Balinese Weddings

A few months ago I went to Bali to attend a friend’s vow renewal ceremony. It was held in a beautiful villa near the town of Ubud and about twelve of us attended. Most of us only stayed a few days, but the couple were able to enjoy a two week stay and held the ceremony about four days into their holiday so they were already relaxed and in a ‘Bali state of mind’ on the big day.

While I was there I got chatting to the villa owner and found out that his villa is often used for weddings. I decided to investigate further and find out more about the wedding business in Bali.

Apparently there are a number of different types of ceremonies possible, and all are quite popular. Some couples choose to have the full legal ceremony when getting married. This consists of two parts. The first part is performed by a religious representative and the second part is undertaken by the Indonesian Government Registry Officials. It is actually the second part which makes the ceremony legal, although it can only be officially recorded after the religious ceremony has taken place. Couples wanting the full legal ceremony must also make sure they file a ‘Notice of Intention to Marry’ before the ceremony and provide a ‘Letter of No Impediment’ from their consular representatives. This is just a form which states both people are legally allowed to be married by their own countries.

Some couples want to celebrate a marriage without legal implications, and this is where a ‘Religious Only Ceremony’ comes into play. It is a way of affirming love without the bureaucratic trivialities a full wedding implies. This is actually a very popular option, and although one could cynically think this is a slightly wishy-washy way of not actually getting hitched and being able to get out of it all without strings later on, that would just be mean.

Similar to the religious ceremony is the ‘Commitment Ceremony.’ This is also free from all legal implications and is ideal for those with absolute commitment issues or for those wishing to renew their vows. This is the ceremony which my friends undertook, and it was simply and stunningly arranged. A Balinese official led the ceremony and it had a truly Balinese flavour. They also had a Balinese Blessing Ceremony which was very traditional and rather spiritual.

Most people choose one of three options regarding a site for the actual ceremony. Beach weddings are popular all around the island, and can easily be arranged either through a hotel or specific wedding planner. Some hotels also cater for weddings and hold them in their grounds in purpose-built garden gazebos or inside large function rooms. But becoming more popular are villa weddings. This is when the couple rents out an entire villa and generally stays there for the duration of the holiday. If the villa is large enough – like the one my friends rented – then guests can join them on the property. Like a hotel, the villa is usually set up to cater for wedding ceremonies with beautiful garden areas or beach access.

Do a simple search on the internet and you will be overwhelmed by the number of companies offering their services to organise your wedding. From flowers to catering, from outfits to legal documentation, it seems everything can be handled for you, meaning that your honeymoon or holiday can be completely stress-free. My friends went through such a company and although they admitted there was a certain amount of expense involved, it definitely seemed like the right thing to do on the day. There was no worrying about whether the cake had been delivered, no anxiety about floral arrangements. Everything was expertly organized by people who had obviously done it hundreds of times before. As far as Balinese Weddings go, it was a blissful experience for everyone involved.