Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding Information

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Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding

The Santa Barbara Courthouse has a rich culture, beautiful architecture, and landscaping that complements the American Riviera perfectly. The elegantly simplistic white walls and bright red roofs seem complete, but sections of colorful tiles complement the aesthetic more than anything else could. Continue reading for more information about how to get married at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, locations you can choose from, and the fees associated with a Santa Barbara courthouse wedding.

COVID-19 Notice as of 1/6/21

In accordance with guidance issued by the Center for Disease Control, Santa Barbara County Community Services Department is currently not accepting wedding reservations for the Mural Room for any dates from now through February 28, 2021.  All events scheduled for the Mural room through February 28, 2021, will be canceled or rescheduled and CSD staff will be contacting those groups. The free spaces, A-H, located along the perimeter of the Courthouse grounds are closed until further notice. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

Due to COVID-19, we are only offering a Marriage License AND Marriage Ceremony Package through video conferencing on the web with an appointment.

How to get married at the Santa Barbara Courthouse

Before you can have a Santa Barbara courthouse wedding you’ll need to get a marriage license. You can get a marriage license from the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office. And the license must be purchased before your wedding ceremony. Your license will be valid for 90 days and if you’d like to get your license and make it official on the same day, you can at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. For more information and to reserve an appointment time follow this link to the application website.

* Note: You don’t have to obtain your marriage license in the same county where you’ll be married. If you’re traveling to the Santa Barbara courthouse you can make an appointment at your local city hall to get a marriage license.

What to Bring to Your Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding

  • A valid state-issued form of ID
  • Form of Payment
  • A witness (unless you plan to get a private marriage license)
  • Your Marriage License (if you’re not getting it the same day)
  • Rings (if you plan to exchange rings)
  • Vows (these are optional but are always a sweet way to let your soon-to-be spouse know how you feel and how you’ll honor them and your relationship going forward)

Fees Associated with a Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding

  • Marriage license 
    • Public $100
    • Private $111
  • A civil ceremony appointment $23
  • Civil clerk officiating on the premise $104
  • Civil clerk officiating in the Sunken Gardens or Mural Room $116

Ceremony and Locations Ideas

A civil ceremony is most like an elopement. It’s a small ceremony and is when a county clerk marries you. A private ceremony is when your own officiant marries you on the courthouse property. Both are considered legal marriages and the only difference is who legally marries you.

There are eight locations for intimate wedding ceremonies with 15 or fewer guests. They are free of charge, located primarily along the Anacapa and Figueroa Street lawn areas, and identified by A-H in the below image. Each of these locations offers beautiful views of the courthouse architecture and landscaping.

Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding Locations

More Details for Getting Married at the Santa Barbara Courthouse

The Santa Barbara Courthouse is located at 1100 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Parking is available on the streets around the courthouse or in the parking garage across the street from the entrance to the courthouse grounds off of Anacapa Street. If you’re planning to park on the street, the limit is 75 minutes, whereas, parking in the garage allows for an extended amount of time. The first 75 minutes are free in the parking garage and it’s $1.50 for each additional hour afterward. 

The Sunken Gardens at the Santa Barbara Courthouse in Santa Barbara, California.

Scheduling Your Ceremony and Courthouse Busy times

Most of the private ceremonies at the Santa Barbara Courthouse take place on the weekends which means the least busy times for civil ceremonies are on the weekdays. If you’re planning a small elopement or an intimate gathering with 15 or fewer guests we’d recommend a weekday wedding to avoid the crowds and tourists.


Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding Photos?

There are so many beautiful locations for photos at the courthouse. Once it’s official you can go anywhere on the courthouse grounds to take photos. We’d love to take you around to all of our favorite spots, including the Sunken Gardens, Mural Room, the Hallways, Spiral Staircase, Clocktower, and some other locations less frequented.

The architecture of the building and the gardens.

Sunken Gardens

Walking through the large arch that separates the inside courtyard of the Santa Barbara Courthouse from Anacapa Street greets one with the beauty of the Sunken Gardens. The Gardens have meticulous landscaping with lush green grass and stone retaining walls. These things make for beautiful portraits throughout the entire garden.

Mural Room

A short walk along the polished tile floor leads to the staircase that extends to the second floor and the Mural Room. Appropriately named, the Mural Room has murals that cover the walls and depict the history of Santa Barbara. At the far end of the room, a retired desk awaits the return of a judge to take on the next case.

The hallway along the inner courtyard of the Santa Barbara Courthouse.

The Hallway

Just outside the Mural Room and around the corner is a hallway that natural light pours into. Chandeliers hang from the middle of the ceiling and make for unique photos. From the hallway, you can look out the open windows to see the Sunken Gardens below. This is one of our favorite locations at the Santa Barbara Courthouse because of the image variety that the hallway brings to our photos.

The Spiral Staircase

The spiral staircase is located at the end of the hallway and is exactly what it sounds like. The staircase is both inside and outside which makes for unique photo opportunities. At the bottom of the staircase, are large pillars that have two purposes. To hold the stairs up and to make an opening to stand inside the spiral. On the ground are colorful tiles that make the shape of a large star.

The front of the Santa Barbara Courthouse.

Clock Tower

At the top of the Santa Barbara Courthouse Clocktower, one can see the entirety of the city. With a 360 degree view, the Clocktower is the highest point of the Courthouse. The mountains stand strong protecting our small town from one direction. A second viewpoint shows the deep blue of the Pacific ocean and sandy coastline. And between buildings with white walls and red roofs are small pops of color that bring our town to life.

To see if we’re available to photograph your Santa Barbara wedding fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch!

Here are a few more helpful links to make your Santa Barbara Courthouse wedding happen with ease:

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