The Santa Barbara Historical Museum

One of the most interesting, hauntingly beautiful places to be married in SoCal is at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. The courtyard directly adjacent to the Casa Covarrubias is the venue for most weddings. The Covarrubias adobe is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Santa Barbara.

Domingo Antonio Ignacio Carrillo built the home in 1817 for his wife, Concepción. Concepcion was the sister of the last Mexican governor of California before it came under United States Rule. The original L-shaped room is available for bride, groom, family, and friends to prepare for the wedding in the courtyard, and for smaller weddings.

The museum courtyards will bring your wedding back to an earlier time in California, a simpler, and perhaps more romantic age.

 Rabbi Donald Kunstadt surfingventurarabbi



Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve (Formerly The Ahmanson Ranch)

A not too well known venue, located right on the border between Los Angeles and Ventura Counties is the scenic Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve.   It is centered around a ranch house, located on the top of a remote hill, between the West San Fernando Valley on the one side and Calabasas on the other. It was formerly known as the Ahmanson Ranch, a name well known in SoCal philanthropy. With its proximity to Los Angeles it was used as a set in many well known movies: from “Gone With the Wind” to “Charge of the Light Brigade.” The setting brings one back to earlier times in Los Angeles with undeveloped mesas, rolling hills, and native oaks, all set in almost 3,000 acres of undeveloped land. The historic restored 1930s ranch house is available for weddings by permit.

Rabbi Donald Kunstadt surfingventurarabbi


Malibu West Beach Club


If you are looking for a beach wedding, as close as you can be to the ocean without getting sand in your shoes, the Malibu West Beach Club is your perfect venue. Many people fantasize about a beach wedding, but let’s face it, it can be a little messy and uncomfortable if you are planning a formal wedding. (I love beach weddings in the sand if you are going casual.  However IMO it does not go with gowns, tuxes etc. )

The Malibu West Beach Club, a mid-century modern building that was at one time a real beach club, has the perfect balcony for the actual ceremony overlooking the Pacific, in the middle of Malibu Beach. At this property the sand beach is not wide, so you almost feel as though you are sitting right over the water-it feels that close. My only complaint when I officiate there, I have to look toward the people, 180 degrees from the ocean view, and often some nice waves are breaking.

Right after the ceremony the guests often move inside where there is a large room, perfect for a sit-down reception, all with views of the Pacific. The only limitation here might be the size of the room, limiting you to a medium size wedding.

In summary, for a beach wedding without the mess, look into the Malibu West Beach Club.

Rabbi Donald Kunstadt  surfingventurarabbi


Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Traditional, elegant, old California is the feeling of the historic Biltmore in Santa Barbara. First opened in 1927, it is one of the most popular high end venues you can find in SoCal. With its Spanish Colonial architecture located on 22 pristine acres, for many it becomes their dream wedding venue. If you are seeking a glamorous venue, with six distinct wedding spaces across from the Pacific Ocean, it is hard to go wrong at the world class Biltmore in Santa Barbara. Rabbi Donald Kunstadt surfingventurarabbi



Santa Barbara Courthouse

One of the most popular Southern California wedding venues, and one I often officiate at, is the Santa Barbara Courthouse. This historic Spanish style building has been recognized as one of the finest architectural public buildings in the United States. For very small weddings, less than fifteen people, six different lawn locations are available at no charge. Five other areas are available for weddings up to 250 people, and may be reserved. Inside you will find the Mural room, a location with an old California historic feel shown above in the second set of pictures.

You can’t really go wrong at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Following your wedding ceremony in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, you will find multiple fine restaurants and wine bars available.  Rabbi Donald Kunstadt surfingventurarabbi