Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
I am expecting my second child (we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl). I already have a daughter named Aria Faye. We love her name and are having a hard time choosing a name for the second.
If it’s a boy we have a name picked out: Parker Cruz. Both are family names.
The girl’s name is proving more difficult. Here are names I love but cannot use because we know people with them: Tessa, Ania, Everly, and Talia.
I also love the name Faye but I’m unsure if I should use it since it’s my daughters middle name. I like the name Bria as well but it’s my daughters name with a “B” in front instead of an “A” so I think they’re too similar. Other names I like but my husband isn’t on board with are Delphi, Delta and Brissa, pronounced breesa.
I like shorter unique names but still feminine. Please help!
Read on for my response, and please leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Hi Reanna –
Congratulations on your second child!
Let’s start with what I think you shouldn’t do.
If possible, I’d avoid naming your second daughter Faye. It’s a gorgeous name. But little sisters inherit an awful lot of hand-me-downs. (Or so I’m told. I’m the firstborn!) Some girls will shrug it off; others will be mightily frustrated that even their name isn’t new-to-them. Since you can’t know how your daughter will react in a dozen years, if you can avoid duplication, you should.
The same thinking applies for Bria. While the sounds aren’t unthinkably close, seeing their names written together suggests that future daughters would be named Cria, Dria, and Eria. So I say they’re just too close for comfort.
Before we get to the names, I want to point out one thing. “Unique” doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody. Brissa and Delphi would be very rare choices. But Aria? It’s in the current US Top 100. I suspect you’re looking for names that don’t sound like anything you would have heard growing up.
I’m going to suggest names that are closer to Tessa or Talia: we recognize them, and we might know one or two, but they’re not too startlingly unusual, nor are they statistically popular.
Calla – The rarest name on this list, Calla comes from the calla lily. It comes from a Greek word meaning beauty. While it’s not in the current Top 1000, it fits right in with Ella, Stella, and so many two-syllable, a-ending girl names.
Delia – Another name out of the current Top 1000, ancient Delia reminds me of Delphi and Aria.
Eden – A Biblical place currently ranked in the US Top 150, Eden is short, spare, and memorable.
Esme – Once very rare, Esme now charts in the Top 600. Aria and Esme sound downright gorgeous together!
Haven – Is this too tailored? It’s used mostly for girls, but perhaps the sound is a little unisex. I thought it might be an alternative to Everly, and it has the same long ‘a’ of Faye.
Jade – Speaking of long ‘a’ sounds, how about Jade? It’s like Faye, but distinct.
Mila – Like Aria, Mila is a newcomer to the US Top 100. It’s feminine, and unlike anything we would have heard thirty years ago.
Nola – It could be short for lots of things, including the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. (The state abbreviation is LA.) It’s sassy, vintage, and undeniably pretty.
Sage – Another in the key of Jade, also spelled Saige.
Overall, my favorite is Esme. It’s a gorgeous name, heavy on vowels but different enough from Aria that it doesn’t seem like a repeat. Plus, should you ever have a son, Aria, Esme, and Parker sound perfect together.
Readers, what do you think? Can you suggest some feminine, short, unusual names that would work well for Aria Faye’s sister?
I actually think Delia is more similar to Aria than Bria is! All the Bria’s I have ever met have been spelled Breah (but maybe that’s an Australian thing).
I like Esme, Jade, and Mila from Abby and Cassia, Mira, and Maeve from pps. The name I always think of with Aria is Lyra. It has a musical meaning like Aria and a mythological connection like a lot of the names on your list.
Spot on name recs! Calla, Delia, or Esme would be especially beautiful, with Esme taking the cake. I wonder if Reanna would also consider Fleur or Flora??
I think Esme, Calla or Jade would work well. Also:
Calista, Carina, Juliet, Elodie, Vale or Gemma
What about Tressa? I like the ‘r’ in it as opposed to Tessa. It flows with Aria that way!
Good thought, Lynne!
Jean C. says
Esme is so so lovely with Aria. That is hands down my favorite suggestion.
I also like Vale with Aria—not a common name, but not unheard of. I believe one of the today show hosts named her baby Vale recently (Savannah Guthrie, I think).
I am not a big fan of using Faye for little sister for the reasons Abby stated, although I understand the desire—I’m thinking about names for a hopeful baby #2, and I keep thinking damn my first’s middle is the bees knees. I know that once a new name is attached to a new baby that I will love that name just as much though.
Even though it’s a little longer than i think you’re inclined to, I love Cecily and Aria together. They sound like two world-traveler sisters.
My youngest brother is named Benjamin, which is my other brother’s middle name. It has never ever been an issue. I’d say if you love Faye, choose Faye.
I might also suggest Mae or Maeve, as something similar.
Aria and Bria also don’t seem too close. For me personally, I don’t mind if names look similar as long as they don’t sound too similar. The way I say Aria, the emphasis is on the first syllable, so they don’t rhyme or anything. Brenna strikes me as similar to Bria to me, though, if you might like that.
Good suggestions! My name is Reanna though (re-ah-nah) so I think brenna might be too close to mine!
A few of these were listed already, but here ate my ideas…
I was coming to suggest Briar but someone beat me to it 🙂 I know it has the same letters almost, but sounds so different that the similarity is a nice pattern. However, if you’re still hoping for a Parker someday, Briar might be out.
So many good suggestions already (love Nova and Willa in this set!) and I’d like to add:
I also suffered from ‘used my second favourite name on my first child’s middle’ and was tempted to use it, but for symmetry, I would have needed to use my first child’s first name as my second child’s middle, to be even. Which would be odd. So I opted out. But hey, Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling did it – Esmeralda Amada and Amada Lee.
I adore Esme with Aria. So elegant!
I was also wondering about Eva. Either pronunciation — eh-va or ee-va — work with Aria. Eva ranks as slightly more rare than Aria. Plus it keeps the “Ev” part of Everly and the “a” ending of Tessa, Ania, and Talia. Kind of a good mix of the names you love.
I was also thinking about Mae as a possible middle name since you seem to really love Faye. They share the same sounds but are distinct.
Aria Faye and Esme Mae
Aria Faye and Eva Mae
I love the suggestion of Esme with Aria. They do sound perfect together!
Would you like Maeve? It has a similar sound to Faye (and a similar touch of fairy-magic, if that matters to you).
I also wonder if you might like something like Gwen, Brynn or Briony.
C in DC says
Taking Aria in a musical way, how about Cadence/Cadie? Cadie Cruz sounds lovely. Since you appear to like long vowel middles, how about Joan, Opal, Eve, Ava, Sloane, Tula, June, Leigh, Fiona, Iona, Skylar, Jo, Zoe, Kai, Maya?
Aria Faye and:
Kira Neve (or Niamh if you’re up for that as a middle)
Zelia Blythe – maybe too rare next to Aria, but I saw it the other day and I like it.
Willa Gwen – Willa has the same vibe as Tessa for me.
I wouldn’t come any closer to Faye (I like it but you have one) than other long a one syllable names like Jane/Rain/Jade/Large. To me a middle name being a kiss away from same is fine but same same isn’t and using the middle of the first for the second isn’t.
I did like Esme. Which reminds me of Hazel and Esther, both of which I also really like. Esther could even be Tess for short.
love Esme and nova
I love this list! Calla, Eden, Esme, and Mila are my favorites for a sister to Aria Faye. I also love another commenter’s (Erin Beth’s) suggestion of Nova — Aria and Nova sound fantastic together!
If none of those will work for you, maybe you’d consider:
Erin Beth says