Cara Robbins

Destination nuptials might be the way to wed these days, but you don’t have to leave Santa Barbara for more exotic pastures in order to have an unforgettable wedding. As cofounders of the event planning company Swoon California (, we know this to be true — when it comes to getting hitched, there really is no place like home.

1. Your wedding can be as glamorous or as relaxed as you want.

Whether you’ve always dreamed of a beach wedding, a rustic barn BBQ, or fabulous fete at a luxury hotel, Santa Barbara has you covered. From the Coral Casino to private estates, HeartStone Ranch to our stunning coastline, your ideal venue is likely in S.B. (or in nearby Santa Ynez, Summerland, Carp, or Goleta). And if you have no clue what vibe you want, you have a plethora of possibilities to consider, each just a short drive away.

2. Your guests will gladly make the trip.

Not to boost our little town’s ego too much, but, let’s be honest, everyone wants an excuse to visit Santa Barbara. Talk about a destination: We have a variety of fun activities in close proximity, fabulous lodgings, incredible weather, spectacular sunsets — the list goes on. Your guests will be excited to travel here and feel as if they’re on vacation when they arrive. (They may even start planning their next trip out here before your wedding weekend ends.)

3. You will have amazing wedding food.

Not only is there an abundance of amazing restaurants and catering companies here — specializing in various cuisines and styles — but a number of chefs in town are committed to using locally sourced ingredients in their kitchens. (It’s easy to do when we have seven farmers’ markets every week!) Your reception food will have the fresh, farm-to-table taste that many of us enjoy regularly.

4. You’ll get to work with poised and talented vendors.

One of the best qualities of Santa Barbara is the people who live here. And this carries over to our wedding-professional community. Our vendors have small-town attitudes (read: friendly, laid-back, fun) combined with big-city savvy and experience. You can be assured that your wedding is in more-than-capable hands — and you’ll undoubtedly want to become besties with all of your vendors once the day is over.

5. Your wedding license experience will be Instagram-worthy.

As many of us love to brag, our beloved courthouse had been named one of the most beautiful public buildings in America. And the little corner that the county clerk-recorder’s office inhabits is downright charming, what with its painted sign, terra cotta floors, skylights, Spanish tile, indoor palms, and wrought-iron details. Just getting your marriage license will be picturesque.

Cara Robbins


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