Unique Spelling for a Baby Name: Good or Bad Idea?

Are there any downside to giving baby a common name with a unique spelling so they won't be like everyone else?
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March 2, 2017
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I personally never had any issue with my name. It’s pronounced “Sarah”, but is indeed spelled “Sareh.” There was apparently some conflict between my parents and all the grandparents regarding my name choice. They all settled on Sareh, but my mom wanted to make sure it was distinct, so she threw in an “e” for good measure.

The “e” never bothered me as a kid. I often thought I was special because it was different and unique. I loved when new people saw it and commented on the creative spelling — I always felt very artistic… as if I had actually named myself! I did have to deal with many teachers mispronouncing my name as Sar-eh, but that wasn’t terribly bothersome and I rarely cared.

The only truly frustrating experience I had was when I went to college and began sorority recruitment. It was a six day event and each day I was presented with a new name tag. Every single day my name tag had the wrong spelling — SARAH. No “e”! I continued to correct the spelling and the recruiters continued to “correct” me. They thought I was misspelling my own name! Even as I type this my name is being called out with spell check and the red squiggle is highlighting it to be corrected. These, however are minor nuisances.

So, I say go for it! I grew up being comfortable with my name because it’s all I knew. Children whose names are spelled differently may have to bypass the rack of knick knacks etched with more common names, but you can always present them with a set of pencils or other present with their names painted on the side, which is what my parents did. While my sister, Caroline, received generic items with her name emblazoned on the sides, I received customized items — who wouldn’t feel special?

—Nest Sareh

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