So you know you want to have an elopement wedding in Santa Barbara, but have no idea where to start? You came to the right place! Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Elopements and Micro weddings have become more and more popular. These intimate weddings are so special and fun to photograph and Santa Barbara is a stunning location to tie the knot!
Here are my top 6 locations (in no particular order) for a Santa Barbara elopement wedding from a local Santa Barbara photographer.
1. The Santa Barbara Courthouse
The Santa Barbara Courthouse is one of the most popular locations in Santa Barbara for destination elopement weddings - for good reason! The manicured garden and stunning Spanish architecture provide a gorgeous backdrop for your ceremony.
When getting married at the courthouse you can choose between a civil ceremony and a garden ceremony. Civil Ceremony can be performed Monday - Friday by a Deputy Marriage Commissioner at the courthouse. You will need to reserve a time slot for at least 90 days in advance and be sure to bring all of the documentation needed, but this is an intimate and special option for just you, your partner, and one witness.
Garden Ceremonies are a wonderful option if you are looking to use one of the stunning 6 free locations on the property. This is a great option if you'd like to include up to 15 guests. The locations are non-reservable, but people are always respectful of other weddings occurring throughout the property. There are so many beautiful spots to say "I do!" that you can't go wrong!
2. Santa Barbara Mission Park & Rose Garden
The Mission Park Park & Rose Garden is a stunning elopement location with a vast grassy area and view of Old Mission. There are over 1,500 rose bushes on the property blooming from April through November. It is the perfect spot for a small elopement and a picnic lunch afterward with no time limit or restrictions! This allows for plenty of time to roam the park and take tons of photos of you and your partner! Alcohol is permitted in the park so a champagne toast is in order! Plus, it is dog-friendly so you can bring your pup to be in your wedding photos!
3. Santa Barbara Beaches
The Santa Barbara beaches are to die for and a highly desired travel location! One of my favorite beaches for an elopement is Haskell's Beach at the base of the Four Season's Bacara Hotel. This beach is open to the public and easy to access. I like to recommend this beach for elopements because it is a huge beach at low tide! On a busy day, you can still find a quiet spot for your ceremony. It gives us plenty of time to take gorgeous sunset photos as well.
Butterfly beach is another one of my favorite beaches in Santa Barbara. It is located in the very desirable and part of Santa Barbara called Montecito, and is a close drive to the trendy Rosewood Miramar Hotel. If you are looking to save on a big wedding and splurge on your elopement you can book a night at the Rosewood and have a luxurious dinner after. This beach is also known for its gorgeous sunsets and a great location for beautiful beach portraits. You can make it as casual or formal as you would like!
4. Alice Keck Park
Alice Keck Park is a gorgeous location if you are looking for a botanical outdoor California ceremony. It is not as busy as the beaches, which makes it even more private and intimate. You can reserve the park for up to four hours. There are many spaces to choose from for your ceremony including a gazebo and a view of a pond. The tall oak trees and pristine grounds make it a dreamy location for an elopement or small wedding ceremony.
5. Santa Ynez Valley
The Santa Ynez Valley is within Santa Barbara County and just a 40-minute drive from Santa Barbara. If you are looking for something away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is a great elopement option within driving distance of the Santa Barbara Area.
Santa Ynez Valley is wine country and a great option if you and your partner are wine lovers looking to do a beer or wine tasting after your ceremony and part of your reception! There are over 200 wineries in the area that are gorgeous. One of my favorites for elopements with family is was at this Firestone Walker Brewing Company. This bride and groom rented out the event space and it was so gorgeous for a small wedding reception! They set up one long table for their families and had gorgeous pink and white flowers for the centerpieces.
6. Ellwood Bluffs
Last but not least is Ellwood Bluffs. This recreation area is an overlooked part of Santa Barbara for an adventure elopement. It is just north of Goleta's Beaches, so it's easy to take a ride back to Santa Barbara for a nice dinner or pack a picnic to go. This location has free parking and is dog-friendly as well as a variety of different terrains for photos. You can wade through the wildflower fields in spring or hike the trails and find beautiful cliff views of the Pacific Ocean.
Elopements are some of my favorites to photograph! If you are looking to invest in beautiful photography on your intimate wedding day check out some of my elopement and courthouse packages.