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How to Monogram: A Guide to Monograms and Initials

Not sure how to enter your initials for personalizing an item with a monogram? Don't fret -- we're here to help. There are so many variations of monograms, so it can be a little tricky to remember the exact order of initials when you're buying a monogram gift. Check out our guide to properly learn how to monogram below!

First things first: what's the difference between a monogram and initials? There are two differences: the first is the size of the letter that's in the center. A monogram showcases the center initial larger than the other two letters. The second is the order of the letters. The center initial on a monogram letter signifies the last name or surname. Initials, on the other hand, are all the same size, and you'll enter them in the order they appear in the person's name. For example, if you're personalizing something for John Charles Smith and you just want to enter initials, you'd enter JCS. But if you wanted to personalize it with his monogram, you'd enter JSC.

How to Monogram

A monogram will always have three letters but that's not the case for just initials. If you're ordering a product and it asks you to specify the initials (not a monogram), you can enter 1-3 depending on personal preference (or if the person who'll be receiving the gift has a middle initial). Maybe you want to put John's initials on his gift, but prefer to leave his middle initial out -- you'd just enter JS. These rules apply for both men and women.

To recap, a monogram is always three letters with the center (last name) initial larger than the other two. Initials can have one to three initials depending on whether or not someone has a middle name and the letters are always the same size. With us so far? Great! Let's continue.

While the monogram information above is applicable when personalizing a gift for a man or a woman, there are some variations when it comes to a woman's monogram. Let's take Bethany Allison Roberts, for example. Her initials would be entered as BAR, while her monogram would be entered as BRA.

How to Monogram for a Woman

However, tradition dictates that if said woman is married, her monogram wouldn't contain her middle name initial -- instead, her maiden name would take the place of her middle name initial. For example, Bethany might have married John Smith, and her full name is now Bethany (Allison) Roberts Smith. If you followed tradition, you'd nix her middle initial and her initials would now be BRS, and her monogram BSR.

How to Monogram for a Married WomanFor the most part, people choose to go with the modern option and forget about the maiden name. Whether you choose to use her middle name initial or maiden name instead is completely up to you.

Now that we've covered initials and monogramming for an individual person, let's move onto monogramming for a couple and wedding monograms.

Say you're buying a joint couple's gift for your friends Bethany and John Smith. You'll never use just initials for a couple -- it will always be a monogram, not initials. If they're engaged, the bride-to-be's initial will always be first in the monogram (BSJ). But if they're married, tradition rules that the groom's initial will be first (JSB).

How to Monogram for a Couple

Let's recap again. If Bethany and John are engaged, her initial will be first. But if they're married, her initial will be second. The last name initial will always be in the center on a monogram regardless of buying for an individual person or a couple.

And that's that! You're now ready to go off and start ordering monogram gifts for everyone in your life!