CATEGORIES On the Scene
Location as Character: The wedding scene was actually shot in La Verne, California, and not Santa Barbara, at the United Methodist Church of La Verne. The famous finale of the film sees Ben racing to the church to interrupt the wedding after his car breaks down. There, he creates the outburst that has become one of the most famous moments in film history, convincing Elaine to escape both the church and the life her parents planned for her. They run off onto a nearby bus, not sure what they are going to do next.
Historical Significance: The church, established in 1888, remains the central place of worship for people of the Methodist faith in the La Verne community. Dustin Hoffman admitted on a commentary track for the DVD that he was nervous about pounding on the glass windows, as the church owner closely watched the filming. The scene has been referenced countless times in tribute and parody. The church itself was also used for the finale of 'Wayne's World 2' and its elaborate near shot-for-shot parody of Wayne's attempt to stop Cassandra's wedding.
Directions: Approximately 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, the United Methodist Church is located at 3205 D Street, in La Verne, CA 91750-4026. From Interstate 10, you can travel along the Foothill Freeway, merging onto Foothill Boulevard/Historic U.S. 66 East. D Street is a simple right turn away, nestled between Evergreen St. and 11th St.
Visitor Info: The church is open to the public for services and counseling. A full listing of their community efforts, outreach services, and contact information are available on the United Methodist Church directory website.