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When Less Is More

June 18, 1993|MICHAEL ARKUSH

Extravagance isn't the only way to go for a wedding. Many couples choose a less elaborate ceremony. Less preparation, less money.

Welcome to Chapel in the Canyon in West Hills.

Couples can choose from six sites--four chapels and two gardens. Most prefer the Zimmerman Chapel, where brides walk down the steps before reaching the aisle.

Some, however, choose Berry Chapel. "That's where people can do the Vegas thing," said Sis Loza, hostess coordinator, referring to the chapel's small size--it has three rows.

Several weeks ago, Patrick Patterson and his fiancee, Karin Clarke, did the country and Western thing. The bride and groom and the rest of the wedding party got dressed up in Levis and boots.

"I'm Catholic, and she's not," said Patterson, of Canyon Country. "So it was just too inconvenient to go to a church. Plus, we kind of live this way."

About 10 weddings a week are held at the six sites, Loza said, although some couples avoid the chapels and gardens entirely.

"They just walk right in here with their certificate, meet with the minister and it's over," she said. "Some get married by the water fountain."

Loza said the minister charges $75 for any ceremony, and the sites range from $70 to $250 on top of that. The Zimmerman Chapel was named after Ralph Zimmerman, who donated the marble for the chapel in the early 1960s. The fountain site is $50.

Chapel in the Canyon is at 9012 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Call (818) 341-7818.

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