All you need to know about a traditional Balinese wedding ceremony
A Balinese wedding ceremony allows you to be part of a unique cultural & spiritual experience. And to immerse yourself in Bali’s rich traditions.
To get you tuned for a Balinese spiritual wedding let’s see some photos first:
First things first to have a real Balinese wedding, like a Balinese person would have you would need to be of Hindu faith.
Such a real Balinese wedding consists of several ceremonies that take place over several days in different locations.
But the good news is that to have a truly authentic Balinese wedding experience some places in Bali allow you to have what is known as a spiritual Balinese blessing ceremony.
To get you accustomed with how such a traditional Balinese wedding ceremony looks like let's see some pictures first.
A Balinese blessing ceremony
Such a Balinese blessing ceremony is ideal for couples who want a deeply spiritual wedding without the need for several complex and long-lasting rituals that a Balinese Hindu would undergo.
Depending on who will arrange your Balinese wedding ceremony the actual ceremony will last between 20 and 30 minutes.
First things first. Unlike a wedding in Christian wedding traditions that follow more or less exactly the same pattern, a Balinese wedding ceremony can be slightly different depending on who is arranging and performing it.
A Balinese wedding ceremony is usually carried out whereby both the priest and the couple sit down at the floor. That symbolizes the bonding with the element of Earth.
If you are having difficulties sitting down without a chair the ceremony can also be performed by you sitting on chairs.
One unique aspect of a Balinese wedding ceremony is that you will not only have a priest to perform the wedding rites and the ancient rituals. Usually, there is an assistant who helps the priest during the ceremony.
So please do not be surprised if there are two persons who carry out your ceremony.
Because the holy mantras recited by the Balinese priest are spoken in Balinese language usually a moderator is also involved.
That person will explain and translate the meaning of the performed ceremonies. And give instructions to the couple as to what they need to do during the ceremony.
I have to admit that I do not fully understand all the aspects of a Balinese wedding ceremony. However, to enjoy such a wonderful spiritual wedding experience it is not necessary to have an in-depth understanding of the meaning of all the involved rituals.
But don’t worry, there is not much you will need to do and it will all be explained to you. In English of course.
The Rituals of a Balinese wedding ceremony
A traditional Balinese blessing ceremony is a very spiritual experience.
At the core of any Balinese wedding ceremony are cleansing rituals and blessing rituals.
Your wedding ceremony will start by the priest ringing a holy bell to summon the good spirits and announce the wedding to the Balinese deities.
Cleansing the souls of the couple
During the cleansing rituals, a Balinese high priest will cleanse the souls of the two persons to be married from evil spirits and past sins.
At the same time, the assistant priest will burn three stalks of bamboo. And you will be sprinkled by a few drops of holy water.
The last part of this purification ritual involves the water from a fresh coconut which you will drink out of your open hand. Water from the same coconut will also be sprinkled onto the couple.
For this, the priest will use a specially prepared dried leave - usually made from pandan leaves.
The blessing of the Gods
The Balinese high priest will then seek the Blessings of the benevolent Divine.
The bride & groom will fold their hands in prayer to connect with the deities and to receive their grace for their life together as a married couple.
During the ceremony to the couple also will give each other food. That can be in the form of a piece of fruit or in the form of rice.
This symbolizes that from now on you both will care and provide for each other. Don’t worry that is not an entire meal - just one bite for each of you.
Offerings to the Gods
During your ceremony, you will also make offerings to the Gods. This is symbolized through traditional Balinese offerings as pictured below.
Whilst doing so you will both say prayers to the Gods.
You will also walk around the altar 3 times as part of this ritual.
The last part of your Balinese wedding ceremony is when you walk off the altar being showered by fresh fragrant flower petals.
That’s it !
What clothes to wear during a Balinese wedding ceremony
I often get asked if it is necessary to wear tradition Balinese dresses for such a ceremony.
The good news is that there is no particular dress code.
If you choose to wear Balinese attire you are most welcome to do so. And you do not need to buy such Balinese attire. This can be provided to you by those arranging your Balinese wedding ceremony.
But make sure you ask your man if he feels comfortable wearing a sarong.
However, please note that for the Balinese people decent attire is of high importance.
Therefore shorts pants or just a T-shirt is not permissible.
It is not recommended for the bride to wear a conventional wedding gown.
At least not a big one. Why ?
Because a traditional wedding gown may not be well suited for you to sit down on a cushion. But of course, this is your choice.
What most couples do is to wear rather light cloths, fitting for Bali’s tropical environment. All white linen clothes work very well. The Balinese priest will also wear all-white attire.
Where to have your Balinese wedding ceremony ?
Again I have good news for you.
A Balinese wedding ceremony can be performed anywhere you want. Whether you choose to have a beach wedding or you choose to get married in a hotel or a private villa such a blessing ceremony can be arranged anywhere.
Some couples choose one of Bali’s countless super beautiful natural environments like a waterfall wedding or a rain forest wedding.
But for those who were hoping to have their wedding ceremony inside a Balinese temple, I am afraid I have not so good news.
That is because getting married inside a Balinese temple is not possible unless you are a real Balinese Hindu.
However, there is a workaround for those who wish to have a Balinese temple as their wedding venue. Because this is a somewhat sensitive topic please contact me directly and I will assist you accordingly.
Mix with Western Traditions
The other good news is that you can have besides the Balinese blessing ceremony also the typical elements of a western wedding.
This may include a champagne toast as pictured below.
Many couples also choose to have a wedding cake. No problem at all.
Some couples also choose to have both a Western wedding and also a Balinese blessing ceremony.
In which case the Balinese wedding ceremony will take place either prior or after the western wedding.
Legal Wedding in Bali
If you plan to have a legal wedding in Bali this is not possible when only having a Balinese blessing ceremony.
You can still have a Balinese blessing ceremony. But in addition to that, you also need to have a ceremony in Christian faith.
Please see the following If you want to know more about how to have a legal wedding. Or if you want to know the cost of getting legally married in Bali.
The cost of a Balinese wedding ceremony
To answer this question please note that I assume you already have arranged for your wedding venue. Please note that some venues will charge you a function / event fee if you carry out a wedding ceremony.
So in case, you arrange the venue yourself please seek clarity on this.
The following cost only includes the priest and his aides performing the ceremony. Also the decor you choose..As well as all the offerings and religious paraphernalia that the priest will bring to the ceremony.
Expect to pay between 300 $ - 500 $. I am sorry that I cannot give you a more precise figure because the cost will vary depending on the priest’s fees and how elaborate your set up will be.
Whether Balinese costumes will be part of your package or not also influences the price.
Wedding planners or wedding coordinators who will be arranging the ceremony and liaise with all the involved parties also charge varying fees.
And I caution you to shop at the cheap end as you may be in for some nasty surprises when suddenly surprise fees keep popping up here and there.
Many couples choose to also have two Balinese girls - often referred to as flower girls to be part of their wedding ceremony.
While this is not mandatory it certainly adds a special flair to the overall atmosphere of your Balinese wedding ceremony.
Some couples also choose to have a traditional Balinese music ensemble to play before after the ceremony. Expect this to cost between 100$ - 200$.
Well, there you have it, Ladies and Gents.
A traditional Balinese wedding experience is a very beautiful way to celebrate your marriage here in Bali - the island of the Gods.
You will have a very unique and non-conventional wedding while at the same time be part of Bali’s beautiful culture and ancient wedding traditions. If you want more information please click the button below:
Now you know how it works and what is involved.
If you need help for such a wonderful wedding experience please click the button below and let’s discuss your destination wedding in Bali.
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.