One of the most frequently asked question by brides planning a destination wedding in Bali is whether they need a planner or not.

The short answer is: probably not.

But it turns out it is a bit more complicated than that. Because it depends…

In this article, I will shed some light on this question and help you to decide if you should pay for the services of a planner or not.



The services of a Bali wedding planner cost money


The services of a wedding planner are an additional cost to your wedding budget. Therefore, you should first ask if you really need a wedding planner in Bali.

Until a decade ago it was virtually impossible to arrange a wedding in Bali without involving a wedding planner. Paying for the services of a wedding planner was like death & taxes. Unavoidable.

However, the times they are a changin…?

Nowadays almost everything you need for your wedding in Bali can be easily researched and conveniently booked online.

Reviews, photos, and videos of Bali weddings are plentiful online.

And increasingly brides are helping each other in online groups on Facebook and other Social Media places.

There is a clear trend for brides & grooms to take matters into their own hands and arrange their wedding in Bali by themselves.

More and more couples spend their money rather on a longer honeymoon or on a great vendor than on a wedding planner in Bali.



Couple on a beach during the Golden Hour - by JO YU


Many wedding planners in Bali are actually not planners, but rather wedding package sellers


Let’s first examine what a real wedding planner is supposed to do for you:

  • Venue inspections
  • Budgeting & financing
  • Arrange vendor meetings
  • Food tastings
  • Scheduling of events
  • Décor & styling for your wedding
  • Sending invitations and tracking your RSVPs
  • Plan the guest’ experience

Some planners even help you find the right wedding dress and advise you on family politics that may play role at your wedding day.

Such a planner will guide a bride to be from the moment she decides to have a wedding until the last guest will have left on the wedding day.

Ladies, in all honesty, do we really need a stranger hand-holding us when we choose our wedding dress?

Do we really need someone to take care of our invitations when there are free apps that can do that on our behalf?

Do we really need a wedding planner to set up venue inspections for us in Bali when we can just send out a couple of emails and hop on a plane and check it out ourselves?


For a destination wedding in Bali, things are different


In Bali, most wedding planners are in reality just wedding package sellers. They throw a lot of packages at you until hopefully one sticks.

And surprisingly lots of brides are happy with that approach and are will to pay big bucks for that...

There are, of course, some notable exceptions. But the services of good wedding planners in Bali are often costly and outside of the budgets of most young couples.

Nowadays sisters are doing it by themselves…?

But of course, if you have a large wedding in Bali that takes place on multiple locations with plenty of guests and you have the cash to burn for a good wedding planner then, by all means, go for it.

Or if you are a busy executive making 10 times as much money per hour than what you pay a wedding planner then it is a 'no-brainer' to hire a wedding planner from Bali.

And if you are such a bride and want to have a really good wedding planner feel free to drop me a line and I will help you find one.

In the following, we will examine some Bali weddings which actually do not need a planner.



Waterfall wedding - photographed by MARTIN DEWATA


When do you not need a planner for a wedding in Bali?


A simple elopement


About 30% - 40% of all destination weddings to Bali are by couples who have decided to take the plunge alone without any guests. And indeed, Bali is an ideal place to have a truly romantic wedding for two only.

Elopement weddings are very easy to arrange. Even from afar. And there is very little to plan as such.

Therefore, the services of a wedding planner are rather unnecessary.?

Also keep in mind that a wedding planner needs to make a profit and usually the budget for an elopement is rather small. So, if the planner makes a few hundred bucks from your wedding then this can be a substantial part of your overall budget.

You may be better of spending some more money on a good photographer because the photos are the only thing you will bring back from Bali.

However, if you plan to have a legal wedding in Bali then it will be necessary to involve a planner, who can help you arrange all the papers necessary to have a legal wedding in Bali.

Unlike in Aussie where your celebrant can help you arrange the legal papers in Bali, this is normally done by wedding planners and wedding companies.

Please note that in most cases you are better off to have a non-legal or commitment ceremony only in Bali. And do the legal paperwork back home.

It is usually cheaper and much less complicated to have a blessing ceremony only. Such blessing ceremonies are also known in Bali as commitment ceremonies.



Hotel - rooftop wedding - photographed by: JO YU


Bali chapel weddings


Ever since the first wedding chapel opened on the island back in 2004 chapel weddings in Bali have been very popular.

As of 2019, there are over 20 wedding chapels in Bali. Most are part of a hotel/resort. Which makes it very convenient as you can have your romantic candlelight dinner close by your wedding chapel.


All chapels in Bali offer packages. They do have in-house wedding coordinators who can make all the necessary arrangements for you. They can also arrange the necessary papers for your wedding to be a legal one.

Therefore, it is completely unnecessary to book a Bali chapel wedding through a planner.

Be careful though with an all-inclusive package that already includes services such as photographer, video, makeup & hair, and other services.

Because usually the included package photographer, makeup artist, stylist is of lower quality.

Due to intense competition among wedding chapels in Bali, they have rather low-class inclusions to make their package as cheap as possible.

Consequently, many brides have been disappointed when they had a stylist who could barely communicate in English and could not create the desired look the bride was after.

Or worse, they had to bring home wedding photos that are so poor that you would not want to share them with family and friends.

Therefore, it makes a lot of sense if you find your own stylist or photographer instead of going with the package vendors included in your package.

After all, you want to look great and have lovely photos to bring back from Bali.

But if you are not too fuzzy about your photos or your makeup & hair then you may be ok with the included photographer, makeup artist, etc… 



Bali chapel wedding - photographed by MICHELLE PASTEL


Hotel & resort wedding


In Bali, there are over 100 hotels/resorts which offer wedding packages. All those hotels also have an in-house wedding coordinator who can arrange your whole wedding for you.

They can even help you arrange the papers necessary for a legal wedding should you choose to get legally married in Bali.

Ladies, please keep in mind that hotels & resorts have varying service levels – some are 5-star, some 4-star but nowadays also 3 and even small 2-star hotels offer wedding packages. And the differences can be quite significant.

Especially on the cheap end of the market, you need to be careful… you may end up eating fried rice as your wedding dinner and share your wedding venue with tourists in bathers… ?

Also please consider that hotels usually cannot offer real privacy for your wedding. Hotels are shared spaces by definition.

Although some of the larger hotels have areas that are shielded off from other guests during your wedding ceremony. So do your homework.


Again, be careful with all-inclusive packages that are provided by the hotel. Many brides before you have learned the hard way the vendors like the DJ or the band, the photographer, the makeup artist was not to the standard they expected.?


I recommend if a hotel in Bali forces you to use their vendors (DJ, band, photographer, video, makeup artist, etc...) or charge steep entrance fees for your own vendors you better find another hotel. There are plenty of hotels & resorts in Bali with better conditions.

If you want to start exploring hotel & resort packages please see the following: POPULAR WEDDING PACKAGES IN BALI.

Ladies, if you want to learn more about having a hotel/resort wedding in Bali we have a special article for you. You may want to check out: Bali Hotel & Resort weddings (coming soon).



Resort wedding in Uluwatu - photographed by VALENTINO RUYA


Other situations where you may not need a wedding planner


For instance, if you have been at a wedding in Bali in a particular venue that you know well and which you like.

Or when you want to have a similar wedding as someone else. Though I caution you to choose your wedding venue just based on what you have seen somewhere online. Or without knowing much about the place.

Why? Photos, reviews, etc… can be (and often are) fake. You should better have seen the venue yourself…

Many couples who decide to have their wedding in Bali do so because they have been at a friend’s Bali wedding. If you then decide to have the same wedding at the same venue as your friend just look up the website of that venue and fire off an email requesting their wedding packages.

When you want to be your wedding as inexpensive as it can be.

While Bali is no longer a ‘cheap destination’ weddings here can still be inexpensive compared to your home country.

If you want the most budget-friendly wedding then you should forgo the services of a planner. Because a planner costs money.

Not only the wedding planning fees, but there are also ‘hidden cost’ when hiring a planner, which we will discuss in another article.

When you have a lot of time and you enjoy exploring the options and comparing packages

Some brides enjoy the process of planning a wedding and discovering the options on their own. They like to spend countless hours on the web and looking at options and other people’s weddings.

But it takes time. You can easily spend hundreds of hours doing this and that….

So be careful. Many brides before you who embarked on this journey gave up soon after they started.

Because brides often underestimated the effort necessary to do it all on their own.

If this is your thing you need to decide for yourself.

In the following I leave you with some impressions of weddings where no planner was involved:



Elopement wedding in Bali - photographed by VALENTINO RUYA



Simple beach elopement - photographed by JO YU



Bali Ubud - rain forest wedding. Photographed by: JO YU


Bali Garden villa wedding - photographed & arranged by: MICHELLE PASTEL



Beach elopement by: MICHELLE PASTEL


For those of you who want to try to gather as much as possible information about having a wedding in Bali without a planner you may want to join the FACEBOOK group: GETTING MARRIED IN BALI. There brides like you share information and discuss options for their wedding in Bali.

To join this friendly group please click the button below:




I hope I have been able to give you some useful advice on the question of having to hire a wedding planner or not.

If you have any questions or if you need help with your wedding in Bali feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment below.


Happy Wedding







See also the following articles:


Best Bali beach wedding venue

I am excited to present you Bali's best beach wedding venue - the only truly private beach in Bali. You gonna love this one. And it is surprisingly affordable as well.

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Bali Wedding – where to start

This article is for those who have just started to research and plan a wedding in Bali. I will explain you about the different types of weddings in Bali. And all that you need to know. And the important questions you need to ask and answer.

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Unhappy Bali Bride

Private: Professional rip-off

Ladies, in this article I am going to give you some food-for-thought that you should think about before you buy this so fantastic wedding package that already includes everything you need for your wedding Bali. Too many brides have found out the hard way that 'professional' in Bali sometimes can rather be a ripp-off

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  1. Ashima Rajput

    Thanks for sharing your experience, it will be helpful for us.

  2. Tenaye

    wow, this is an amazing option for my fiance and me! We are getting legally married in the US but we want to have a symbolic ceremony and share our vows in Bali next July. I reached out to the resort and they gave us options for a wedding package for 10 people but we honestly don’t need all of that and the packages they sent over did not include photography. Thank you so much for sharing because I had no idea this was even an option!

  3. sunderkand

    Can I simply just say what a relief to discover a person that truly understands what they are talking about over
    the internet. You actually know how to bring a problem to
    light and make it important. A lot more people ought to check this out and understand this side of your story.

    I can’t believe you are not more popular because you certainly possess
    the gift.

    • Jameela T.

      Thank you so much.

  4. Rebecca Perkins

    Hi, would you recommend using a planner for a villa wedding?

    • Jameela T.

      For a villa wedding, you will most likely need a planner. I would say 85% or more of all villa weddings in Bali are done with the involvement of a planner.
      But it all depends on your specific requirements. Feel free to contact me and I will guide you further.
      Jameela Tey


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