Bali is not just the Island of the Gods – it’s also the Island of the Weddings! Thanks to the island’s stunning scenery and uniquely magical ambiance, it’s no wonder many couples choose to have a destination wedding in Bali. Before leaping for the bouquet though, there are a few thing you should know about organising a wedding in Bali.
1. Choosing the Venue
Perhaps the most important decisions regarding your Bali wedding will be choosing the venue. One of the most popular and most convenient options is to have the wedding in a private villa. This setting offers all the privacy and space you need as well as allowing the wedding party to stay under the same roof or close by, as many villas are located in a complex with room for dozens of guests. Looking for options? Check out our favourite, hand-selected wedding villas in Bali.
Other venue options include hotels and resorts, some of which offer commercial wedding chapels (i.e. not associated with any specific faith).
One thing to note is that Catholic priests are not allowed to marry couples outside of a Catholic church. In other words, if you want to have a Catholic wedding ceremony in Bali, the ceremony must be held in a Catholic church and can’t take place in a villa, hotel or chapel.
2. Legal Wedding vs. Symbolic Ceremony
Though it’s easy to forget when gazing at inspirational Pinterest boards, weddings are actually bureaucratic ceremonies and a certain amount of paperwork is required – especially if you’re planning to tie the knot overseas.
There are two options for having a wedding in Bali. You can have a legal wedding ceremony, where you officially get married in Bali. The other option is to have a symbolic ceremony in Bali and handle the legal matters and paperwork back home. The latter option means you don’t have to worry about paperwork or deal with the local authorities in Bali.
3. Religious and Civil Ceremony Are a Must
If you do decide to have a legal wedding ceremony in Bali, there are certain procedures which need to be followed. The specifics vary according your nationality and it’s important that you check all the requirements with the authorities.
The important thing to understand is that to get legally married in Bali, you need to have both a religious and a civil ceremony. The religious component is a must and it needs to follow one of Indonesia’s official religions: Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism or Christianity (Catholic or Protestant).
4. Choosing the Right Season
Bali is a tropical island affected by a distinct rainy season, which is something to consider when planning your wedding in Bali. Most couples would prefer to get married on a bright and sunny day and choose to steer clear of the dreaded rainy season (October-March). That being said, even during rainy season, Bali rarely sees downpours lasting more than an hour or two.
When creating a budget for your wedding in Bali, it’s good to remember that prices for accommodation, celebration venues and services in general peak during high season (June-August, Christmas and New Year). For this reason, you might want to consider planning your wedding in Bali during low or shoulder season (January-June, September-December).
5. Paying the Banjar Fee
One of the most mystifying things about your wedding in Bali is probably the banjar fee. If you’re having your wedding in a Bali villa, you need to pay a fee to the local village community or banjar. This is a standard procedure in all villas in Bali.
The fee basically “buys” you the permission to organise your event inside the village and means the banjar will be aware of the extra noise and traffic affecting their community. The exact fee depends on the local banjar, so make sure to check it when booking your wedding villa. Besides the banjar fee, practically all villas also charge an event fee which also varies from venue to venue.
6. Minimum Stay
Another thing to consider when planning a villa wedding in Bali is that villas usually require a minimum stay with wedding bookings. This means that you need to book the villa for a minimum of, say, three nights even though your wedding celebrations are a one-night affair.
The length of the minimum stay varies from villa to villa as well as according to the season: during high season, the required minimum stay is longer.
7. Pack Strategically – and BYOB!
Some might argue that a wedding is simply an excuse for throwing a massive party. If you’re throwing said party in Bali, the grand total might come as a shock. Alcohol (excluding your basic Bintang that is) is very expensive in Bali and quenching the thirst of all guests can really add up.
Many couples purchase wine and other alcohol in their home country and ask each guest to bring a bottle with them. Indonesian regulations allow each passenger to bring along one litre of alcohol. Anything exceeding one litre must be declared at customs and is subject to duty fees. As you can see, “Bring Your Own Bottle” is very sage advice for all wedding guests in Bali!