Name Sage: But I Like All 42 Names!
We are expecting our second little girl in the next few months.
We found the perfect name for our first daughter, Viviana Rose. We call her Viviana, Vivi and Viv. I love the nickname options. We also love that it’s classic with a twist so that it’s out of the US Top 100.
Now we’re expecting another pretty little girl and I need a name that can live up to the fullness, warmth, and femininity of Viviana. It has to feel right on a child, but also appropriate for an adult.
The problem is that we’ve already used our favorite name, and picking another name is just leaving me feeling deflated.
I have 42 names on my name list. I can’t even believe I’m admitting to that in writing. 42! I like them all. They’re nice. But nothing has that same sparkle.
After a million nameberry posts, my fellow berries helped me whittle the list down a little.
Then it occurred to me that I was lacking a connection to a name. Maybe that was the problem? Before Viviana was born, we had a miscarriage.
Then I thought about Iris, meaning rainbow, since a baby born after a pregnancy loss is called a “rainbow baby.” But I’m not sure I like Iris as a first name, especially with Viviana. Since Viviana’s middle name is Rose, I like the idea of Iris as a middle name, linking both sisters together, as well as our angel baby.
Our last name starts with an L and ends in a y.
I just keep turning in circles. I feel like I can’t come to love anything and I really want to love this baby’s name. We would appreciate it if you could help point us in the right direction! We’re absolutely lost!
The Name Sage replies:
There are some great options on your long list! I think you can’t see them because you’re suffering from We-Already-Used-Our-Favorite-Name syndrome.
That really needs a catchy acronym, doesn’t it?
It’s a common affliction. We spend ages thinking about The Name for our daughter or son. Sometimes that first name is one that we dreamed up before we even met our partner. And then, just a few years later, we need to come with another name that feels just as special, even though there’s far less time to consider the possibilities.
It can be daunting, and it can feel hopeless.
Now let’s talk about your criteria for choosing a first name. It’s always good to remember that you make the rules, and you are free to break them. But when your list is long, the challenge is to narrow the list.
- Popularity: The name cannot be in the current US Top 100, but it shouldn’t be too unusual, either.
- Nicknames: The name should have some easy nickname possibilities that don’t conflict with Vivi and Viv.
- Style: The name should be feminine, vintage in feel, and warm.
- Other consideration: If the middle initial is I and the last name starts with L, you’ll need to avoid spelling anything. Katherine Iris L-y is out.
Suddenly, it looks like your long list isn’t very long at all! Scarlett is in the Top 100. Scarlett, Tessa, Lila, Celia, and Vera don’t easily shorten, and Valentina doesn’t have nicknames you love. Evangeline is out because sisters called Evie and Vivi? That’s a tongue-twister! Your husband said no to Mabel and Amabel.
Arabella – Like Viviana, Arabella feels vintage. But both names are actually at their most popular now. Arabella ranked Number 174 in 2014. That’s more popular than Viviana’s Number 453 ranking, but far from chart-toppers like Emma and Sophia. Arabella also has nickname potential galore: Ari, Abby, Bella, and Belle. I can picture a baby Arabella or a 50-something chemistry professor by the name.
Carina, Carissa – Carina has Latin roots, just like Viviana. It comes from cara – beloved. It’s relatively rare today, but not unknown. Carissa is even rarer, though Edmund Spenser used Charissa for his epic poem The Faerie Queene way back in 1590. I think Carina might be the better match, if only because it opens up the nickname Ree, as well as Cari/Carrie/Cara.
I would also suggest:
Annalise, Anneliese, Annalisa – Annalise is the most popular spelling of the German Anneliese. It’s pronounced with four syllables in German – more like Annalisa. Like Viviana, the name has history, but is currently at its most popular. Annalise ranked Number 457 – just a few spots from Viviana at Number 453.
From your list, my favorite is Carina. Viviana and Carina – life and love, Vivi and Ree. From my list, I’m most drawn to Annalise. It’s different enough, in terms of sounds and origins, to feel distinct from Viviana. But I think it shares many of the same characteristics, too.
One last thing: know that you may not find a name that feels as much The Name as Viviana Rose. Not at first. But you have a long list of names that will work well for your second daughter. As you get used to saying them together, and seeing your girls together, I’ve no doubt that both will feel equally special and appropriate.
UPDATE: They went with Carina Iris. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions!
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on August 25th, 2015 at 11:58 pm
Great list! May I also suggest the name Tabitha? It means Gazelle and can be shorten to Tibby, Tabi, Bity, Bitsy, Bita, Tati. And another possible nn for Valentina would be Len or Lennie, but that probably isn’t the feminine vibe you were looking for with Viv. And Victoria is another option, it offers tons of nn’s. The only problem would be that you might fall into a naming trend of V’s, which isn’t a bad thing! V’s rock.
on August 26th, 2015 at 12:05 am
I saw Juliette on the list, but what about Julietta? It has the same feel as Viviana, and Jetta is a great nickname! Julietta Iris is really pretty 🙂
on August 26th, 2015 at 1:47 am
Love Viviana! I think I great name would be Jolie! Both Jo and Joey are cute nicknames for a little girl! Its ranked somewhere in the 700’s. It also means pretty! I think Vivi and Jo / Viviana and Jolie would be great sibling names!
on August 26th, 2015 at 2:08 am
May i suggest;
Alethea, it means “truth”, and though not popular it has a warm quality. Alethea Iris nn (Ali, Thea)
Delilah, it means “to flirt”, but it makes a statement like Viviana, Delilah Iris (Dela, Lilah, Delia, DeeDee)
Aurora, it means “dawn”, warm, recognizable, feminine, a great meaning match and ending match with Viviana. Life and Dawn. Aurora Iris (Dawn Rainbow) Nick name Rory is also a plus. Vivi and Rory. Viv and Rora/Ree/Ro
Coraline (diminutive of Coral) has the great nn option of Cora which has its own awesome meaning. Other nn (Cory, Lina) Coraline Iris
Cordelia “heart” not super popular but recognizable. Warm and feminine, lots of nn options. Cordelia Iris. Viviana and Cordelia
Athena “wisdom” this would be a strong statement. But it is a great name, if not thin of nn options. Athena Iris. Viviana and Athena
Of the ones that Abby suggested I think Annalise is great.
How about Julia instead of Juliette. Still a handful of nn options to choose from. Sounds good with Iris. Julia Iris. Julia and Viviana. Even better Juliana and Viviana.
on August 26th, 2015 at 2:10 am
How about Mirabel/Mirabelle? Mirabelle Iris? Similar to Arabella but not as popular, and Miri or Belle sound super cute with Vivi!
on August 26th, 2015 at 2:27 am
Viviana is gorgeous and I instantly loved Carina the best! Out of the choices, that’s by far my favorite, and I love the “life” and “love” connections. Viviana Rose and Carina Iris sounds great together! I like Tabitha as well, but I don’t feel like it has quite as much feminine charm. I like the suggestion of Annalise and Juliana (or even Iliana). The only thing I don’t like is the repeat of “ana”. I also like Arabella, but don’t think it flows with Viviana as well.
Other names that might fit (without the extensive research of Name Sage)
Amaia (not much for nn though)
Araminta (a favorite of mine)
on August 26th, 2015 at 3:44 am
I like the suggested Cecelia and Juliette. Has the same vibes as Viviana and the nicknames Cece and Julie are cute like Vivi.
You mentioned your angel…how about Angelina? Nn Lina is really pretty.
Other suggestions…Esmeralda nn Esme or Serafina.
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on August 26th, 2015 at 3:47 am
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on August 26th, 2015 at 3:56 am
Elysia was my first thought. It has a nice meaning too, ‘blissful’. Viviana & Elysia.
Viviana & Aurelia (golden)
Viviana & Minerva (the roman equivalent of Athena)
Viviana & Magnolia (OT: my favourite tree)
Viviana & Seraphina (angel)
Viviana & Angelina/Angelica
Viviana & Evelina (nn Lina or Linny, perhaps)
Viviana & Graziella (graceful and oh so pretty)
on August 26th, 2015 at 5:27 am
Eloise is a good match for Viviana. It’s strong, but feminine. Viviana and Eloise, Vivi and Ellie/Louie/LouLou.
on August 26th, 2015 at 5:38 am
What about Cassia? Cass/ Cassi, it has the same feel as Viviana and is not popular.
on August 26th, 2015 at 5:51 am
Theodora (Thea or Dora)
Isadora (Dora or Izzy)
Josephina (Josie, Joey or Posy)
Penelope (Penny or Nelly)
Leonora (Nora or Nelly)
Magdalena (Maggie or Lena)
Catalina (Cate, Catie or Lina)
Marguerite (Maggie, Maisie, Greta or Margo)
on August 26th, 2015 at 6:03 am
I immediately thought of Tabitha and then Trinity, Lydia, Lilibeth, Felicity as they all have a similar feminine style.
I really love Evangeline! Perhaps you could use a different nickname to Evie if that is your only worry. How about Angie, Vangie, Ellie, Angel, Annie or Eva? Evangeline Iris is a lovely combination also.
Best wishes 🙂
on August 26th, 2015 at 6:51 am
Perhaps Veronica Iris, nickname Vera. 🙂
on August 26th, 2015 at 7:35 am
Love the name Anneliese! It’s been on my short list forever. However, I’m not in love with Anneliese Iris.
I like the suggestion of a pp for Cordelia. Cordelia Iris sounds lovely, and there are so many great nn options depending on her personality: Cory, Cordy, Delia, Lia, Della, Del.
What about Cassandra (nn Cass, Cassie, Andy)? Aveline (Ava, Ellie)? Serephine (Sera, Effie)? Mirelle (Mira, Elle)? Valorie (Val, Lorie)? Arianna/Ariana (Ari, Aria, Anna)?
on August 26th, 2015 at 7:43 am
I love the suggestion of Cecelia Iris. Cecelia and Viviana, Cece and Vivi.
on August 26th, 2015 at 8:23 am
I know what she means. Many names, all nice, all liked, but no passion for any.
Sometimes THE name just pops out and grabs one by the jugular. In fact, even though I am 53 and will not be having a child, I still guard my secret name I discovered on nameberry, maybe for a pen name. Or a cat name. The name just knocks me off my feet.
She might allow herself to relax about it and just skim through scads of name lists with a loose eye, waiting for that lightning bolt.
Also of the names she likes, I find there are fresher forms (for me anyway).
For the overused Scarlet(t), Viridiana or Crimson.
For Arabella, Araminta or Amabel.
For Carissa, Clarissa.
For Tessa, Tressa.
For Vera, Verena or Guinevere (though I love Vera too)
I like the idea of a name with a v in it to match next not match Viviana. A name like Geneva, which I find to be a breath of fresh Alpine air, or Evadne or Viveca.
Kim W Said
on August 26th, 2015 at 8:43 am
I love Cecilia Iris. Other suggestions:
Viviana Rose & Louisa Iris (Vivi & Lulu!!)
Viviana Rose & Penelope Iris (Vivi and Penny, Viv and Pip)
Viviana Rose & Josephine Iris (Vivi and Josie, Viv and Jo)
Viviana Rose & Annabelle Iris (Vivi and Annie)
on August 26th, 2015 at 8:58 am
Some names you might like that we considered for a daughter (ended up with two sons!):
Valencia (LOVE this one, with Cia or Cici as nicknames, or Vale pronounced Valley)
Sunceria or Sunniva (nn Sunny)
on August 26th, 2015 at 9:11 am
I love the suggestions of Louise (Lulu) or Eloise, as well as Carina. I also think Amalia would be lovely with Viviana.
But I was fixated on your choice of Evangeline. It just seemed perfect. What if you used ‘Lina’ as a nickname instead?
on August 26th, 2015 at 9:20 am
I suggest Elysia or Eliana
or Claressa (Claire or Ressa).
on August 26th, 2015 at 9:21 am
I named my son Theodore for many of the same reasons you chose Viviana. It had great nickname options (Ted, Teddy, Theo), was old feeling, but not too outdated, had great baby and man names, and was out of the top 100 but not totally wacky and unrecognizeable.
Now thinking about a girl name, we are faced with the same challenges, living up to the perfect Theodore Raymond.
To keep from adding to your very long list, I want to agree with the Name Sage that Carina Iris is a stunningly beautiful name, and has all of the characteristics you are looking for. I love the name Carina. It is feminine, and familiar, but I don’t know any Carina’s, making it distinct. It’s melodic tone makes me think of a bouncing toddler, or an energetic CEO.
I love that Iris has meaning tied to it. My son’s middle name is a family name, and although I didn’t like the name Raymond, I liked the significance. His middle name ties both sides of my husband’s family together, which is hugely meaningful to both of us. Oddly enough, after only 10 months (or even 10 weeks!) I love the name Raymond, even standing alone. I think you will find this with your new daughter, that if you go with meaning over sound, the name will grow on you quickly, and the precious meaning will remain for the rest of her life.
If I had to say one more thing, enjoy your pregnancy! Once I accepted that my baby may be nameless until he was born, I felt so much freer than with the pressure to name my belly. You may pick a name now feeling forced, and she may be born with her entirely self-made name that will o ly occur to you once you look into her eyes. Enjoy your pregnancy, and trust that the perfect name will come to both you and your husband when the time is right.
on August 26th, 2015 at 9:51 am
I’m going through the same thing. Once I find out gender it will be slightly easier b/c I’m pretty sure on a boys name, but if it’s another girl I’m stumped. I have 53 names on my girls list and keep adding to it. I love them all and it’s so hard.
on August 26th, 2015 at 10:10 am
What about Celestine? Like Viviana, it’s of Latin origin & it means “heavenly.” I’m not sure about nicknames, but I think they sound great together.
on August 26th, 2015 at 10:49 am
-Dorothea (Dory, Dora, Ro, Thea)
-Juliet (Juju, Jules, Julie, Etta)
-Henrietta (Hallie, Hattie, Hettie, Etta)
-Penelope (Penny, Pippa, Poppy, Nell, Nellie, Ellie, Elle)
-Miranda (Mira, Annie)
-Alessandra (Sasha, Allie, Essie, Sandra, Sandy, Essa)
-Mallory (Mal, Molly, Rory, Allie)
-Araminta (Ari, Minnie, Minta)
on August 26th, 2015 at 10:55 am
How about another frilly v name?
Or Veronica, Vanessa, Victoria, Veda, Violet, Valorie??
on August 26th, 2015 at 11:39 am
Adriana (Adie, Addy)
on August 26th, 2015 at 12:48 pm
I think I would avoid names that end in -ana/-anna…to me they are too “matchy” w/Viviana.
Of the previous suggestions I really like:
I’m not as crazy about Arabella & Cecelia…there’s something about the way they sound w/Iris that doesn’t quite work for me, although I really like both names.
What about Maddalena?
Good luck! 🙂
on August 26th, 2015 at 1:08 pm
I really like the Sage’s suggestion of Carina. I also like others’ suggestion of Catalina with the Lina.
on August 26th, 2015 at 1:25 pm
No Amabel or Mabel, but what about Annabel? Some that weren’t mentioned:
Ariadne (Ari, Addy, Ada, Nina, Ree)
Eleanora (Ellie, Nellie, Lena, Nora)
Ginevra (Ginny, Gigi)
Georgiana Gigi, Ana)
Caroline/a(Caro-means dear, beloved)
Isadora (Izzy, Isa)
Emmeline (Millie, Emmy, Mila, Lina)
on August 26th, 2015 at 1:46 pm
For some reason, I’m stuck on C names, maybe because C rhymes with V?!
So: Cressida (Cree, Cress, Cris), Caroline (Caro, Carrie), Christina (Chris, Christie). Carina, too!
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on August 26th, 2015 at 2:50 pm
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on August 26th, 2015 at 2:56 pm
I’ve not actually named a child, but on my list of names, there isn’t a perfect one past Eliza Wren. I feel for you, but you’ve got a lovely list and gorgeous name taste! Abby did a nice job kicking names off of your list and suggesting new ones.
Combining Arabella with Amabel and Mabel, I second the suggestion of Mirabel/Mirabelle. Works beautifully with Viviana, has lovely nickname potential, and a name that doesn’t end in -a will go better with Iris in the middle.
BUT. I need to say that one name alone popped into my head when I read your post, and when I saw Iris as your middle name option, it really clicked: Jessamine. It’s decidedly uncommon but with a familiar sound, combining Jessica with Madeline. It feels warm and rich, yet vaguely princess like, as does sister Viviana. It’s got nickname potential for miles: easy Jess and Jessa (my favorite!), tomboy-ish Jessie (or Sami), and even cutesy Minnie. It, too, is a (subtle) nature name, stemming from Jasmine, a beautiful, fragrant floral much loved across the world, and viewed as a symbol of motherhood in Thailand. Plus, Jessamine Iris is gorgeous, especially with sister Viviana Rose. Assuming your last name is something like *Lachey* I see no troubles there, either. So, my vote is Jessamine!
on August 26th, 2015 at 3:31 pm
I didn’t read all the comments to see if this one was already suggested, but what about Vayda or a variance of it? Vada or Veda? I think Vivi and Vay sound great together, but I’m not sure if you want another name starting with V or not.
I am also having trouble finding a name for our 4th girl (pretty sure it’s a girl, find out in 2 weeks).
We have Lilyana Mae, Lucia Beatriz, and Vayda Alicia.
My top 5 right now (ever changing) are Natalia, Victoria, Cambria, Zaria, and Esmerelda (Esme). Middle name will most likely be Marie. It’s so hard when you use up all your favorite names! Best of luck to you.
on August 26th, 2015 at 4:05 pm
Vivanna Rose and Genevieve Iris – Vivi and Gigi
Vivianna Rose and Juliette Iris – Vivi and Jules
Vivianna Rose and Elosie Iris – Vivi and Lulu
Vivianna Rose and Mirabelle Iris – Vivi and Miri
on August 26th, 2015 at 4:59 pm
My first thought was Camilla / Camila. Goes well with Viviana, has many nn options (Cami, Milly, Ella, etc). I feel it has a similar vibe.
on August 26th, 2015 at 5:10 pm
I too suffer from But We Already Used the Perfect Name syndrome for our second almost-here son. We rebooted with a list of 205 possible names, and now have it down to ten. But we don’t feel that lightning bolt with any of them. I feel your pain. Two more months to figure it out!
on August 26th, 2015 at 7:17 pm
Allegra Iris is so pretty, and I think Viviana and Allegra are nice together. One means “life” and the other “lively”.
Viviana is such a stand-out name, I think the second name has to be equally spectacular in some way.
on August 27th, 2015 at 12:43 am
I love the suggestions of Eloise (Ellie, Lo, Lolo, Lulu), Magdalena (Maggie, Lena), Regina (Reggie, Gigi, Gina) and Genevieve (Gigi, Gen).
What about Guinevere (Gwen, Guin, Gigi, Vera)?
on August 27th, 2015 at 11:33 am
I lucked out to have a girl and then a boy, so I got to use my first choice name each time. Before finding out that our son was a son, though, my husband and I were stumped trying to find a girl name we liked as much as our oldest’s name. Annalise was one of the options we threw around – I really liked the idea of a little girl nicknamed Annie, but my husband wasn’t in love with it. We settled on a family name that we both liked pretty well, although I wasn’t as sold as I was with my oldest’s name. I was relieved to find out we were having a boy – not because I particularly preferred one gender to the other, but because we already had a name we both loved!
on August 27th, 2015 at 5:31 pm
Viviana is spectacular! I would re-visit Valentina which is also spectacular. I love both names and I love them even more together. I too do not particularly like Val or Tina but LOVE Vale and Valli, Leni and even Valen can be pretty darn cute nicknames.
on August 27th, 2015 at 9:55 pm
I love the above suggestions of Genevieve (Eve/Evie), Annaliese (Anna), Cecilia (Cece) and Felicity (Lissy?)! Such beautiful names. I would also like to suggest Calista (Cali?). All of these will be on my list if I ever have a girl!
on August 28th, 2015 at 10:51 am
Love the suggestions Cecilia and Juliette!
Juliette can be Juju, Julie, Jule, Jules. Great nicknames.
I also like Josephine. The nicknames Josie and Posy are my favorite for Josephine. Jo, Jojo and Fifi are also cute.
An interesting suggestions immediately think of for you is Honora. Nicknames Honor and Nora are good for that one
on August 28th, 2015 at 5:06 pm
Be fearless and name her: Aristella Violet
Love and Luck from Gin
on August 28th, 2015 at 6:39 pm
Love the suggestions Jessamine, Viola, and Mirabelle!
Love the meaning behind Iris as a middle name, and the connection to Vivi’s.
on August 29th, 2015 at 6:51 am
on August 29th, 2015 at 10:36 am
we came very close to naming our daughter Valencia Iris (ended up with a different mn). similar to Valentina, but i like it a little better.
we call her Vale (VAH-leh) which is a common Spanish nickname for the name Valeria. (Valencia itself is quite rare, I’ve never met another.) outside the family, she likes to go by her full name and we don’t find that people tend to want to call her Val, if you’re not into that nn.
on August 30th, 2015 at 5:42 am
I love the middle name Iris. It was my grandmother’s name and so it is special to me as well. I’ve had a mooch at some of the names down in the late hundreds on the British baby name list (not sure if you’re American or English?) and here are a few I think might suit your tastes, hope I can help!
Primrose (though two flower names may be too much)
Angelina (similar to Evangeline without the Evie-Vivi problem, Lina, Gina, Angie, Angel etc)
Josephine (Josie, Joey)
…and my favourite:
Elodie Iris (Gorgeous melodious French name which goes well with the French sounding Viviana!)
Good luck, let us know what you choose! x
on August 26th, 2016 at 8:46 pm
We are going through the same syndrome but our daughter is Carina and we don’t know what baby #2 is. We have a boys name picked. Cannot decide or agree on a second girls name.
Also don’t want anything in the top 100, preferably not in the top 500 either. We have a very common last name. Love the name Liv but since Olivia is so popular, I can’t use that. Just Livvie is still on the list. Also like Millie but might be strange with our very common last name that starts with M. However I like any name with an -ie ending. None are rare or different though. One final name we are considering is Genevieve because somebody here suggested Gigi as a possible nickname. My best friend in grade school was Genevieve but she went by Gen. None of these name though have that sparkle. So we will have to wait until this baby is born!
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