Alexander has been a favourite of mine and DH's too and we are considering it in the middle name position as it struck us as too popular for a first name. That said, in my humble opinion NOTHING trumps a name you both truly love - not popularity, not having a friend with the same name, not other people thinking it's weird/old-fashioned/too modern etc. Finding a name two people love and agree on is a minor miracle! :-)
I probably wouldn't shorten the name but if I did I'd choose Sacha or Lex.
Alexander is just an awesome name.
That's why it's popular.
Personally, I say go for a cool NN like Xander. I have even heard an Alexander nn Axel. I taught a Russian Alexander nn Sasha. Not so keen on the nn Lex- "Lex Luther" springs to my mind. I also know a young man named Alexander nn Alec.
If you like the nn Alex then just use it. I mean really, does it matter if there is another Alex in his class? Sometimes having a popular name is like a ticket to being accepted by peers.
If it makes your heart happy then use it.
Exactly-- Alexander is like Sophia. An excellent, storied, regal, pleasant name. It's only 'crime it's that too many people caught on to it's glory and gave it to their sons. On a site like nameberry you can feel pressure to choose something not heard every day, which is really a very poor measure of the strength of the name.