Baby name consultant: “Cute, pretty, creative, professional” name needed for a little Southern Belle

I hope all the dads in your lives had a great Father’s Day yesterday!! We had a great day here — got a lot of house cleaning done, which is seriously one of my hubs’ favorite things. 🙂 Also some good food and lots.of.golf. Also that basketball game. St. Joseph, you who understand husbands and dads so well, please pray for all the Sancta Nomina dads!

Today’s consultation is for Lily and her husband, who are expecting their first baby — a little Miss!

Lily writes,

I am expecting our first child and I am due in July … being from the south I love monograms and this little girl needs a name so I can start monogramming!

My Name is Lily Irene, and I love love love my name. I had a hard time dropping Irene when I got married and moving in my maiden name of Kelley. I want my child’s name to have a similar feel to mine, but my Husband has very different naming taste than me. However one thing we have agreed on is her middle name will be Twiggs after my father. I would like to call her Twiggs, and I am slowly working on that with my husband. His fear is she will be made fun of at school, and come home crying. But with today’s different names I doubt that will happen. I am open to moving Twiggs to her first name if we can come up with a more feminine name to accompany it.”

I was intrigued right away when I read about Twiggs and — to go back to the Southern names post of the other day — it immediately felt like a Southern name to me. Am I right? A family surnamey name for a girl?

Names that Lily loves but her husband hates (her words!) include:

Emmeline
Lucille
Adelaide (Lily’s favorite)
Mae
Annalee

Her husband’s favorites include:

Anna
Emily
Emma
Charlotte

And names they can’t use for various reasons:

Charlotte
Caroline
Carolyn
Gracie
Birdie (“love this name”)
Catherine

Alrighty, regarding Twiggs, and it sounds to me like Lily’s husband would really feel more comfortable with it in the middle rather than as a first name. It’s really pretty great of him to even agree to it in the middle! He makes a fair point of worrying that she’ll be teased for it, but Lily also make a good point that with today’s different names it’s less likely to happen than it used to. I also thought I should point out that there’s that singer FKA Twigs — I don’t think she’s hugely popular? But she’s currently dating (or engaged to?) Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame, so there’s that. (Her birth name is Tahliah.)

If Lily and her hubs decide to keep Twiggs in the middle spot, I could definitely see Lily calling her Twiggs whenever she wants to, as parents do — all sorts of fun nicknames that are mostly used at home/with family. So if they were to ask my opinion, I’d say the middle spot is the best place for Twiggs, no matter whether they end up calling her that or not. And I think it would be great and fine for Lily to call her that! But with a different first name her husband would have a name to call his little girl that he feels most comfortable with, and she’d have her “normal” name for school, etc. Does that make sense?

I also feel like, since Lily’s husband’s already agreeing to Twiggs, which sounds like he’s not 100% thrilled about, it might be nice to weight the first name choice a little closer to his taste. Which I don’t think should be very hard, because they’re really close on a few names! Lily’s Emmeline and Mr.’s Emily and Emma are so close! Emily Twiggs and Emma Twiggs are both lovely combinations, and balance out the unusualness (and masculinity, since it’s Lily’s dad’s name) of Twiggs nicely. If Mr. could get on board with Emmeline, Emma and even Emily could be nicknames for it that he could call her if he wanted. I’m actually laughing at the idea of Emmeline Twiggs who goes by Emma with her dad and Twiggs with her mom and Emmeline at school — hilarious! And awesome!

Similarly, his Anna and Lily’s Annalee are really close as well. Mr.’s middle name is Lee, and if Lily thought of adding the Lee as a nod to her husband, because of his middle name, it’s such a lovely gesture! I could see it also being a nod to Lily as well, since Lily ends in the “Lee” sound as well. Anna Twiggs and Annalee Twiggs (called Anna by her dad) are both great.

It seems that though Mr. likes Charlotte, it’s not a possibility because of other considerations, but I’m glad Lily listed it as a name he likes, because it gives me a better sense of his taste in names, which was helpful in coming up with new ideas for them.

On Lily’s list, I was interested to see Mae, and while it’s sweet as it is, I wondered if her husband would be more interested in it if it was a bit longer? Mabel and Maybelle came up in my research, and I thought they might fit the bill. Mabel can be a Marian name in that it originally comes from the Latin amabilis, which means “lovable,” and is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable/Lovable). Maybelle is similar in sound to Mabel, and can also be Marian, but in a different way — Mae and May are sometimes considered nicknames/diminutives of Mary, and the month of May is Mary’s month, so Maybelle is a sweet nod to Mary. “Belle” means “beautiful,” which is just lovely for a little girl. When Lily said she wants her daughter’s “second name to be a happy joyful name,” I felt like Maybelle kind of fits that.

I was also interested to see that Lily said she loves the name Birdie, and also that she listed Gracie as a name they can’t use, which makes me think she might like to use it if it wasn’t off limits. So based on Birdie and Gracie, I came up with a list of similar names — sweet, girly, and nicknamey:

  • Sadie
  • Daisy
  • Bess/Bessie
  • Nellie
  • Mamie (which is a traditional nickname for Mary, so also a Marian name)
  • Katie
  • Sophie (a full name in its own right, but it felt similar to these other nicknamey names)
  • Rosie
  • Molly (started as a nickname for Mary, so also a Marian name)
  • Ivy (ditto to Sophie)

All of these could be a really sweet, feminine first name before the middle name Twiggs. But, there’s also something to be said for preceding a name like Twiggs with a more formal first name, just so she’d have options (and Sophie, Lucy, Molly, and Ivy from the list above would fit that also), so I’ve come up with a few here that Lily and her husband might like:

(1) Josephine
You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard the names parents like as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. It can be uncannily accurate! And I especially like finding names that are listed as similar to more than one of the names Mom and Dad like, *especially* if it’s a name similar to a name both Mom AND Dad like. Josephine is such a name! It was listed as a style match for Adelaide, Charlotte, Caroline, and Catherine. Wow! St. Joseph is an awesome patron saint for a little one, and the nickname Josie is so darling—I would absolutely have included in the list above if I didn’t already have Josephine on the list to recommend.

(2) Lucy
Similar to Josie, I would have included Lucy in the nicknamey-type names above if I wasn’t planning to include it down here. It’s actually a style match for Emma, and since they have Lucille on their list already, I wonder if they’d be willing to go with Lucy instead. Lucy’s such a sweet name, and Lucy Twiggs is pretty adorable.

(3) A double name
My comment about Lucy Twiggs being pretty adorable made me think that maybe a really feminine first name plus Twiggs with the intention of using them together might also be a nice compromise for Lily and her hubs. I think Emma Twiggs and Lucy Twiggs are well suited for that, as are several of the nicknamey names above (my favorites for them include Sophie Twiggs and Molly Twiggs). Sara(h) is also great for that—Sarah Twiggs or Sara Twiggs—and Sarah was a style match for Anna and Emily, so I think there’s a good chance Lily’s husband will like it. Mary is also always great for a double name, and Mary Twiggs sounds like a lovely Southern belle to me.

(4) Leah
Leah is solely out of my own thoughts, based entirely on Lily’s husband’s middle name and the “lee” sound at the end of Lily. Leah would be a nice subtle nod to both of them, while also being very feminine and biblical, and it flows really nicely with Twiggs.

In an added twist, Lily’s initial response to my thoughts was that she loves Lucy, but her husband wasn’t sold, and she wrote again saying,

I finally got out of him some characteristics he wants in a name and his criteria are: Cute, Pretty, Creative and Professional. He says Lily fits those characteristics, but I don’t want her to be Lily Twiggs or Lillan Twiggs. He doesn’t like it that people have to ask him do you prefer [a traditional nickname for his given name] or [his given name] so he wants the name to also just be what she would be called (does that make sense) … when you have a free moment can you see if you can come up with Cute, Pretty, Creative and a Professional name.

Oh and No “S” names because the monogram looks awfully close to a not so nice four letter word!

As it happened, I did have a free moment, and spent a little time trying to come up with “Cute, Pretty, Creative, and Professional” names. A tough task! When I think of “Professional” names for women, I tend to think of names like Margaret, Katherine, Elizabeth, Victoria, Deborah — longer names with weight and history and, honestly, nothing too creative about them. If someone told me they wanted a name with Lily’s husband’s criteria, I’d probably suggest something like Elizabeth with a funkier nickname for everyday use, like Libby, or maybe Deborah nicknamed Dorah. But Mr. wants her given name to be the name she goes by all the time, so nothing longer with a short and spunky nickname. Gah! So hard!

From their original lists, I really think Anna, Emmeline, and Adelaide fit this criteria. I think those three names could be seen as cute, pretty, creative, and professional. Of course, this is all very subjective as well, so what I think fits those criteria might not be at all what someone else thinks of as cute, pretty, creative, and professional. You know?

Regarding Lucy, I think I can see what Lily’s husband means. Lucy has a long history of use across cultures and ethnicities, so it should work as pretty and professional, but the –y ending can come across as nicknamey (even though it’s not), and that is really what I think kills it for her hubs’ criteria, because cute and professional just do not go together, generally. But if they were to change it to Lucia, that might work better? It loses the cutesy/nicknamey feel that Lucy’s –y ending can project, and it feels a bit more sophisticated, but it’s still pretty and I think it could come across as creative (unlike Lucille from Lily’s original list, which I think feels a little more staid). If Lily wanted to continue trying to win over her husband, however, the women listed here might help; I think Lucy Liu particularly comes across as a very strong woman.

Here are some other names I thought could work for “cute, pretty, creative, and professional” — I basically just went through one of my name books and wrote down any name that struck me as having the right feel, so it’s very very subjective! I like each of these paired with Twiggs:

(1) Cora
This is probably my #1 suggestion for them. It reminds me a lot of Lucy in length and sweetness, but it’s also got sort of an Old World, “Great Lady” feel to it.

(2) Margo
Actually, Margo might be tied for #1 for me — this Margaret variant is a bit cuter and funkier — definitely has more of a creative feel to me than Margaret — but I could also see it on a Supreme Court Judge.

(3) Livia
Wait! I love Livia too. Okay, that makes three names tied for #1 in my opinion! Livia is really similar to Olivia in sound and appearance, but it’s actually a totally different name — an old Roman name, the name of the wife of one of the Roman emperors (Augustus). It’s also got a separate use as a personification of the River Liffey in Dublin — it’s been used in Irish literature as the name of a woman who represents the River and Mother Ireland.

(4) Lydia
Lydia’s a biblical name, the name of a women who sold purple cloth and was converted by St. Paul. I’ve always loved that a little Lydia can have purple as her very own color!

(5) Maren
Maren is on the more creative end I think, and maybe not as cute, but I actually do think it’s creative and professional at the same time.

(6) Cecily
Even though it ends in a –y, I think Cecily’s longer length makes it not cutesy/nicknamey. It’s a sweet name, but I could also see it on a Supreme Court Judge.

(7) Corinna
Corinna is lovely and feminine, but also kind of weighty and sophisticated, a beautiful name.

(8) Junia or Julia
Junia might be a bit too out there? But it’s a biblical name, which automatically gives it gravitas, and it’s unexpected and pretty rare, which I think often comes across as creative. (Read about a real-life Junia here.)

Julia is so similar to Junia, but more familiar. It’s absolutely a name that gives a woman respect and it’s a really pretty name at the same time.

(9) Laurel
In the family of Laura names, I think Laura feels the most old-fashioned, and Lauren feels modern and youthful (which can come across as not professional). But I think maybe Laurel has the right feel — creative but sophisticated.

(10) Claudia
Finally, Claudia. It was actually the first name I thought of for Lily and her hubs as creative and professional! I don’t think it’s as cute or pretty as some of the others, but it’s a substantial name and pretty uncommon. Like Livia, it’s an old Roman name.

Whew! There’s a lot here to think about! What suggestions do you all have for Lily and her husband for their little Southern Belle, based on all this?

54 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: “Cute, pretty, creative, professional” name needed for a little Southern Belle

  1. I just keep thinking that if this were my girl and I wanted her to be called Twiggs…it would automatically eliminate any plant/flower names like Lily, Laurel, or Ivy etc, simply because I think for instance “Rose Twiggs” (not on the list but for example) is what happens when I let a floral arrangement stay out too long…it is too dry! But that could just be my weak zone in housekeeping 🙂 From your suggestions I also like Corinne, Maribeth, or Miabelle/Mirabelle (*could* but I don’t automatically want to say “do you go by Cora/Corrie, M B, Mary, Mia or Mira?” If introduced to a lady by that name). So many lovely ideas here!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My BIL and SIL used the named Emiliana which is another fun derivative of those “Em” names. Also I saw that you have Cora on there, and I think if they are wanting Twiggs for a middle, possibly Coraline might be a nice combo with it (and it adds that feel that Emmeline has that the Mr. really likes). Lovely name choices, though I would worry (it’s a personal hold-up) with names of plants (like Laurel, Daisy, Rosie) as a first and Twiggs as a middle. But you have included so many fun ideas to choose from! Sadie especially popped out to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not that it likely helps Dad out, but Evangeline seems like something Mom would like. One of my hypothetical names for future children (lol?) is Evangeline nn Annie. It’s a stretch, but the sound of “anne” is in the name, so.. whatever. So maybe Dad would like it.

    I think it’s really hard to have cute, pretty, creative, and professional in one name. To me it’s usually cute, pretty, and creative or pretty, creative, and professional. Cute and professional are hard to have at once. Nicknames help, but if those are off the table… that’s hard!!! I think you nailed it with Cora and Margo/t, They’re perfect for those parameters, though those aren’t “cute” to me – they’re nice. I think ANY name is cute when it’s on a tiny baby though. I’d suggest Stella as something nn-proof, pretty, creative, and professional, but then there’s the no S names rule!! noooo! Della is another option, but I personally don’t love Della Twiggs. I could love Della-Marie Twiggs, though!!! Felicity is another one I love, and I think it escapes the nn problem, but again, I wouldn’t describe it as cute. (“Cute” to me are names like Josie, Livie, Ella, Emmy/ie, Abby, etc. So… most often, nicknames.) Gemma could work! (I’ve basically just divulged half the names I’d love to use one day, lol.)

    Can’t wait to see what they pick.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It seems like Dulcet Dainties is definitely the right naming style for these guys. Others in that style that haven’t been named: Chloe, Violet, Ione, Faye, Daphne. Something about that Greek ends in e spelling but pronounced “ee” might hit that professional-yet-sweet balance they’re looking for.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lots of great suggestions here! I just wanted to chime in and say that I think Twiggs as a middle name but used as a nickname is super cute and very southern. 🙂 My dad’s middle name is also a little bit of an offbeat “T” name and I’ve often thought about how to possible incorporate it into a girl’s name (we’re from the south, too!).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How about Mariel/Marielle? It’s definitely pretty and creative, and I think can be both professional and cute. It doesn’t have a nn necessarily, and has the sound of a double name without being a double name. Mariel/le
    Twiggs has a nice sound to me 🙂 Plus gotta love unusual Marian names.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. To me, Twiggs seems British somehow. Ha. Agatha Christie used a lot of kind of funny/odd nickname type names for some of her younger characters and that’s what this made me think of. I think Twiggs is a cute nickname for around the house. I also think you could do something like Anna Adelaide and still call her Twiggs at home. I actually love love LOVE Anna Adelaide. Maybe I’ll steal that one… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Floral names always strike me as appropriately southern, so how about either Camille or Delphine? And those two names make me think French, so how about Estelle or Colette?

    I recently met a Liba; I don’t know if it’s a nickname for Elizabeth or a stand alone name, but I think it’s both beautiful and feminine yet a bit trim and professional.

    Emmeline is out but Emma is in, how about Emelia?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Camille! That’s what I was thinking. And they could cal her Callie, too, just to make it cutter than it already is.

      Or any name endig in -anna, because it sounds great with Twiggs. Joanna Twiggs, Susanna Twiggs…

      I don’t think it will be hard for them to choose a name, because I think they have similar tastes, it’s just that this dad likes more traditional English names, and Lily prefers derivatives of those names.

      And Kate, don’t forget to ask St. Joachim’s intercession, because he’s the natural patron saint of the dads in the Sancta Nomina community!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m stuck on your suggestion of Josephine. And of course the patron saint would be the incredible and inspiring St. Josephine Bakhita! Don’t let the fact that her only major patronage is of the nation of Sudan. She was an extraordinary woman with exceptional faith. It was because of her that I came to love the name Josephine in the first place!

    That said, I agree with Charlotte that Fiona fits their criteria perfectly and is the ideal name for them! Plus it fits the “Brit” vibe everyone’s getting from Twiggs!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the suggestions of Cora, Chloe, Fiona, Amelia, Daphne, and Irene. Here are a few more possibilities: Hannah, Ava, Eleanor, Clara, Eloise, Heidi, Alice, Lisa, and Maureen. I particularly like Hannah, as it seems like it might suit both parent’s styles.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have to admit that I don’t particularly like the name Twiggs. I think she’s likely to be nicknamed Twiggy (or worse) at school. But if it’s only a middle name that she isn’t called, it might be better. I think any of the other names they’re considering would be very pretty for a girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I like Twiggs as a middle name 🙂 it would be useful to know what the last name sounds like. I like Cora Twiggs, Ada Twiggs, Audrey Twiggs (adorbs), Margo Twiggs, Anya Twiggs, Celia Twiggs, Isla Twiggs, gemma twiggs, Eliza Twiggs, Willa Twiggs, Nora twiggs. So fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I adore the name and the man Twiggs. I have loved him since I was eighteen and now forty years later, our lives are so intertwined I cannot think of it without him. Twiggs is my husband’s middle name and he considers it to be one of his greatest assets.

    In the south, we will often honor our menfolk by giving a girl child the man’s name. When I told my Twiggs Lily and her husband were naming this sweet baby girl Twiggs, tears made big puddles in his eyes. The puddles grew into tears that tracked down this humble man’s cheeks. He shook his head wagging it into a no. I told him just to go ahead and take this honor. His head dropped for just a moment. He slowly brought his head up and upon our eyes meeting, a little boy kind of grin slipped its way across his lips. He is justifiably tickled to have a second Twiggs in the family. She will be just as strong and true as her Papa.

    We are anxious to see Lily’s little girl. I am looking forward to holding her, kissing her baby cheeks and then calling her by name, Twiggs.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Corinna has me ALL heart eyes. Corinna Twiggs for the win! Or Carolina Twiggs. I love their middle name choice; what an awesome family connection for them.

    Liked by 1 person

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