Which Name Comes First?
Middle names can seem like a gift to name-loving parents. If you've narrowed down your name list to two beloved choices, you don't have to give either up. You just have to choose an order. Right?
Yet the order is the decision, and it's often a tough one. In most cases, the name finalists share most of the same virtues. They both reflect the same parental tastes, after all. So the decision usually comes down to something like "Samuel Benjamin vs. Benjamin Samuel," where the two choices make similar impressions.
That's not the case with your favorite names, Cruz and Emanuelle. Both are names of Christian reverence, which brings them together to make a coherent and powerful full name. But individually, Cruz and Emanuelle will come across very, very differently to the people your daughter meets throughout her life. (If you're counting on her going by the full two-part name, don't. An uncommon five-syllable combo will almost surely get trimmed along the way.)
Emanuelle is long, French (in the traditional spelling Emmanuelle), and lushly feminine. Cruz is short, Spanish, and strongly masculine in the United States. Boys named Cruz outnumber girls by a whopping 40-to-1, and among non-Spanish speakers it's an occasional macho-styled choice, pronounced "cruise."
I suggest you put first things -- and first names -- first. Pretend the middle name doesn't exist, and reframe the question as "Cruz vs. Emanuelle." If you were a girl today, would you like the punch, androgyny, and surprise factor of the name Cruz? Or would you prefer the smooth elegance and gender clarity of Emanuelle? That's your real decision, no matter how much you love both names.