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Devoted

A wedding done their way

Brad Schuller and Gabrielle Deifik are planning a June 21 wedding at the Eero Saarinen-designed MIT Chapel. 'It's one of our favorite places in Boston,' she says. Brad Schuller and Gabrielle Deifik are planning a June 21 wedding at the Eero Saarinen-designed MIT Chapel. "It's one of our favorite places in Boston," she says. (MARK WILSON/GLOBE STAFF)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Suzanne C. Ryan
Globe Staff / February 14, 2008

First in an occasional series about a couple enamored with each other - and with good design

When Gabrielle Deifik first got engaged to her college sweetheart Brad Schuller last April, she immediately headed to a newsstand and bought every wedding magazine in sight.

"That's what society says you should do," said Deifik, a 27-year-old Nashua native. "It's the starting gun."

But Deifik, an architect at Payette Associates Inc., in Boston, quickly found the magazines didn't jibe with her design sensibility. "They were presenting solutions to problems I didn't have," she said. "They said I need customized place cards. How could I not have those?

"They said I need a white dress. I started thinking, 'Does it have to be white? If I have a light source over my head, wouldn't it be cooler if it was silver?' "

Thus began an odyssey for Deifik and Schuller, a 27-year-old medical physicist at the Boston Medical Center.

Turned off by an industry that creates high expectations about everything from invitations to bridesmaids dresses, videographers to flower arrangements, Deifik and Schuller are determined to pull together a wedding by June 21 that reflects their love of modern design - and rejects convention.

"With Brad's technical expertise and my love of design, we're breaking away from the concept that it has to be a certain way," said Deifik, who helps design academic science buildings for her firm. Adds Schuller, who helps design treatments for radiation oncology patients, "It's a matter of figuring out what we actually want and how do we get it?"

Over the next few months, the Globe's Style section will follow Deifik and Schuller to see if they accomplish their goal. Readers can also track progress on the couple's blog, thedesignmuse.blogspot.com

The first hurdle for any wedding is securing a ceremony site.

Schuller, who met Deifik as an undergrad at Worcester's College of the Holy Cross in 2001, initially figured they would marry there. Both had been members of the crew team. She was a classics major, he majored in physics.

But the wedding planning got stale pretty quickly. "They told us we couldn't take pictures at the ceremony," he said. "We had to pick certain songs and use their musicians."

Adds Deifik: "It felt like you were just supposed to show up."

So the couple, who live together in Cambridge, selected the MIT Chapel instead. Schuller earned his doctorate in nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The nondenominational chapel, designed by celebrated architect Eero Saarinen, is a windowless brick cylinder. Inside, a metal sculpture by Harry Bertoia cascades from a circular skylight to a marble altar below.

"It's one of our favorite places in Boston," said Deifik. "I studied it as a student at the Boston Architectural College."

"The altar is very, very small," said Schuller. "It's three concentric circles. So our wedding party will be small. My brother is my best man. The maid of honor is a friend from college."

The church, which holds 160 people, has no pews but high-backed chairs instead, which is just fine with Deifik.

"There are no pews so that means no pew bows. The chapel doesn't require decorations," she said. "I'm thinking very minimal flowers. Just two calla lilies on the altar to symbolize the two of us."

The wedding march will be, appropriately, ethereal. "My dad is a member of the Nashua Flute Choir," Deifik said. "Members of the group will play. He'll walk me down the aisle."

Still to come: the dress, his suit, the invitations, the reception.

Suzanne Ryan can be reached at sryan@globe.com

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