How do you end a heat wave and drought in Syracuse, New York? Get married!
Matt, Tim Kinsella's youngest son, and Gina, Matt’s long-time love, had planned a lovely outdoor wedding at a lily pond in a Syracuse park for Saturday evening, July 28th. But their power together apparently is so great that they pulled rain from the clouds for a parched earth that day, so instead they held a beautiful wedding indoors at the Syracuse Crowne Plaza Hotel.
It was also a fascinating interfaith wedding celebration, with a Christian deacon and a Jewish cantor - both of them women! The cantor, in particular, explained the Jewish rituals, symbolisms and ceremonies and sang Hebrew passages in a beautiful voice. But first she conducted a ritual involving a flaming candle doused in a goblet of wine to symbolize the ending of the Saturday Sabbath. Only then were Matt and Gina allowed to enter under the chuppah and the wedding could begin.
Matt's sister Kristin was a bridesmaid and his brother Paul was a groomsman. Kristin's children, Cameron and Leah, were adorable as ringbearer and flower girl. At the end, Matt stomped on the traditional wine glass. Then, during a break in the rain, the wedding party was off to the original lily pond site for wedding pictures.
Leah, Kristin, Paul, Cameron
The reception was held upstairs in the hotel’s round penthouse restaurant, where guests found their names on hockey tickets that indicated which table they were seated at – all named for hockey teams and Gina’s Buffalo family’s favorite Sabres players. Matt was a hockey star in high school and both he and Gina play on hockey teams now, so it was no surprise but made us laugh that the wedding favors on the tables were hockey pucks.
Soon the parents of the bride and groom and the wedding party made a grand entrance, with Kristin and Paul typically creative. As soon as Kristin entered the reception, she quickly knelt on one knee and bowed down. Then her brother Paul made his grand entrance by bursting through the doorway and leaping over her head – so Paul!
Rosemary and Tim Kinsella, Parents of the Groom
Gina and Matt with Grandparents, Aunt CB and Uncle Jack
We all had fun at the reception with a photo booth, complete with an attendant who could help ensure great pictures. Everyone took turns taking pictures in the booth, just like when we were kids, and received a double strip of photos. One we kept and the other we pasted into a photo album with messages for Matt and Gina. Towards the end of the evening, the attendant broke out the goofy hats and props and you can see the result!
Photo Booth: Glenn Herdeg, Jim, Tom, Tim, and Chris Kinsella
Then came time for Matt to get Gina's garter to throw to the bachelors. Unbeknownst to Matt, Gina had called his Uncle Jim Kinsella a couple weeks before the wedding and hatched a plan. It depended on her convincing Matt that this tradition should be done with the groom blindfolded, but he was an easy sell.
Gina sat down on a chair on the dance floor and extended her leg, while the best man tied a large dinner napkin over Matt's eyes. This was when Uncle Jim snuck in, dressed in a flouncy white skirt, and quickly changed places with Gina. She even gave him her shoes to wear! We're not sure that Matt was fooled for very long - especially because Jim forgot to take off his socks - but he gamely played along and everyone - especially Jim and Gina - laughed uproariously. (Jim had to stifle his guffaws because they are so distinctive they would immediately give him away!)
Then the honeymooners were off for a grand tour of South America. They’re both adventurers and Matt is fluent in Spanish, so they included dazzling sights in Peru’s Sacred Valley, hiking to the Inca mountain citadel of Macchu Pichu, volcanoes and an Amazon jungle tour in Ecuador, and then a resort in Panama.
No question, they’ll have great stories to tell about What I Did On My Summer Vacation when they get back to school! Gina is a physical education and health teacher, as well as coach, at Homer Central High School in Homer, New York. Matt teaches Spanish in the Cortland Central School District.
Matt and Gina, all the Taylor Baker Cousins wish you great happiness and a wonderful life together!
Jill Kinsella (Jim's wife),
Jen Kinsella (Chris's wife),
Pat Kinsella Herdeg