Special Section — Santa Ynez Valley Weddings
The sound of wedding bells is in the air, and happy couples everywhere are drawn to the Santa Ynez Valley’s breathtaking views and relaxing ambience for their special day. Whether seeking an endless backdrop of vineyards, acres of ranch-style pastures, or scenic views of the crashing waves, our picturesque region has it all for the perfect outdoor wedding.
The variety of locations to choose from is sure to accommodate each and every bride and groom’s need—from the ceremony and reception to the dinner party and guest housing. Each destination has unique character, from the hidden Valley gems to the more popular wedding spots. Mix in the Valley’s small town hospitality and year-around mild climate and the only real problem will be deciding where to exchange vows. So escape the hustle and bustle of the big city, ease any worries, and come away to a tranquil paradise.
A wedding set on a picturesque vineyard became popular with movies like Sideways, putting the Valley on the map as not only a top wine destination, but a wedding one too. Vineyards come in all shapes and sizes, making it easy to accommodate a variety of wedding party sizes.
Firestone Vineyard sits on 500 acres of estate vineyards that spread throughout the hills and valleys. This original Santa Barbara County estate winery was voted one of The Knot’s Best Wedding Locations for the past three years. It provides multiple settings for a ceremony and reception, such as the lavender-accented terrace, the vineyard mesa overlooking the valley, an intimate courtyard left open for star-gazing, the tasting room (complete with Spanish tile floors and high redwood beam ceilings), and the barrel room—a cozy interior space perfect for a large dinner, reception, or even an indoor wedding.
To accommodate a smaller party, opt for Lincourt Winery, a quaint yet beautiful vineyard set amidst the foothills of the Valley. This property features a charming 1926 Sear’s Craftsman Kit House surrounded by enchanting flower gardens and a backdrop of vineyards. Say “I do” on the terrace, which overlooks the Alamo Pintado Vineyard and sits amid a blossoming garden. Dance the night away in the rustic barrel room that was once used as a barn for dairy cattle and now houses French oak barrels and antique chandeliers.
Hidden inland, along the Gaviota Coast, lies 13,000 acres of an historic California ranch made for a breathtaking wedding. Rancho San Julian is one of the last Spanish-Mexican land grants that has remained in the family and is now established as an agricultural preserve. With thick oak forests, roaming cattle, and vast pastures there are endless locations for a ceremony, reception and cocktail hour.
For a resort-style ranch opt for The Alisal Guest Ranch, set on 10,000 acres of privately owned land in Solvang. At one time Clark Gable and Lady Sylvia Ashley exchanged vows here, and since then it has become a destination wedding location. Filled with activities such as golf, horseback riding, and fishing in a 100-acre spring fed lake, this will be an experience to never forget.
Relax among the western romance of Zaca Creek Ranch. With over 1600 acres to choose from, exchange vows on top of grassy hills, in oaky canyons,or in an open pasture—the possibilities are endless. Bring a little Old World into the union of a new one at this well -preserved property filled with native plants, low-lying creek beds, and free-roaming beef cattle. For some outdoor entertainment, this location offers hayrides, camping, and a toasty fire pit.
Beaches & Parks
It’s only a short scenic drive away and it’s sure to take your breath away. Among the mountains yet right at sea, lies the breathtaking Jalama Beach. After a worthwhile forty-minute drive from the Valley, choose among 23.5 acres of private county beach and park for that serene nuptial spot and reception.
Amid the wilderness of the Valley and flanked by the San Rafael Mountains is the beautiful Cachuma Lake. This county park is the perfect spot for an outdoor wedding and accommodates small and large groups. New to the park are yurts and cabins, providing easy accommodations for traveling guests. Make reservations now, as the park fills up quickly!
“Around the corner” from the Valley is the perfect mountains-meet-sea destination. Choose to get married on the beach, in the oak tree-filled canyon, or on a private hilltop over looking the ocean—either way it’s all available in one perfect location. El Capitan Canyon provides other amenities including a luxury campground, tented lodging for an indoor reception, and a few newer additions: the luxurious safari cabin and a convenient catering service that creates its menu using the Canyon’s own organic garden.
INFO: Contact info for those mentioned in this article:
Firestone Vineyard, 805-686-1256 ext. 4,
Lincourt Winery, 805-686-1256 ext. 4,
Alisal Guest Ranch, 805-686-7613,
Rancho San Julian, 805-736-3097,
Zaca Creek Ranch email@example.com
Jalama Beach, 805-568-2465
Cachuma Lake, 805-568-2465
El Capitan Canyon, 866-352-2729