Guide to Wedding in Bali
(by the BA Wedding Planner)
Bali, the magical island of the Gods, and preferred wedding destination for lots of lovers from all over the world.
But: How does this work, getting married in Bali? Is it difficult, or even easy? What are the basic requirements, and what do I have to take into account when I plan my wedding to be carried out here in Bali?
In this series of initially four articles, the BA Wedding Planner will help you, readers of the Bali Advertiser, to understand the principles of a Wedding in Bali, and we will explain all necessary steps so your wedding will be absolutely wonderful and memorable.
Let’s have a look, what the elements are that have to be taken into account:
- Wedding Ceremony
Legal, religious, blessed, commitment, vows renewal
- Wedding Location
On the beach, on top of the cliff, in a landscaped countryside garden, on the slopes of a mountain, under water
- Wedding Venue
Chapel, church, hotel/resort, villa, or more exotic places like Elephant Park, or sea cruise
- Wedding Reception
Carried out right at your wedding venue, or at villas, restaurants, hotels, garden or beach location, in the South, West, East or the North of Bali
- Decoration / Themes
Personalized decoration, or a universal theme
- Make Up Artists& Hair Stylists
Traditional, romantic, Western, Asian; dermatological hazards
- Wedding Dress and Tuxedo Rental
White, broken white, and creamy, Western or Asian style for dresses; white, broken white, grey, and black for tuxedos; in all popular sizes. Buy or rent?
- Photographic and Video Services
From two until eight hours; with one, two, or three cameras; local or international photographer; CD, albums, DVD in HD
- Wedding Packages or tailored weddings
Complete solutions, simple or extravagant
Budget, first class, or luxury accommodation
Car, limo, or mini/bus, may be even lead by a police car convoy that ploughs through the busy Bali traffic
All the above elements need the couple’s decision at a certain time prior to the wedding day. Looks complicated? Not necessarily: There are quite a few professionals who specialize in planning and organizing Bali dream weddings for couples from all over the world. The good ones know their stuff, the bad ones don’t. The BA Wedding Planner will explain how to select the right Bali wedding organizer in one of the next articles.
More frequently asked questions:
– What about the legality of my wedding in Bali: Will it be recognized in my home country, or will I have difficulties with its registration back home?
– Can I just have a religious wedding? Or a blessed wedding? What about vows renewal?
– What is better for me: chapel, church, villa, resort, beach, or garden weddings?
– Does Indonesia also allow weddings of same sex couples? Are there wedding planners that organize them?
– What is the paperwork that has to be prepared back home?
– Do we need a special ‘Wedding Visa’?
– Can I marry my Indonesian girl/boyfriend in Bali legally (mixed couple), and will the marriage be recognized both in Indonesia and in my country?
– Do I have to stay in Indonesia a minimum time as to “qualify” for a legal wedding?
– Will there be a wedding rehearsal before our wedding day?
– Can I choose my own liturgy?
– How many months prior to our wedding day should we start with the planning and preparation?
– After the wedding ceremony, where can I have my reception; is it expensive to have a wedding party in Bali?
– We would also like to have our honeymoon in Bali, maybe a tour to Lombok or Java. Who could help us with the planning and organization?
You will have answers to all the above questions through this series of BA articles, and get many more info on how to make your wedding in Bali the most exciting event ever.
And now let’s start:
1) TYPE OF CEREMONIES
All couples who want to legally marry in Indonesia must declare a religion – also foreigners. Agnosticism and Atheism are not recognized. The Civil Registry Office registers marriages of believers in Protestant, Catholic, Islam, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths. Marriage partners must have the same religion; otherwise one partner must make a written declaration of a change of religion.
For formalities and paperwork information, please contact your wedding organizer, or ask the BA Wedding Planner.
RELIGIOUS + LEGAL
a) A Christian, Hindu or Buddhist marriage can be performed in a chapel, church, villa, or temple ceremony. After the religious ceremony, the marriage is registered legally with the Civil Registry (Kantor Catatan Sipil) – if so desired. Registration by Civil Registry officials is usually conducted directly after the religious ceremony. It is then legal and can be recognized in your country. You want to know whether a Bali Wedding will be recognized in your country? Contact The BA Wedding Planner, we will tell you.
b) The Religious Marriage under Islam is performed by the Office of Religious Affairs (Kantor Urusan Agama) in a ceremony at a wedding chapel, at a mosque, at home, or any other place chosen by the couple. It is legal immediately after the ceremony.
c) Religious Weddings without the registrations from city hall representatives are also possible. They are, however, not recognized as legal in most country.
BLESSED / COMMITMENT
Many persons with alternative lifestyles (e.g., Romeo+Romeo and Julia+Julia) may have the desire to express their loving commitment to their partners in a beautiful ceremony. Those ceremonies do not have to abide by any government laws and can be prepared and conducted according to the couple’s wishes, and can be romantic, exciting, vibrant, solemn. Only a few Wedding Planners have specialized in those Commitment Ceremonies. The ceremonies are practically the same as the legal and religious ceremonies and include chapel, liturgy, celebrant (sometimes a pastor), choir, photo- and videographer, make up artist, hairstylist, beautiful decoration, flower boys or girls, etc. The BA Wedding Planner has the contacts and will gladly share them with you readers.
Couples that have spent a considerable life span together may wish to manifest their love through a solemn ceremony: the Vows Renewal. As in Blessed and Commitment Ceremonies, the Vows Renewal liturgy (the vows) are not regulated: The couples are free to express their feelings and commitments towards their partner in their own words and in the presence of their families and friends, and they will be blessed by a Balinese or a foreign celebrant.
2) WEDDING LOCATIONS
No right, no wrong, just tastes and preferences. Bali has an abundance of exciting and impressive and unique locations where your wedding can be carried out:
– In a festive building
Probably the “safest” way to get married in Bali, if you want to exclude weather hazards and other imponderability.
- At a chapel: There are currently more than 30 stunning wedding chapels available in Bali, some are standalone properties, some are attached to medium-priced or luxury hotels and resorts. Believers of all religions can be married at one of Bali’s wedding chapels; except for Catholic couples.
- At a church/temple:
By decree of the Bishop of Bali, domestic and foreign Catholics are not allowed to have their wedding at a private chapel; they must marry at one of Bali’s beautiful churches, in Tuban, Bukit/Nusa Dua, or in Denpasar. Couples of the other religions are, of course, also free to get married in one of Bali’s churches and temples places of worship of their belief. It is probably a more traditional approach to wedding in Bali, and certainly very solemn.
- At a villa: Lots of Bali villas offer to arrange your private wedding on their properties for you. Some of them are truly luxurious – but, unfortunately, occasionally they come with a catch: In addition to the already considerable expenses for the wedding and its arrangement, may be even including a vibrant wedding reception, the couples are expected to pay a ‘Function Fee’. A clear statement from the BA Wedding Planner: Not only is it unclear what that additional Function Fee stands for (we are talking additional USD 2000 to 5000!), we think it not justified. Or do hotels charge a ‘Hotel Fee’, when we are celebrating a festive event at their ballroom?
– On the beach
‘I DO!’ under the palm trees on the white sands of a secluded beach, that is the classic postcard motive which inspires lovers to look for more exotic wedding destinations and places. Bali has it all: white sands in the Kuta, Tuban, Jimbaran, Bukit, and Nusa Dua area, and dark lava beaches in the island’s North.
Secluded: Well, that’s a different story. Popular locations in the South are generally not calm anymore and furthermore come with sometimes hefty Banjar fees (contribution to the local community). Truly secluded beaches can still be found in the Tabanan (West), Gianyar (East) and Buleleng area in the North. A good wedding planner knows their locations.
And if it rains? Yes, something to think about and plan before the first drops or a real tropical storm threaten to “blow” your wedding ceremony. Wise outdoor wedding planning includes either preparing an alternative sheltered venue close by (recommended), or hiring a Balinese rain stopper whose magic shall keep the precipitations away (hmm …). While you see those gifted individuals working really hard praying and appealing to the Gods to spare the rains, the truth is that they are not always successful, unfortunately.
– In a landscaped garden
Bali’s beautiful landscaped gardens are a holiday destination by itself. Bali’s resorts and villa complexes offer a vast selection of landscaping styles: Balinese, of course, Mediterranean, Japanese, or a fusion of them all. The property’s florists or outside specialized flower vendors will set up your garden wedding venue according to your wishes and usually exceed your expectations by far: Their elaborate wedding decoration creations rate from “exceptional” to “incredible”.
– On top of the cliffs
Not a beach fan? Then why not getting married 50 to 100 metres above the Indian Ocean, with an unspoilt view over the calm (or rough) waters beneath. Because of its geographical disposition, Bukit has developed into a special wedding destination with quite a few cliff resorts and villas arranging extraordinary wedding events on the “cliff’s edge”.
– On the slopes of one of Bali’s majestic mountains
West, Central, and East Bali is very different from the developed and densely populated tourist areas in the South: smaller villages, local life, the real Bali, as it still exists. Villas and resorts there are usually more reduced in size than their Southern counterparts, but their wedding venues and locations leave nothing to desire. And it is certainly no disadvantage that you are physically closer to the Hindu Gods who reside up in the impressive Gunungs, and whose blessings you will appreciate during your respectful wedding ceremony – with the help of a Balinese Hindu priest.
– On the water or under, riding an elephant
A little bit of wedding extravaganza (because it is a once-in-a-lifetime event, right?): For example, getting married on elephant back. A world-renowned Elephant Safari Park in Taro, north of Ubud, conducts dozens of amazing wedding events each year where bride and groom are picked up by an ‘Elephant Taxi’ from their Lodge Suite inside the property and are taken to the beautifully decorated wedding gazebo close to the elephants feeding area. Say “I DO” with the elephants.
Not less memorable is an Underwater Wedding in the Sanur or Nusa Dua waters. Diving experience may come handy, but is not necessary; brief instruction is provided.
Better on top of the water? Bali sea cruise companies leaving from Benoa Harbour offer Wedding Ceremonies and Wedding Receptions for up to 100 guests, on half or full day cruises.
Dear BA readers, this first article provides a very concise overview on Wedding Types and Wedding Locations that the wedding professionals of magical Bali prepare for the demanding spouses and their families. For more information on the above, you may contact the BA Wedding Planner (email below), or any Bali wedding organizer of our choice.
In our next article, the BA Wedding Planner will talk about Wedding Venues, Make up Artists & Hair Stylists, Wedding Decorations, Photography, Videography, etc., and on how to avoid disappointments by choosing the right professionals.
The BA Wedding Planner looks back on many of international Hotel Management and Wedding Planning and is very happy to receive your questions and enquiries under: [email protected]