Today’s consultation is for a family expecting their fourth baby — third girl! — and they have a very cool theme going — they like to choose “slightly unusual, slightly longer full names that trim down to an easy nickname.” Right up my alley, right?! Except I didn’t get it quite right this time, so you all really need to bring the great ideas and suggestions (no pressure!). 😀
Their older kiddos are:
J@cks0n Ar+hur/Jack (“we didn’t realize how popular J@cks0n was at the time!“)
Such a handsome group, and I’m such a big fan of going all out with given names and using a friendly, accessible nickname for every day. The mama writes,
“We’d like to continue this trend, but so far [my hubs] says all my suggestions are ‘weird’ — which isn’t unusual … The first time around I was in love with Magnolia (Maggie) for a girl — now I wonder what I was thinking! This time around, Bronwyn and Anwyn (shortened to Winnie) have both been rejected and I’m feeling stuck — not even my Baby Name Wizard book is inspiring much, though Sophronia (Sophie) just popped out at me this morning.”
So you all know that I had a lot of fun working on this—I’m all about nicknames, and I love this family’s theme.
I personally love Magnolia, and I love both Maggie and Nola, both of which I’ve seen as nicknames for it. It also made me think of Marigold, which isn’t all that different from Magnolia (and probably the Mister would think it’s just as weird), but is little more mainstream because of the Downton Abbey character by that name, and Marigold’s a Marian name! A Marigold could be Mari or Goldie, and I think Maggie could also work … I think Molly could work as well, but maybe sisters Ellie and Molly are too similar?
Bronwyn and Anwyn nicknamed Winnie made me think of the consultation I posted recently in which the parents are considering Maewyn, which was St. Patrick’s birth name! Though it started as a male name, it’s got such a pretty feminine sound, and one of the readers suggested Winnie as a nickname for it, and I totally thought of this family! Maewyn nicked Winnie is sweet!
Sophronia nicked Sophie is adorable, I love it! Along that same line of thinking, I totally think Sophie could work for Seraphina (as could Sera, Phina/Fina, Phia/Fia), and Josephine as well (I love the idea of Sophie for Josephine! Though Josie is also adorable, and I’ve seen Posy too, which I loooove, and is similar to Magnolia flower-wise).
So I think they’re swirling around some really great ideas, even if they don’t think they’ve hit upon “the one” yet!
As I do, I looked up the names they’ve used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard, which I know this mama’s also done, which is probably one of the reasons my ideas didn’t resonate — in addition to Marigold, Maewyn, Seraphina, and Josephine that I mentioned above, I also suggested:
(1) Rosemary nicked Romy (or Rory)
Rosie is the most common nickname for Rosemary I think, and I love it with sibs Jack, Ellie, and Ava, but Romy is also a traditional nickname for it, and it makes Rosemary—which is “slightly longer” but not really “slightly unusual”—have a more unusual edge, which might be a nice thing for this family moving forward, as it breaks them out of the “need to stick with longer unusual name with common nickname” pattern into “longer given name with shorter nickname, and one of those is ‘slightly unusual,’” which is a bit more freeing/offers more options. Rory is a nickname possibility that takes Rosemary even farther down the “slightly unusual” line—it’s spunky and tomboyish—but I’m not convinced that’s what they’re going for. I wanted to mention it anyway though, just in case (and here’s a sweet Rosemary nicked Rory.)
(2) Louisa nicked Lucy or Lulu
As with Rosemary, Louisa’s not terribly unusual, but I really like the idea of Lucy as a nickname for it, and that gives it a nice unusual twist, as well as two saints! If they didn’t care for Lucy for it, I’m totally loving Lulu recently—it’s a little bit hipster and a lot of chic, and so darling.
(3) Caroline nicked Caddy or Cassie (or Catherine)
Yes, another not-so-unusual given name idea, but I saw Caddy as a nickname for Caroline a while ago and thought it was brilliant. I love Callie too, but thought it was too close to Ellie. And Cassie’s one of my favorite nicknames for a girl, and I think it could work as a mashup nickname for Caroline and the right middle name, like … Caroline Sabeth (Sabeth is so cool! It’s an Elizabeth variant with a cool new patron), or Caroline Sabine, Caroline Sophia, Caroline Seton (for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) … I’ve also seen Cass(ie) as a nickname for Catherine, which I thought was sort of brilliant. If they went with something like Caroline or Catherine for a first name (or Louisa or Rosemary or any other name that might be a bit more “normal” than they’d prefer), an unusual middle is another awesome way (besides an unusual nickname) to jazz it up.
(4) Cassia or Cascia nicked Cass(ie)
The previous idea of Cass(ie) reminded me of Cassia, which is just so cool and pretty. You can say it CASS-ee-ah, or CASH-ah, and it’s a spice name! It’s a form of cinnamon! It’s also a form of Keziah, which is a biblical name—one of Job’s daughters. If they like the CASH-ah pronunciation, they might also be interested in Cascia, which is the name of the town in Italy St. Rita of Cascia came from, and I would consider it an honor name for her.
(5) Bernadette nicked Betsy
I have a friend who considered Bernadette nicked Betsy for her baby, and I thought it was so inspired! She ended up having a boy, but I’ve never forgotten her idea for a girl. St. Bernadette’s a great patron for a girl!
(6) Nickname Sadie (Mercedes, Sara-[something])
Sadie has a similar feel to me as Jack and Ellie especially, and it’s a style match for Maggie and Sophie, and I thought it could be great for this family as a nickname for the right formal name. Mercedes is one—I’ve seen Sadie as a nickname for it spelled S-a-d-i-e, but also Cede, which is pronounced the same way, but is far less obvious. I’d heartily suggest the Sadie spelling to this family, and Mercedes is a great name for a baby born during the Year of Mercy! If they didn’t care for Mercedes, Sadie is also a traditional nickname for Sara(h), and while I thought Sara(h) on its own would be a little too commonplace for them, I thought a hyphenated double might be awesome. Sara-Kate/Sara-Cate is my favorite (and one I’ve had on my list for a long time), but I also love Sara-Mae (or Sara-Maeve, if they’re into Irish names), Sara-Beth, Sara-Claire, Sara-Grace … I used the Sara spelling in these examples because I prefer it to Sarah, but of course Sarah is beautiful and the “h” points to its biblical roots; also, they could do a non-hyphenated double name, like Sara Kate (I prefer the hyphen because it makes it more obvious it’s one name and not a first and middle, but it’s totally a personal preference kind of thing). I think a double first name can make two otherwise “normal” names really sparkle—those two normal names become something unusual when put together.
(7) Beatrix or Beatrice nicked Bea, Trixie, Tris, Betty
Beatrice is a style match for Winnie, and when I saw it I thought I had to add it to my list of suggestions. Both Beatrice and Beatrix are lovely and underused, and I think Bea is an adorable nickname (and lends itself to honeybee decorations, which is so cute!), but there’s also Trixie for Beatrix, and Tris for Beatrice (though be warned that Tris is the name of the main character in the Divergent series [books and movies], and likely pretty associated with just her, since I’d never heard of Tris as a nickname for Beatrice until those books), and even Betty could work and be really cute and retro.
(8) Juniper nicked Junie (or Junia nicked Junie?)
St. Junipero Serra is newly canonized and long beloved, and though he was a man, the English variant of his name totally works for a girl. Juniper is a similar style to Magnolia and Marigold, and has the a-dorable nickname option of Junie, which I just die over. Junie makes me also think of Junia, which is a biblical name, so pretty.
(9) Nickname Pippa or Poppy (Josephine, Perpetua, Philippa)
Pippa and Poppy were striking me as a really cute addition to the other kiddos, and there are several ways to get to them that might appeal. The Posy-for-Josephine idea I suggested above made me think that something like Josephine Petra could totally take the nickname Poppy. How cute and floral! I’ve also seen Poppy for Perpetua, which totally fits their “longer and more unusual” criteria, and it’s super saintly. I’ve also seen Pippa for Perpetua, but more commonly for Philippa, which I also really like.
As I mentioned in the beginning, I received feedback from the mom that my suggestions weren’t quite right for them, and indeed, as I reviewed, I see that I offered a lot of unusual nicknames for “normal” names, which is the exact opposite of what they wanted! Some were okay — I still like Cascia, Mercedes, and Juniper (Cass, Sadie, and Junie) — but I took a quick look again at my notes and thought these might be worth mentioning, as they’re on the more unusual end with easy nicknames:
Amelie’s a style match for El0d!e, a French name that’s said AH-mel-lee. Amy could definitely work as a nickname, or Mel/Melly.
Also a match for El0d!e, and Sally is a natural nickname for it.
Ariadne was, surprisingly, a match for Bronwyn (via Rhiannon, which I also would have suggested if I could think of a good nickname for it … Ree maybe? Annie?), and I think something like Addy could work really well.
This one’s a match for Sophronia, and there are a lot of possible nicknames: Fia, Fila, Fina, Finn, Finna, Lola, Mena, Minnie, Pia, Pim, Pina, and Pippa. For the purposes of this consultation, I think maybe Lola, Mena, and Minnie might be the most appealing.
Finally, going really far out, what about Leocadia? It’s another match for Sophronia and a saint’s name, and Cady is the greatest nickname for it! I wouldn’t be surprised if Leocadia is just too far out … but maybe not?
And those are my ideas! I’m dying to hear what you all think — please share your ideas for “slightly unusual, slightly longer full names that trim down to an easy nickname” for this baby girl!