Update: She’s here! Krista writes, “Thanks for all the encouragement. We stuck with our favorite name, Briar Adeline. Despite all of the criticism before she was born, no one has said a word since she was born, and I love how it reminds me of my grandmother. We’re so glad we didn’t get talked out it!”
We’re expecting our daughter in a few weeks, and we think we’ve chosen a name. But when we started telling other people, we got some negative reactions. Should we go back to our list, or just go with the name we like?
I’ve been saying that we wanted to name a daughter after my grandmother since we first got married. My gran passed away unexpectedly while we were engaged. We were very close, and I still miss her all the time.
Her name was Rose, and her married last name was Bryer. I always liked the fairy-tale sound of Rose Bryer, like Briar Rose in Sleeping Beauty. She didn’t have a middle name at birth, but she used Adelaide, her confirmation name, and I know she really liked it.
The name we’ve chosen is Briar Adeline, a different spelling of her last name and a form of the middle name she chose for herself. We don’t want to use Adelaide, because our last name sounds like Hailey-with-a-P, and so the D/P sounds run together too much.
We think it’s perfect, but maybe I was a little worried my husband’s family would feel slighted. (We do plan to name a future son after his dad, so it’s not like it’s all about me.)
Instead, they both hate it.
His family’s objections: Briar is a boy’s name/Briar isn’t pretty. My family: if you’re naming her after Gran, you have to name her Rose.
Seriously? I know maybe we should just shrug it off, but it’s bothering me. And now I’m second-guessing our choice. What do we do?
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Krista –
Congratulations on your new daughter!
Families are so very wonderful, and we need them more than ever once we welcome children of our own. And yet, often they seem determined to derail our naming decisions, don’t they?
Let’s back up.
Your grandmother’s name – as she used it – was Rose Adelaide Bryer. I’d agree that Briar Adeline Hailey-with-a-P isn’t an exact honor name. But I’d also argue that a little bit of healthy reinvention is smart. It honors your grandmother’s memory while also giving your daughter an identity of her own.
There’s also a style gap between Briar and Rose. Briar is modern, new to the US Top 1000, and still relatively unexpected. Rose is timeless, and also familiar. I’m guessing you might like names like Haven, instead of something more like Eleanor? So if Briar honors your grandmother and is true to your style, then that’s a win.
Now let’s talk about the whole boy name angle.
It’s easy to argue that Briar feels masculine, especially since it comes from surname Bryer. (Though, for what it’s worth, it typically comes from the nature name.) We tend to sometimes reserve those family surnames for a son. And names like Brian and Bryce are solidly masculine.
But you mentioned a strong argument against the masculine imagine – Disney princess Aurora, also known as Sleeping Beauty, also known as Briar Rose.
And so it’s not surprising that Briar ranks in the US Top 1000 for boys and girls. In fact, 243 boys were named Briar in 2017 … and 397 girls. It’s a little bit unisex. And with names like Rowan and River rising for girls and boys alike, I can imagine that you may very well meet boys named Briar, too.
But is Briar a boys’ name? Not by any stretch. It trends unisex.
My sense is that you’ve found your daughter’s name, and it’s just a matter of smiling and singing la-la-la should your loved ones object.
But let’s have a poll because maybe I’m missing something.
What advice would you give Krista and her husband about their daughter’s name?
As a fellow person that fell in love with the name Briar Rose from Sleeping Beauty (I can’t help but think of unicorns and fairies and other pretty, ethereal fairy tale beings), I think the name is gorgeous. It’s current, modern, and honors your family. It’s exactly the kind of name that I’m striving for. Don’t lose confidence. I think you guys did a great job with her name.
The real take away from this story is never tell anyone your name until the baby is here.
You chose a lovely name and your grandma would be honored
Briar Adeline is a great name, and I think it clearly honors your grandmother in an inventive way.
Everyone has a right to their own opinions on names, but the decision making is the parent’s choice and belongs to the parents. You don’t want to set the precedent by allowing them a vote in the name chosen, otherwise they will expect a vote in all of your parenting choices. Thank them for sharing their opinion, then pick the name that YOU love.
Mandie L. says
It’s a gorgeous name, but you have to decide how much you care what your extended family thinks. If you are leaning towards compromise, you might go full-on princess and name her Briar Rose, or Briar-Rose Adeline. That moves the name from unisex nature name (thorn) to a more obviously feminine floral (+ fairy tale princess). It would also be a clearer, more direct honor name.
As far as the honor name itself goes, if grandma were alive you could ask her what she thinks, but she isn’t. At this point, it’s about you remembering her, and being able to tell your daughter “we named you for great-grandma. Let me tell you about her.” This conversation will happen just fine without having to name her Rose, and it really doesn’t matter what the rest of the family thinks. If anything, you can say, “well, this leaves Rose free in case a sibling or cousin wants to use it.”
I would probably change the spelling to Bryer if you are honoring your grandmother and make the middle name Adelaide.
The Mrs. says
This name is clever, sentimental, and lovely. I agree with another poster that sneaking Rose in as a second middle might be a nice addition.
Nicknames abound! Bea, Bry-girl, Rosie, Bree, etc.
Congrats and best wishes!
I’m genuinely surprised that some people are naming boys Briar! It has always seemed very feminine to me!
Please don’t drop a name that you love, with positive meaning and a loving association just because your family pushed back! I think if you allow yourself to be swayed you will likely regret that. A useful thought exercise – what did your parents and in-law’s bridesmaids wear to their wedding? Would they be considered stylish options today? Perhaps, but I doubt it! Tastes change and we tend to get set in the trends of our youth – names included.
I named my son with my grandmother’s maiden name as a middle and it reminds me of her every time I say it. It actually doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks I know she would have been touched and it makes me happy.
Jean C. says
Briar Adeline is perfect. I think Briar Adelaide sounds good too (fine to my ear with the last name), but Briar Adeline is perfect as is—i think ESPECIALLY since both first and middle honor your gran, it makes it even more permissible that the names are both tweaked just slightly from the original. This name is perfect and so so so meaningful to you. Use it!
Also…if you don’t, both sets of parents will think they have veto power over names. They don’t. Don’t let them. And don’t share any future names with them until they’re attached to a sweet babe, as they’ve officially lost the privilege of knowing ahead of time.
I agree that giving in sets a precedent–not only for veto power over future names but also (potentially) for control over other parenting choices you make. If you truly love this name, I’d let this be your first boundary as a parent, rather than your last.
A. Waguespack says
I like it! Very common in the south to use surnames as given names to honor family especially for girls. With the spelling it definitely trends feminine to me. I think you hit the jackpot – uncommon yet familiar, southern, nature,feminine, honor name all rolled in. Grandparents will get over it when baby girl comes home. Congratulations.
Solid yes from me. I actually thought Briar was a excellent honor name for a Rose even before I knew the last and middle names. And I would consider Briar an honor name for someone with the last name Bryer no matter WHAT the first name was. Also, since you don’t HAVE to use an honor name at all, I don’t understand why the family is so unsupportive. I’d name the baby Briar Adeline anyway–it’s gorgeous.
C in DC says
Briar Adeline is PERFECT! Even without the Bryar connection, Briar is a great way to honor a Rose, but with the connection, it’s perfect. Go with what you love. Grandparents will get over it when the baby arrives.
ABSOLUTELY USE IT!!! Briar Adeline is an absolute gorgeous name!
I completely agree with Abby in the fact that even though it’s not an exact honor name you are using versions/different spellings of her name to remember her but also gives your daughter her own individual name.
Whenever my in-laws trashed a name we liked, I remembered a conversation I overheard between them and some friends of the same generation “.. you think that’s funny? My nephew named his son OLIVER! Can you believe it? Oliver?” cue laughter by all. How can anyone protest Oliver? Each generation has their perspective on what is odd or girly or not. They’re done their naming. It’s your turn and you know best.
Briar is lovely and such an awesome way to honour the name Bryer. My only suggestion, if you’re up for it, would be to squeeze in Rose, essentially flipping her name – I think Briar Adelaide Rose is so gorgeous and no one could think you went far at all of her name. My girls both have first names with tweaks on family names, but I wanted to make sure it would take me mere seconds to explain.
I love the suggestion of Briar Adelaide Rose! I slightly prefer the more classic Adelaide, although I do think Adeline is pretty. But if you don’t want to deal with two middles then Briar Adeline is lovely.
My family has also been ceaselessly critical of our name ideas, which makes it hard not to doubt yourself and wonder if you really are giving your baby the worst name ever. In this case, you’ve give it very careful thought and come up with a name that is meaningful and eminently reasonable. So forget the critics, they’ll get on board by the time the ink dries on the birth certificate. For what it’s worth, I think Briar leans feminine, but I would guess it’s sometimes misread as Brian on paper.
I LOVE it! What a beautiful name, and I love how you chose it. It’s so sophisticated, and unique yet familiar. As soon as she’s here, the fam-jam will (hopefully) be less outspoken about it. Listen to your heart.
Laura Powell says
Completely agree with Abbey on this one I voted Yes it is a great name don’t be put off by anyone’s negative comments you’ve chosen and that’s it they’ve had their go at naming this is yours.
Frances Rae says
But be aware, briar instantly brought to my mind “thorns” as in the briar patch.
I love Briar Adeline. It’s pretty, thoughtfully chosen and shows love for your grandmother, and takes away some of the pressure that comes with being given someone else’s exact name. I hope you use it, and consider not sharing the name ahead of time if you have another child so no one makes you rethink something so beautiful.
You have a beautiful story to tell your little girl about her name. You loved and cherished your grandmother, you love and cherish your daughter. What a marvelous, precious gift your grandmother gave you and that you are now able to give to your child.
I suppose if you break Briar down, it does have a similar sound to Brian, which might be tripping up your in-laws – but to me it’s a super, super feminine choice! My first thought is definitely Sleeping Beauty. It’s still definitely an honour name to me – what’s really important is whether it makes you feel connected to your grandmother when you say your daughter’s name. Basically what I’m saying is block out the parents, you’ve made a great choice 🙂
I love Briar, and don’t think it’s a “boy’s name” at all. It’s a lovely, special honor name, and if it’s going to make you think of your beloved Gran every time you write or say your daughter’s name, I think that’s wonderful. Don’t let other people’s opinions sway you from a name that both you and your husband agree is perfect!
Makes me think of Briallen, which means “primrose.” Could probably even be shortened to Briar. It’s a little bit more feminine because of that ‘bree ‘ sound (not that Briar isn’t feminine because I definitely think it is) and would honor Rose kind of directly while maintaining individuality. Otherwise Briar is a stunning, strong name I see no reason not to use. That’s why I was excited to read that someone was considering this name. Congratulations!!
I love it. Stick to your guns!
The name you chose is perfect. Don’t let family opinions get in the way. Who are they to tell you how to name your child?? Ugh. That’s why we didn’t tell our fam our name choice til after baby was born. Didn’t want drama and second-guessing. Briar Adeline is gorgeous
My grandmother absolutely hated the name my aunt had chosen for her youngest. So much so, in fact, that she used the baby’s middle name when referring to her. My aunt was annoyed by that, but she stuck with her choice because it was the perfect name for her daughter. Eventually, once little girl was born and my grandmother saw her wear the name, she came around and accepted it, even liked it.
All that to say, I think you should stick with your choice. Briar Adeline is lovely and meaningful. I am sure both of your families will grow to love it in time.
Briar is lovely and once it’s associated with a sweet little bundle of baby, I think the grandparents will soften a bit. Would you be ok with them nicknaming her Rose or Rosie as a pet name? I think it could be a logical nickname in the way that some Margarets go by Daisy. It could be a compromise, if you don’t hate the idea.
Congrats on your baby girl and best of luck!
Briar Adeline is gorgeous! and I 100% think you should use it.