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!
We had a really hard time choosing our daughter’s name. I’m Lauren, and my husband is Dylan. We took sounds from both our last names to make a new one for our family. It’s Ree$e, like the peanut butter cups.
With Piper, we knew we wanted her name to be longer than one syllable (because Ree$e) and not something old-fashioned in any way. We aren’t into nicknames. (I hate it when people try to call me Laurie.)
Emma was a name we liked but thought was too popular, so we added Lee and we really like the way it looks/sounds.
Our boy name with Piper was Hudson.
We don’t really have another girl name we agree on. Names we have ruled out so far:
- Peyton – don’t want to repeat initials
- Paisley – same problem
- Raelynn/Raylinne – can’t agree on a spelling, they all sort of look wrong to me
- Marley – just isn’t right
- Harlow – kind of want to avoid H names because we still like Hudson if we do have a boy in the future
- Sutton – friends just used this name
- Lainey – don’t like it as much as Laine, but Laine Ree$e isn’t great
- Saylor – love this but Dylan says no
I keep looking at lists, but I feel like nothing really stands out to me. What am I missing?
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your second daughter!
So here’s the brief: we need something modern and tailored. Nothing that starts with an H or a P. Preferably two-syllables and probably nothing that shortens to an obvious nickname.
Yeah, that still leaves a LONG list of possibilities, doesn’t it?
Still, I think there might be some names that are just a little bit different from your current-but-not-quite list that we can consider.
A SISTER FOR PIPER EMMALEE
A surname pick with a great meaning: beautiful friend.
Maybe it’s too close to EmmaLee, but maybe that’s why it seems like a natural for your list.
A fast-rising Irish surname that sounds great with Piper and your surname.
One of the first names that came to mind, a substitute for Paisley and Lainey.
As with Kinley, this is a -ley ending surname that feels like it checks all the boxes.
A sweet surname name, one that brings to mind the songbird, just as Piper suggests musical instruments. One note: Larkin actually started out as a medieval nickname for Laurence, so this one is closely tied to Lauren, too.
If you love Harlow, but want something that doesn’t start with H, Marlowe is the logical – and lovely – substitute.
Another -r ending pick that feels like it belongs on the same list as Piper.
Another fast-rising surname choice with a bright, distinctive sound.
Polished Whitaker is rare as a first, but very wearable.
Overall, my favorite is Marlowe. It’s great with Piper, doesn’t repeat initials or sounds from anyone in your family and seems current without being too trendy or popular.
If you’re stuck for a middle name, I wonder if something like AvaMae or another double name would appeal?
Piper and Larkin are both bird names, so I think they are a great fit. (Sandpipers and Larks)
Willow keeps the nature theme. So those are my favorites.
Sawyer was what popped into my mind when you said Saylor. Then I saw Abby suggested it.
Finney or Finley
Kinsley (alternative to Kinley)
Hartley (starts with H)
Emmalee sounds like Emily in my head (unless I’m mispronouncing it). I wonder if you’d like an alternative spelling/sound of a name so it feels a little different for a middle name like….
Marlowe and Fallon were great suggestions…
Came to say Willow Annabelle or Sadie Maebelle for Piper Emmalee’s sister.
Alison Doherty says
My votes is for Marlowe or Emerson … or I was also thinking Quincy which I love on a girl and goes really well with Piper!
I think Keaton, Keegan, or Avery could work nicely with Piper!
I wonder if Carly would work as an alternative to Marley? I like the sound of Piper and Carly together. Charlie or Farley could work too. Or maybe Keely or Kylie?
I also thought about Gemma, since you said you liked Emma and then used it with Lee as a middle name. You could still use Gemma as a first name for Piper’s sister.
My immediate thought was … “SCHUYLER” just like a previous poster had mentioned! Perhaps you’d like the “Skylar” or “Skyler” spelling more?
— “MOLLY ” also sounds like a sibling for “PIPER” to me. (Piper & Molly)
— “PAYSON” is a different take on the name that exists on your current list: “Peyton”. I remember the first time I hear this name was on the tv series, “Make It or Break It”. (Piper & Payson)
— “BRYONY” or “BRIONY” (Piper & Briony)
— “VERA” (Piper & Vera)
Some great suggestions! I especially like Abby’s idea of Marlowe (or Marlo/Marlow).
From the comments, I love Eden, Quincy, Ainsley, and Eliza.
Piper EmmaLee and…
I was going to suggest Ivy and Nova, but when I put them with your last name, it sounded a bit like “virus”… so I would avoid names with a V sound in the last syllable!
Would love an update once Piper’s sister arrives!
Here to second Quincy and how about:
Those give me the same vibes as Piper.
How about Willow as an alternative to Harlow?
Delaney could work instead of Lainey, but perhaps it has too much possibility of being nicknamed. Elaine has similar sounds but is definitely more old-fashioned! Maybe Elena, or just Lena (pronounced Lay-na?)
Selah is a name that sounds similar to Saylor but might be different enough to sway your husband. Skylar or Shiloh could be other possibilities. Baylor, too, or Bailey.
Or … Ayla or Leila or Isla?
Ainsley shares sounds with Paisley and Lainey. Greer seems to fit your style but perhaps isn’t great with your last name. I like Tamsyn for you too, for no particular reason.
Some other suggestions for middle names are….
Kinsley ( prefer it with an s)
I love most of these suggestions. With suggestion of Kinley i actually thought Linley was a better mix between Paisley and Lainey – but since your name starts with L maybe no L names?
What about Raegan instead of Raelynn.
My faves are Fallon, Tatum and Linley
Great suggestions all, and I think Marlowe fits.
Others I thought of were Kendall, Kennedy and Morgan.
C in DC says
Tula or Tallulah. Uma. Juno. Juniper. Arbor. Eliza. Vesper or Vesta. Zola. Viola. Leighton.
OH Juniper … LOVE that with Piper …
Maybe you could consider place names for Piper’s sister:
Abilene — I love this as a name, but I would likely default to Abbie as a nickname.
Eden — I thought of this independent of A’s suggestion, so that’s 2 genuine thumbs-up. : )
I love Marie’s suggestion of Merritt. Marit, meaning pearl or lady, is another option.
I have friends with similar naming styles and here are some of the names they used or have talked about liking (I may have some of the spellings wrong):
I think Eden would be lovely along with Piper. Two syllables, tailored and modern, not typically shortened. Eden is spot on! Ivy works great as well
Eden is a great suggestion!
Avery (but Ava)
Scout (1 syllable but I like how it sounds with the last name)
Tatum is a nice suggestion.
I’ll add Arlo. Harlow sound without the H problem. Similar vibes to Piper. I’ve heard it on girls.