Wayfarer's Chapel - Part 4

From www.seeingstars.com

Church Of The Stars

Seeing Stars: Churches of the Stars..

5755 Palos Verdes Drive South, 
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. / (310) 377-1650


Some places just seem custom-made for Hollywood weddings. Such is the case of the Wayfarers’ Chapel, a strikingly beautiful redwood & glass church nestled in a wooded hillside overlooking the blue Pacific, on the affluent Palos Verdes peninsula.

Architect Lloyd Wright (Frank’s Lloyd Wright’s son) designed this unique glass church in 1946. 

(He also designed another local landmark: the original Hollywood Bowl.) 

Surrounded by acres of gardens and a small forest of towering redwoods, Wayfarers’ Chapel achieves Wright’s goal of seamlessly blending manmade architecture into its natural environment.

Made of crystal clear glass, local stone and a framework of aged redwood timbers, the Chapel allows the full glory of its natural surroundings to shine through. Inside the church, you’ll find a natural-stone waterfall for an altar, and outside you’ll discover one of the most spectacular ocean views this side of Hawaii. 



This is a working church (with Sunday services at 10 AM), so not surprisingly it has been the site of several celebrity weddings. Most notably, actress Jayne Mansfield got married to Mickey Hargitay (a former Mr. Universe) here in January of 1958. (In the 1980 TV movie about their lives, Jayne was played by Loni Anderson, and Mickey was played by a then little-known Arnold Schwarzenegger.) Their daughter, Mariska Hargitay, stars in “ER.” as ‘Cynthia Cooper’.

M*A*S*H’s ‘Radar O’Reilly’ (Gary Burghoff) was also married at this picturesque, woodsy chapel - in 1971.

And at the end of the 1987 Martin Shortcomedy “Innerspace,” the characters played by Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaidwere shown exiting from Wayfarers’ Chapel after their wedding, and getting into a limousine.

(And in a case of life imitating the movies, Dennis & Meg were reallymarried four years later!)

In 1989, actor Dennis Hopper (“Easy Rider,” “Blue Velvet”) got married for the fourth time here, to a 22-year-old ballerina who was 31 years his junior. Wedding guests includedKiefer Sutherland and Carol Kane, and the ring-bearer was Roddy McDowall. (The marriage lasted three years.)

And on February 6, 1995, Beach Boys’ leader Brian Wilson got married at the chapel. His fellow bandmates attended, as did his daughters, Carnie & Wendy, who sung “God Only Knows.” Said Brian: “The vibrations in that chapel were so wonderful.”

In 2004, on the Fox TV show “The O.C.”, ‘Julie Cooper’ (Melinda Clarke) was married ‘Caleb Nichol’ at Wayfarer’s Chapel. A year later, when the character of ‘Caleb’ died, his funeral was held at the same Chapel.

In Feb 2011, the chapel appeared in an episode of “The Cape”, in a fantasy wedding scene between Orwell &The Lich.

The three and a half-acre grounds around the church feature flower gardens, woodsy walkways that smell of pine trees, and an information center dedicated to the little-known religious philosophy known as Swedenborgism. In this hushed hilltop oasis, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that you are only minutes away from the downtown rush of the South Bay, and it is not hard to see why so many couples find this spot an ideal place to tie the knot.

HoursThe Chapel is open 9 AM to 5 PM. Sunday worship services at 10 AM.

Getting there: Wayfarers’ Chapel is located on a woodsy hillside just above Palos Verdes Drive South (near Abalone Cove). A short road leads up from Palos Verdes Drive to the chapel grounds. / Palos Verdes is located about twenty miles south of Hollywood, and can be reached by taking the San Diego (405) Freeway to the Hawthorne Boulevard exit, then heading south on Hawthorne Boulevard (about six miles) into the hills. / To reach the chapel, take Hawthorne Boulevard over the Palos Verdes hill (another five miles or so), to Palos Verdes Drive. Turn left on Palos Verdes Drive, and follow it southeast (about two miles) around past the old Marineland site, between Seacove Drive and Narcissa Drive. Look for the signs pointing out the road leading up to the Wayfarers’ Chapel, then turn left (north) into the chapel’s parking lot..   

[You can access the church’s official website at http://www.wayfarerschapel.org
or these other web pages about Wayfarer’s Chapel at: http://sanpedrochamber.com/champint/wayfarch.htm andhttp://www.wedstar.com/WayfarersChapel.]