Wedding Ceremony Reservations
Information is subject to change.
A program for reservations and permits for wedding ceremonies began at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse on August 17, 2009. The wedding ceremony reservations program is administered by Santa Barbara County Parks, the steward of the landmark Courthouse Grounds.
First, the County Parks Division will continue the policy of not charging for small wedding ceremonies – for those of 15 or fewer participants. We have identified eight locations that are suitable for such small ceremonies, primarily along the Anacapa and Figueroa Street lawn areas. These locations will provide a place for small wedding parties with the architectural treasure of the Courthouse buildings and landscaping as a backdrop. At the same time, by locating small, unregulated wedding parties to the perimeter of the Courthouse Grounds, we maintain the unimpeded significance of the larger reserved areas.
We have also considered logical sites for larger wedding parties on the grounds, identifying contiguous, self-contained areas that can function as stand alone ceremony locations. These areas all offer impressive views of the grounds and backdrops of Courthouse architecture (site plan below):
- Sunken Gardens - This prime location can comfortably accommodate 200 guests.
- Palm Terrace - Located on an upper lawn overlooking the Sunken Gardens. 125 guests.
- Redwood - Located along stands of California Redwood trees, this location can accommodate 100 persons.
- Fiesta Stage - 80 guests can be easily arrayed on and around the brick Fiesta Stage.
- Giant Bird of Paradise - This corner between the Court wing and Old Jail wing is an ideal location for up to 50 people.
- Rotunda Lawn - This area is tucked away below a spiral staircase with nearby Australian Tree Ferns and is a perfect area for up to 25 people.
Weddings that choose one of the 6 designated large wedding sites would reserve the site for a three-hour period: 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM or 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Please note that the Courthouse Building closes at 5:00 PM. Our fee schedule, comparable with other sites, is itemized below. These fees also fall within the BOS current fee structure.
A $100.00 non-refundable reservation fee must be paid at the time reservation is made. Important: the $100 reservation fee is not included in the site fee below.
Sunken Gardens $700.00
Palm Terrace $625.00
Fiesta Stage $500.00
Giant Bird-of-Paradise $300.00
Rotunda Lawn $175.00
Areas marked with a letter in parentheses may be used at no charge for wedding parties of 15 or fewer participants.
On very popular dates it is possible to schedule several weddings, using some of the six (6) designated reserved areas, and maintaining a three-hour limit on the rental period. The following rules apply to all wedding ceremonies:
- No amplified sound, but soft acoustic music would be permitted
- All chairs and equipment are to be hand carried to wedding site.
- No rice, confetti, flower petals, bird seed or open flames are permitted.
- No receptions, food or beverages are permitted on grounds
- Taping off or coning any area of Courthouse Grounds is not permitted
- Stay out of planting beds
A Valued Experience
From the perspective of wedding planners and prospective marriage partners, the proposed wedding program at the Courthouse Grounds offers several key benefits:
- Guaranteed reserved space - Perhaps the major benefit would be the option to reserve a particular location in advance. Rather than having to stake out a location early on a Saturday morning, planners can count on the reservation system to protect the wedding site.
- Coordination with County Parks staff - Instead of setting up wedding ceremonies under the radar, planners and families could rely on the expertise of the County Parks staff to reserve locations, answer questions, and offer suggestions.
- Limiting conflicts with smaller weddings - With small, unregulated wedding ceremonies relocated to the outer perimeter of the grounds, potential conflicts, especially on popular dates, will be minimized.
Reservations or Further Information
Reservations for wedding ceremonies for 16 or greater participants and attendees can be secured by contacting the Santa Barbara County Parks Division: