Some of the most distinctive and traditional wedding invitations feature a monogram, duogram, crest or coat of arms.

A monogram is made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or initials to form one symbol. A traditional 3-letter monogram has the initial of the person’s last name set larger, or with some special treatment in the center, while the first name initial appears to the left of it and the middle name initial appears to the right of it.


The word “mono” is derived from the Greek “monos” meaning single or only. Thus, a monogram consists of the initials of a single person. A duogram, on the other hand, combines the initials of two people into one symbol or logo.


The photo at the top of this post features what I consider a suitable duogram. There are all kinds of very strict rules about when a monogram must be used and how a duogram should be presented based on the history of both sets of symbols. Traditionally, the bride’s parents were hosting the wedding and reception and the wedding was all about the bride and her family. That meant only the bride’s monogram was to appear on the wedding stationery. But we live in the future and there is much more emphasis on the couple, not the families they come from. Because of this, it may seem strange to use the bride’s monogram alone and I almost never do. I believe that knowing the rules gives you license to bend them and I prefer not to follow the letter of etiquette law on this one.

Originally, a coat of arms was the armor a knight wore into battle. To identify him as a friend or enemy, an insignia was emblazoned on the front. This insignia is what we now think of as a coat of arms and it is unique to each family. A crest is just one component of the coat of arms, which can be very elaborate.

coat of arms components

Most modern families don’t have a coat of arms or any other heraldic symbol. But, if you want your stationery to have a regal flair, you can always have one made just for you using symbols from your life and experiences.

custom coat of armsI like making custom logos and crests for wedding stationery and I think it adds an extra level of formality to the special event. What do you think? Are you considering a custom duogram or coat of arms for your big day?


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