Monogram Me!

By Dabney Lee At Home.
Gear up girls, wedding season is coming. Oh - I don't want to hear you groan. Yes, your car is still stuck at the end of the cul-de-sac where the snowplow buried it, and your inconsiderate boyfriend had the nerve to be in Bermuda at the same time you needed him to dig it out. Yes, you haven't seen a sleeveless dress since New Year's, and your sweater habit is single-handedly supporting your local dry cleaners. But friends, it is coming. As the snow thaws, your bridal buddies will begin that most cherished of springtime rituals:  pre-wedding panic. Like Weight Watchers participants, they'll open their eyes one morning, spy that honeymoon bikini, and realize the clock is ticking. 
But don't be discouraged:  borrow from the guy play-book, where the best defense is a good offense. Go ahead and pick out those gifts now, or order the special decor for the shower you'll be throwing.  The more personalized they are, the more you'll look like a stunning bridesmaid (even in a scarlet and chartreuse striped gown. I am so, SO, sorry). 

Dabney Lee (above and below) offers a wide variety of gifts for two - order something with the bride's monogram, or the couple's first initials, intertwined. Below: I particularly love the wall mural (LH). For wedding festivities, personalized coasters, ice buckets, and frames are lovely - even for a bridal shower, perhaps? And Dabney Lee offers dozens of patterns to chose from (background).

For exquisite home service, I especially adore Iomoi's customized Lucite trays. Of all the lovely patterns and designs, Iomoi's are my absolute favorite; you can't go wrong (and their name is a palindrome. What more could you want?).

For really creative shoppers, there's always the vintage route. One of my favorite tricks, handed down from the master of re-design, Eddie Ross, is to cull antique linens and silver for new homes. If you're shopping for silver, choose quality pieces with room for a new engraving, and have a local craftsmen (check your yellow pages) personalize the set for the new couple. Here, an antique serving set from Nelson & Nelson in a strawberry pattern would look marvelous with a monogram in the bowl of the spoon and base of the fork.

You can take the same route with vintage linens - since many quality pieces are already monogrammed, choose pieces that have relevant letters. Single letter monograms are obviously the easiest to match. You can also buy a set of three single-letter items - used together, they'll be a complete monogram!

A few tips:  while the rules these days are fast and loose when it comes to etiquette, if the bride is more traditional, keep in mind that you should choose a monogram composed of her maiden, not her married initials. While it seems odd, monogrammed items, particularly linens, were once part of a trousseau - something a young women would have begun to work on long before she was engaged. 
Once married, however, a traditional bride may chose to incorporate her maiden and her new last name, in which case, her monogram is properly first name, maiden name, married name.
But that doesn't mean you have to do it that way - take your cue from the bride. If she isn't changing her name, the choice is easy. Otherwise, maybe she'd enjoy something that incorporated both "his and her" initials. 
Tip:  if you're not sure what to do, and don't want to give away the details of your gift, ask her if she's planning to use monograms for the wedding. If she is, you'll find out what she prefers. And if she's not, it's an easy way to bring up the subject!
Finally, if you're using a three-letter monogram, remember that the height of the letters determines the order. If the letters are all one height, the order is:  first, middle (or maiden), last. If the middle letter will be larger, the proper order is first, last, middle (or maiden).
For more help on monogram etiquette, visit Crane's.
All images, companies as attributed above. Vintage linens, www.antique-linens.com.


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