be more sure of both the monogram being what they want and the item being of their style. Failing that, asking the host would indeed be the second route I would choose. (Attending this kind of shower I think I would still be nervous and stress about getting them a duplicate gift or something that is not their style which they could not return. =S At my very small shower I received 2 different duplicate items from our registry, so things like this do happen easily.)


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