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SPOTLIGHT ON: IDYLLIC WEDDING VENUES IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

April 22, 2022

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The Dreamiest Places to Tie the Knot

Santa Barbara is a sought-after wedding destination for good reason. With breathtaking ocean views, magnificent Spanish architecture, and tranquil vineyards, there’s something inherently romantic about the idyllic wedding venues in Santa Barbara County.

A wedding on the beach is one example of the idyllic wedding venues in Santa Barbara

Image courtesy of Kelsey Crews Photo

For starters, the happy couple is welcome to tie the knot with a ceremony held right on the beach. There are several options of our pristine coastline available where spectacular ceremonies can be held, including East Beach, Leadbetter Beach, Montecito’s Butterfly Beach, and Summerland Beach.

Or perhaps you want to recite your vows at sea? Then Santa Barbara’s Channel Cat Charters is for you. As the biggest, most elegant catamaran in the world, the Channel Cat is a unique Santa Barbara wedding venue, providing a dreamy sail down the coast featuring postcard-worthy views of the Santa Barbara coastline.

Then there’s the 1929 Santa Barbara County Courthouse, revered as one of the most beautiful public buildings in the country. This historic landmark is a working courthouse, so you can get a marriage license and be married by a County Clerk in the Hall of Records on the same day.

If you are looking to throw a more elaborate affair, however, Santa Barbara County has every option imaginable. Whether you’re dreaming of an elegant French countryside wedding or a chic, sophisticated celebration, these 5 Santa Barbara wedding venues will have the happy couple saying “I do” in style.

Wedding set up above the beach at the Ritz Carlton

Photo Credit: Brandon Todd

  • THE RITZ-CARLTON BACARA, SANTA BARBARA
    This spellbinding venue expresses the romance of the American Rivera with a collection of distinctive wedding locations combined with expert planning services. Exchange vows against a breathtaking backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, or celebrate with a lavish reception in the Bacara Ballroom, where 23-foot ceilings and gilt-framed mirrors create an aura of romantic indulgence. Whether you envision an outdoor ceremony on the resort’s 78-impeccably landscaped acres overlooking the coastline, or an indoor affair to remember, the happy couple will find everything needed here. Of course, the natural light is unsurpassed, and there are ocean or garden views and outdoor sea-view terraces; all with infinitely adaptable square footage.
bride and groom holding hands and looking into each others eyes

Photo Credit: Chris J. Evans – Photographer, Tyler Speier – Event Planner/Creative Director

  • KIMPTON CANARY SANTA BARBARA
    If the panoramic views of the scenic mountains and oceans aren’t enough, the Canary Hotel offers an impressive list of wedding amenities to make wedding dreams a reality. There are seven ceremony spaces to choose from. Saying “I do” on Canary’s romantic rooftop pool and lounge area is just the icing on the (wedding) cake while a grand affair in one of the hotel ballrooms sets the stage for a life filled with love. Your catering? Let the culinary visionaries from the property’s signature restaurant, Finch & Fork prepare your favorite farm-to-table dishes. Outside catering can also be arranged. The wedding experts at Canary will obsess over every detail, from the flowers, to booking rooms for out-of-town guests. Its mission is to ensure everything goes smoothly from start to finish.
Night time wedding behind a lovely fountain at the Santa Barbara  Historical Museum

Photo Credit: Santa Barbara Historical Museum

  • SANTA BARBARA HISTORICAL MUSEUM
    Evoke the romance of early Spanish California with a wedding held on the grounds of this cultural landmark located in the heart of Santa Barbara's historic district. The museum offers two private interconnected courtyards for your ceremony and reception. Both areas are distinguished by native and exotic landscaping, accented with fountains and Spanish California architecture. The ambiance sets the stage for the perfect, romantic traditional outdoor wedding. 
A reception dinner set up at a local vineyard

Photo Credit: MK Sadler

  • SUNSTONE VINEYARDS
    Tucked away in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country, Sunstone Vineyards will make the entire wedding party feel like they’ve left the country for a romantic retreat into the Italian countryside. A ceremony overlooking the vineyard in this Tuscan-inspired courtyard is one for the record books, surrounded by beautiful architectural details like French limestone, wood beams, and roof tiles from a 19th-century lavender factory once owned by Queen Victoria. Meander through the grounds to the 8,500-square foot Sunstone Villa, a breathtaking backdrop for the nuptials and the party afterward. There are several other perfect wedding locations on the grounds.
Cuple getting married in Ojai in front of a majestic tree

Photo Credit: Wild Whim Photography

  • OJAI VALLEY INN & SPA
    This is the all-in-one wedding venue that offers a breathtaking setting for a one-of-a-kind wedding with romantic locations throughout the property. We’re talking ballrooms of every scale, private gardens, cottages, and more, customized to make memories of the special day live forever in your heart. Here, the couple can host all their pre-and post-wedding needs, from relaxing treatments at Spa Ojai, and fitness classes, to a golf green, and even art lessons at the Artist Cottage. 

When it comes to wedding planning tools, Santa Barbara Wedding Style and the Santa Barbara Independent Wedding Resource Guide have everything you need when it comes to idyllic Santa Barbara wedding venues, as well as everything else that goes along with the big day.


Meantime, if you’re thinking of moving to a new home, or buying one for the happy couple in any of the lovely Santa Barbara area communities, please take a look at my comprehensive website. Then call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com for your complimentary consultation.


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“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch