Article updated and amended for 2017 & 18
Many brides who want to have a destination wedding in Bali think that it is difficult and daunting to research and plan this all from afar.
But actually, it isn’t.
That is if you stay clear of the countless ‘lemons’ crowding the wedding industry in Bali. Incompetent, unreliable and non-trustworthy wedding vendors abound in Bali. You have been warned.
I will tell you where to start and how to plan for a wedding in Bali. So let’s get started.
WHEN – to have a wedding in Bali ?
Obviously, your wedding date will play a big role. That is because most all weddings are outdoor events unless you get married in a chapel and then have your dinner reception in a ballroom.
Generally, the best time for a wedding in Bali is between April and October. During that period the weather is better than during the monsoon season. During June to August prices for hotels, wedding venues, air-tickets are usually higher. It may also be more difficult to find hotels.
Most importantly start to plan and book your wedding as early as you can. You can read more about how to prepare for a rain .
WHERE – what VENUE ?
This is usually the first question that brides have in mind. And indeed it is the most important one.
You must think carefully about this!
There are several hundred possible wedding venues in Bali. And the choices are overwhelming at first sight. Bali has so many options and venues, but they all fall into one of four categories:
One common mistake many brides and couples make is to think that one type of wedding is cheaper than another one.
No, a beach wedding is not necessarily the cheapest!! Neither is a villa wedding necessarily expensive.
Like with all things in life – it depends…
Villa are the most spectacular venues for weddings in Bali.
A villa wedding gives you the most freedom to choose your options. Villa weddings are also very convenient because bride and groom do not need to travel on their wedding day. And villa weddings give you the most privacy.
On the other hand villa weddings tend to be a bit more complex to arrange. You would be well advised to seek the assistance of a competent wedding planner / organizer. Almost all villa weddings are larger events with 30,40 - up to 100 guests.
The majority of villas popular for weddings are large properties with 4,5 or more bedrooms and large gardens.
Most Bali villa weddings will have catering for the evening / reception. And the vast majority of villas have minimum night stay requirements for 3,4,5 or sometimes, even more nights. Here you can discover more about
HOTEL / RESORT WEDDINGS
Nowadays most every hotel/resort in Bali offer weddings and wedding packages. Hotel and resort weddings are well suited for brides and grooms who value easiness and convenience over individuality and privacy.
With a hotel /resort wedding, you can have everything at one place and often also have all your friends and family stay also in the same hotel/resort.
You will also not need to worry about choosing vendors and options. In fact, often you will have very little options to choose from.
‘Wedding in a box’ - or all inclusive packages as they are commonly called.
You may need to go with whatever the hotel offers you.
For example, you cannot choose your own caterer or your preferred florist. But that is understandable and actually not a problem.
Often the hotel’s wedding package will include services of a photographer. Those photographers are often of questionable quality and you may end up with wedding photographs that you don’t like.
Do not assume that because you are booking through a 5-star hotel with an international brand that the services of their included vendors are also of 5-star quality. Often they use rather cheap low-grade vendors.
The lack of privacy is another important point for you to consider. Very few hotels are able to close off the area where your wedding ceremony will be taking place. So be prepared to have hotel guests in their bathers standing by and watching your wedding.
Or worse have those half naked bodies in your wedding photos.
Of course, the hotels do not show you this in the photos on their website. But the reality can be quite different from what you see on the hotel’s website.
And last but not least please do not get fooled by the fact that the persons from the hotel who will reply your emails call themselves wedding planners/wedding coordinators/wedding specialist.
The fact of the matter is that they are staff from the hotel’s sales department or Banquet department whose job is to sell you as much as they can, rather than offering you options and choices that match your individuality and your budget.
If you are considering a Bali wedding in a hotel or resort you may want to also explore the following articles:
Bali opened its first wedding chapel 16 years ago. Since then over 20 wedding chapels have been built satisfying the demand for this kind of wedding that originated in Japan.
Although most chapels are part of a hotel/resort they deserve their own category.
Some of those chapels have beautiful architecture whereas others are as charming as a soviet-era train station.
Chapel weddings are a bit like hotel and resort weddings. They offer you little flexibility in terms of vendors and options for your wedding.
You are often stuck with the few options of décor & flowers the chapel offers.
Keep in mind that when you are directly inquiring and dealing with a particular chapel you are not dealing with a wedding planner, but with a staff from their sales department whose target it is to sell you as much as possible services.
The single biggest advantage of having a chapel wedding is that even if it rains your wedding will be less affected.
Chapels also offer you a higher degree of privacy. Although this may only apply to the inside of the chapel and not to the surroundings which are usually part of a hotel/resort.
Many brides dreaming of a wedding in Bali are thinking of a wedding on a beach. There certainly are some lovely spots for beach weddings in Bali. But not as many as you may expect.
That has to do with the fact that all beaches in Bali are public. Nobody, not even hotels can claim a single meter of beach as private. Hotels and other beach properties tend to disguise that fact.
You can read more about this in the following article: Beach weddings in Bali.
Therefore, many brides often end up at locations other than a beach.
For hotel beach weddings you cannot expect complete privacy and it is not uncommon that only a few meters away from where you are getting married tourists in their bathers watch or walk by randomly.
And be very careful with what I call ‘fake’ beach weddings. Whereby a hotel advertises their package as a beach wedding but in reality your wedding will on the hotel’s property 50 – 100 meters away from the beach.
There are very few beaches that are not part of a hotel and which have a relatively high degree of privacy. On the down-side, most of those locations do not have a backup location in case it rains.
Sitting on an un-shaded beach in the tropical heat may also not be ideal for you or your guests.
For those eloping, or very small weddings with only a handful guests beach weddings can be a good option.
Beach weddings can be very beautiful and gratifying but be aware about possible caveats.
You can get some of the best beach wedding options here.
WEDDING PLANNER OR NOT ?
Most brides are under the wrong impression that a wedding planner is not necessary and will make things only more expensive.
While this may be true in some cases it is usually valuable to have an expert’s advice and help.
If on the other side you have your eyes set on a particular hotel/resort or a chapel you may not require a wedding planner.
For chapel weddings, if may also make sense to go through an independent wedding company because most chapels offer all-inclusive wedding packages that do not allow you to choose your own vendors for such critical things like photography and makeup. Or they will charge you additional fees for bringing in your own vendors.
Whereas independent wedding organizers get special deals which allow them to help you bring in vendors of your choice. And you will not necessarily pay more – often it can be cheaper to book via an independent wedding planner / organizer.
Please press the button below if you want us to find the right wedding planner for your wedding:
Make Priorities and choose your vendors wisely
CAUTION LADIES !!
The immense popularity of destination weddings in Bali has attracted a lot of unprofessional vendors seeking to make a quick buck.
Since the wedding industry in Bali is completely unregulated anybody can open a website and offer services. Often there are incompetent and unprofessional people behind those websites.
If it looks too cheap it probably is. And you may end up rather in a nightmare wedding than with a dream wedding.
Needless to say that if you fall prey to one of those you may end up wasting a lot of your precious time and sometimes even incur financial losses.
And trust me ladies, you would not want to hear what I have seen in my 14 years in the industry here.
From brides who could not get married because the chapel did forget to order the services of the civil registry or hotels who simply gave the wrong starting time or date to the photographer. Caterers who ran out of booze even before the main course was served. Wedding planners who disappeared with several thousand dollars of deposit never to be heard of again. And the list goes on and on.
I therefore, recommend that you choose the services of a vendor that is part of the SOCIETY OF BALI WEDDING PROFESSIONALS.
In an ideal world, we would all have an unlimited budget and be able to only choose the very best. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal.
Most of us have to work with certain budgets and other constraints.
In Bali the prices for locations, venues vary greatly.
The same applies for vendors and service providers. Hotels have star ratings from 2-star hotels up to 5 and even 6-star ones. No such rating exist for wedding vendors in Bali. Unfortunately for the completely unregulated wedding industry in Bali, there is no independent body that would certify vendors or rank them by quality or level of service.
Another important word of advice
A lot of brides are misled by international branded hotels and their wedding packages.
They assume that because they purchase a wedding packages from a reputable 5-star hotel that the components of the package are also of the same high quality like the hotel’s own services.
Most of the time that is not the case.
Just because you purchased a wedding package from a 5 star hotel or a reputable chapel that does not mean that the photographer who the hotel provides is also of 5 star quality.
For most 5 star hotels the services they source from outside will be satisfactory but likely not of 5 star standard.
If you want to discover more about this see the following article:
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Are you a foodie? Then your choice of catering will obviously be very important and you may opt for one of the top caterers in Bali.
Are you a photography buff? Then stay away from those boy-with-a-camera photographers that come as part of an all-inclusive wedding package.
Or do you want to party loud and wild long into the night hours? Then a hotel/resort wedding where the music has to stop at 21.30 will not be an ideal choice for you.
Do you want to treat yourself and maybe the bride’s maids for awesome makeup & hair? Then probably you should opt for one of the better stylists in Bali and spend more on beauty and styling. Stay away from the makeup artist included in an all-inclusive package.
I hope this article has been useful to you and has prepared you to make well-informed choices for your wedding. Remember a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Therefore research your options carefully and choose wisely where you get married and who is going to help you to pull it all together.
Do you need help with your wedding in Bali?
One last thing: Would you like to be part of a friendly community of brides and couples who like you are planning to have their wedding in Bali?
If yes, then I have good news for you. We have a created a Facebook group where you can ask questions and get answers to your questions from leading wedding experts in Bali.
There a team of seasoned wedding experts, including myself provide free and independent advice on all things relating to having a destination wedding in Bali.
I would like to personally invite you to join at:
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See also the following articles:
In this article, we answer our reader's most burning question: What is the COST OF A BALI WEDDING? We will also compare various options and how you can make your budget get you exactly the destination wedding in Bali you were hoping for.
Yes, it is possible for most couples to get legally married in Bali. And in this article I am going to show you how to do that. I will also tell you what conditions have to be met. And also advise you on the paperwork involved.
In this article, you can discover if you need a planner for your destination wedding in Bali or not. The short answer is: probably not. But it is a bit more complex than that. In the following, you can discover why.