Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding Photography

A Little Bit About The Santa Barbara Courthouse

There’s no doubt that the Santa Barbara Courthouse is one of the most beautiful courthouses in Southern California 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 Santa Barbara 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. A nearby parking structure is available and hotel accommodations are nearby so family and other guests can stay close.

Bride and Groom under an arch at their Santa Barbara Courthouse wedding

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Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding Ceremony

One great thing about the Santa Barbara Courthouse is that there are several ceremony sites for you to choose from. If you are having a small, intimate wedding or an elopement, you’ll have even more options. Getting married at the courthouse is a little different than getting married at a traditional wedding venue, but it just a beautiful. Since a judge is the one officiating the ceremony and you’re at a courthouse already, you’ll simply submit your marriage license right then and there.

Bride and groom stand with the bride's dress cascading down the steps at the Santa Barbara Courthouse

About Napoli Photography

I absolutely love Santa Barbara County and even though I live in San Luis Obispo County now, I grew up in Santa Ynez, just north of Santa Barbara. I look for any excuse at all to go back to the Santa Barbara area and what better reason than for a wedding?

My photography style is traditional with a light and airy feel. I like to get you the wedding photos that your grandma expects and the more fun, organic images that you want hanging on your walls. And let me tell you, wedding photos at the the Santa Barbara Courthouse fit the bill for both styles of wedding photography.

Photography coverage typically starts with candid shots of the bride getting ready with family and friends. Each event is a little different, but we always have fun and enjoy the time before the ceremony, however long it may be. Usually, photography coverage extends through the entire wedding day and ends shortly after cutting the cake.

Wedding Reception

Another reason a Santa Barbara Courthouse wedding is a little different is because you’ll need to have your reception at a separate location. The courthouse does not provide areas for receptions and once the courthouse is closed for the day, all weddings must have vacated the premises.

Not to worry! The west coast of California offers almost countless wedding venues to have your reception at. Plus, having your reception at a different location will give you more variety in your wedding photos. Your wedding photographer will know the best places to go for pictures both at the Santa Barbara Courthouse and whatever reception location you choose.

Of all the weddings I’ve photographed and all the wedding portraits I’ve seen, the ones at the Santa Barbara Courthouse are some of my absolute favorites.

infographic showing the layout of Santa Barbara Courthouse

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Wedding Portraits

There’s a number of gorgeous outdoor areas to choose from for your wedding photos including the rotunda lawn and the sunken gardens.

The Santa Barbara Courthouse isn’t just an outdoor venue! The inside of the courthouse features beautiful architecture and offers another beautiful backdrop. The Mural Room is a 6.700 square foot room with hand painted walls and ceiling. The room is set up like a chapel and offers amazing area for ceremonies and couples photos alike.

Bride and groom kiss under a tree at their Santa Barbara Courthouse wedding

An upstairs hallway provides a beautifully well-lit area for portraits. The Spanish tile floors, white adobe-style walls and large chandeliers make for a wonderful, uniquely Santa Barbara feel. The hallway also overlooks the palm terrace, so you also get a great view of the grounds.

Looking for other wedding venues in Santa Barbara County? Check out my preferred venue page.

San Luis Obispo County also has some amazing venues. Check them out!

See my 3 Reasons To Get Married At The Santa Barbara Courthouse.

See this real wedding at the Santa Barbara Courthouse.

Santa Barbara Courthouse Contact Details

To contact the courthouse regarding your wedding, go to…

(805) 568-2460, Option 4




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See a real wedding at the Santa Barbara Courthouse