I am hoping you can provide some naming help for our last baby due at the end of June. We have two little girls, Laura Marie and Clara Rose. We do not know the gender of baby number three, but we are decided on a boy name. We are having a hard time deciding on a girl name as some of our nieces and nephews’ names have eliminated names or name variants that we like. And we have two girls already and coming up with a third girl name is tough. Plus we have some naming quirks (but who doesn’t, right?).
My name is Lisa and my husband is Christopher. Our surname is Lenz with a B instead of an L. We like classic/vintage names that have clear spellings and pronunciations. For girls names, I love feminine names that end in “a” – this is a requirement for me. I have always loved the names Laura and Julia. But before my second was born, we had a niece who was named Julia – so that is not an option. We love the name Clara – vintage and not overly used. Plus now we have L&C names to match our names. The third baby will throw off the L&C naming convention because although we love L&C names, I feel the next baby should have his/her own letter and not make our family lopsided.
First names that I like but have been eliminated because of nieces/nephews: Julia/Juliana, Liliana, Alexa
First Name Letters that we like: A, J, K, M, R, S, V
First Name Letters that we will not use: B (only because last name), D, E, F, G, H, Q, U, W, X, Y, Z
We are trying to come up with a name that fits well with Laura and Clara. Since they are shorter names, trying to choose something that does not have too many syllables or is too long. The top two contenders on our list are Victoria and Sophia. I have hang-ups with both. I love Victoria – it is classic, no spelling/pronunciation issues, and I like the meaning (victory). It seems to fit with the other girls’ names, especially with the “r” sound at the end. However, my concerns are nicknames (we dislike Vicky and Tory and our two girls do not have nicknames) – baby/child would have to be Victoria and I am not sure if that is realistic. It is a bit longer than the other girls’ names we have too. I like Sophia – honestly I loved this name 10 years ago but now it is so popular that I don’t feel like the name is special. I like that it is classic and like the meaning (wisdom). I feel like the “ph” spelling is more common than “f” spelling – we both prefer the “ph” spelling. It is a shorter than Victoria. But I fear the child would always be Sophia B because of its popularity.
As for middle names, Marie is my middle name and a family name. Rose is my favorite flower and I just love the name. Yes, these are common middle names, but I am okay with that because it is the middle not first name. Also, both middle names again are easy to spell and pronounce. They also end in an “e”, so it would be nice to have another middle name that ends in “e”. Also, we do consider the baby’s initials and try to avoid inappropriate initials (ex. SOB). Middle name that we are considering is Grace.
Other names that I like, but don’t seem to fit our naming conventions:
First names: Cora (out – C issue and rhymes with Laura), Violet (husband does not like, does not end in a), Serena (not classic?), Sabrina (not sold on this), Seraphina (husband does not like), Ophelia (I just think Shakespeare)
Middle names: Juliet (husband does not like), Annabel/Annabelle, (concern with “bell” sound before B surname), Olive (this is all me not sure about hubby – yet to be discussed), Lily (another flower)
So to summarize, a girl first name that ends in “a” and is classic/vintage, easy to spell/pronounce, and goes with Laura and Clara….and a pretty middle name (it can be more popular and bonus if it ends in “e”). It seems so much harder naming a third when the first two have set naming precedents!
I suggest Anna. Feminine and classic; ends in -a; similar length to other names; no need for a nickname; easy to pronounce and spell but not very common; doesn’t share too many sounds with Laura and Clara.
You mention Grace as a middle name possibility, and I think Anna Grace is very nice.
Or Anna Jane is pretty, or Anna June.
Sophie would be a nice middle name, too, if Sophia is feeling too common as a first name. I like Sophia even better than Sophie as a middle name, if you’re willing to skip the ends-in-E preference. Anna Sophia.
The middle name would also be a good way to use Victoria without having to deal with the nicknames. Anna Victoria.
A few more first-name options to consider:
I would suggest Delia, Eliza, Eva, Fiona, and Georgia, but D, E, F, and G are on the list of letters you won’t use. Is that list set in stone? It rules out so many good options. I kept getting discouraged: I’d think of another name that met all the preferences—and oh, the first letter is on the No list.
I think one reason you’re stuck is that you have too many requirements/preferences you’re trying to meet: too many letters it can’t start with, plus it has to end in -a, plus it shouldn’t have nicknames, plus it has to be easy to spell and pronounce, plus it can’t be too common. I suggest ranking these in order of how important they are to you, and seeing if some of the requirements can be demoted to preferences, and if some of the preferences can be demoted to “eh, nice if it works out, but we don’t really care.” I don’t think just because the first two names have something in common you have to continue that for a third name.
And it’s a matter of trading: each requirement/preference eliminates a large chunk of names. Each time you cut away a chunk of names, you reduce the number of names you might love. Too many cuts, and the choice becomes “Do we go with a name we love but that fails to meet some of our preferences, or do we instead go with a name that meets all our preferences but we like it much less?” That sounds as if I think you should go with the name you love, but that’s not what I’m saying; what I’m saying is that I think it will make the decision process easier if you realize the cost of each preferences, and then decide if you’re willing to pay those costs. You might find that you are willing, which could help you feel happy choosing a name you love less; or you might find you’re not willing, which could help you feel happy choosing a name that doesn’t meet a preference.
As an exercise, I recommend making a list of names without any regard for requirements/preferences. That is, put Julia on the list even though you can’t use it. Put names you like that don’t end in -a on the list. Put names you like that are a little hard to spell or pronounce on the list. Put names that start with the forbidden initials on the list—including L and C. Put them alllllllll on the list. Then you can compare the names that meet your requirements to the ones that don’t, and see if the trade-offs (in either direction) are ones you’re willing to make: that is, put the things on the balance scales and ask yourselves are you willing to forsake [preference] in exchange for [loved name]? are you willing to forsake [loved name] in exchange for [preference]? This may also give you more ideas for names that DO meet your requirements: if, for example, you’d had Anne and Annabel and Hannah on the doesn’t-meet-requirements list, that might lead you to add Anna to the does-meet-requirements list.
If it were me, the first requirement I’d knock off is the initials one. You didn’t mention why some of those initials are on your list, though, so you may have reasons that would change my mind on that if I knew them. Let’s start just with L and C: I understand not wanting to repeat initials (that’s one of my preferences, too), but I think it might be worth the trade—particularly if the next initial were L, so that it wasn’t so much “lopsided” as “alternating.”
From your list my top favorite is Sabrina. I like the repeating B-sound with the surname, and it seems like it checks all the other boxes: goes well with Laura and Clara, isn’t too long, it’s classic and easy to pronounce/spell, etc. Serena is also nice, but I prefer Sabrina.