Frequently Asked Questions
About Weddings at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara
Can we have just our wedding ceremony, or just our wedding reception, at the Unitarian Society?
Absolutely! But our facility is a wonderful and beautiful place to have both! There’s no need to make your guests drive from one venue to another. We have everything you’ll need here.
Do we have to be members of the Unitarian Society in order to have our wedding or reception there?
Absolutely not – we are open to the public.
Can I arrange for a tour of the Unitarian Society?
Yes! Guided sites tours are available by emailing Joanie Bear, our Facility & Events Coordinator, or calling her at 805-965-4583 ext. 223. Please suggest a day and time or two that would work for you when making your inquiry.
How can I check availability or hold a date?
You can check availability of dates on our online wedding calendar by clicking here. To place a courtesy hold on a date, please fill out our Wedding Request Form by clicking here. You will receive a response within 24 hours at the most. When you’re ready to turn your hold into a firm reservation, a signed contract and a $500 payment towards your balance will do the job!
What about scheduling a rehearsal for our ceremony?
Your rental fees include one hour in our sanctuary, usually a day or two before your wedding date.
Can we use our own minister to perform our wedding?
Yes, you can! Our only requirement is that the person is licensed to conduct wedding ceremonies in the State of California. However, we also have a minister that is often available; if you’re interested please let us know.
Does the rental fee include staffing?
Yes. In addition to reserving the facilities, your rental fee also includes the Unitarian Society event assistant for the day of your event (and at your rehearsal) to assist with vendors, security, and custodial services.
What is the earliest we can begin our setup?
On Saturdays, for a wedding with a reception, you and your vendors (including deliveries) can gain access at 12:00 p.m. On Fridays and Sundays, that access time is 2:00 p.m. If additional hours are needed, please contact our Facility & Events Coordinator, Joanie Bear.
What time does our reception need to end by?
By city ordinance, all events must end no later than 10:00 p.m. Your vendors however are given another hour to clean-up and move out.
May I use candles?
Yes, but only if they are enclosed in protective glass containers and your plans for the location and number of candles must be discussed in advance with our Facility & Event Coordinator.
Do you require the use of approved vendors?
We prefer that you use vendors on our approved list, but it is possible for you to use a vendor not on our list. Our main concern is with caterers. If you want to use a caterer not on our list, we would ask for an additional $500 refundable security deposit, a visit to our kitchen at least two months in advance and some additional paperwork. For a list of vendors, please click here.
Does the Unitarian Society provide any tables, chairs, or other event “add-ons”?
Yes – the Unitarian Society does have in-house table and chair rentals, in addition to a couple of lighting packages. For more information, please click here.
Does the Unitarian Society require a wedding coordinator?
If you are having your reception with us, and your guest count is 125 or more, we do have a policy on this. If this describes your situation, we would prefer you to use a wedding coordinator – or at the very least hire a day-of-event coordinator. If you elect not to do this, we will assess an additional $400. This is because without a coordinator, many of the responsibilities handled by such coordinators would then fall to USSB staff.
Is there a space available for the bride prior to the ceremony?
Yes. A room is available just off our sanctuary, and it has its own bathroom.
Can we supply our own food and/or alcoholic beverages?
We do not allow event hosts to provide their own food or alcoholic beverages, but you may be able to do so with your caterer. USSB requires all receptions to work with a licensed caterer or bartending service. Some caterers will allow their clients to provide the alcohol, but the caterer has to be the one to make this decision and then to serve your guests.
Does the Unitarian Society have onsite parking?
Due to the fact that we are right in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, there isn’t enough space to have our own parking lot. However, we have many large events here throughout the year, including two services every Sunday, and parking never seems to be an issue. We have two large loading/unloading zones right in front of the church, so your guests can be dropped off right in front, with only the driver having to walk a couple blocks back.
Does my rental fee help the operations of the Unitarian Society?
Yes! Your rental contributes directly to the mission, goals and operation of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara.
Do you have rental guidelines and policies that we need to know about?
Yes – there are two places to find our rules and policies. One is more informative and covers some of the basic issues, and the other documents is our official and complete room use policies. You can access our facility information and rental fees overview by clicking here. The complete room use policies and guidelines document is accessible by clicking here. Please note: your rental agreement with USSB will ask you to indicate that you have reviewed these policies and that you will abide by them.
Please email Joanie Bear, our Facility & Events Coordinator,
or call her at 805-965-4583 ext. 223