A sister for Savannah...help us choose!

Hi everyone, we are expecting our 2nd daughter. Our 1st daughter is Savannah, and our last name is Carroll. We have searched high and low for names, and can only agree on a couple. The first is Elise - my hesitation is tha its a short name - a nickname even, and I am not sure its long enough to go with Savannah.

The second name is Carissa. This is my husbands favorite, but Carissa Carroll is a little much and I worry about friends shortening it to "carrie" or "Cari" Carroll, which just sounds silly. I like having a nickname option, and don't feel like I would with Carissa.

Anyway, Elise and Carissa are our options right now. Which would you choose if any?

Thank you!!


April 4, 2016 3:34 PM

Elise is lovely and I don't think you should worry about it "going with" Savannah too much. 

I also like Carissa.  It sounds like you don't care for the alliteration and don't like the nickname options.  I wonder if something similar would work better for you, while still appealling to your husband?  Marissa comes to mind.  I also thought of Clarissa.  It doesn't solve the alliteration concern, but it would open up Clare or Clara as a possible nickname.

Rissa is also a nickname option for Carissa, if you can't get your husband on board with something else.

April 4, 2016 3:38 PM

Thanks so much!! If you were choosing, would you prefer Carissa or Elise as a first name?

April 4, 2016 7:21 PM

Well, considering my name is kind of a combination of them both, I don't know that I have a preference-I like them both!  If I had to pick between the two, I'd probably go with Elise, but only because I have a cousin named Marissa & 2 'Rissas in one family could get confusing.

April 4, 2016 3:40 PM

I should also clarify... while my husband's favorite is Carissa, he also likes Elise a lot and would use it too.

April 4, 2016 7:21 PM

I'm usually slightly against alliteration, but I don't mind Carissa Carroll.  I think Carrie Carroll has too much similarity, though.  I would probably avoid any name that could end up with the nickname Carrie.



April 4, 2016 3:39 PM

I agree with you about Carissa -- it's a nice name, but doesn't work with your last name. I like the rhythm of it with Carroll, though. 

The closest thing I could think of was "Clarissa", but that has a different feel to it that might not be what you're going for.  Calista or Callisto might work.

April 4, 2016 3:42 PM

Thank you! I agree... the sound of it isnt bad, Carissa Carroll, but the nicknames could be,

I wish I could say I like Clarissa, but there is just something about it I dislike :( Maybe it is the "Clarissa Explains It All" reference I always think of.

April 4, 2016 3:49 PM

I love the name Elise. 

I do think Carissa may go with Savannah just slightly better, but not so much that I would choose it over Elise. I also agree that it's too much with your ln.

You could consider something like Marissa or Larissa, of course. I think Marissa would be very nice with Savannah.

I'll also note that short names can still have nns. An Elise could be Lis or Lise or any number of things....Our younger son is called by a nickname that has nothing to do with his real name about half of the time! And, conversely, a long name doesn't automatically get a nickname. I tend to nickname people automatically, and I don't think I'd ever call a Carissa, Cari. 


April 4, 2016 4:15 PM

Have you considered Elisa? Elise is a very pretty name, but if it's important to you that her name be in the same style as Savannah, you might want to go longer and frillier. Alyssa is another possibility. Carissa Carroll makes me want to say "Clarissa," I think because of the L sound at the end of Carroll. Plus Carissa sounds more like an endearment than a name to me.

April 4, 2016 4:17 PM

Thank you all! This is great advice. I have thoght about Elisa and do like it! I just dont like "Lisa" and wouldnt want that to become a nickname. What about using Elisa and calling her Elise most of the time?

April 5, 2016 11:47 PM

I've never met an Elyssa/Alyssa/Elisa, or frankly anyone under the age of 30, who goes by Lisa. I wouldn't worry overmuch about Lisa. 


I would be hesitatnt to use Elisa just because I wouldn't know if it was Ee-Liss-ah, Or Eh- lee-sa. or even Ee-Lie-sa.  would assume it was similar to Elyssa, not Elise+ah. If you like Elisa, you could also consider Eloise or Eliza. 

April 4, 2016 4:35 PM

I love Elise, and don't think it's too short to go with Savannah. Savannah looks much longer on paper, but they only have a 1-syllable difference. If that's your only hang-up, maybe you'd like Eliza, or you could put Elizabeth on the birth certificate and call her Elise.

Carissa is pretty, but the -issa names feel a bit dated to me (I have one, so maybe I'm a lot more sensitive to it). I actually grew up with an alliterative name (first and last names starting with M), and it had the exact rhythm as Carissa Carroll, so that doesn't bother me too much. I do think it's possible to never need a nickname for Carissa, so as long as you introduced her by her full name, I don't think Carrie would be an issue.

April 4, 2016 4:49 PM

I think Elise is beautiful and sophisticated, whereas Carissa is already a bit dated to the 90s and fussy. I'd choose Elise, no contest. What a timeless choice.

April 4, 2016 7:12 PM

The young Elise I know has an older sister Juli@n@, which is longer in sound than Savannah. I think length mismatch in sibling names has to be truly extreme to even be noticable. (Like Jo and Maximillian.)

Carissa Carroll is a memorable combination, but not in a bad way, really. As others have pointed out, people will not necessarily shorten Carissa -- automatic nicknames are a thing of the past, mostly. If you have family members who are unstoppable nicknamers, you can suggest Rissa. You would have to be prepared for frequent confusion with Clarissa, though, both because it's more common, and because there are 'L's in the surname.

If you play piano at all, go with Elise, and learn some Beethoven. :-) Otherwise, toss a coin, and see how the result makes you feel.

April 4, 2016 8:04 PM

You could do a hybrid of both names and name her Elissa. 

April 5, 2016 12:46 AM

Personally, my suggestion would be to go with Elise. Carissa Carroll sounds fine - and I'm always one for alliteration! - but Carrie Carroll is just too much the same, and Carrie would be an almost certain nn.

April 5, 2016 12:03 PM

I think Elise is perfectly fine with sister Savannah, there's no rule that your children should have names of equal length. But if that is important to you, have you thought of Eloise?

April 5, 2016 12:38 PM

Thank you all so much! This advice is so helpful. We have an idea and please give me honest opinions. We have decided we want to call her Elise, however, we do like the name Carissa too. What about naming her Carissa Elise Carroll (since Elise Carissa doesnt flow) and calling her Elise?

Would this be too confusing on legal documents? My brother has a similar type name, where he goes by his middle name.

The other option is Elise Alexandra, or Elise Madelyn. We just like the idea of using Carissa in there too if we can.

April 5, 2016 1:37 PM

I actually find that Elise Carissa flows much more easily than Carissa Elise, because I need to pause after the final "a" of Carissa to get the proper beginning of Elise out. There's no reason that a middle name can't have more syllables than the first name.

Elise Carissa Carroll is a lovely name.

I'm glad that you decided on Elise. I was going to suggest imagining that you were naming your first, not trying to match a name with Savannah, to see which name your heart truly wanted -- but you arrived at that on your own :)

For what it's worth, I like that Savannah and Elise end with different sounds. I'm a fan of contrast between sibling names.

April 5, 2016 1:47 PM

My suggestion is to use the names you like, in the order that will be most likely to get her called by the preferred name: Elise Carissa Carroll.

"Flow" with a middle name is just not something that comes up in real life. Well, OK, maybe the graduation announcer will have to put in a few microseconds of a pause between Carissa and Carroll, but it's not like it's a tongue twister or a non-intuitive kre8v spelling or anything.

On the other hand, getting called by the first name *is* something that will come up regularly. That doesn't mean she can't go by her middle name; as you mentioned, your brother does it. Maybe ask him what he thinks of the idea? Has it been confusing for him? Does he get entangled in bureaucracy because of it?

April 5, 2016 2:05 PM

Thank you all. I think we are in a confused spot right now... We love Elise, but we cannot find a middle name we love with it. (Elise Alexandra is the only one). I feel like if we want to use Carissa at all, we would need to go ahead and call her Carissa and use it as a first name. I am just torn between them - I feel like I lean towards Elise but then second guess myself like crazy because I think Carissa is pretty too.

April 5, 2016 2:41 PM

I definitely vote Elise. I love the name much more to begin with- not that there is anything wrong with Carissa- but adding the alliteration of Carissa C. makes me vote for Elise that much more!

April 5, 2016 3:26 PM

Thank you for all the great input! I think my only worry with Elise is it sounding more like a middle name. (thanks to many people saying that). Does anyone feel this way? That Elise Carroll is too choppy, and that Carissa Carroll flows better?

April 5, 2016 3:59 PM

Elise doesn't sound like a middle name. And even that previous sentence sounds strange. Though some names have taken their turns at being a kind of "filler mn spot" (Marie, Ann, Renee, Rose, Mae), but that doesn't mean that they aren't perfectly fine first names.

I'm confused if you are struggling what to call her (Carissa or Elise) or if you prefer Elise, but don't like the flow of putting Elise first.

I think Elise Carissa Carroll and more importantly Elise Carroll both flow nicely. 

Frankly, I prefer Elise much more than Carissa if you are only debating the call name. Not only do I prefer Elise, I like the flow with Carroll better than Carissa.

I can tell you that most of my extended family (significant other and his kids) use middle names. Many people do. But I really prefer the first name being the call name and it can be a PAIN explaining "His first name is Thomas, but he goes by his middle name James" constantly!



April 5, 2016 4:02 PM

I appreciate this response! I think it's a mix of both - a struggle of whether I truly love Elise or Carissa more as a call name, AND the struggle of trying to find a middle name for Elise. It is nice to hear that you think Elise Carissa Carroll sounds okay. I would love if we could somehow include Carissa in her name, even if we call her Elise.

I do agree that Carissa Elise Carroll, and calling her Elise, would get very confusing.

April 5, 2016 4:58 PM

I have a sister whose dad called her by her mn half the time. Kind of a pet name - but one of her actual names. Moral of the story - you could call her Carissa when being especially affectionate/stern/whatever situation that compels you to use it.

Don't get bogged down on fn/mn flow.

Of course these are all opinions. If you want Carissa as a fn, by all means do so!

Good luck! 

April 5, 2016 5:08 PM

I think Elise Carissa Carroll is beautiful, both feminine and dignified. I like the initials ECC too. My sister-in-law's first name was given in honor of her grandmother, but she's called exclusively by her middle name, and I know she finds it really annoying. 

April 5, 2016 6:55 PM

Another vote for Elise Carissa Carroll.  I think Elise Alexandra Carroll also sounds good, though.  9



April 5, 2016 6:10 PM

 So if you all were choosing between naming the baby Carissa Elise and calling her Carissa, or Elise Carissa and calling her Elise, which would you choose? or if neither, what would be a different middle name for Elise? 

 I think if I could find a middle name I really loved for Elise, I wouldn't have as much of a problem removing Carissa completely.  

April 5, 2016 7:23 PM

What is your first daughter's middle name? That might give us a wider idea of what sort of names you like.

April 5, 2016 7:44 PM

Her name is Savannah Kate!

By EVie
April 5, 2016 6:40 PM

I don't know if you've been reading here long before posting this question, but if you have, you'll know that this kind of universal consensus is pretty unusual! So I think you can feel pretty confident that Elise is a great choice, and Elise Carissa Carroll is a lovely combination. I agree with what Karyn said above, in that I much prefer Elise Carissa to Carissa Elise. The first has a great iambic meter that makes the flow great (uh-LEES cuh-RISS-uh CA-rol), while with the second, I stumble over the two unstressed vowels right next to each other--that repeated uh-uh sounds and feels stuttery to me. If you were wedded to Carissa as the call name, I would say it's not that big a deal, but since you want Elise as a call name anyway, I would choose Elise Carissa hands down. 

(Regarding your initial questions, I don't have a problem with alliteration for the most part, but Carissa Carrol doesn't just alliterate, it more or less repeats the whole first syllable. I don't think that's a dealbreaker, and in some cases I think names like that are very striking and memorable, but since it's a concern for you and you have another option on the table that I prefer on its own, my vote is for Elise).

April 5, 2016 6:58 PM

This is definitely reassuring to hear! I do like Elise a little bit more as a call name than Carissa, but only a small amount. Do you all have other suggestions for middle names for Elise that may sound better than Elise Carissa?? Thank you!!

By EVie
April 5, 2016 8:47 PM

Hmm, I really like the rhythm of 3+ syllable names with an unstressed first syllable to break up the two 2-syllables names. Elise Alexandra also works beautifully to me. Other ideas: Elise Amelia, Elise Felicity, Elise Cordelia, Elise Matilda, Elise Renata, Elise Allegra, Elise Cassandra, Elise Dorothea, Elise Francesca, Elise Juliana, Elise Linnea, Elise Penelope, Elise Philomena, Elise Valeria, Elise Victoria, Elise Veronica, Elise Paloma, Elise Rowena, Elise Ophelia, Elise Magnolia, Elise Lavinia, Elise Johanna, Elise Evangeline, Elise Georgiana, Elise Arabella, Elise Adelia, Elise Olivia, Elise Ravenna.

But if that type of rhythm doesn't appeal to you, there are plenty of others that would sound fine as well! And fortunatly for you, I don't think that E ? C could create any awkward initials, so you don't need to rule any middle names out for that reason. 

April 5, 2016 9:32 PM

Thank you for all of these suggestions!! I love the three syllable idea, but my husband is set on Elise Marie if we use Elise. If not, he likes Carissa Marie or Carissa Elise. I'm just so torn at this point. I like Elise Marie, but I don't know. I call my daughter, Savannah Kate, by her first and middle name ALL the time. I want a first and middle name I can easily say when I want to use both, and have it sound nice. I just can't tell if Elise Marie sounds okay. 

By EVie
April 5, 2016 10:02 PM

Elise Marie sounds perfectly fine. My only quibble would be that Marie is used a lot on the middle spot (along with names like Rose, Grace and Mae, also Lynn and Ann in earlier generations), so it feels a little generic and expected. That's a shame, because it's a lovely name, and I would be thrilled to meet a little girl with the first name of Marie in real life... I'm just not going to get excited over [blank] Marie. But it doesn't sound *bad*, if that's your concern. There's a reason so many people use it, after all--a lot of people think it sounds great!

Would he be interested in a Marie/Mary variant, like Elise Marielle, Elise Marianne or Elise Marietta? Or another French choice, like Elise Noelle, Elise Adele, Elise Ariane, Elise Camille, Elise Corinne, Elise Julianne, Elise Leonie, Elise Margot, Elise Mireille, Elise Vivienne? I do think Marie and the other French choices all work very well with Elise--the common language of origin makes the flow feel very natural. 

April 5, 2016 10:26 PM

You suggested a couple of names that I was thinking of. I think they want a mn that works as a double-barrel with Elise. Marie has two syllables with the emphasis on the second; I agree that it is fine, but has been overused as a middle.

Here are some other suggestions with the same formula:












April 5, 2016 10:27 PM

What about Elise Maria? Or would Elise Carissa sound better than that? I definitely don't want boring (like Marie) but I also want it to flow easily like Savannah Kate when I say both names at once.  I also like Elise Camille etc, but not my husband. As you can see, we are only agreeing on a few names which makes it tough!

April 5, 2016 10:29 PM

Thank you both! These are all helpful!! This made me think of Elise Christine and Elise Katherine. However, if we already have Savannah Kate, is Elise Katherine/Kathryn too similar?

April 5, 2016 10:33 PM

Elise Nicole also came to mind but Nicole is pretty popular too. I just talked to my husband some more, and he still likes the idea of doing Carissa Elise and calling her Elise. I am not against it because I want to call her Elise regardless but just feel it will be a pain. Hoping I can convince him of another mn for Elise or we could end up with Carissa Elise.  

April 5, 2016 11:13 PM

Honestly, if you BOTH love both names and the fn/mn flow is important to you, using her mn is not the end of the world. I've just been in a family with three people who all use their middles and have taken care of business for all of them and it really gets monotonous.

Most schools, doctors, etc have a place to put preferred names on forms. Only problem, most pay no attention. So every first day of school, the conversation will be: "Carissa Carroll?" "Here - but a go by Elise." "Okay, thanks Car er Elise."

April 6, 2016 7:15 AM

Yea that's my worry- it will be a comstant correction. The 2 names are by far our 2 favorite names overall unfortunately. Elise Carissa just doesn't have the flow I want when I say it out loud. Elise Marie does, but it Is just boring. My mn is marie and I never liked it. Just wish I could find a better mn option!!

April 5, 2016 7:44 PM

What about Elise Marie? Instead of Elise Carissa? Would that sound better?

April 6, 2016 9:37 AM

If you all were saying 'Elise Carissa!" out loud (I often do this when I talk to my daughter, Savannah Kate), would Elise Carissa sound funny when saying it together? I just feel like it doesnt flow off the tongue easily or sound right.

April 6, 2016 11:40 AM

What would be a good southern middle name for Elise? Elise Annabelle, Elise Isabelle, Elise May?

April 6, 2016 9:09 PM

Elise Jane, Elise Rae, and Elise Ruby  have a southern feel to me(a northerner), while being short enough to use as a sometime call name. 

Some other ideas that have a nice flow to my ears:

Elise Claire

Elise Ivy

Elise Naomi

Elise Harper