California Weddings: Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding

Eloping in Santa Barbara County can be as easy as having a Santa Barbara Courthouse wedding. Afterward, enjoy dinner at your favorite restaurant, or have dinner provided to you on the beach somewhere nearby. Either way, you can spend your wedding day doing what you truly love. Go get tattoos, have a spa day, spend the day surfing — who cares, it’s your wedding day and you deserve a big day on your terms.

Wedding Ceremonies at Santa Barbara Courthouse

Getting married at the Santa Barbara Courthouse offers a really gorgeous way to elope, and have the wedding ceremony of your dreams. Chose from a few locations at the courthouse: the sunken gardens, or the Mural Room. Enjoy photos with the clock tower, and the courthouse grounds after or beforehand.

To get your marriage license, you’ll need to do one of two things: book a 60-minute appointment for your wedding day, so you can apply and get married, or come down on a weekday before your wedding day to apply for your license. You’ll have to chat with the County Clerk-Recorder to book!

Once you have your marriage license, you have 90 days to say “I do” in California. An authorized officiant needs to sign the license. That can be a county clerk, civil marriage commissioner, judge, minister, rabbi, or priest.

The Nitty Gritty of Getting Married at Santa Barba Courthouse

When booking your wedding here, there is a difference between a civil and private ceremony. A civil ceremony is when a county clerk from the county courthouse marries you. While a private ceremony is when you bring your own officiant. Civil ceremonies can be booked during weekdays, and unfortunately cannot be booked on the weekends. You can have up to 10 guests with you, if you need more book the Mural Room or Sunken Gardens.

If you’re as obsessed with the courthouse as we are, and you’d like to have your own officiant and a weekend date, a private ceremony is a way to go. You’ll have to get your marriage license beforehand and reserve the Sunken Gardens or Mural Room!

Different Environments at the Santa Barbara Courthouse

When coming to the Santa Barbara Courthouse, keep in mind parking can be tricky — the parking garage will give you 75 minutes free parking while you get married. The Courthouse is accepting wedding reservations after a long COVID hiatus.

Courthouse civil ceremonies will cost less than $200, while private ceremonies require a phone call to figure out the fees. If you’re trying to figure out what else you’ll need and what a total budget could look like we have a few numbers for you:

Wedding flowers: On average, wedding bouquets in SoCal cost around $200-300. Another option is to check out some flower farms locally to receive stem buckets.

Hair and Makeup: On average, hair and makeup for one in Southern California will cost around $300-450. Professional hair and makeup is certainly always pushed, but you can always do your own if you feel confident.

Photography: Elopement packages here with me start at $2800 for 2 hours of coverage. I do offer and recommend having longer photography packages with elopements. Each part of the day matters just as much as the ceremony.

Considering eloping? Let’s chat more about what elopements can look like.


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