Which name comes first on personalized gifts? A quick guide to gift giving

Deciphering Name Order in Personalized Gifts: Who Goes First?

Content updated 2.21.2024

We specialize in crafting anniversary gifts, and one of the frequently asked questions we encounter pertains to the order of names when personalizing a gift with the couple’s names. For instance, you might wonder if, when gifting something to your wife, her name should precede yours since it’s for her. Does tradition dictate that the husband’s name always comes first? What if she holds a professional title like “Doctor”? Additionally, how does this apply to same-sex marriages and couples? Let’s delve deeper into this inquiry.

First and foremost, it’s important to clarify that there are no strict gift-giving rules dictating the order of names in personalized gifts. Nevertheless, you can draw upon traditional or contemporary etiquette as a helpful guide if you wish to adhere to certain conventions.

When gift giving, whose name comes first?

In contemporary society, the order of names in gift giving is a personal decision reflecting the uniqueness of each couple. While traditionally the man’s name would come first after marriage, there are no rigid guidelines enforcing this practice. Ultimately, prioritize what feels most comfortable for you! For instance, you might choose “Mike and Jess Wilkeson” or “Jess and Mike Wilkeson” – it’s the same loving couple either way, and the order of names doesn’t diminish the significance of either individual.
Traditionally, men's names came first after marriage, however this is no longer enforced. sample given: Mike and Jess Wilkeson or Jess and Mike Wilkeson are both acceptable.

What is the traditional order of names when personalizing gifts?

Traditionally, when personalizing gifts for a married couple, the man’s name typically comes first. However, exceptions may arise, such as when the wife holds a professional title like “Doctor” and the husband does not. In such cases, her name would precede his, as in “Dr. Jessica & Mr. Michael Wilkeson” or “Dr. Michael & Mrs. Jessica Wilkeson.”
professional titles should appear first regardless of gender. for example: Dr. Jessica and Mr. Michael Wilkeson or Dr. Michael and Mrs. Jessica Wilkeson

What is the customary order of names in same-sex couples when personalizing gifts?

According to traditional etiquette, the names of same-sex couples should appear alphabetically. However, it’s recommended to prioritize the order that the couple feels most accurately represents them. Consider how they refer to themselves, such as “Jessica and Jane” or “Jane and Jessica,” to ensure the personal touch of the gift.
same sex couples can order names alphabetically or what most accurately represents them as a couple.

How should I arrange the names on my gift?

In today’s diverse society, I believe it’s best to empower couples to make their own decisions regarding name order. Some couples find “Jess & Mike” more harmonious to their ears to the more traditional option of “Mike and Jess”.

Sometimes, the choice is influenced by aesthetic considerations, especially when designing gifts where certain letters may hang differently (For example, consider the visual aspect: if one name contains a letter like “J” which has a descender and extends further downward than a letter like “M,” it may be more visually appealing to position that name first in the design.)

A practical approach is to consider how the couple is commonly addressed – do people typically say “Mike & Jess” or “Jess & Mike”? It’s crucial to align with the couple’s preference and what feels most natural for them. Ultimately, use your discretion or seek input from friends on how they would introduce the couple!

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