Planning a Santa Barbara wedding on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to lower your standards or choose a less-than-amazing venue for your big day. There are a number of affordable wedding venues in Santa Barbara that can give you everything you want without breaking the bank. According to WeddingWire data, the average cost of a wedding venue in the U.S. is about $9,000, but we’ve found plenty of amazing options in Santa Barbara that ring in well below that number – no sticker shock in sight.
Check out some of our favorite affordable wedding venues in Santa Barbara.
Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara
This historical building dates back to 1930, giving it plenty of classic SoCal charm. Located in the middle of downtown Santa Barbara, the Unitarian Society is a super-versatile venue with 10 different event spaces to choose from, including indoor and outdoor options. A gorgeous church sanctuary features vaulted ceilings, dark wood details, stained glass windows, and unique lighting fixtures. The venue’s private courtyard is a fabulous outdoor reception space and can accommodate larger groups with up to 285 people. The cost of a Saturday ceremony and reception rental during peak wedding season (April-October) is $3,990.
Santa Barbara Zoo
For a truly memorable experience, host your wedding at the Santa Barbara Zoo. It’s undoubtedly unique and is one of the coolest budget-friendly Santa Barbara wedding venues — where else can your guests feed a giraffe or hang out with flamingos? The ceremony and reception fee is $4,800 for up to 200 guests ($17 per additional guest), with catering and rentals included in the cost. The zoo’s ceremony garden can accommodate up to 275 people, while the reception site at the adjoining Hilton hotel has room for 500. Zoo Catering Services by Rincon can assist you with everything you need for the wedding day, including event coordination, cake, catering, bartending, and lighting.
Riviera Mansion is one of Santa Barbara’s most sophisticated wedding venues. At this private estate, which located in the heart of downtown, you can host an intimate garden ceremony beneath the venue’s mature trees, followed by an elegant reception on the private patio. There are also several indoor event spaces and dressing suites. The mansion itself features an impressive antique collection that complements the building’s Spanish Revival architecture, including white stucco walls and red tile roofs that epitomize Santa Barbara style. Pricing for Saturday weddings begins at $4,000 (Sunday and weekday costs are lower), including full-service catering and bar. The venue also offers event planning and rentals, such as tables, chairs, and glassware.
Having a daytime wedding can be an easy way to maximize your budget, depending on the location and time of year. Arnoldi’s Cafe is one of our favorite affordable wedding venues in Santa Barbara – it’s an ideal location if you’re looking to host a laid-back outdoor wedding with amazing Italian food. The site fee for daytime weddings is $2,000, while catering costs begin around $30 per person. Arnoldi’s offers a variety of pre-selected menu options, including three- and four-course meals. Previous couples rave about the venue’s friendly staff, attention to detail, and atmosphere.
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
If you think you can’t have a waterfront wedding in Santa Barbara on a budget, think again! The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum provides you with a prime spot overlooking the harbor without costing a million bucks. It’s also an all-inclusive venue, giving you the most value for your money. You can rent the entire museum from 3 p.m. to midnight for $3,600 or choose to rent just one area at the venue for a lower price. Rental fees include banquet tables, cocktail tables, chairs, a dance floor, lighting/sound equipment, and use of the museum’s yacht for photo opportunities. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum can host up to 400 people.
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is one of the city’s most iconic buildings, and one of the most affordable if you’re looking for a short and sweet wedding ceremony. The cost for just the ceremony is $400, but if you’d like to also host your reception at the courthouse, the fee is $4,000 during peak wedding season. The historic Mural Room is one of the courthouse’s most popular wedding spaces, but there is also a sunken garden, a bell tower with ocean views, and plenty of picturesque locations around the property. The venue doesn’t provide rentals or additional services, so you’ll need to arrange for chairs, tables, and any outside vendors in advance.
Calling all wine lovers! We can’t talk about Santa Barbara wedding venues without mentioning the incredible SoCal wine country. Located 10 minutes from downtown Santa Barbara and just two blocks from the beach, Summerland Winery is the perfect spot if you’re having a small wedding with less than 50 guests. With the purchase of an event package (which includes three hours of reserved space, on-site catering, and of course wine), the rental fee is $1,500.
Fairview Gardens is an oh-so-charming wedding venue nestled in the rolling hills of Southern California, just 10 minutes north of Santa Barbara. This 100-year-old organic farm has 12 acres of gardens, orchards and fields, not to mention stunning mountain views that create a picture-perfect backdrop for a rustic outdoor wedding. The farmhouse and adjoining yard (complete with string lights) make an adorable setting for both your ceremony and reception. Fairview Gardens can accommodate up to 100 guests and rental fees range from $500 to $2,700, depending on your wedding date and event space. Even at its highest price, it’s still one of the most affordable wedding venues in Santa Barbara! The best part? Rental fees help fund the farm’s educational efforts and sustainable practices.