Weddings at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara
Located directly across from the tranquil Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens in downtown Santa Barbara is the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, a historic, nondenominational church with a long tradition as a wonderful wedding location. Our beautiful Sanctuary evokes a peaceful sense of divine mystery, and our congregation’s inclusive philosophy makes this special place perfectly suited for life’s celebrations. Couples of any faith or sexual orientation are invited to pledge their love in this glorious space.
Unitarian Universalists support one another on their various spiritual paths, and are nonjudgmental, compassionate and socially conscious. As you and your soulmate begin your own lifelong journey together, consider letting the tranquil surroundings of the Unitarian Society provide you with a memorable send-off.
The Unitarian Society campus includes the Sanctuary, a Reception hall, a Terrace and two Gardened Courtyards. Built in 1930 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.
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 or at some other secluded picture-perfect spot on our campus. A second-story terrace lets guests survey the festivities below. Tucked in one corner of the courtyard, a semiprivate 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 provides a spacious yet intimate environment for receptions up to 200 guests. 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, the Palm Tree Courtyard lights provide 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 an 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.
(Description written by “Here Comes the Guide”)