Santa Barbara Historical Museum Wedding Venue Guide

Thinking about hosting your wedding at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum? Well, I’m here to convince you! Picture this: you and your lover drenched in the golden light of a California sunset, surrounded by the rich blend of history and romance. THAT is what you get when you plan a wedding at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, and here’s everything you need to know about this epic Southern California wedding venue! 

The Big Picture: Santa Barbara Historical Museum Wedding 

Nestled in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, this museum offers the best of both worlds: the charm of the old Spanish Revival architecture, combined with the modern amenities we can’t live without (hello, indoor plumbing!). With a variety of spaces to choose from, you can make your wedding as intimate or as extravagant as your little hearts desire.

Your Ceremony at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum 

Get this, you can say your vows in a courtyard that looks like it’s been pulled straight from a Spanish fucking fairy tale. Cobblestone floors, lush gardens, and the timeless beauty of historic fountains offer the kind of ceremony backdrop that’ll have your guests snapping pics like paparazzi at a royal wedding.

Your Reception at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Let’s get this party started, shall we? The museum’s Sala Gallery is the crown jewel when it comes to hosting receptions. With its open layout, you can go ham with your decorations or let the natural beauty of the space take center stage. And let’s talk acoustics – the high wooden beams are a live band’s dream. The space is so versatile that it’s almost begging you to break out your wildest Pinterest boards and go to town.

Amenities at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum isn’t just a pretty face; it’s got some pretty useful amenities, too. Here’s the lowdown:

  • Getting Ready Suite: A serene little spot for you to get your glam on.
  • Full Kitchen: Catering is a breeze thanks to the fully-equipped kitchen. Bring in a five-star chef or catering from your fave restaurant; the choice is yours.
  • Audio-Visual: Don’t stress about bringing in a truckload of equipment; they’ve got you covered.

Vendor Exclusivity Policies 

Hosting your wedding at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum means you do have to adhere to specific vendors for rentals, lighting catering, and bar service. Other than that, you have free reign for your wedding planner, florist, photographer, videographer, and any other vendors you choose to hire! 

Wedding Venue Logistics

Worried about logistics? The museum’s in-house coordinator will guide you through the nitty-gritty. From setup to tear-down, they’ve got a playbook that’ll make even the most type A nearlywed breathe easy. Of course, I still recommend hiring your own planner (since a venue coordinator and a wedding planner are NOT the same thing – read more about that here) to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. 

Your Wedding Photos at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum

The venue is a dream come true from a photographer’s perspective. From the museum exhibits (off-limits but great for controlled photo ops) to the hidden nooks and crannies of the gardens, you’ll find endless settings for iconic photos. Oh, and don’t forget that epic Santa Barbara sunset for golden hour shots!

How Much Does the Santa Barbara Historical Museum Cost? 

Let’s get real; a venue like this is an investment. But it’s the kind that pays off in spades. Prices vary based on the day of the week, the season, and the spaces you choose, so there’s a bit of wiggle room for various budgets. Rates start at $2500 for off-season weekday weddings and go up to $12,500 for up to 250 guests.

Exclusive Access to the Wedding Venue 

There won’t be any other events crashing your wedding here!  The Santa Barbara Historical Museum commits to only one event per day. 


How do I contact the Museum’s Venue Rentals Coordinator?

You can fill out their inquiry form here, email, or call 805-966-1601 x115 if you have any specific questions. 

How do I view the event spaces?

The museum offers full guided site tours (by appointment only) that you can book here! You can also stop by anytime during regular public hours to see the spaces on your own time. 

How can I hold or reserve a date?

You can request to place a 7-day courtesy hold on a date, giving you first right of refusal,

via the inquiry form.  The museum does not take deposits; securing a date requires a completed contract and payment of rental fees in full.

What is the earliest event start time/end time?

Events can begin at 4:00 pm; daytime events and earlier times can be negotiated in advance.

By city code and the museum’s rule, the absolute latest your reception can end is 10:00 p.m.

Can I have my rehearsal on site the day before my event?

Yes, as long as it doesn’t interfere with any other scheduled events, you’re good to go! According to the museum, 12-2 p.m. is almost always available.

When can we access the site?

The grounds open at 9:00am for vendor load-in, the getting ready space is available at 10 a.m. for you and your wedding party. Vendors are required to be off-site by midnight!

Are candles permitted?

Yes, but they have to be enclosed in protective containers and safely placed on tabletops.

Does the Museum provide any tables, chairs or event supplies?

No, the museum provides the venue site only. All rentals have to be through the museum’s approved vendor list. 

What if it rains?

If you’re hosting your wedding during the rainy season, it’s recommended to have a backup tenting plan through your rentals vendor. The Casa Covarrubias can be used as a back-up plan for guest counts under 75.

Does the rental fee include staff?

A museum representative will be present the day of your event to assist your coordinator with vendors and to manage site issues and custodial services. Reminder: this is NOT the same as a wedding planner. 

Does the Museum require a wedding coordinator?

Yes, they require that all weddings hire an approved professional wedding coordinator. You don’t have to choose from their list, but they do have to be submitted for approval by the museum. 

Is there more than one getting ready space available?

There’s a private room in the lower courtyard included with the venue rental, plus the Penthouse Boardroom, with attached bathroom, balcony, fridge, and AC, is available for an additional fee.

Can we bring our own alcohol?

Alcohol has to be served by a licensed caterer or bar service from the museum’s approved vendor list.

What if my guests arrive early?

Unfortunately, guests won’t be permitted into the event space until your contracted start time; however, early guests are more than welcome to tour the museum galleries if they happen to show up early! You can also arrange a guided tour for your people as apart of their experience – all you’ve gotta do is email the museum to set it up. 

Does the Museum provide parking?

Onsite parking is limited to museum staff, gallery visitors, and your event satellite kitchen.

The SB School District parking lot is conveniently located across the street and has fifty spaces that are available to the public (or can be reserved for a fee) on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Is Insurance required?

Yes, you must provide a Certificate of Insurance covering $1,000,000 general liability (naming the museum as additional-insured), which can usually be obtained through your home-owners policy or a private event insurance carrier.

Are there contractual obligations after the contract is approved?

Yes, $1,000 refundable Cleaning/Damage Deposit, Proof of Insurance, and Vendor List are required 60 days prior to your wedding date.

Ready to Say “I Do” at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum?

Alright, babes, that’s the whole shebang. The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is where history, culture, and wedding glamour collide in the literal best way possible. So if you’re all about blending timeless elegance with personal flair, this might just be your dream venue! Now, all you need is a Southern California wedding photographer to be there to capture it. To get in touch with me about joining your vendor team, you can hit me up via my contact form and I’ll get back to you soon!!