Getting Married in Bali
Deciding where to get married is the first in a long line of decisions you’ll make together as a married couple. So choosing somewhere that reflects your personality and style is important for your big day.
As far as iconic destinations go, Bali is up there. With its timeless beauty, natural surroundings and affordable luxe, it’s a popular destination – so much so that 16,000 couples tie the knot here annually. If you’re the next one, read on to find out everything about getting married in Bali.
Why choose Bali for your wedding?
With a 17-hour flight and various connections, Bali is one of the furthest destinations for a jet-set wedding. Arriving here, you’ll understand why it’s oh-so worth it.
One of the most breathtaking islands in the world, this Indonesian outpost is drenched in sunshine and beauty. With a backdrop of golden beaches set against aqua-marine waters, it’s a fairy tale setting for your wedding day. There’s also great adventure to behold, from scaling waterfalls, to jungle treks, and volcanic tours – ideal for kickstarting your honeymoon in style.
Because the island depends heavily on tourism, you can also expect first-class service and world-class resorts, all at a snip of the price of Europe. It’s easy to see why this luxurious destination ticks all the boxes for a far-flung wedding.
Best time of year for a Balinese wedding
Unlike the UK, Bali experiences two seasons only: wet season and dry season.
Most couples flock here for the option to marry outdoors. This being the case, early summer (between May and August), is the perfect time to elope. It’s dry and warm, with blue skies offering a dreamy background for those all-important wedding day photos to treasure.
With its tropical climate, a sprinkling of rain is always a possibility, so consider venues with covering or indoor rooms for all eventualities. To avoid the blazing sun, wedding ceremonies tend to take place earlier in the day (10-noon), or early evening if you prefer to capture a magical sunset (6-7pm).
Rainy season tends to hit the island between October and April, with a few hours or rain a day. If this doesn’t put you off, you can bag some serious bargains for a luxury wedding, but it’s best to find wedding venues with an indoor offering. On the upside, rain on your wedding day is supposed to bring luck and prosperity to the couple – silver linings and all that!
What type of wedding to have?
Before you get to ‘I do’, you’ll need to decide on the type of ceremony for you. It’s important to note that all ceremonies in Bali are religious.
For a contemporary-style ceremony, there are plenty of outdoor options, including forests, jungles, and beachside settings in most of the top hotels. You can even go wild and have an intimate soiree in a pool, yes it’s a thing!
If your preference is for a traditional ceremony, it’s best to work with a local wedding planner to organise all the paperwork and necessary formalities in advance. It’s good to know that most of the high-end resorts come with a wedding planner. Usually, a celebrant officiates the ceremony, although you can request a priest if you so desire, in advance.
Most religious ceremonies take place in an onsite chapel, some of these are semi open-air like the breathtaking Kaamala Resort. As an important consideration, Catholic weddings on the island can only take place in a Catholic Church, whilst Muslim marriages should be registered at KUA – an Islamic office.
The main religion on the island is Hinduism, this along with Buddhist and Christian-Protestant weddings are all available to celebrate on the island. Regretfully, Indonesian law does not recognise Judaism or a number of other religions, as well as same-sex marriages and civil unions.
In order to get married in Bali, there are just two requirements, these are:
- Both partners must be of the same religion
- The couples must obtain a ‘Letter of No Impediment to Marriage’ from the local embassy or consulate
This can make it a little tricky for partners who do not share the same religious beliefs – although no proof of religious preference is required. However, as an alternative, a blessing ceremony is a popular option, followed by a legal ceremony before or after your trip back home.
The good news is that the cost of the paperwork and admin is relatively low, however there are two fees to pay. This includes an event fee (this can be between £800-£3,250), along with a ‘Banjar fee’.
This goes to the local community, as a sweetener for the noise, traffic and disruption incurred. It’s especially useful to know that if you’re holding a ceremony and reception in one place, you’ll only pay this fee once. So, if you’re looking for the most economical solution, avoid having various locations for your big day.
As for marriage certificates, these can take up to 10 days to be produced. With this in mind, you might want to plan your wedding at the front end of your trip.
What to pack?
Aside from flying with your wedding outfits and lots of sun cream, be sure to pack the following essentials, which you’ll need for getting married:
- Birth certificates
- Drivers licence for any car hire
- Any evidence of name changes
- Local currency (usually to pay the local embassy)
- If applicable – documents from previous divorce proceedings and copy of death certificate of former spouse.
Choosing the right wedding venue
And now to the exciting part – choosing your wedding venue. Most venues are well-equipped to host a day-to-night celebration, with chapels or venues on site. You can also expect an impressive choice of locally produced food, with cuisine and cocktails well-catered for on the island.
Wedinspire is the go-to destination for a selection of the very best Balinese wedding venues. Here you’ll find a host of choices, from dreamy beach settings, to awe-inspiring tropical paradises nestled in the heart of the jungle.