I'm just not in the has-to-go-with-the-sibling's-name camp. There are limited years that they will be known as a duo (sad as it may seem to us now). In my adult life, most people I meet don't ask to hear my siblings' names so they can decide if they 'go' with mine!
And then Frazzled Mom added:
Stephanie just eloquently explained my feelings about siblings' names going together. I've always said, as adults your kids aren't going to be putting each others names on their business cards! But I agree complementary siblings are a bonus, and might be considered in a tie breaking situation where you love two names equally.
Really good points, you guys!
There's a spectrum of how well names go together. Madison and Mikayla are the same style. Madison and Sadie are different styles but compatible. Madison and Brooklyn on one hand go together perfectly---but on the other hand, now the place-name style is getting a little strong. Madison and Addison are matchy. Madison and Velma aren't the same style at all.
But---style categories are so subjective. When you were reading the paragraph above, maybe you thought "Madison and Mikayla are a terrible clash!" or "Madison and Sadie are the SAME style!" How many times have I suggested a sibling name and you've thought, "I really don't think that goes together at all"? A lot, probably. What sounds like "the same style" to me or to you is going to depend on where we live, what we grew up hearing, what names are common in our families, what names we like and dislike. This is one of the ways in which sibling name coordination DOESN'T matter much: even if you choose names that go together, other people may think you didn't.
A problem is most likely to arise when a family uses the same style for all their children---except one. A family with four girls, say, named Alissandra, Anastasia, Arabella, and Carson. Possibly Carson will feel she really dodged a bullet on this one, or perhaps she will feel left out. The overall effect, though, is "one of these things is not like the others," and other people may wonder why. Perhaps they will think this means the family really wanted a boy. Carson may wonder about that herself.
It works better if it's the first child whose style is different, especially if that child is a namesake. Carson, named for her mother's maiden name, followed by Alissandra, Anastasia, and Arabella---well, that's different. A boy named Wisdom, followed by brothers Matthew and Ethan and Joseph---well, sometimes people start out with one idea about names, and then change to another idea.
While sibling names needn't coordinate, a family with a daughter named Madison may want to avoid the name Addison---not because a future coworker will care what Madison's sister's name is, but because rhyming sibling names can be a hassle during the time when the family shares a household.
Or let's say a family has one son named Michael and another named Ulysses. Any reason this is something that will plague them as adults? Nah. But they'll be children for a long time first, and during that time they are going to get sick of discussing it with every nosy
A good explanation (as with "Carson is her mother's maiden name," above) goes a long way to oiling a style difference. The twin daughters of former U.S. president George W. Bush are named Barbara and Jenna, and those names are very different styles. But the girls are named for their grandmothers, and so in that way they DO go together.
I also think style differences matter less if a family has one style for the girls and a different style for the boys. A family with an Alissandra and an Anastasia can easily have a Mark and a John. A family with a Jenna and an Erin can easily have a Saul and a Jonah. It's common enough for people to have different style preferences for boys and for girls, so it doesn't strike that "Why so different?" note.
Where do you stand on the issue of sibling name coordination? Where on the spectrum are you?