I really hope you can help us, I feel like I have looked at every name out there and am still not finding "our" name. Our first child, a little girl, is due July 15 and we are having trouble deciding or even narrowing down our list. We have lots of contenders, but none have really struck me as "the one." Since our last name (Hall) is so common, and short, we thought we could get away with a more unusual first name. We like names that are clearly gender specific and maybe a little old-fashioned. If we were having a boy, we would have named him either Oliver or Phineas.
Here are the names we have on our short list:
Agatha Rowan (Previously our first choice but do not like nn Aggie, and am getting a lot of negative feedback)
Gretchen Faye (pretty, but don't love)
Lucia Faye (pronounced LOO-sha, we think this is pretty safe, aside from the pronunciation issue that we foresee)
Briar Wynn (love how whimsical this is, but is it too out there?)
Imogen (cannot think of any nn)
Bryn (too short?)
Evie (pronounced EH-vee) I love this but would rather have it as a nn, however we don't like any of the names the nn would be derived from (Evangeline - I like, DH hates, Evelyn, Genevieve, etc.)
Juliette (just kind of meh)
Astrid (no nn, maybe a little too wacky for us)
Names we considered but rejected, mostly because of rising popularity, or because someone else is using them:
We aren't fans of names like Madison, Ellery, Harper, Greyson, etc. or any name that is too popular.
I recently read a novel with a character named Imogen, and they called her Immy. You could also call her Genny or Midge. Imogen Faye Hall.
I wouldn't give up on Agatha yet. The trouble with collecting feedback while pregnant is that people don't have a visual to go with the name. If you were to present an infant and say, "This is Agatha!," some people would still dislike the name (this is true of every name that ever was and ever will be), but others who would have THOUGHT they disliked the name would find that actually they find it fresh and interesting and adorable on the little woogie-moogums oooooo look at her sweet little KEEKS. Especially since newborns can look so critical and disapproving, and it's amusing to think of a critical and disapproving infant named Agatha.
If you've already been put off the name, however, I suggest Beatrix. It's similar in style, but has the cute nickname Bee (or Bea, but I don't think I could resist the Bee spelling, and then the way I'd feel inclined toward bee-themed things her whole life). Beatrix Rowan Hall.
Or Martha, which has the -tha ending with Marty instead of Aggie. Martha Faye Hall.
Or Augusta, nickname Gussie. Augusta Rowan Hall.
Or I like the repeating double-L of Camilla Hall, and that gives you Cam and Cami and Millie. Camilla Faye Hall.
Or Philippa? Philippa Hall has dignity, but the nickname Pippa has ADORABLE. It occurs to me that you could use some of your too-common list for middle names. Philippa Scarlett Hall has a fun double-letter theme.
Or Louisa? Louisa Hall, with nicknames Lou or Lulu. Louisa Faye Hall.
Or Winifred? Winifred Hall, with nicknames Winnie or Fred. Winifred Norah Hall, Winifred Agatha Hall.
I'd also like to suggest Harriet and Henrietta. I think these are names very similar to Agatha in that the initial reaction might be not entirely positive---but that with time and cute baby cheeks, people may wonder why they didn't realize all along that these were the best names ever. Both have cute nickname possibilities such as Hattie and Etta and Ree. Harriet Astrid Hall. Henrietta Faye Hall.
For something lighter, maybe Felicity. I don't know why this name isn't more common: it seems to me to have the same rhythm and front-of-the-mouth sounds as Olivia and Elizabeth---and yet Olivia is #3 and Elizabeth is #11 and Felicity is #782. It has the appealing pioneer-days sound of Abigail, and yet Abigail is #8 and Felicity is #782. Felicity Faye Hall. Felicity Charlotte Hall.
If you like Gretchen but it's "not quite," would you like Greta? Greta Hall. No nicknames, unfortunately. Or you could go straight to Margaret Hall and have TONS of nicknames, from Greta to Maggie to Meg to Daisy to Maisie. I love the sound of Margaret Hall. Margaret Rowan Hall, Margaret Faye Hall, Margaret Olivia Hall.
Or Geneva, which could give you Evie (though I would pronounce it EE-vee, to match the vowel sound in the name). Geneva Faye Hall.
I don't think of Briar as being too out-there (like you, I consider it whimsical and botanical, like Ivy and Violet and Juniper), but it's a name that's a little trickier than usual to find a sister name for. For me, using one botanical name would eliminate all the others, so I'd need to think ahead of time whether this was my favorite of all of them.
Name update! Amy writes:
I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy baking several recipes from your other blog, so I am all set for postpartum snacking. :)
Just wanted to let you know our little girl arrived quickly and healthily at 12:57 am on July 19. We thought we would instinctively know what name to choose when we saw her - we had narrowed it down to Agatha Rowan or Briar Wynn, which were also the clear favorites from your commenters. However, when she came out, we still weren't sure so we slept on it for a night. In the morning I told my husband he could make the final decision since I loved both names. He chose Agatha Rowan, and I very happy with the decision. She's such a joy to us already! I've attached a picture of our little doll.
Thanks for your help!