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Hollywood Wedding Chapel (1918-1960s)

Kathryn Baird Sullivan realized her long-cherished dream to “launch brides and grooms happily on their marital ways” when she turned her home at 1927 Highland Avenue into the Hollywood Wedding Chapel.

The very first day of business in 1930, she solemnized six ceremonies.


Billing herself as a “wedding consultant,” Sullivan’s services included planning of the decorations, music, reception, and catering—with the promise to make the big day “delightfully individual to each bride.”


Her work experience? As a church organist for 17 years, she had been involved in some 200 weddings.

1927 Highland (just north of Franklin Avenue) was a venue divine as any church. Designed by famed architecture duo Frank Mead and Richard Requa for painter E. Roscoe Shrader, the Spanish Revival residence was named one of the Three Best Houses in Los Angeles in 1920.


A decade later, Sullivan transformed Shrader’s 600-square-foot monastic studio into the Hollywood Wedding Chapel: wooden pews to seat 100, candelabras, stained glass windows, a choir loft, and at the altar, a rounded dais with white satin cushions for the bride and groom.

Following the ceremony, the wedding party would move outside to the backyard terrace gardened with exotic flowers to dine under a canopy.


The Hollywood Wedding Chapel was a family operation, with Margaret and Mae Sullivan assisting their widowed mother with everything from planning to entertainment (the sisters were trained singers and musicians).


By 1936, the chapel, averaging 1.3 weddings a day, outgrew its space on Highland—which was demolished in 2005 for a Holiday Inn Express.


In a 1949 article celebrating the Hollywood Wedding Chapel’s 9,000th wedding, it was pointed out that Margaret and Mae, both in their late 30s, remained “as yet unmarried.”


PHOTOS: UCLA

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