Bed & Breakfast/Inn

The Upham Hotel

Upham Hotel | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

The oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California, the Upham Hotel was built by banker Amasa Lincoln (a relative of Abraham Lincoln) in 1871 and purchased by Cyrus Upham in 1898. Today, the Upham embraces its legacy, combining modern-day amenities with historic charm. This boutique property has 50 rooms and suites located in the original inn and surrounding garden cottages, combining the intimacy of a bed-and-breakfast with the convenience of a full-service hotel and conference facility. 

Runner-Up: Simpson House Inn


Pure Joy Catering

Did winning Best Of have any special significance after the pandemic? Pure Joy Catering owner Lynette La Mere said, “Absolutely! We’ve basically had to rebuild the whole company from the ground up all over again, build a whole new team, and train them — and it’s been a remarkable experience. We really are better than ever before, and this is a fantastic acknowledgment of that. Thank you for standing behind small businesses and helping us survive this. Since the pandemic, we’ve had the opportunity to hire some really great women and help them thrive, and it’s a dream for me. Business is way better than ever. We’re getting to do some really exceptional and spectacular events; it’s very exciting.”

Runner-Up: Duo Events

Event DJ

DJ Darla Bea

DJ Darla Bea | Credit: Brian Kuhlmann (file)

Voted Best Event DJ for seven years running, DJ Darla Bea says, “Santa Barbara, you rock my world! I’m so grateful to be crowned your Queen Bea again. It is an honor to represent my hometown.” Bea, whose mother’s family last name literally translates as “to play music” (Muzikar), sends special thanks and gratitude to “all of the loyal listeners of my weekly radio show that have stayed with me for the past 15 years,” her advisors, mentors, and collaborators, as well as the “clients and hundreds of couples who had me deejay their wedding.” Knowing the importance of encores, Bea adds, “I’ll close in quoting the Sly Stone song: ‘I Want to Thank You for Letting Me Be Myself Again.’” DJ Darla Bea curated a very special 2022 Best of Santa Barbara playlist just for us. For five hours of Santa Barbara inspired music, visit

Runner-Up: DJ Hecktik

Event Rentals

Tent Merchant

Founded in 2005, Tent Merchant is a wedding and event rental specialist offering a wide variety of tents and canopies, as well as antique furnishings and accessories, props, and decor in themes that range from shabby chic to tropical, as well as Asian, Moroccan, and Indian. They can also provide tables, chairs, flatware, glassware, china, linens, lighting, dance floors, staging, and furniture to transform your vision into the party of your dreams. 

Runner-Up: Bright Event Rentals


Riley’s Flowers

This beautiful, European-style “bucket shop” of colorful blooms is Independent readers’ pick for the seventh year in a row. Riley’s Flowers is a walk-in, full-service floral institution, renowned for good prices and having one of the largest selections of cut roses and other flowers and plants that are fresh and hand-picked locally. 

Runner-Up: Kaleidoscope Flowers


San Ysidro Ranch

[See Eating: Stellar Service]

Runner-Up: The Palace Grill 

Limo Service

Luxe Transportation

Illustration by Ben Ciccati

“Luxe Transportation would like to thank our beautiful community for all the love and support,” says owner David Dorado. “Being recognized as the Best Limo Service in Santa Barbara County is a huge honor; it validates our hard work behind the scenes and our efforts to always provide our clients with the best experience — from the initial contact to the last second on board. To our fellow industry friends, to our family and friends, to our loyal clients who keep coming back, who share our service with others, who take the time to review us, it all means so much and it’s greatly appreciated.” 

Runner-Up: A and J Limousine


Kacie Jean Photography

“I am ridiculously over-prepared for every situation, but you will definitely appreciate that at some point in our time together,” writes photographer Kacie Jean Fowle of Kacie Jean Photography. Independent readers certainly appreciate her talents as a photographer who “specializes in love.” Her focus (forgive the pun) includes shooting on location, maternity, babies, children, families, engagements, and wedding photography, and she’s being doing this professionally — and locally — since 2004.

Runner-Up: James and Jess Photography

Restaurant with a View

Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach

[See Eating: Stellar Service]

Runner-Up: Scarlett Begonia 

Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

Stationery Store

Paper Source

With an aim to “inspire customers to do something creative every day,” Downtown Santa Barbara’s Paper Source is chock-full of wedding invitations, birth announcements, holiday photo cards, and party invitations, using high-quality paper, digital and letterpress printing methods or, if you want DIY, everything you need to make your own cards and invitations. They also stock a beautiful assortment of gift wrap and ribbon, as well as clever gifts, fine papers, greeting cards, kits, and personalized products. 

Runner-Up: Folio Press & Paperie

Wedding Cake Shop

Lilac Pâtisserie

It’s six years in a row that Lilac Pâtisserie has been voted the local favorite wedding cake shop, which would be impressive by any standards, but is particularly notable since it is a dedicated gluten-free bakery. Co-Owner Gillian Muralles was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2002 and decided — to the considerable delight of her many fans — to make it her mission to “keep the deliciousness in my life despite my new gluten-free diet.” The rest, as they say, is history. Since opening the storefront in 2015, they’ve kept a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, while still offering beautifully presented treats. 

Runner-Up: Anna’s Bakery

Wedding Planner

Jill & Co. Events

“Thank you to everyone who voted for us,” says Jill Remy, owner of Jill & Co. Events. “Coming out of the pandemic, it is so good to see everyone again. Gathering people together is why we do what we do, so we had definitely been missing that. Santa Barbara is such a special town to have a business in, as it is very event-driven, and I love serving the community through their special celebrations, fundraisers, and events of all kinds.”

Runner-Up: Dulce Dia Events

Wedding Venue

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Noted for its beautiful architecture and vintage elegance, the historic 1929 Spanish-Moorish Santa Barbara County Courthouse is renowned as one of the most beautiful buildings in the U.S. It’s no wonder that the meticulously maintained gardens and spacious lawns are a popular site for weddings. The Exterior Gardens may be reserved to accommodate up to 250 people, and for small wedding ceremonies with 15 or fewer guests, there are six non-reservable designated areas that are free of charge, primarily along the Anacapa and Figueroa Street lawn areas. The stunning Courthouse Mural Room, with four historic murals painted by Dan Sayre Groesbeck, is also back to being available for event rentals. 

Runner-Up: Sunstone Winery

The historic Upham Hotel was built in 1871 and has welcomed guests ever since, making it the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California. | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom
See all of the winners in our “Best of Santa Barbara® 2022” cover here.