New Orleans may have an unusual way of living. As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and contributor Chris Rose once put it, “We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large, and, frankly, we’re suspicious of others who don’t.” But in many ways, New Orleans sticks to its Southern roots and way of life.

For example, a common tradition among Southerners is when a couple is married, their new, joint initial or monogram is stitched, drawn, etched, and so forth, onto many items gifted to the happy pair. Though this isn’t a tradition exclusively practiced in the South, around here, conversation surrounding your new married monogram still ranks up there with discussion and debate about your wedding hashtag.

A monogram as a symbol of importance has been around for centuries. It can be found on correspondence from Kings and Queens by way of the royal seal or embroidered and woven into fabric used for clothing and textiles and is an oft repeated motif in palace décor. The inspiration and patron queen of this very blog, Marie Antoinette, plastered her monogram on anything to which it could be attached at the Palace of Versailles and her personal château, the Petit Trianon.

According to a post by modern day monogram royalty Mark and Graham, though, it was the Victorian era that really transformed the monogram into a true symbol of aristocracy, using the monogram as a sign of prestige. Additionally, the brand went on to state that today’s wide variety of font type, especially in monogramming, evolved with Johannes Gutenberg’s inventing of the printing press – before which, there were only three script styles available.

A typical, personal monogram includes that of the person’s first, middle and last initials together and in order. A couple’s monogram when married would include that of everyone’s first initials bookending that of the joint last initial larger and more prominent in the middle of the two.

An article by online wedding planner lays out the structure of more monogram options, depending on if the couple decides to keep both last names or agrees to use a hyphen to join both surnames.

The Knot Monogram

Something monogramed is usually a welcome gift for any couple, but it’s important to note that the traditional etiquette rule is for a couple to avoid using a joint monogram until after the marriage is official. Unless you are buying a joint gift, like stationary, it may be wise to stick only with the letter – or letters – of the shared surname.

Locally, New Orleans is home to many shops that either already carry items marked with monogrammed letters or can monogram gift items for you. Orient Expressed on Magazine Street and Phina, on Metairie Road and Magazine Street, Monogram Express, Orleans Embroidery, Sophisticated Thread, Leontine Linens, to name a few, all offer a variety of monogramed items, custom monogramming and services.