Rules of Monogramming

I am asked this question all the time and the answer has changed over the years. When a couple is getting married how should their combined monogram read?? I ask do they want a traditional or a modern monogram, the difference being what name comes first the Man or the Woman?   If asking my advice I tend towards the traditional by having the man’s initial first, I’ve being doing that for a very long time now and that’s my thought. However, that being said, within the last several years it’s changing towards the Modern with the Brides name being the first initial. A monogram is a personal and individual thing so you can make up your own rules too.

I’ve researched this and Embroidery arts has the best response on all sorts of  monograms. Visit their site for more information at:

Here is their findings for the Tradition/Modern monogram for couples


In the 19th and Early 20th Centuries, when the rules for three-letter monograms were created, it would have been fairly easy to decide which letters represented which parts of an individual’s name.

Alice Canfield Bostwick would immediately recognize this monogram as her own – first name initial (A) on the left, middle name initial (C) on the right, and last name initial (B) in the center,               larger than the rest.

In the modern world, things get a good deal more complicated, and so it is with monogramming. The rules haven’t really been revisited lately, and some confusion and disagreement have             always accompanied these rules anyway. In an effort to help  extend the rules for the 21st Century, we hosted a focus group and asked participants to respond to a series of monogramming             situations.

We collected responses over a three month period. The results are posted below. Thanks to all who participated in this project.

1. John  Taylor and Mary Blount are getting married. They have already decided that after the marriage they will both use John’s Last Name. How would you create a monogram for them?                                      
– 766 votes.                
                     – 1766 votes.                
– 349 votes.                  

Conclusion: The majority prefer  that the man’s initial goes on the left and the woman’s initial goes on the right. However, there is a reasonable vote for  the opposite, with this comment representing their reasoning      – “…linens are generally considered a bride’s domain.”



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