Santa Barbara Wedding Venue
1535 Santa Barbara Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Directly across from the blossom-filled Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden is the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, a historic, nondenominational church with a long tradition as a wonderful wedding location. Their beautiful Sanctuary evokes a peaceful sense of divine mystery, and the congregation’s inclusive philosophy makes this venue a congenial gathering place, perfectly suited for life’s celebrations. Unitarian Universalists support one another on their various spiritual paths, and are nonjudgmental, compassionate and socially conscious. As you and your soul mate begin your own lifelong journey together, consider letting the tranquil surroundings of the Unitarian Society provide you with a memorable send-off.
The Unitarian Universalist campus includes the Sanctuary, a reception hall, a terrace and two garden courtyards. Designed more than 75 years ago in the city’s signature Spanish-Revival style, the Sanctuary’s rustic glamour is enhanced by antique architectural elements: Vintage lantern-style light fixtures are suspended from the vaulted ceiling’s open beams. The original wooden pews are flanked by lofty, rectangular stained-glass panels in subdued shades of pale blue and honey, each inscribed with the name of a famous Unitarian freethinker like essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. At the front of the Sanctuary, the chancel is softly illuminated by a breathtaking stained-glass rose window in radiant jewel tones; a smaller rose window looks out over balcony seating at the rear. The Sanctuary conveys a momentous, yet joyful, ambiance, and its quality acoustics make music sound even more dramatic. Hire one of their recommended musicians, and walk down the aisle to the impressive sound of the Sanctuary’s genuine 1,500-pipe organ or Steinway concert piano. Couples of any faith or sexual orientation are invited to pledge their love in this glorious space (a welcome solution for interfaith marriages and same-sex unions).
Following the ceremony, guests often enjoy an open-air social hour in the pretty Jefferson Courtyard. A brick patio flanked by twin lawns crowned with olive saplings is a delightful spot to toast the newlyweds; then, while refreshments are served, bridal parties can sneak across the street for photos in the park. A second-story terrace lets guests survey the festivities below. Tucked in one corner of the courtyard, a semi-private enclave with a labyrinth and small amphitheater invites intimate conversations.
Outdoor receptions are usually held in the Parish Courtyard at the front of the facility. Lovely and serene, this bricked garden plaza is suffused with the soothing sound of splashing water, thanks to a tiled fountain at the center. Well-placed foliage provides filtered shade, and at the right time of year a grand magnolia tree shows off delicately fragrant flowers. A triple-arched breezeway is a perfect place for the bar and, once the sun sets, garden lights you provide lend a romantic luster to the idyllic setting.
Through the breezeway lies the newly refurbished Parish Hall, an attractive banquet room with high ceilings. Earth-toned walls bring out the room’s Mission-style flavor and complement a large stained-glass window (similar to the Sanctuary panels). The hardwood floor is great for dancing, and a proscenium stage puts the entertainment on display. Recent upgrades include a state-of-the-art audiovisual system, and behind the scenes your caterer cooks up a feast in a professional kitchen.
Flexible, welcoming and aesthetically pleasing, the Unitarian Society continues its legacy as host to unforgettable events.
CEREMONY CAPACITY: The Sanctuary holds 285 seated guests; the courtyard 150 seated guests.
EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: Indoors, the site holds up to 100 seated or 220 standing guests; outdoors 150 seated or 220 standing guests.
MEETING CAPACITY: Spaces are available that accommodate 150 seated guests.
A $500 deposit is required to reserve your date. The balance is due 6–9 months prior to the event. Rental fees range $1,650–4,800 depending on space and hours rented. For meetings or memorial services, please call for quote. To visit this facility, call or email ahead for special assistance.
Special Events, Parties
Catering: select from list or BYO
Kitchen Facilities: new commercial kitchen
Tables & Chairs: BYO outside, CBA inside
Linens, Silver, etc.: BYO
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: provided indoors
Bride’s Dressing Area: yes
Meeting Equipment: some provided
Parking: on street and valet CBA
Accommodations: no guestrooms
Telephone: emergency use only
Outdoor Night Lighting: BYO
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: BBQ CBA
Cleanup: caterer or renter
View: gardens, park, mountains
Other: grand piano, vocalists and organist CBA
Banquet Hall/Events Facility
Alcohol: BYO BWC only, with licensed server
Smoking: not allowed
Music: amplified OK with restrictions
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: one-day liability policy required
Choose From List
Year-round, daily. Monday–Saturday 9am–10pm; Sunday 3pm–10pm.
Alternate Info: USSB Unitarian Church of Santa Barbara Unitarian Society Santa Barbara