Personalized gifts, whose name comes first?

Content updated 9.13.2022

We design a lot of gifts for anniversaries and a very common question we receive is which name comes first when personalizing a gift with the couple’s names?
For example, you may be wondering if you are giving a gift to your wife, does her name come first because it’s a gift for her?
Does his name always appear first? What if she’s a doctor? What about same sex marriages and couples? So let’s dive into this a little further.

First, let’s clear up the fact that there are no gift giving rules that indicate whose name comes first in personalized gifts. However you can use traditional or modern etiquette to help you if you want to follow some guidelines.

When gift giving, whose name comes first?

In modern society, this decision is a personal choice as unique as the couple. Traditionally, a man’s name would come first after marriage. However there are no hard and fast rules holding you to that rule. We say do what feels best for you! ie. Mike and Jess or Jess and Mike. Still the same couple. Still the same amount of love. The order of the names do not diminish either individual being.

Traditionally, whose name comes first when personalizing gifts?

Traditionally, once married, the man’s name appears first. Unless of course the wife is a doctor (and he is not) and then her name would come first. ie. John & Jane Doe or Dr. Jane & Mr. John Doe.

Whose name comes first in same sex couples?

Traditional etiquette states same sex couples names should appear alphabetically. However, it’s best practice to use the order the couple feels best represents them. How do they refer to themselves? ie. Jess and Jen or Jen and Jess?

Which order should I use for my gift?

In our modern society and with the many facets of relationship types, I like to leave this up to the couple’s decision. Some couples prefer the way it sounds better to have Jane & John Doe and sometimes I have to agree. It may just flow better that way.

Sometimes, depending on the gift and design we are creating, the decision can be purely aesthetic. Perhaps a letter hangs down further in one name and would look better first because of that.

A good rule of thumb is to think about how most people address the couple.  Are they introduced as Jane & John or John & Jane? Does the couple agree with this and like how it flows for them?

In summary, use your best judgement or ask a friend how they would introduce you!


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