Monogram Etiquette

It is important to select the appropriate monogram style and order of the initials when personalizing a gift. Below are Chatham Thread Works’ general tips on monogram etiquette. Keep in mind you can make your monogram anyway you choose. It’s completely up to you! If you have a tricky last name such as one that includes an O’, Mc, Mac, or Von or multiple middle names contact us and we will be happy to give you our suggestions on what we find works best.

Please make sure that you check the order of your letters before submitting your order. We aim to please and will monogram your letters in the order that they are typed. We offer a confirmation field just incase you want us to double check but if you choose to go off the suggested letter order, either leave the name confirmation field blank or make a note in the comments area at checkout. This will ensure that you receive the monogram you want!

What order are the letters in a monogram?

It is a personal preference! Some people believe that the man goes on the left, as the saying is “Man and Wife”. Some people believe that the woman goes on the left because in a traditional wedding ceremony, the woman stands to the left of the man. Either way is perfectly acceptable. In both cases, the common last initial is larger in the middle. For example, Frank and Deborah Smith is DFS or FSD.

For men, most people do the three initials straight across: Frank William Smith would be FWS. For women, the last initial is still larger in the middle (but doesn’t have to be): Deborah Mary Smith would be DSM. 

Monograms for Couples

We have found that most of our customers prefer this new modern order:

Her First Initial     Their Last Initial    His First Initial


For instance, if her name is Rebecca and his name is Brian and their married last name is Smith we would put her first initial on the left of the last name which will be in the middle. The size of each letter will depend on the monogram style you choose.

What if I am unsure if she is taking his last name?

Often our customers struggle with a monogram choice when they are unsure if a woman will be changing her last name to her husband’s name.  In this case we suggest using just their initials. Our A+B Goudy font is perfect for this situation. We do offer an ampersand (R&B) as an option when using Copperplate. You would select 3 Letter Copperplate and enter and “&” as the middle letter.

RB Initials

What else can I use besides initials for a couple?

For a wedding gift we will often put the date of the wedding on the item which speaks for itself.  We have done anything from a new address for a housewarming to a number for a big birthday.  The possibilities are endless. Some of our items allow for additional add-on personalization.

Do you use a woman’s middle name or her maiden name for the middle initial?

Some people are unsure as to whether the woman they are monogramming a gift for uses her maiden name or her given middle name as the middle initial on her monogram. We have found that most of our customers that are women use their maiden name (Facebook is a great place to find that initial).  In the case of someone with a double first name such as Mary Ann many of these women use the M and the A as their first and middle initials.

Monogram & Font Styles

Three Letter Monograms have the largest initial in the center.

[First initial, Last Initial, Middle Initial]

It can be used for a married couple.

[Woman’s First Initial, Married Last Initial, Man’s First Initial]

Three Letter Initials are the same size.

[First Initial, Middle Initial, Last Initial]

Single Initial

[First Initial] or [Last Initial]

Double Initial Monogram

[First Initial, Last Initial]

It can be used for a couple

[First Initial of Woman, First Initial of Man]

It can also be used for a hyphenated last name

[Last Initial, Last Initial]

Additional Ideas to Personalize

Get creative! Want to do something different than a traditional monogram? Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for some inspiration.

One word

First or Last name

A favorite vacation spot

A nickname

An activity

The name of your boat


An area or zip code

Lucky number(s)

The age of the recipient

GPS Coordinates

Texting Lingo



Social Media

Your Handle (@chathamthreadworks)

Hashtag (#MyCTW)