Growing up, I always loved baby names and I thought for sure that when the time came to actually have a child, the naming process would be very simple! Our baby girl is due in mid August and choosing a name has been anything BUT simple, and that is why I am writing to you! This is our first (and most likely only) child and the surname will be Munro. If we had a boy the name would have been Edwin George. Our favorite name thus far is Coco, and although we 100% love the name, I feel like she should have a more formal full name with the nickname being Coco. No matter how hard I look I cannot find a single name that works as a full name that seems like 'the name'. The main one we have been considering is Charlotte but it is awfully common in our area, we also really adore Clementine but think it might be a bit of a stretch. Aside from Coco, the other first names we are considering are Veronica, Michelle and Gabrielle. For middle names we like Christine, Gwen, Gabrielle and Veronica. The more we keep looking, the more I'm beginning to think we really should just use Coco as the first name but it feels so incomplete at times. We really need your help! Thank You!!!
You will find plenty of support if you want to name her Coco and not bother with a full form: many people think a formal name is a silly waste if you don't love it or don't plan to use it, and I think Courteney Cox and David Arquette helped things further by using Coco as their daughter's given name.
I find Laura Wattenberg's "Would I want this name myself?" test very helpful here: I think of some nicknames (for my generation I use the samples Beth, Jenny, Jess, Angie, Steph, Nicki, Krissy), and then I try to imagine if I myself would prefer (1) to have been named the nickname instead of the full name, so I wouldn't have the hassle of continually telling people "Please, call me Krissy/Nicki/etc." when they call me by my full name, OR if I would prefer (2) to have Kristen/Nicole/etc. to fall back on if I wanted it. I usually end up deciding I'd prefer to have a formal name to fall back on: even though the parents might never plan to use it, the child might prefer to have options.
I think that if Coco is The Name, the formal/longer version for it does not ALSO need to be The Name---just as a potential nickname doesn't have to be The Name if the formal version is. Many a parent who really wanted Charlie has used Charles to get to it; many a parent who really wanted to use the name Annabel has used it even though the nickname Annie produced only a warm feeling instead of a lightning bolt. However, since the child may choose to go by the former version later in life, it's nice to find one you like very much.
To get the nickname Coco, I would look for a name that started with "Co":
The closer the "Co" sound is to the "Co" of Coco, the better---so, for example, I think Colette works perfectly, but that Constance is a bit of a stretch. And I think Coco Chanel's Frenchness may make the French names feel like a more natural route to the nickname Coco.
I would also look for names with a strong internal "co" sound that matches the sound of Coco: with nicknames, sound can be very important, and Coco might work more naturally for a Nicolette than for a Constance.
On the other hand, Coco Chanel's formal name was Gabrielle, so nicknames don't always have to make sense. I see Gabrielle is on your list; one possibility is to name her Gabrielle, nickname her Coco, and say "like Coco Chanel!" to anyone who blinks.
I also seem to remembering hearing Coco used as a nickname for Caroline---probably because it sounds a little similar to Caro. It's not a natural one to me, but I think I'd come around to it with time.