Madonna, Penn--It’s a ‘Glitzy’ Wedding

Times Staff Writers

With a nod to Tinseltown tradition, rock singer Madonna and actor Sean Penn tied the knot Friday evening on a grassy bluff high above the pounding Pacific, the setting sun providing a made-for-Hollywood backdrop.

Wearing a surprisingly traditional strapless off-white bridal gown, the veiled bride, her groom, a maid of honor and best man Timothy Hutton faced west, as a semi-circle of guests watched the clergyman perform the 10-minute ceremony.

But the storybook serenity was broken from above by the “Apocalypse Now” drone of six media helicopters, waging a battle against the flamboyant couple’s commitment to a private ceremony. And on the sandy beach at the bottom of the bluff, someone had scrawled an obscene message in six-foot high letters, clearly readable from the helicopters.


After the ceremony, bride and groom entered the house, owned by Penn family friend and producer Kurt Unger, appearing briefly on a balcony for Madonna to throw the bridal bouquet. The 200 guests gathered below were a roster of Hollywood’s hippest--who had earlier gained admittance by a combination of their personas and presentation of their striking pink invitations.

Getting by the cordon of blue-blazered security guards at the front gate with no hassle were Rosanna Arquette, Madonna’s co-star in the film “Desperately Seeking Susan;” fellow “Rat Packers” Emilio Estevez (driving his own limo), a slick-haired Tom Cruise and a glowering Judd Nelson; Estevez’s father, Martin Sheen; the groom’s brother, Chris Penn; “Late Night’s” David Letterman; super agent Stan Kamen; actress Diane Keaton, and Cher, who sported spiky purple hair.

Pop guru Andy Warhol, record maven David Geffen, actress Carol Kane and actor Christopher Walken caused a particular stir among onlookers, and one guest, who forgot his pink slip, needed to show his driver’s license to prove that he was really former California Lt. Gov. Mike Curb.

The motif was “Like-a-Virgin” white--a blazing white tent trimmed with white swags and bunting covering the tennis court, enclosing white-covered tables and white bars. Votive candles reflected off crystal champagne flutes, highlighting kicky floral centerpieces constructed around spike-heeled shoes.

The guests had cocktails in the lavish $6.5-million home, then moseyed into the white-carpeted tent for a three-course dinner. The food included some of Madonna’s favorites from chef Wolfgang Puck--dishes like Curried Oysters from his Chinoise on Main Street and Spago’s signature small pizzas. One course was prepared from fish flown in especially from Hawaii.

No live band entertained the high-glitz crowd, but disco tunes spun by a trio of deejays blared, pulling couples onto the expansive dance floor. Heavy security kept anxious paparazzi away from the ultramodern estate, high on the ribbon-bedecked Point Dume promontory.

Tight secrecy kept away the feared hordes of fans, but grudgingly cracked for the media when guests, following instructions on their wedding invitations, called Thursday to find out the location of the nuptials. Original plans had been to tell guests of a spot about a mile from the ceremony, and then bus them to the Unger home, but instead the address was given out.