Discover Your Perfect Small Wedding Venue in Santa Barbara

Photo credit: Katie Shuler Photography

Small weddings allow couples to celebrate and express their love with close friends and family. These small gatherings, usually 50-75 people, are focused on memorable moments and personal connections. For such a special and intimate experience, the right wedding space is a must. Fortunately, you’ll find plenty of small wedding venues in Santa Barbara and its surrounding cities. Whether you want to wow your guests with something unexpected or say “I do” in a classic, romantic setting, Santa Barbara has just the right place to match your dream-wedding style. Check out a few of the area’s small wedding venues and be sure to check out our wedding planning guide.

Unique Locations for Your Small Wedding

Unusual wedding locations add an extra element of wonder and excitement for couples and their guests. Known for its lush botanic gardens and stunning views of the Pacific coast and Santa Ynez Mountains, the Santa Barbara Zoo is an incredible venue with a romantic atmosphere and plenty of wow factor. The zoo’s Discovery Pavilion is a cozy indoor-outdoor space for weddings of 50 people with the option of expanding the space for longer guest lists. After your vows, meander the garden paths for an unforgettable photo session—perhaps with an adorable giraffe in the background. Give your friends and family a special thrill with an animal encounter, like mingling with a tuxedo-ready penguin or being greeted by beautiful blue and scarlet macaws.

Whimsical and shoe-shaped, El Zapato is a private-home venue created by renowned Santa Barbara architect Jeff Shelton that fits up to 60 people. You’ll love the eye-catching colors and patterns, verdant flora and one-of-a-kind design. With a spacious courtyard decorated with strings of fairy lights, rooftop deck with 360-degree views and multiple outdoor patios, guests will have plenty of space to mix and mingle. A big plus of this location are the on-site rooms which can accommodate up to eight people—a great option for hosting a smaller bridal party, preparing before the ceremony or changing your wedding outfit before your reception.

Delicious Restaurant Wedding Venues

With a combination of indoor and outdoor settings and a simplified catering situation, restaurants can be a great spot for small weddings. Loquita, one of the city’s beloved establishments, offers Spanish-style charm and cuisine in the center of downtown. The restaurant’s bright, greenery-laden patio is an ideal small-wedding setting, offering seating for up to 75 guests. 

For exquisite food and a ceremony with an oceanfront view, Convivo Restaurant is an ideal small wedding venue in Santa Barbara. Feel like you’re at a Mediterranean villa as you celebrate your love beneath a pillared pavilion surrounded by towering palm trees and vibrant, blooming flowers. With a variety of food options, from vegan friendly to meat heavy, you’ll have no difficulty satisfying any guests’ particular tastes. Also, since the restaurant is part of the Santa Barbara Inn, you and your guests won’t have to travel far when it’s time to call it a night.

Vino is for Lovers

Santa Barbara’s numerous wineries and tasting rooms are a wonderful locale for couples with a passion for wine. For a space that leans into the wine-making aesthetic, The Barrel Room at Carr Winery is a top small-wedding pick. Here, you’ll find high, curved ceilings, dim mood lighting, stacks of wine casks, a barrel-top bar and the tantalizing aromas of California vino. The venue also includes an outdoor patio space with a cabana area, umbrellas, a firepit and enchanting twinkle lights hung overhead. Nearby, the wood-beam ceilings, antique chandeliers and bright decor at Jamie Slone Wines Tasting Room provide the perfect backdrop for a cozy wedding with your closest friends and family. Couples can reserve the full tasting room for up to 50 people or a private room for up to 10 people.

Wine-related venues also make wonderful reception halls. Say your “I dos” at the courthouse, in the park or at the church, then motor over to Santa Barbara’s incredible tasting rooms for drinks, food and fun. Wine-loving couples will love celebrating at Santa Barbara Wine Collective where they can dine next to a floor-to-ceiling wine shelf packed with everything from sparkling rosé to white riesling and fruit-forward grenache. Taste a few wines throughout the night and take a bottle or two of your favorite on your honeymoon. When you’re ready to get your groove, step onto the attached hedge-lined patio.

Hotels Fit for a Small Wedding

Not only does Santa Barbara have some of the most luxurious and stylish hotels on the West coast, these locales are also extremely convenient when it comes to getting married. You and your guest can overnight just steps away from your wedding festivities and everything from the pre-ceremony prep to the after-party can take place in one spot. Plus, many hotels offer special wedding packages. Find more wedding venues with accommodations.

A romantic treasure that was once the honeymoon locale of Jackie and John Kennedy, San Ysidro Ranch is a luxurious, nature getaway nestled in the foothills of Montecito. With its lush cottage-style gardens, immaculate landscaping, cozy nooks and colorful blooms almost everywhere you look, it’s not hard to imagine why. The ranch offers multiple event spaces that cater to small groups while keeping the romantic, fairytale atmosphere of the larger property.

Say “yes” to forever while overlooking coastal palms, blooming flowers and the towering Santa Ynez Mountains at De La Vina Inn. Built in 1895, the three-story inn is steeped in history and surrounded by ⅓ acres of lush gardens, winding walkways and stone fountains, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a storybook fairytale. Foodies will also be wowed by their world-class catering program, led by Michelin-recognized chef Julian Martinez.

Those looking for a cozy, romantic atmosphere will love Simpson House Inn. Tucked away in one of Santa Barbara’s historic neighborhoods, this Victorian-era boutique hotel offers a luxe yet tranquil setting. The grounds are surrounded by tall hedges and manicured English-style gardens, complete with stone-paved paths, trickling fountains and abundance of blooming flowers.


Contact our team of professionals to learn about wedding room block opportunities for your special day.

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