Favorite Twin Names: Turning One Favorite into Two

April 16, 2019 Abby Sandel
best twin names

They picked a favorite girl name and a favorite boy name – but now they need favorite twin names! Time to double the name search.

Elsie writes:

We had everything prepared for our little bundle of joy’s entrance into the world, especially when we had decided on two names – Mariana Eloise for a girl and Gael Jesús for a boy. One appointment later, it’s a double bundle!

Although the blessing of twins is a joyous occasion, we can’t help but feel distraught over the tricky issue of name-giving. To make matters even more difficult on ourselves, we don’t know their sexes but that’s because we both agreed that we wanted to wait.

Do Mariana and Gael go together? We chose Mariana as we loved its style, its flow. We chose Gael for its strong, masculine sound and its unique feel. We’re having a hard time finding twin names that match up.

We would really appreciate your thoughts.

The Name Sage replies:

Expecting twins is exciting – but overwhelming, too!

The good news? Should you welcome girl-boy twins, Mariana and Gael work beautifully together as sibling names. They’re traditional, but uncommon, with distinctive sounds and plenty of appeal.

To land on your favorite twin names, let’s focus on finding a sister name for Mariana and a brother name for Gael

A Sister for Mariana Eloise

My first thought: would you be willing to split the name? As gorgeous as Mariana Eloise is, sisters named Mariana and Eloise could be every bit as lovely. I like Mariana and Luisa even better.

If not Eloise/Luisa – or Louisa, Elisa, or something similar – would you consider:

Adelina Adelina shares the same flowing, romantic sound of Mariana. It’s another romance language spin on a traditional favorite.

Graciela – One of the challenges of naming a sister for Mariana is avoiding the many long and lovely names with an obvious –ana at the beginning or the end. Graciela shares the same style without repeating sounds.

Ofelia  Shakespeare’s Ophelia is rising in use for girls once again, so I’ll suggest Ofelia. One hesitation: the Spanish pronunciation is a little different – and maybe even more appealing – than the American English.

Serafina/Seraphina – On the other hand, Serafina and Seraphina sound nearly identical across multiple languages. It’s far less common than Mariana, but I think it shares the exact same style.

Violeta/Violetta – Vintage Violet is a Top 100 staple for girls, but the longer, -a ending versions remain underused in the US.

My favorites are Gracelia and Serafina. While neither name appears in the current US Top 1000, I think they’re broadly familiar as given names. They’re pronounced nearly the same in English and Spanish. And they pair beautifully with sister Mariana. Mariana Eloise and Graciela Caroline, maybe? Or Mariana Eloise and Serafina Mirabel?

A Brother for Gael Jesús

We’re looking for a short, strong sound. That almost certainly rules out romantic names like Alvaro and Sebastián. But it leaves dozens of options. Here are a few that I think work especially well with Gael:

Axel – While Axel and Gael share most of the same letters, they sound just different enough. And while Axel isn’t Spanish at all in origin – it’s a Scandinavian twist on the Old Testament Absalom – it’s used in the Spanish-speaking world.

Bruno – We tend to think of Bruno as Italian, but it’s pan-European, known across the continent. It sounds like the name of a boxer, but there’s also musician Bruno Mars and plenty of other notables.

Ivan – We think of Ivan as Russian, but I’ve heard it used across many cultures and languages, an edgier take on traditional John.

Nico – This is the second o-ending boy name on my list. I think they’re upbeat choices that feel strong and modern. It’s easy to imagine Nico as a brother to Gael or Mariana.

Roman Rome is the eternal city, still associated with empire and military prowess fifteen centuries after the western half fell. That makes it a solid name for a son, and one that works across languages.

My favorite brother for Gael is Ivan, though I love all of these equally. Since Gael’s middle name seems more traditional, perhaps Ivan’s middle might be something equally classic: Ivan Thiago, Ivan Mateo, and Ivan Agustín all have potential.

I feel like I haven’t answered one of your questions completely, though, so let’s end with a poll about girl-boy twins, and please comment with your suggestions for both boy and girl names!

About the author


Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at

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