Name Help: Naming Twin GirlsName Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, 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!

Cynthia writes:

I am due with twin girls in a few weeks. I am seriously freaking out because there is not a second name I love.

Here is the background: We have a two year old named Charlotte Mia, after her dad and middle name after grandma.

Twin A will be Giselle Cynthia. I absolutely love the name and never second guessed it, plus Gizela was my godmother’s name, so that is a nice tie in. (I have less name regret when it incorporates some history!). My husband really wants my name as the middle name, and I’m not too hung up on middle names since they’re not really used.

Now for poor Twin B, the nameless baby! Absolutely nothing has felt perfect for any length of time. It’s such a horribly disheartening feeling. Here is the list we’ve been mulling over:

Adriana: This is my husband’s absolute favourite name. He wanted it for our first daughter. I like it, but not nearly as much as he does. My issue? The top supermodels in the world are Gisele Bundchen and Adriana Lima. Since they are twins I would loathe people thinking we were trying to match the twin names in this way. Ick! Thoughts?

Alexandra: Classic and regal, but too expected? I hate the nn Alex (husband likes it) but love Alexa. He also likes Lexi. No other connections to this name.

Aria: Musical and pretty, and husband is very musically inclined, but I dislike the very trendy aspect of it greatly. I don’t want it to look like we’re trying to be cool, if that makes sense.

Aurora: Another pretty name, but I don’t like Rory at all – my husband does. I worry about the rising popularity. A bit of a tongue twister name too?

Martina: Is this too old-fashioned? It is a family name, my husband likes it, and I’m on the fence. The connection to my aunt is nice though. I like how there is no chance of mispronunciation.

I love Sophia, but am not interested in a #1 name.

Her middle name will possibly be Josephine after my dad. Our last name is one of those long, complicated Dutch ones — a three-part last name starting with “van”.


Read on for my response, and please leave your helpful suggestions in the comments!

Name Help: Naming Twin GirlsHi Cynthia –

Congratulations on your daughters on the way! I love dreaming up names for twins – it seems like such a great opportunity to use two – or even four!- favorite names at once. But it can be incredibly difficult to find two names that work together without matching too much.

Here’s what jumps out at me: you’ve used exclusively family names so far. Both Charlotte Mia and Giselle Cynthia have ties to someone in your family for both their firsts and middles.

And so my immediate thought is this: why not name Giselle’s twin Josephine Martina?

I like it so very much for four reasons:

  1. It gives all three of your daughters double family names.
  2. Giselle and Josephine share the same sound, but not the same initial – it’s just the right amount of matching for twin names!
  3. In terms of popularity, Josephine falls right between the very popular Charlotte and the less common Giselle.
  4. All three names share the same style, but have different endings.

But maybe Josephine has already been rejected as a first name, or maybe it just won’t work for another reason. In that case, let’s go back to your list.

Adriana – I don’t think I’d sweat the supermodel connection. I do think of Gisele Bundchen – slightly – when I hear Giselle. But only slightly. And Adriana Lima is familiar to me. But there have been an awful lot of girls named Adrienne, Adrianna, and Adriana over the years. I don’t immediately think “cover of Vogue” when I hear the two names together.

Alexandra – I do think Alexandra is a logical choice, but it seems like you have a built-in nickname conflict. I tend to think it’s better to avoid a name with such an issue, unless it’s your absolute #1 name. Since it isn’t, I’d move on.

Aurora – My comments about Alexandra/Alex apply to Aurora/Rory, but unlike Alexandra/Alex, I don’t think Aurora/Rory is such an automatic nickname.

Aria – Aria is lovely, but you’re right – it has skyrocketed up the popularity charts! On the one hand, you know that this isn’t necessarily a problem. Charlotte is very popular, but it’s still a great name. The question is whether Aria will feel trendy, and I do think it’s a little bit of a mismatch with Charlotte and Giselle.

Martina – If Aria is too trendy, is Martina too unfamiliar? It’s very popular in the Spanish-speaking world right now, but in the US, Martina is definitely in style limbo. While I think it’s a great name, and the family tie is great, I wonder if it works better as a middle?

Sophia – Strictly speaking, Sophia isn’t the current #1 name. That honor belongs to Emma. But you’re right, of course – Sophia, especially if you also count Sofia – is very popular, indeed.

If none of those names are quite right, how about:

Ariana/Arianna – It’s a twist on Aria and Adriana, though it’s not related to either name. Arianna is a form of the Greek mythological name Ariadne. Still, Ariana opens the door to possible nickname Aria and sidesteps any supermodel connection. (Though, thanks to singer Ariana Grande, there’s still a pop culture tie.)

Adelaide – It seems like A names are really calling to you, but maybe Alexandra, Adrianna, Aria, and Aurora aren’t quite right. Adelaide has the same sweetly old-fashioned qualities of Charlotte and Giselle, and the -aide ending is different from -otte and -elle. Other A name options include Anastasia and Aurelia. Annabel is another possibility, but Giselle and Annabel sound slightly singsongy when I say them together.

Sylvie or Silvia or Sylvia – The Sylv- names are obvious substitutes for Sophia, and they’ve all seen an increase in use. I’m partial to Sylvie because, like Charlotte and Giselle, it feels ever so slightly French.

Genevieve – When French names come to mind, it’s impossible to overlook Genevieve. Are Giselle and Genevieve too matched for twin names? Maybe. It depends on how you feel about sharing a first initial. I don’t mind, but others tend to think it’s too much. It’s also a girl’s name that can be nicknamed, but often is not – and since Charlotte and Giselle are used in full, I think Genevieve would work best without a nickname, too.

Victoria – If you like Alexandra, but don’t agree about nicknames, maybe Victoria would appeal? It has the same ending as Sophia, and works well with Charlotte and Giselle. Victoria Josephine is super-regal; Victoria Martina or Victoria Martine is another option.

Louise – Or what about Louise? Like Charlotte and Giselle, it’s two syllables, has nicknames options but doesn’t really need any, and feels slightly French. It seems like a big departure from Adriana/Alexandra/Aurora, so I doubt it’s The Name – and yet, I like it so much with Charlotte and Giselle, I can’t resist adding it to this list.

I know our readers will have more suggestions, but I keep coming back to Josephine as a first name! If that is an option, I think it’s a logical one – especially because of this quote: “I have less name regret when it incorporates some history!” Agree completely with that statement, and it makes me think that Josephine could be the obvious choice for Twin B!

Update: They’re here! Please welcome Giselle Cynthia and Adriana Josephine.

Cynthia writes: 

A million thanks to you and your lovely readers, as I truly can say the incredibly wise comments made by all of you impacted our decision. I felt all the advice and commentary was from the heart, and everyone tried so hard to be helpful. I was so happy to give my husband the name he’s always wanted and a big part of letting go of my reservations came from the genuine opinions of the readers who all said there is no connection made to the models, which was my main concern.

Sometimes asking too many opinions in real life can get agitating as people take it as license to criticize, it can get awkward if you decide on that name, and it starts to feel too personal. This was the answer I was looking for. The truth is one night awake just stressing about names, I said to myself, I just need a sign. The next morning I got your email saying you would do the column on the twins. I couldn’t be more grateful!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Oh my stars I can’t believe I stumbled on this blog! I had twin girls in 2014 and while I also thought it would be SO wonderful to be able to pick 2 girls names, it actually made me
    a bit insane…..
    My husband is VERY opinionated (and I thought after all the physical pain of carrying I should get my top choices but I digress)…
    We have an Avalon which is my #1 dream name.
    And I am a Charlotte.
    I knew Twin B would be Tessa as it means #4.
    But that left her sister. We went back and forth for 9 months. He wanted Aria but I refused due to GOT and popularity.
    Finally they arrived and Baby A had no name. Audrey was in the mix but I was not sold. Finally her brother bounced into the recovery room and cooed over his “Baby Audrey”. So there it was, I melted. In my exhaustion I also chose my mother in law’s name Clara as a middle to honor her.
    I still think about Aria, if I should have chosen that and the names I loved (Harper, Willow).
    Long story short, make your mind up BEFORE the exhaustion of labor and no sleep wrecks your thinking. I love my Audrey (Riri) but it doesn’t roll of my tongue like Avalon or Tessa do and Clara feels all wrong. I wanted Reef as a middle to modernize a traditional name and we live in Hawaii. I never thought I’d change my baby’s name but I chose Clara to please someone else. Please yourself mama. And please let us know the decision!!! So excited!
    Oh and I pick Aria for you. I love it and in my more exhausted days I think of changing to Aria Reef..
    And Alexandra was my husband’s # 2 for my brother (Charlotte and Alexander we are).

    1. Good advice about having a name – – or maybe two or three – – firmly in place before baby is born. As for your little Audrey “Ri-ri” Clara, I think that is a perfectly fine name but I also think you could fairly easily expand “Riri” to Aria if you strongly prefer that name to Audrey and feel that it’s a better match with your style and your other daughters’ names. If you were going to do this informally, I would recommend leaving the middle name as it is. But if you were to change her name legally, then I would suggest Aria Clare (or Claire). I’m guessing it would crush your mother-in-law to have you totally remove her name, and really it wouldn’t be fair to her and might be a sore spot within your extended family for a long time, maybe forever. Best wishes!

  2. Alright. I really, really, really like Adriana as a sib to Charlotte and Giselle. I think those all work great together. (I even tried Adrianne for a more tailored match, but still prefer Adriana.) But on a different front, I will mention that I too have twin girls. We were pretty set on Lydia or Nadia for one twin, but took for-ev-er deciding on the second name. For-ev-er. My husband sounds a lot like yours: he was clear on his likes and dislikes. I threw names at him for weeks, but nothing was clicking. Then one day, I said, “Audrey”, and he replied, “Yep, that’s it.” For the next 3 months, I continued to throw names at him because I had hesitations about Audrey: it was more popular than Lydia; a coworker had a toddler named Audrey; etc. In the end, none of that mattered, and we have Audrey & Lydia.

    1. Your response made me smile for more than one reason. It is so good to see that I am not the only one who is having such a tough time with the second twin. It makes me feel so bad for her! The other reason is that Audrey is such a beautiful name, and is my sister’s name. You made lovely choices for your girls. The last reason I had to have a little laugh is that everyone is so supportive of my husband’s choice, and quite frankly that makes me feel good 🙂

  3. Adriana

    “This is my husband’s absolute favourite name. He wanted it for our first daughter. I like it, but not nearly as much as he does.”

    Adriana Josephine is the Perfect Name for “Twin B”. She will LOVE to hear that her name was Daddy’s absolute favorite name.

    This might be your “name story” for your three daughters:

    Charlotte Mia is named after her dad and grandma.

    Giselle Cynthia was given a name her mom absolutely adored (and also close to mom’s godmother’s name); her middle name is for her mom.

    And Adriana Josephine was given her dad’s most favorite name, and her middle name is for her grandpa.

    You really do have the perfect name for your third daughter, right there in front of you!

    Adriana Josephine…. why not?

    You like the name Adriana well enough. It sounds like Giselle is your “absolute favourite” name at this time. We moms often have stronger preferences and more angst over choosing names for our babies. But in this case, Daddy has held firm that he loves the name Adriana. It seems only fair — and so special for your third daughter — that she be given the name her Daddy adores.

    Adriana Josephine — so perfect for this baby girl!

    1. “So much of me wants to just go with Adriana, but there’s a part of me questioning. Is Giselle and Adriana so far out in left field from Charlotte?

      Charlotte, Giselle, Adriana: I think those names go together very well: each is a longer, definitely feminine name that sounds “classic”.

      And that’s how The Baby Name Wizard classifies them by style: Charlotte – “New Classic”, Giselle – “French classic”, Adriana – “New Classic”.

      “Would Alexandra be better?”

      Alexandra is lovely too, but why substitute a name similar in some respects to Adriana when Adriana is the name your husband has loved for some time and would chose if it were up to him? Adriana fits in well with your other daughters’ names. And it will give the younger twin, third daughter, something very special — the name her daddy chose for her.

      As for concerns about top super model names, I’d put those aside. I don’t think a lot of adults will make that connection (certainly the twins’ little friends won’t) and for those few adults who do, they will most likely see it as a coincidence (which it is). If you think really hard about any name, you can find “some” association or other concern, but I think it’s something you’ll soon forget about once the twins are born and named.

      Best wishes!

    2. Patricia, I can’t thank you enough for such an articulate and considerate response. You’ve actually provided me with much clarity and peace of mind.

  4. I want to thank everyone for their wonderful, helpful and insightful comments on our baby names. I am still totally in limbo. Getting closer, but an unfortunate aspect of my personality is not being able to make a decision 🙁

    Okay, my current neuroses is I don’t like anything anymore. Let me re-phrase. I’ve been thinking so hard about these names they are all starting to sound tired to me. I’ve gotten hung up on Georgia now. It’s the only other name my husband seems to say yes to. He is really easy going about what I choose (yes, I said “I”) but his brain seems really limited on what it likes. It’s strictly yes or no with him.

    So much of me wants to just go with Adriana, but there’s a part of me questioning. Is Giselle and Adriana so far out in left field from Charlotte? Would Alexandra be better?

    Then there’s the Georgia question. I never considered the name before but suddenly it’s sounding so feisty and feminine. BUT, I really don’t like how similar it sounds to Giselle. Nick-name-wise, they both have Gigi (so who gets it) and you certainly can’t do Gia and Gigi. So, then it basically comes down to keeping their names long form, which is fine too. I love the name, but I’m really not into matching twin names. The other rather small problem (I think) is the connection of Charlotte and George from the Royal Family.

    Okay, so here’s what I am hoping you can do for me! Please respond with your top name choice out of these. This list is to some degree in order of my husband’s preference. The last three are a tie more or less. And we still kinda like Aria!

    #1: Adriana
    #2: Alexandra
    #3: Georgia
    #4: Martina
    #5: Aria

    Let the voting begin!

    1. It’s funny you mentioned Georgia because I’m also really loving it lately even though I haven’t liked it before. However, I have to agree that it’s too similar to be Giselle’s twin. At the end of the day I don’t think that parents can fully avoid nicknames once their kids get to school. Nicknames aren’t just the first way kids tease each other, it’s also the first way they show affection to their friends. You might very well send Giselle and Georgia off to kindergarten class and have Gigi and Gia come home. And twins have to share so much already, you know?

      I’ve already stood up for Adriana in my previous comment, and I do think it’s a good choice for you guys. But if you’re still having reservations, maybe it’s just not perfect. My next pick from your list would be Aria. It’s quite similar to Adriana — just a little more short and sweet. Plus, like Charlotte, it is quite popular and so the sibset feels a little more balanced than it does with Adriana. To me Charlotte, Aria, and Giselle share the same levels femininity and spunk, while all feeling familiar and well-matched. Of all the names on your list I think Aria fits the best with your other girls. I know you were worried about it being too trendy, and I understand the concern. I don’t necessarily feel like it’s trying to “be cool”, but as one of those names that skyrocketed so quickly, will it plateau? Thirty years from now will everyone think of Aria as a 2010’s name? It’s a risk, but we can’t know for sure. If it’s a name you really love I wouldn’t let how other people may feel about it later affect your decision now. I think it’s beautiful and spunky, especially if your husband has a music connection. 🙂

      1. Having said all that though, I’m not going to lie — I still really like Adriana Josephine. It’s my #1 vote! But Aria’s great too! 🙂

        1. Thank you for bringing up those points about the similar names. I think it’s so important to consider such things – how aggravating it would be to say “oh, it’ll be fine!” and then once they are older it becomes a problem or more “matchy” than you thought. Not good. Best to move on. Thank you for your vote and explanation!!! Much appreciated 🙂

    2. Cynthia, I checked back to see how the voting is going for your second twin’s name and see that it isn’t happening. I’m guessing that’s because most commenters didn’t check the “Notify me of new comments via email” box below the Reply form. (I occasionally check it when I’m especially interested in a name dilemma and happened to check it when I commented earlier.) Maybe Abby would repost this in a way that would alert others that you’ve asked for a vote. Or you could just go through all the comments again and conduct your “poll” among those names in your list that were given a nod. You’ve been given lots of good ideas, commentary and opinions, so that may be enough to help you decide. But remember, we’re just a random group of people. You and your husband will be the ones who decide, no matter what poll results might be. 🙂

      1. I don’t know how I missed this response earlier, but thanks so much for caring enough to suggest the voting poll! At this point, I’ve received so many considered responses I am just blown away. Even my husband, who doesn’t understand that there is such a thing as people who are name “nerds” or “experts”, was completely taken by how much thought people put into giving their opinion, and how much sense the responses make. It’s not just random, thrown-out-there thoughts. I was hoping sending in this predicament would shed some light, and although I felt confused at first by all the new ideas, I am in a much clearer position now!

    3. I have a Georgia, so obviously I love it. BUT I don’t like it with Giselle at all. Our Georgia doesn’t really get nicknames, but we do shorten it to G and I’ve been other people use the name, so having two Gs would be confusing.

      #1 is my vote. I think it ticks so very many boxes and your only hesitation may not ever be a concern. I’ve definitely never heard of the model named Adriana. I like what Patricia said about each name and how it will sound special for each girl.

      Good luck! I found naming my second incredibly frustrating and even now there are doubts. I’ve heard it’s quite common for second-time (and further) parents to feel they haven’t given the name great enough consideration, even after it’s chosen. Might not make you feel better, but it’s a phenomenon! Hang in there!

  5. Honestly, I think in your shoes I would just let hubby use his number one name! Adriana Josephine is absolutely beautiful! I think it goes really well in the sibset as well. While Giselle and Adriana are a bit spunkier than Charlotte, all three have a very strong, feminine feel to them. Charlotte, Giselle, and Adriana. So sweet!

    Plus considering the other “a”-heavy names on your list, it doesn’t seem like you truly dislike Adriana — just that you’re worried about the twin-y supermodel association. I may be wrong, but if that’s the case, you shouldn’t fret about it. I didn’t think of that at all, nor it seems did anyone else here. Plus, not to be a negative Nellie, but how long do top supermodels stay TOP supermodels anyway? It’s definitely a career with an expiration date. Will it even matter by the time your kids are in middle school?

    1. Thank you so much for posting your opinion. I think you make very valid points, and hubby said the exact same thing about the supermodels LOL.

  6. Maybe Alessia? Ends in ‘a’ and has the double consonant in the middle. I could definitely see it as a sibling to Giselle and Charlotte.

    1. I love the name Alessia, it’s beautiful. But my husband just prefers Alexandra. He is pretty black and white about what he likes.

  7. Maybe try switching the middle names around. Giselle Josephine or Giselle Joanna or Giselle Martina all sound good. Then use Adriana Cynthia or Adriana Hyacinth. I also like Thea Josephine as a possibility.