From lush, green rice fields high in the mountains, to the sparkling turquoise waters off the coast, chances are Bali will have a spot that’s just right for your wedding – whatever you’re dreaming of.
Aside from the obvious charms of the region’s natural beauty, Bali also ticks a lot of boxes as the location for a destination wedding. It’s exotic – offering you and your guests cultural experiences that only travel beyond Australia’s borders can provide – yet it’s also easily accessible, via multiple daily flights from the capitals, with most under six hours long.
There are few places in the world where it’s possible to have a five-star travel experience without the stiff, starchy treatment that so often accompanies high-end accommodation – Bali is one of them. While service standards here are frequently exceptional, there is rarely any excessive formality or aloofness to go with it, making for an easy and relaxing stay.
It doesn’t matter if your dream wedding is a simple ceremony on the beach, or a grand-scale affair with hundreds of your nearest and dearest in attendance – there will be a venue in Bali which fits the bill.
Read on as we explore all that Bali has to offer the discerning bride and groom in search of a seamless wedding ceremony, reception or honeymoon.
Finn's, Semara Resort, Uluwatu
Perched high above the beach, Semara’s Uluwatu property offers stylish suites with plunge pools, individual patio areas and garden or ocean views. If you want to take your stay up a notch, book one of the resort’s seven luxurious villas, each with its own generously sized swimming pool. Unwind at Finn’s Beach Club – which is accessible by an electric inclinator, has a resident DJ, excellent cocktails and peaceful enough waters for stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkelling. Or, visit Body Temple spa for a massage or beauty treatment. For a more intimate experience, Semara also owns a smaller, boutique-style villa near Bali’s newest hotspot, Canggu. Sleeping 27 people, it can cater for weddings up to 150. (semararesorts.com)
Intercontinental Bali Resort, Jimbaran
With a range of packages covering everything from a simple sunset ceremony and Champagne toast, to a more elaborate event featuring live musicians, parasol-toting attendants and an hour-long massage for the bride and groom, your ceremony can be whatever you want it to be. The resort features more than a dozen possible locations for the celebrations, including beachfront lawns, a garden surrounded by lilyponds, or an air-conditioned ballroom. Best of all, time need not be an issue – if you don’t want to wait, the wedding-planning team advises that just three months’ notice may be all that’s required to pull together the wedding of your dreams. (intercontinental.com)
Villa Botanica, Nusa Dua & Ubud
Planning a successful destination wedding hinges on having good contacts in your chosen location – and the planners at Villa Botanica pride themselves on knowing the best in the business. In fact, they promise to ensure everything goes so smoothly, you’ll be a ‘Bridechilla’ by the time the big day comes around. There are two distinctly different venues available. Craving sunshine? Choose the Perfect Beach Wedding, with a reception in the stunning open-air pavilion. Or, travel further north to the Royal Maha Pita for Villa Botanica’s ‘Exquisite Weddings’. Originally built by the Balinese Royal family, this property is a palatial, carved-stone complex nestled in a hidden valley along the banks of the majestic Ayung River near Bali’s spiritual centre, Ubud. (botanicaweddings.com)
Ayana Resort and Spa, Jimbaran
Whether you picture yourselves exchanging vows in a rustic, clifftop villa, a modern glass-walled chapel overlooking the Indian Ocean, or under a garden canopy overflowing with fragrant frangipani blossoms, there’s a strong likelihood that one of Ayana’s seven distinctive ceremony venues will live up to your imagination. The wedding planners here go to almost any lengths to ensure the day is exactly as you wish, with everything from deluxe couples’ spa treatments, to a dove or balloon release, and even a horse-drawn carriage for you and your new spouse. (ayanaresort.com)
PLACES TO STAY
St Regis Bali
From its absolute-beachfront position alongside the pure white sands of Nusa Dua, the St Regis is a majestic presence with service standards to match. Far away from the hustle and bustle, relax by the lagoon pool or head to the spa for a ‘luxury Champagne treatment’, which uses grape seed scrubs, grape seed oil and finally, a clay body mask infused with Champagne, before ending with a luxurious bath soak accompanied by – of course – a glass of bubbly. (stregisbali.com)
W Hotel Seminyak
Lazy days by the pool, followed by romantic dinners after nightfall – what’s not to like? Nab one of the daybeds overlooking the ocean before they fill up, then watch the sun setting as you sip a cocktail. Between the stylish rooms, the efficient and friendly staff, and endless options for relaxation, you’ll struggle to find a reason to leave. That said, should you feel the need to go further afield, the hotel is within walking distance – or taxi ride – from the shops and cafes of Seminyak. (wretreatbali.com)
Making it Legal:
Bride and groom must declare the same religion, even if one of you has to nominally change faith. You must file a Notice of Intention to Marry and a Certificate of No Impediment with the Civil Registry Office. Catholics need to present baptism certificates and permission from their priest. After the ceremony, you have to record your union with the Civil Registry (Kantor Catatan Sipil) in order to make your vows legal.
Look for wedding packages that include all legal costs.
Things To Do:
1- Expand your culinary repertoire with a cooking class. Many of the resorts offer these and you’ll be able to learn how to concoct curry pastes from scratch, make a mean satay or a spicy sambal, and usually some type of dessert dish such as sticky rice or grilled bananas. (casaluna.com)
2- Get your open-water diving certification. Bali has some of the best scuba diving in the world, with coral reefs, abundant tropical fish and shipwrecks to explore. If you’re not ready to take the plunge into the deep, snorkelling is also second to none, with most tour operators offering this as an option. (prodivebali.com)
3- Have clothes made. If you have a dress, a pair of shoes, or any other garment that you especially love, a good tailor will be able to replicate them. Or, you and your new spouse can have leather jackets made to your exact measurements. (1balitailor.com)
Photographer - Windee Winata Fine Art and Wedding Photographer (windeewinata.com)
Make-Up - Yeanne Makeup Art (facebook.com/yeanne.makeupart)
Styling - Island Hitched Hire & Styling (facebook.com/islandhitched)
Catering - Bali Catering Company (balicateringcompany.com)
Film - Record Video Production (recordvideoproduction.com)
Celebrant - Bali Wedding Celebrant (baliweddingcelebrant.com)
Best Times to Visit:
June until September are the best months to schedule your wedding, as this is when you’re likeliest to experience warm, sunny weather and avoid the extreme heat and humidity of the wet season.
Fly direct to Denpasar daily from most mainland capital cities. Qantas, Garuda, Jetstar, Virgin and Air Asia all offer flights.