Monogrammed wedding napkins as couple re-branding

November 20 | Guest post by jacquelynsparks
do we need monogrammed napkins
Napkin design available from Wedding Paper Divas

I work in a creative services department as a photographer. A lot of what we do is branding, re-branding, analyzing a current branding strategy and slowly implementing new strategies. It's a lot less "Mad Men" and a lot more "chess with the occasional sing-a-long." Meanwhile, I'm also planning a wedding.

Last night, it was brought to my attention that I don't have a solution for the napkins at my indie-potluck-homemade shindig. Clearly, the answer to no napkins is MONOGRAM ALL THE THINGS. Should I just have a tasteful (and cost-effective) signature cocktail napkin? What about monogrammed dinner napkins AND cocktail napkins? Monogramed and personalized toasting glasses?

And then I paused. Looked up. What am I doing? Why do I need my name all over the place?

First let me say: monogrammed napkins and other items are perfectly lovely — it's just not something that I feel would work with our wedding in particular.

See, all the designs I'm considering carefully omit phrases like "Mrs. & Mr." or "The Whoevers," because I'm scandalously keeping my name. I say "scandalously" because we live in deeply-traditional Oklahoma where most women either hyphenate or change completely to their husband's name. For a multitude of reasons, I'm keeping mine just the way it is.

While we're not exactly keeping my lack of name-change a secret, we're kind of keeping it on a need-to-know basis. It's no one's business but mine and Husband Elect's.

So, if we're minimizing the name thing in every other respect, why do we need to put our names on stuff?

What's the deal with monogrammed stuff and newlywed folks, anyway? Largely because I grew up in the south, I feel almost as much like it's as expected of me to have monogrammed, or personalized napkins as it is for me to change my name.

When I was talking it over with my dad and his lady partner (who are also our florists), they acted like the monogramed napkins should be as much of a given as my bouquet. Yet, despite the ingrained expectation, somehow it shocked me. Who on earth genuinely gives a crap about if my name or my fictional shared name with Husband Elect appears on a piece of disposable paper?

Then, I realized it's all re-branding. Still the same great faces you love but now twice the strength! We have merged our identities, consolidated our assets and resources, and now must create a unified marketing campaign. Here's our new name, family: Learn it, love it!

I think I'll just stick to my tidy-white generic napkins… Unless I cave and go for the coasters.

  1. So true! It's another subtle way of reminding guests why they are celebrating. Kind of like the ridiculous "if you're not in a white dress, how will they know who the bride is?"

    4 agree
  2. I didn't even know people still did that. I think it's a cute idea, as an accent, but I wouldn't even pay THAT much attention to the initials and what it all meant.

    This is all just too much! Now that my engagement is settling in my mind. The 'supposed tos' are just too much/

    3 agree
    • I just want to say I'm sending you a {{{{big BIG HUG}}} because I had a mini meltdown over 'supposed to's' in the months following my engagement and you've come to the right place! I LOVE OBB because it's 'supposed to' free. join the tribe! there's lots of help to get you to the other side. @stitches is 100% right-it passes, just hold on tight and start making lists!!

      • Thanks Ladies! I've been lurking for a while but just recently officially engaged. I don't really stand on ceremony and would never think of half the things people say you're 'supposed to have'.

      • Same here. The "Supposed to's" are quickly fading now, but they were coming on strong and often in the first few months. Hooray for a semi-long engagement!

        OBB has helped reduce the stress as has the realization that I actually prefer things to be a little mis-matched rather than a completely color-coordinated, Super themed ordeal. I love those, btw, it's just that I'm not terribly color-coordinated myself, nor do I seem to have a theme…

        Do what makes sense not what you're "supposed to" do πŸ™‚ And come here when it all gets too overwhelming.

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    • The meltdown phase will pass. My process went something like this:

      Yay officially engaged!! Wooo hooooooo!!!! No, no we don't have a date, no we haven't thought of that… No… No…. Ahhhhhh! Stop asking about *ALL THE THINGS*!!!!!

      Then I came to a place of peace, where wedding-y stuff is fun again. (And monogramed napkins are out… Unless they say "WTF" which would actually be kind if fun for me.)

      1 agrees
  3. Another Oklahoma bride here πŸ™‚ I am changing my name but we won't be personalizing anything except possibly the cake. I think the idea of monograms is adorable but together we are trying to be practical and functional about everything while still creating a beautiful evening. So money spent (especially on something that will be used and thrown away) is just not in the budget. We might have nice napkins but they won't be anything special.

    1 agrees
    • I'm trying to prepare myself now for such suggestions, instead of smiling and nodding and moving on..I just know I'll end up saying, "you know they'll just be thrown out, right?"

      It's nice for people who want it and have the room in their budget, but not on my radar. I plan to change my name, but no one would 'get' that I'm announcing such on napkins! I'm still me, I'm Nikki! People are gonna keep calling my 'the little (maiden name) girl' anyway. I don't need to re-brand, I don't have a brand, lol…

      2 agree
  4. Hey all! California hippie-dippie bride here. I didn't even realize monogrammed wedding stuff was a THING until this post. I didn't know that the plain white cocktail napkins I bought last week were uncouth!

    I kid, I kid. πŸ™‚ But if it helps, remember that there are places not so far away where monogrammed napkins (or champagne flutes or cake knives etc etc) are not a reflection on you and your husband. You are awesome people who are making a meaningful commitment, and your friends and family certainly won't need a reminder of who they're celebrating.

    5 agree
  5. My husband and I got married last month, and neither of us changed our names. We created a wedding brand that included a logo made up of our first initials. And yes, I guess it sort of was a re-branding of us, so to speak – we were R. and also D. And now we're R&D. Team RaD, if you will. The focus was on our first names, and thus we didn't have to worry about any slip-ups involving "Mrs."

    3 agree
    • yes, we did the same and focused on our first names since we didn't change our last names.

      Napkins were actually symbolic for me: I thought when starting the preparations "whatever happens, I will never lose sleep over the shade of the napkins" as an example of how I wanted to avoid fretting about the small stuff…
      but sure enough, I ended up worrying about getting napkins in a rainbow of colours! Then I remembered my early vow, and just asked the caters to get some navy napkins, which I discovered on the day (and as expected, at that point I couldn't care less of their colour!)

      4 agree
  6. I have to admit … embossed napkins were a HUGE thing for me πŸ™‚ I had almost none of the 'normal' wedding stuff, and we did a super simple, tiny wedding at home. However, we were in the party store, and it was around graduation time, so they had all the embossed napkin designs out on display, and all of a sudden I was like, "I WANT THEM!!!!"

    It was so weird. I cared so little about most of the decorations, etc., but when I saw the graduation napkins, and realized I could have our name and wedding date on them, I got ridiculously excited. So we got 50 each in our two prominent colors, and had "Bride-First-Name & Groom-First-Name, Date" printed on them for like $20. And they were one of my very favorite touches, and I put two of them in my shadow box of wedding memories.

    That said, I have NEVER seen monogrammed napkins at another wedding; so I didn't think it was a 'thing' until I saw them, and even then, they weren't wedding napkins, they were graduation party napkins….

    2 agree
  7. Disclaimer… Monogramed wedding things are perfectly lovely if that's what you love. I've been to weddings that have them and it IS like a branding. "Hey, this is us, joining and committing. This represents us together." That's nice and I can get behind that.

    But in my case, the picture on this blog post has me seriously considering getting WTF monogramed napkins. Mostly because that is the look I unintentionally give people when they asked about personalized *anything*. This is our wedding… isn't that personal enough?

    3 agree
    • THIS would make me exceptionally happy. I bet you anything… only one or two people would even notice! mwahahahahahaha

  8. So struck a nerve with me. The "shoulds" will drive the most independent, fearless woman crazy when it comes to wedding planning. The monogrammed napkins, matchbooks, etc. have fallen somewhat out of favor in my area but there was the push to develop a logo out of our initials, A LOGO!, for our wedding, so it could be incorporated throughout the process from our Save-the-Dates to the Invitations, to the reception's lighting design. Since I was on the fence about changing my name anyway, it made my ambivalence regarding the idea of "branding" our nuptials with a logo and theme much easier to deal with by foregoing any monograms or initials. I eventually decided to update my name – going the Hillary Rodham Clinton route as I call it – by taking my husband's name but using both my maiden and married name professionally. And there were no monogorams or names to be seen at the wedding, save for the cake.

    1 agrees
  9. You have not asked for my opinion so please feel free to ignore it. I kept my name and much like you I didn't want my wedding day to become a platform of political BS. I was ambiguous all day about our name and we were only announced by first names. I believe now that it was a mistake on my part and I missed the best opportunity to declare what my name would be. Many people assumed incorrectly that the best way to address us was Mr and Mrs John Smith which enrages my very core and facing relatives over the next two years involved "how are you (head lower, smile, pause) Mrs Smith" ( more smiles more pause) forcing me to take a positive interaction and make it negative by correcting them. Something we sweetie pie Midwest girls are NOT supposed to do. I 100% support whatever choice that you make but I didn't make the right choice that day and I thought you might like to know. For some people the name change is a joy, for others its not and for those who thought that I should be sharing the joy it came off as very rub your face in it.

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