October 5th, 1997

Elenor and Michael Ray get married!

Chaplain Jeremiah O’Keefe-West

Before I begin my service, I’d like to take up a few moments of your time. I’d like to welcome you all here for Michael Ray and Elenor’s wedding. On behalf of both of them, I’d like to extend a greeting to all of you, and it’s a greeting that’s come from the shores of my country for thousands of years. And that greeting is ceadth mille failte. It’s Gaelic, it means a hundred thousand welcomes. And it’s meant for all of you.

And to both of you I’d like to say thank you very much. Thank you very much for allowing me the pleasure and privilege and the honour of doing the service here today. I’d like to begin my service for you now.

Dearly beloved, family and friends, we have come here today to witness the joining in marriage of Michael Ray and Elenor. This ceremony is only to solemnize or legalize the true marriage, which in reality took place when you made you commitment to each other, before coming together for this ceremony. Certainly you are aware of the seriousness of your decision and of the responsibility that you are assuming. You are entering into a union that is most sacred and serious. It is sacred because marriage is established by god himself. A most serious commitment because it will bind you together for life, in a relationship so close and intimate that it will profoundly influence your entire future.

Not knowing all that is before you as husband and wife, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, to have and to hold. It is a tribute to your faith in each other that you are both so willing and ready to pledge your honour and fidelity to such a solemn obligation. Henceforth you belong entirely to one another, from this day forward, one in mind, in spirit, and affection.

Whatever you may sometimes have to sacrifice to preserve the dedication of common interests, do it gladly, generously, and within the deepest meaning of love. For by giving each other everything you have, you will receive everything you desire from your marriage. Living has its hopes and disappointments, it has its pleasures and problems. It has success and failure, joy and sorrow. Contradictions mingle in every life and are expected from time to time in your own future, but if true love and unselfish spirit of perfect sacrifice guide your every thought and action, you can expect the most profound unearthly happiness that any man or woman may know in this life.

I’d like to read to you now from Kahlil Gibran The Prophet. As you both know, this is one of my favourite passages, and Abigail is going to read another one in a few minutes that is one of my favourites as well. So, I’m hoping with the passage of time, the passing of years, these will become very very important passages to you.

Mister Gibran the Prophet has given us some beautiful reflections of love and marriage, and I would like to share them with you today. And of marriage, he wrote:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of god.
But let there be space in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone, though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together,
For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

And now Abigail’s going to do a reading by Gibran aloud for us


Love gives naught but itself, and takes not but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed.
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love, you should not say “god is in my heart,”
But rather “I am in the heart of god.”
And think not you can direct the course of love,
For love, if it finds you worthy directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires,
Let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night,
To know the pain of too much tenderness,
To be wounded by your own understanding of love, and to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving,
To rest a the noonhour and meditate love’s ecstasy,
To return home at eventide with gratitude, and then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.


Thank you.

Michael Ray, will you have this woman to be your wife, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her so long as you both shall live? If so, answer I will.

Michael Ray

I will.


Elenor, will you have this man to be your husband, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him so long as you both shall live? If so, answer I will.


I will.


These are your wedding vows, please repeat after me.

Jeremiah and Michael Ray

I, Michael Ray, take you, Elenor, to be my wife. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death, I give you my promise.

Jeremiah and Elenor

I, Elenor, take you, Michael Ray, to be my husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death, I give you my promise.


Now we’re going to have a reading by Meredith.


From Second Corinthians, Chapter 13:
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful, it is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful.
It does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


Thank you.

Love never fails. Having this love in your hearts, you’ve chosen to seal your vows by the giving and receiving of rings. Michael Ray please place this on Elenor’s finger and address her.

Jeremiah and Michael Ray

I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows and with all that I am and all that I have, I honor you.


Place this ring on his finger please, and repeat after me.

Jeremiah and Elenor

I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows and with all that I am and all that I have, I honor you.


Would you like to address each other?


Rumi, the Suffi poet, said, “The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They belong to each other all along.”

I believed that I would never find the person about whom all the love stories were written, all the love songs were sung, all the words of happiness and devotion were spoken.

Michael Ray, I have learned from you what it is to love and to be loved. I believed love carried with it dependency and weakness, but I’ve learned from you that true love strengthens and frees me. I believed love could only be obtained at the price of my individuality, but with you, I have found security and growth in my own identity. You are the man who recognized me, the man who was willing to get close to me without smothering the essence of who I am.

I give myself without reservation to you. I am yours.



Michael Ray

My darling love,

I gave much thought to what I might say to you during this, our most important day together, thinking that I needed to compose something florid and original – something that you had not heard before. But, upon reflection, I realized that that would be insincere and merely ceremonial. For I have already said those things to you, in private, which are most important and genuine.

So I will say now, in front of this company, our family, those things of my heart which matter most: That you are my life – you are my other half – you are the completion of my being, such that I can no longer live without you.

Your life – for which I would give my own – comes before mine.
Your welfare – to which I devote all that I have – comes before mine.
Your pleasure – which I seek with all my energy – comes before mine as well.

In return, I thank you for bringing to me this wonderful family: mother and sisters, with husbands and sons, whom I’ve come to know and to love dearly.

And most of all, I thank you, beloved Elenor, for bringing you to me from far away, never again to be apart – for I love you, with all of my heart.


Beautiful, I’ve done over three thousand weddings, and I’ve never heard such beautiful, beautiful words Very meaningful and very wonderful. It says a lot for both of you.

The circle is a symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe. Of wholeness, of perfection, and peace. The rings you have given today are the symbols of the endless love into which you enter as husband and wife.

At this time I would like to offer a wedding prayer for Michael Ray and Elenor:

May these two persons find a common communion of ideal being and perfect grace.
May their love reach the level of every day’s most quiet need by sun and by candle light.
May they love freely as people strive for right.
May they love purely as people turn from mere praise.
May they find strength to meet the adversities, tolerance for the prejudices, respect for the truths, and faith for the uncertainties which may come their way.
May goodness and truth and beauty be theirs now and forevermore.

We come now to the pronouncement of marriage.
(I don’t know why we’re not all crying.) (Laughter)

Now that Michael Ray and Elenor have given themselves to each other by solemn vows before us and before god as witness, and have shown their affection and trust by the giving and receiving of rings, and by joining of hands; by the power vested in me by the National Chaplain’s Association and the State of Georgia, I pronounce that they are husband and wife. Therefore what has been joined together, let no man put asunder.

Michael Ray, you may kiss your beautiful wife.

(You rehearsed that part very well.)

Now, we have the great pleasure of having mum speak a few words.


I’m honored and delighted to welcome Michael Ray into the Snow family.

When I was young, with three beautiful, talented, and intelligent daughters, I felt I had all any mother could ever desire.

Then Abby’s marriage to Winterton, and Meredith’s to Mark, showed me what it’s like to have sons. Now, with Elenor’s marriage to Michael, I have three handsome, talented, and intelligent sons. My cup runneth over.

Joy and Blessings upon you all.


Oh, I think you could all be Irish!

More pages!

This is the wedding page.

The party after the wedding

The day before the wedding

Nephew Alex’s report on the trip

How Michael Ray and Elenor met

See our honeymoon cruise and our other cruises

Write to us at snowtao2005 (at) snowtao.com


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