Jo and Stef are expecting their second child in February; a sibling for their son Alexander Jacob, who they call Lex. They do not know the sex. Their surname is Dutch so they are looking for a familiar name which works well in both languages.
They love their son's name for several reasons: they both like classic names and felt Alexander was a name that worked for all ages. Jacob was a family name on both Stef and Jo's side so they able to include both families.
Ideally they would like a name that:
- Is familiar but not too popular
- Can be shortened with a nickname
- Works well in both English and Dutch
- Doesn't start with A.
I can see that you struck gold with Lex's name, Jo! It ticks so many boxes for you and I love the blend of classic combo Alexander Jacob, offset by quirky nickname Lex. I also love that Lex is both an English and Dutch shortform, so the name works seemlessly in both languages, giving equal weight to both. Given all that, I can understand why you want the same for your second child.
I think you have some really great choices on your list.
Sebastian in particular stands out for me as a slick continental choice that has all the refinery and international appeal of Alexander. Sebastian Nathaniel is a little letter-heavy, but the two tend to bounce rhymically into three syllables apiece, making it no longer to say than Alexander Jacob.
Edward is a solid English-heritage staple which has the advantage of having been exported all around the world and adopted into many different languages and the choice of nicknames (Ed, Ned, Ted, Teddy, Woody etc) is expansive. Edward Nathaniel strikes the same chord as Alexander Jacob with a classic, well-travelled firstname balanced with a family name/gentle biblical classic.
I think all of your girls names fit your criteria very well. You can't go wrong with any of them. I'm drawn to Cecelia the most alongside Alexander as it seems the choice with the most international flair.
You mentioned that Elina was causing you concern in terms of flow. I agree that Emilia Elina is a little rhymey, but not unpleasantly so, and, while Cecilia Elina is syllable-heavy, it won't cause much hassle, especially as a middle name. Cecelia Eline, Emilia Eline and Catherine Elina would give you the best syllable patterns.
Joseph -- Joseph is a steady, dignified reliable that works well in many languages and for all ages. Shortform Joe lacks sparkle next to Lex, but the Dutch short form Zef is just as cool and quirky. Joseph Nathaniel "Zef" has a perfect symmetry to Alexander Jacob "Lex".
Theodore -- Theodore is classic, refined and uncommon, ticking several boxes. Theo, Ted and even Thor are great options for nickname. As a plus, it also shares the same meaning as Nathaniel, so works as an honour name. If it's too tentative a link, perhaps Theodore Nate would cement the link.
Nicholas -- Greek hero Alexander is perfectly flanked by its Ancient Greek sibling Nicholas. Both have serious suave and sophistication and it has a multitude of possible short forms (Nic, Nils, Nico, Cole). Nicholas Nathaniel has a pleasant alliteration to my ears, but if it doesn't strike you, perhaps Nicholas Theodore works well enough to honour Nathaniel with the N first name + same meaning.
Dominic -- A dignified classic with an international passport. Dom, Nic and Nico work well as shortforms.
Benedict -- With an international passport, Benedict is a cultivated and uncommon choice. If Ben doesn't strike you as a shortform, you might prefer Bix, Ned or even Ed.
Rupert -- An affable choice, cute for a child and grand for an adult. It isn't as easy to shorten, but I'm quite taken with the idea of Ru/Rue.
Laurence -- Laurence perfectly fits the criteria of being familiar without being common. It's also well travelled. Traditional English nicknames include Larry and Laurie but there is also Dutch Lars or even Launce.
Wild card: Magnus -- Slightly off the beaten track is stately Roman relic Magnus. It has had much success in Scandinavia as well as Scotland which makes it familiar in both Britain and Holland. Mac or Gus would make great nicknames next to Lex.
Evelina -- Aileen is the family name you wish to honour, and Evelina is a perfect way to do that. Aileen is an anglicised Scottish and Irish form of the ancient Germanic name Avelina. Avelina developed into many forms including the Latinised Evelina, as well as Eveline, Evelyn, Eileen and Aileen. There is even a Dutch form! Evelien. Evelina is an underused name that's bang on-trend for style. Nicknames possiblities are also numerous, from Eva, Evie, Effie/Evvie, Vivi, Lina and Linnie.
Alternatively, you could use it as the perfect replacement for Aileen in the middle spot (Cecelia Eveline, Catherine Evelina etc).
Eliane -- Another way to honour Aileen is to use saints name Éliane which is an anagram. As a bonus, you could used Anna as a nickname. Totally coincidentally, after I had thought of the French Éliane (ay-lee-AHN), I discovered that Eliane (ay-lee-AH-nə) is used in the Netherlands and is even borne by a young member of the Dutch royal family. For simplicity sake, I would be attempted to use the Dutch spelling (minus the French acute accent) with the el-ee-AN pronunciation.
Beatrix -- A chic exotic-traditional which is familiar, stylish and underused. Possible nicknames include Bea, Bets, Betsy, Trix and Bix.
Caroline -- Elegant, classic, underused, familiar and royal. Carrie is a traditional nickname, but I also like Callie or dual Dutch and English shortform Caro.
Juliana -- To get the nickname Anna, how about stylish and elegant continental choice Juliana? Also worth considering are Rosanna and Christiana.
Josephine -- A delicate antique which works for all ages and has the choice of some seriously cute nicknames. Josie and Posy are traditional diminutives but there is also Effie, Feena/Fina and Zeffi.
Marina -- Ancient and elegant Marina hits the magic spot of being familiar and yet, remarkably, very rare. Minnie and Mina make for sweet nicknames. In the same vein is Shakespearean Miranda.
Henrietta -- A striking internationally renowned antique with elegance and gravity which is offset by the multitude of sprightly nickname choices such Hettie, Ettie, Henny, Ren or even the stylish Dutch form Jetta.
Wild card: Madelief -- I couldn't resist adding this as beautiful Dutch heritage option into the mix. Madelief, meaning "daisy," is a quirky spin on popular Madeleine. If you use a Aileen-variant for a first name it would also make a striking middle name: Eliane Madelief, Evelina Madelief or Evelyn Madeleif.
I hope there is something useful here for you. Please keep us updated when your newborn arrives!