I absolutely love [name]Charlotte[/name]! It’s on my short list, and has been for years now. I can understand your hesitation (I winced when I saw it jump from #68 to #45 nationally last year!), but [name]Charlotte[/name] is such a timeless, classic, stunning, charming, wonderful name… I would go with it anyway!
I grew up with a rabidly popular name and it definitely wasn’t the end of the world. I did a bit of research for you… [name]Charlotte[/name] ranked number 46 in [name]California[/name] for 2010 (2011’s statistics come out Mother’s [name]Day[/name] weekend), with 664 little Charlottes born in your state. There are 58 counties in [name]California[/name], so I did a bit of math, and that averages out to about 11 Charlottes born in each county (obviously, this would differ depending on your county… some counties, I saw, had less than 2000 citizens in it while others had over 200,000–obviously it’ll be skewed in those heavily-populated counties). I don’t know what county you live in, but most of the counties I’ve looked up have around 19 public school districts in it, so, going off that math, there wouldn’t even be a guarantee that there would be a [name]Charlotte[/name] in every school district, much less more than one. Of course, you can’t really predict which names will be popular in your area (I knew someone who named her son [name]Dominic[/name], figured she was safe in that regard, and when he got to school there was 1 or 2 others there, too! Things like that just happen.).
It sounds like [name]Charlotte[/name] is the only name you both really love, so I would go with it. It’s barely inside the top 50 and a little girl would be lucky to have such a wonderful name. If there is another [name]Charlotte[/name] in her class, she could always opt to go by [name]Charlotte[/name]'s many other nicknames ([name]Lola[/name], [name]Lottie[/name], [name]Charlie[/name], [name]Char[/name], [name]Ari[/name], [name]Arlo[/name], [name]Harlow[/name], [name]Lotte[/name] [LOT-uh], etc., to name a few… I’m sure there’s a lot I’m not even thinking of!).