If you’re planning your Santa Barbara elopement in 2023, this guide is for you!

We’ll cover everything from the most scenic spots to get married, to how much it costs to elope in Santa Barbara. Plus, we’ll give you some wedding planning tips on how to legally elope in California, how to find the best wedding vendors, and where to stay during your romantic getaway.

So whether you’re looking for a courthouse wedding or want to say “I do” on the beach, we’ve got you covered!

Planning Your Santa Barbara Elopement

Are you considering eloping in Santa Barbara? Known as “The American Riviera”, this charming coastal city is a popular destination for couples looking to tie the knot in a beautiful and intimate setting. 

Where Should I Elope In Santa Barbara, California?

Santa Barbara’s stunning Spanish architecture provides a beautiful backdrop for your wedding photos, and its Mediterranean-type climate means you can exchange vows outdoors year-round.

Here are a few of our favorite spots for an elopement ceremony:

📍Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens

The gardens offer a beautiful and unique setting for your wedding day, and there are plenty of hidden spots where you can exchange your vows in privacy.

Plan your elopement ceremony at Santa Barbara's beautiful Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens are full of colorful flowers and plants, and there are numerous walking paths to explore. Plus, the gardens also offer stunning views of the Santa Barbara coastline.

Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens is a great place to elope for couples who want a unique and beautiful setting for their wedding. The gardens offer both indoor and outdoor ceremony locations, as well as a variety of reception options.

📍 Santa Barbara Mission

Santa Barbara is an incredibly romantic city, and the Mission provides a beautiful setting for couples looking to tie the knot. The historic buildings and grounds are well-maintained and provide a stunning backdrop for wedding photography.

The Santa Barbara Mission is a truly romantic spot for your elopement

Located just a short drive from downtown, the Santa Barbara Mission is the perfect spot for a quick getaway. This historic landmark boasts a rich history and even upon first look, its beautiful architecture catches your eye.

In addition, the Santa Barbara Mission staff are incredibly friendly and accommodating, making sure that your elopement goes off without a hitch. 

📍 Santa Ynez Valley

Just a short drive from Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Valley is a beautiful and romantic place to elope. The valley is full of picturesque vineyards, rolling hills, and oak-studded meadows.

Plan your elopement in the gorgeous vineyards just outside Santa Barbara

It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on your relationship. There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay, from wine tastings to horseback riding.

Whether you’re planning a ceremony for two, or a small gathering of close family members and best friends, Santa Ynez Valley has everything you need to make your intimate Santa Barbara elopement unforgettable.

Can You Get Married On The Beach In Santa Barbara?

Santa Barbara is a popular destination for couples looking to elope. With its beautiful beaches and Mediterranean-like climate, it’s no wonder that so many couples choose to tie the knot here.

And to answer your burning question – Yes! You can get married with your toes in the sand.

However, there are only two beaches in the city of Santa Barbara that allow weddings:

📍East Beach

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city on California’s Central Coast, and East Beach is one of its most popular attractions. The wide beach is perfect for a romantic walk, and the nearby cliffs provide a stunning backdrop for photos. 

East Beach is perfect for your ocean-side elopement in Santa Barbara

With its wide expanse of sand, gentle waves, and scenic views, East Beach is the perfect place to elope. This beach location is large and open, with plenty of space for a ceremony or reception.

There are also several restaurants and hotels nearby, making it easy to find the best places to stay. Whether you are looking for a simple elopement or a more elaborate affair, Santa Barbara’s East Beach is a great option.

📍Leadbetter Beach

A popular spot for elopements, Leadbetter Beach is situated in a sheltered cove, surrounded by cliffs and hills. This provides a stunning backdrop for intimate wedding photos.

Leadbetter each is ideal for a more intimate elopement in Santa Barbara

Leadbetter Beach is a great choice for couples looking for a unique and scenic setting for their elopement. There are also several restaurants and cafes located nearby, making it easy to find a place to celebrate after the ceremony.

In particular, Leadbetter Beach is well-known for its stunning sunsets.

Santa Barbara has something to offer everyone, and the beach is just a short drive from Los Angeles.

Note: You will require a permit to get married on either of these beaches. Luckily, it’s a straightforward process. You can easily obtain a permit from the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department.

📍Ellwood Bluffs

Even though it’s not technically a beach wedding, Ellwood Bluffs is another great location for your elopement. Located just minutes from downtown Santa Barbara, Ellwood Bluffs offers stunning ocean views.

The Bluffs in Santa Barbara are perfect for a more secluded elopement

Ellwood Bluffs is perhaps Santa Barbara’s crowning jewel. This picturesque spot is the perfect setting for intimate ceremonies for couples. The bluffs offer stunning views of the Californian coastline, so you can say “I do” with a beautiful ocean backdrop.

The area is also home to a variety of plants and animals, making it a nature lover’s paradise. If you’re searching for a truly magical place to start your life together, look no further than Ellwood Bluffs.

How Much Does It Cost To Elope In Santa Barbara?

Santa Barbara is a fabulous location for an elopement, with its beautiful sandy beaches, stunning mountain views, and mild climate. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get married here!

For reference, the average cost of a Santa Barbara elopement is $3,000. This includes the venue hire, officiant, photographer, and food. You can also add on extra costs for transportation, accommodations, makeup artist and decorations. 

Here are some tips on how to keep costs down while still having an unforgettable California elopement:

✔️ First, take advantage of Santa Barbara’s natural beauty and elope at one of the public beaches or parks. Not only is this free, but it will also provide a perfect backdrop for your ceremony.

✔️ Second, take advantage of Santa Barbara’s mild climate and elope in the off-season. This can save you money on everything from airfare to accommodations. Many hotels also offer special rates for eloping couples.

✔️ Third, don’t be afraid to get creative with your ceremony. You can exchange vows anywhere – from a mountainside to a downtown street corner.

✔️ And finally, remember that an elopement is all about the two of you! Keep your guest list short, and focus on making your California getaway about your love for each other.

The Santa Barbara coastline is the perfect backdrop for your intimate wedding
Palm trees lining the coastline are evidence of Santa Barbara's moderate climate

How Much Does It Cost To Get Married At The Santa Barbara Courthouse?

Considered by many to be the most beautiful government building in the United States, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is a stunning and classy elopement location. Dating back to 1926 with Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, the courthouse is a sight to behold.

However, there are a few separate fees you’ll need to pay if you want to plan a Santa Barbara Courthouse elopement:

  • Public Marriage License: $100
  • Wedding Ceremony Reservation: $23
  • Witness fee: $51
  • Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day: $51 (if you want a friend or family member to perform the ceremony)

You can find further information about these fees here.

The venue price varies depending on where exactly at the courthouse you want to get married:

  • Santa Barbara Office: $104 (a total of 10 people are allowed in the room)
  • Santa Maria Office: $104 (a total of 10 people are allowed in the room)
  • Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens or Mural Room: $116

Note: If you wish to hold your ceremony at either the Sunken Gardens or Mural Room, you will also need to pay a separate site fee and application fee:

  • Sunken Gardens: $1,100 ($900 facility fee plus $200 non-refundable application fee)
  • Mural Room: $600 ( $400 facility fee plus $200 non-refundable application fee)

As one of the most beautiful public buildings in California, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is many couples’ top venue for small weddings.

The historic Santa Barbara Courthouse is a truly romantic elopement venue

What’s The Best Time Of Year To Elope In California?

Santa Barbara is a beautiful California coastal city with hot, dry summers and mild winters, making it the perfect place to elope any time of year. However, some times of year may be better than others, depending on what you are looking for. 

If you want to elope in Santa Barbara when it is warmest, then the best time to do so is between June and September. These months have an average temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Santa Barbara is also quite dry during these months, so there is less chance of rain interrupting your special day.

But if you have your heart set on a summer elopement, be prepared to navigate around the crowds of tourists!

If you’re looking for Santa Barbara elopement packages that offer discounts, then the best time to book is in the spring or fall. The shoulder season runs from October to early December, and February to April.

Many Santa Barbara elopement venues offer special deals during the off-peak season in order to attract more business. But whatever time of year is the right choice for your elopement in Santa Barbara, rest assured your day will be memorable and magical.

Outdoor venues like this garden are perfect for wedding ceremonies
Unique locations like this ocean pier make the perfect backdrop for wedding photography

How Can I Legally Elope In California?

Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful places in California, making it the perfect place to elope. There are a few things you’ll need to take care of first, though, to make sure your elopement is legal.

As mentioned earlier, you will need a marriage license to elope in Santa Barbara. To obtain this permit you will need to apply in person at the Santa Barbara County Clerk’s office. You can do this up to 90 days before your wedding date.

The Santa Barbara County Clerk’s Office requires proof of identity and recent U.S. residency, and you must be 18 years old.

Next, you’ll need to choose an officiant. You can either select someone who is registered with the Santa Barbara County Clerk’s Office or have a friend or family member officiate your ceremony.

Finally, you’ll need two witnesses over the age of 18 to sign your marriage certificate.

With these simple steps, you can legally elope in Santa Barbara and begin your new life together.

Rocks on the beach in Santa Barbara

Where To Stay During Your Santa Barbara Elopement

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city on the California coast that is perfect for a romantic getaway or an intimate elopement. Here are three of our favorite places to stay in Santa Barbara that will add to the romance:

✔️ Exclusive Yurt on 11 acres
Yes, that’s right, a yurt! This unique AirBnb is nestled in 11 acres of pristine farmland, just 12 minutes away from downtown Santa Barbara.

The luxury yurt includes a private deck, pool, hot tub, and dreamy outdoor shower with incredible views of the surrounding hillside and forest. Just bear in mind there is no WiFi! – The host wants her guests to truly connect with each other and with nature.

This property is absolutely stunning during any season. Nestled in gorgeous mountain scenery, just minutes from the ocean, and half hour from the Santa Ynez back country.

✔️ El Encanto
Built in 1918, El Encanto is a Santa Barbara landmark and one of the city’s most iconic hotels. Perched atop a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, El Encanto offers breathtaking views and luxurious accommodations.

The hotel is just a short drive from the Santa Barbara airport, making it easy to get to and from your wedding location. It’s also just a stone’s throw away from downtown, so you’ll be able to explore all the sights and hidden gems.

El Encanto also offers a variety of wedding packages, so you may not want to look any further, and simply tie the knot at this historic hotel.

✔️ The Santa Ynez Inn
Another great accommodation option for eloping in Santa Barbara. Located in the heart of California’s wine country, The Santa Ynez Inn is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy some of the world’s finest wines. 

The grounds are beautifully landscaped, and the rooms are spacious and luxurious. The staff at the Inn are incredibly welcoming and accommodating, and they’re always happy to help you plan your elopement.

The Inn is situated in a picturesque vineyard, and the surrounding area is full of beautiful hiking trails and hidden waterfalls. So whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a fun-filled adventure, The Santa Ynez Inn is sure to wow you.

Explore downtown Santa Barbara during your elopement
Enjoy California's finest wine during your Santa Barbara elopement

Santa Barbara Elopement Photographers + Videographers

There’s something special about eloping in Santa Barbara. Maybe it’s the Spanish colonial architecture or the moderate climate. Maybe it’s the breathtaking ocean views or the rolling hills covered in vineyards.

Whatever the reason, eloping in Santa Barbara is an unforgettable experience. And what better way to capture the memories than with a professional elopement photographer or videographer? 

We believe that elopements are all about celebrating your love in a unique and personal way, so if you need help finding a talented local vendor for your big day, you can reach us at:

[email protected]

We’ll make sure your memories are captured perfectly.

We can help you find the best elopement photographer and videographer in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Elopement Packages

Santa Barbara elopement packages are the perfect way to elope in style. With stunning beaches, majestic mountains and a variety of unique venues, this ocean-side city has something to suit every couple’s tastes. 

Whether you’re eloping for budget reasons or simply wanting a more intimate celebration, we’ll help you create an unforgettable experience. If you need help finding the perfect elopement package, shoot us an email at:

[email protected]

We’re here to make your dream elopement comes true!

Sandy beaches of Santa Barbara, like this one, are perfect for your big day
A road leading to Santa Barbara

Conclusion: Santa Barbara Elopement 2023

Eloping can be a great way to get married without all the hassle and expense of a traditional wedding. And Santa Barbara is the perfect place to do it! 

Whether you’re looking for a fairytale setting or a modern-day escape, Santa Barbara has everything you need to make your elopement dreams come true. – With its pristine beaches, sweeping mountain views, idyllic vineyards, and ideal climate.

Santa Barbara is also home to some of the best restaurants and hotels in California, making it the perfect place for intimate celebrations with a luxurious honeymoon.