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Law of attraction: Wedding bells ring for Savoie

Olympian turned lawyer exchanges vows in New England town

Matt Savoie married fellow attorney Brian Boyle on Oct. 7 in Sturbridge, Mass.
Matt Savoie married fellow attorney Brian Boyle on Oct. 7 in Sturbridge, Mass. (Courtesy of Matt Savoie)

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By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com
(10/18/2012) - The site was an historic inn with lots of charm and warmth. It was a lovely autumn day, with the leaves beginning to change color. On Oct. 7, seven-time U.S. men's medalist and 2006 Olympian Matt Savoie, who is now at attorney in Boston, married Brian Boyle, also an attorney, at the Publick House in Sturbridge, Mass.

"We wanted someplace that's relatively old and had some history. They're also well organized and were tremendous the whole weekend. It was really nice to have the wedding someplace that does weddings often but still retains its historic charm," said Savoie, 32, who met Boyle, 30, at Cornell University Law School, from which they both graduated in 2009.

Savoie grew up in Peoria, Ill., and earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees while competing. He never moved away to train and stayed with one coach throughout his career. That coach, Linda Branan, was at the wedding, as was Savoie's longtime choreographer, Tom Dickson. Several of Savoie's childhood skating friends were also on hand.

The couple got engaged in November 2010 and began planning the wedding in June 2011.

"Brian is really wonderful at seating charts it turns out," Savoie said. "That was a project I was really frightened of, but he finished it in, like, 45 minutes." (Savoie said Boyle approached it like an LSAT [Law School Admission Test] problem.)

The wedding ceremony was officiated by Rev. Terry Rooney, a longtime friend of Boyle's who is an Episcopal priest. Savoie and Boyle opted for traditional vows but began the ceremony by reciting reflections each wrote.

"They were basically letters to each other that we read in front of all of our guests," Savoie said. "We both wanted to do that because we think it's important to personalize what the vows meant for us. It was also important for us to have -- for lack of a better word -- conventional vows. We wanted to make the ceremony feel as connected to ceremonies that our families probably had in the past.

"We had a really lovely ceremony," he added. "Everyone was participating in the ceremony in some way. It was wonderful to have them there."

Savoie is an associate attorney at a mid-sized Boston firm. His practice areas include general corporate and securities matters, private equity, and mergers and acquisitions. Boyle is spending this year clerking for a judge on the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.

They both wore traditional tuxedos and asked their guests to dress comfortably. Savoie said planning a wedding wasn't like preparing for a big competition or doing important legal work.

"It was a pretty organic process," Savoie said. "It was more about what we wanted as a couple and how we wanted to incorporate our families and our values into the ceremony and the day."

Instead of a first dance, they each danced with their mothers. Later, they did an anniversary dance, which started with many couples on the floor and ended with only the longest-married couple -- Boyle's grandparents, still going strong after 63 years -- left out there.

Savoie and Boyle originally thought about taking a honeymoon in India, where the latter lived and worked for a year and a half after college. They've decided to wait on that, and instead will go to Hawaii in December. Both were back at work two days after the wedding.

Savoie expects they'll remain in Boston long term.

"Having studied urban planning (for his master's degree), it's really interesting to live in a place where neighborhoods matter so much and public transit is such a huge part of people's lives," he said.

"One thing that even our officiant talked about in our ceremony, and that Brian and I have experienced in this process, is that it's really wonderful to be in a state that recognizes marriage between gay couples, to be able to be understood as a couple in the same way that our parents understood each other and understand other married couples," Savoie continued.

"That validation is hard to describe. It's very important to us. We're really proud to live in a state that supports it."