Santa Barbara Courthouse Weddings

There's no doubt that the Santa Barbara Courthouse is one of the most beautiful courthouses in the state and quite possibly the entire nation. Built in 1929, the current 150,000 square foot structure sits on 5 acres where the previous courthouse stood until an earthquake in 1925 damaged the building beyond repair. The courthouse consists of four buildings and is build in a Spanish-Moorish style. The popular Sunken Garden occupies the site of the original courthouse.

The courthouse hosts weddings year round. All areas must remain open to the public at all times, but you may reserve a garden area for your wedding up to 18 months in advance.


The grounds at the Santa Barbara Courthouse offer five large gardens and numerous smaller sites for your wedding. Each of the five main gardens can be reserved in advance and can accommodate up to 250 guests.

  • Sunken Garden
  • Palm Terrace
  • Fiesta Stage
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Rotunda Lawn

Below is a map of the different gardens. All of the gardens offer easy access from either Anacapa Street or Anapamu Street.

The courthouse allows the wedding party to explore the grounds for photos. The interior and exterior architecture and classic Santa Barbara features give your photos a distinctly Santa Barbara feel and create one of the most beautiful backdrops you could ask for.


Exterior gardens are reserved in 3 hour periods. You may choose either 11:00 - 2:00 or 3:00 - 6:00. The courthouse closes at 5:00, so the evening time spot will not have full access to the courthouse itself after 5:00 pm.

Application fees apply to each of the 5 garden areas and reservations may be made up to 18 months in advance or as little as 5 days before your event.

In the event of a cancellation, your facility fee will be refunded in full if cancellation is made 60 days prior to the event. If the event is cancelled less that 60 days in advance, there is a 50% cancellation charge.

Cost Considerations

The fee to reserve the Exterior Gardens is $1,100 ($900 facility fee + $200 non-refundable application fee.) Full Payment (application + facility fee) must be made at the time the reservation is made.

Free of charge - For small wedding ceremonies with 15 or fewer participants, there are 6 locations outside of the reserved gardens that provide a place for small wedding parties with the architectural treasure of the Courthouse buildings and landscaping as a backdrop. These locations may not be reserved and are available on a first come, first served basis.

Other Considerations

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.
  • Wedding rehearsals are not included with a wedding reservation.
  • Taping/roping off or coning any area of Courthouse Grounds is not permitted.
  • Food or beverages are not allowed for ceremonies. Water bottles are permitted in exterior venues only (not in Mural Room), and must be disposed of properly.
  • Stay out of planting beds
  • No officiants provided

To contact the courthouse regarding your wedding, go to...

(805) 568-2460, Option 4


Real weddings at the Santa Barbara Courthouse