With its sweeping, palm-lined shore and majestic Santa Ynez Mountains towering above, Santa Barbara is a visual delight. A wedding here will be as uniquely gorgeous as you are.
Widely known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is Mediterranean in more ways than one. Not only does it have balmy seaside weather and Spanish architectural influences, but it’s illuminated by the same distinct natural lighting that has drawn so many artists to the southern European coast for centuries.
With a well-earned reputation as one of the most visited tourist destinations on the West Coast, Santa Barbara’s resorts are where it’s at. With first-rate accommodations and luxurious day spas and golf courses, out-of-town guests will consider your wedding a high-class vacation.
America’s nationally celebrated Earth Day owes its existence to Santa Barbara — it was founded as a response to the city’s oil spill in 1969. Since then, locals have been leading the nation in green practices, so you’ll have resources galore for planning an environmentally friendly wedding here.
It’s time to turn your eye toward what you and yours will wear on your wedding day. The search for the dress is, of course, the first piece of this puzzle. This isn’t any old frock: you’re looking for the most flattering, fabulous gown of your life. So how do you know what will work? Will there be a magical, “yes, of course!” moment, or more of a gradual understanding of what you want to don before walking down the aisle? Perhaps now is the time to introduce an important player: your local bridal shop. Santa Barbara's sartorial experts are primed and ready to help you find what’s right. Get your bridesmaid game in order while you’re there so you can begin to see your vision come together (cue your happy dance). If the shop of your choice can help with a great suit, so much the better—the men in your wedding deserve something striking, too. Next, it’s time to get down to the bling. You and your partner are both going to need wedding bands, so head to a wedding ring and jewelry shop to choose adornments that suit you both. This might be a good time to pick up fun little extras, like thematic cufflinks or that pair of diamond studs you’ve had your eye on (that “something new” is a great excuse). Now that you know you won’t be showing up naked to your own wedding, you can let the rest of your worries fall by the wayside.
You’ve already hired a fabulous local photographer to put your wedding day on the books, so now concern yourself with how to look super-smokin’ in those precious photos. Feeling great about your appearance will boost your confidence in front of the camera and show off your I’m-so-in-love glow. But for the love of Adonis, don’t take on more tasks in the run-up to your wedding: Santa Barbara hair and makeup experts will help highlight your gorgeous self and take the pressure off your blow-drying skills on your wedding day. Visit your salon several weeks before the wedding to decide whether you’ll go coiffed or au natural when it comes to your tresses. Similarly, your makeup pro can help select a shade of lipstick that will go the distance and give you a Angelina-esque pout. (Note: we suggest a waterproof mascara in case that first look tugs hard on your heartstrings.) To smooth out any last rough edges, take a little time off the week before your wedding and slip into a local spa for a facial and a killer manicure. Now that you’re slaying your wedding look, all those last-minute details will seem so much less consuming—and your reflection much more so.
The pinnacle of your wedding day is your ceremony, so give it the attention it deserves. Don’t neglect to meet with Santa Barbara wedding officiants to find one that you really connect with, as well as local ceremony musicians to help you set the tone as you walk down the aisle. Whether you’re envisioning something whimsical and unique or classic and traditional, Santa Barbara professionals are there to help you plan your perfect wedding ceremony.
Once the vows have been exchanged, it’s time to celebrate. After months of planning your ideal wedding reception, all that’s left to do is sit back with your guests and enjoy beautiful floral arrangements from a local florist, indulge in a decadent meal from one of Santa Barbara’s top caterers, and dance the night away to the sounds of the best bands or DJs around. With Santa Barbara vendors close at hand, your dream wedding reception is about to become a reality.
Share Santa Barbara’s unique tastes with an unforgettable rehearsal dinner the night before your wedding. With so much authentic Latin flavor threaded through the city, the options for rehearsal dinner venues are heavenly. The ultimate rehearsal dinner is closer than you think.
Don’t let the party end early! Plan a day-after brunch and toast to your friends and family with one last farewell before they head home after the weekend of wedding festivities. There are a ton of great brunch spots in Santa Barbara, so find one you love and keep the mimosas coming.
It’s easy to think of your invitation as a few pieces of paper informing folks that you’re getting hitched, but here’s an insider tip: your invite sets the stage for your whole wedding, and it’s worth the extra effort to do it right. Connect with a local invitation and paper goods boutique to get started with your design. Whether you go printed or calligraphy, highly ornate or minimalist, it’s ideal to have a Santa Barbara professional on your side to take you through this process. Make it a gift for your guests by including all sorts of helpful gems, like a stamped RSVP card, a loose idea of the day’s schedule, and some hints about how to dress and what kind of food and beverages they’ll expect. When your friends open their mailboxes and pull out your invitation, they’ll be wowed by your effort and attention to detail (and if they’re not, well, there’s no accounting for poor taste).
From the moment your guests arrive, greet them in style with a wedding welcome bag. This is the perfect place to get creative and show off your favorite Santa Barbara treats – like bottle of local wine or snack-sized serving of other goodies that reflect the Mediterranean flavor of the American Riviera. Be sure to also include a complete wedding itinerary, a map of the area, and a list of things to do around Santa Barbara. Both sentimental and practical, your guests will love the special thought. For more ideas, check out our thoughts for awesome Santa Barbara wedding welcome bags.
Thank your friends and family for sharing your special day with thoughtful and locally-inspired wedding favors. With so much personality, Santa Barbara wedding favors can take nearly any form, so get creative! From personalized bottles of your favorite California wine to these phenomenal edible wedding favors, the ideas are endless. Check out some of our favorite Santa Barbara wedding favor ideas for more inspiration.View Local Wedding Favor Ideas
While staying in Santa Barbara, your guests will love exploring everything that this city has to offer. From a stroll down State Street to a hike up the Santa Ynez Valley, there is sure to be something for everyone. See TripAdvisor’s list of the top 30 things to do in Santa Barbara and choose some of your favorites to suggest to guests.
With a distinct Spanish flavor, the Santa Barbara restaurant scene is among the best. In between all of the weekend’s wedding festivities, encourage your guests to take advantage of the local foodscape. Check out TripAdvisor’s recommendations for the best restaurants in Santa Barbara and narrow it down to a few favorites to share with your loved ones. One thing's for sure—they certainly won’t be left with empty bellies.
As a coveted resort destination, Santa Barbara is home to some of the best accommodations around. Your guests will feel right at home in one of the city’s luxurious resorts, gorgeous hotels, or cozy bed and breakfasts. They might never want to leave! Can you blame them?
With its breathtaking Mediterranean landscapes, Santa Barbara engagement photos are among the most beautiful we’ve ever seen. Couple that with the distinctive natural lighting that is characteristic of the city and you’ve got a place absolutely made to be photographed. As you plan your engagement session, check out some favorite photo shoot locations that we shared by a few incredible Santa Barbara wedding photographers.
It’s your bachelorette weekend and you’re headed to Santa Barbara? Consider yourself one of the luckiest brides out there! This is a land where luxurious day spas abound, wine country surrounds you, and shopping is unparalleled. As you plan for your own bachelorette weekend, check out some of our suggestions for Santa Barbara bachelorette party ideas and prepare for the big girls' night out before it's wedding time.
Bachelor parties in Santa Barbara are really like no other. Partake in outdoor activities with phenomenal views, hike the Santa Ynez mountains, or surf in the Pacific Ocean. Follow that with an evening of exploring Santa Barbara’s amazing restaurants, bars, and nightlife, and you’ve got the formula for the ultimate bachelor party.
Where would we be without the immensely talented pool of Santa Barbara wedding vendors? Their passion for planning, commitment to their couples, and incredible ingenuity is what makes the local wedding scene as remarkable as it is, and it's the unique team behind every wedding working together that makes each event an affair to remember. Their combined experience and expertise is second to none, and we want you to benefit from it while assembling your dream team of vendors. Check out our Spotlight Series for in-depth Q&As with the best of the best in the industry, and make sure to read the articles they've contributed to Borrowed & Blue for the most reliable wedding tips and tricks, straight from the source.
The good news is that you’ve chosen a vibrant, scenic, and seriously fun location to gather your nearest and dearest on your big day. Congrats! The bad news? Your wedding location is so awesome that it draws a crowd for reasons other than your nuptials all year long. When selecting your wedding date, be sure you know what other activities are happening in the area that might put a cramp in your party’s style. We’ve gone ahead and done the legwork for you, so check out the annual calendar of major Santa Barbara events and add them to your radar.
When planning something as complex and significant as your wedding day, sometimes you just want friendly experts to step in and share some pearls of wisdom. Lucky for you, we know people (we’re sitting right here—wink wink). And we’ve got your back: insider tips, exhaustive research, and inspiring takes on all aspects of the planning process, compiled here specifically with your wedding location in mind. You’re just a few clicks away from wedding planning peace of mind…You’re welcome! (No thank-you note required.)
Check out some other useful local online resources to get you acquainted with all-things Santa Barbara, from travel guides to the local restaurant scene to great local wedding blogs run by our friends in the industry: