With a picture-perfect backdrop of rice terraces, a stunning sunset disappearing into the Indian Ocean and beautiful hotel resorts that offer a mixture of modern and traditional Balinese architecture (and amazing infinity pools!), there is no place dreamier than Bali to say ‘I do’.
Destination weddings are weddings held in a setting away from your hometown, and have grown more popular over the last decade. With every wedding detail being arranged by and at a resort, it takes away the stress of planning a wedding and the destination wedding can easily be combined with the honeymoon.
But although every detail is being arranged by either a local wedding planner or by the resort itself, you can still be overwhelmed by the many choices and options for a wedding in Bali. In this guest blog for bali bliss, Bali bride Kelly shares her experience and advice for future brides planning their unforgettable wedding in the Island of the Gods.
Kelly is a global content creator & writer, born in the Netherlands. She spent around 15 years living abroad. Kelly’s mother was born in Indonesia but raised in the Netherlands, and her father is Dutch. He always dreamed of moving the family overseas for his job…and so the adventure began! When Kelly was 12 and her brother was 5 years old their first move brought them to Indonesia. Growing up, Kelly was blessed to call cities like Surabaya, Jakarta, Taipei, Singapore, London and Brussels her home.
‘Bali is not just a place, it’s a feeling!’ – bali bliss
‘This is exactly the reason why my husband and I chose Bali as our dream wedding destination. We got engaged in our hometown in the Netherlands and soon realized that a destination wedding would be the ideal match for our wedding.’
‘And so, the hunt for our dream wedding location began. We traveled to beautiful venues around the world – from Ibiza to Italy, from the Caribbean to Mexico. Every location was gorgeous, but it took a while to find ‘the one’!’
Chasing tropical, Balinese dreams
‘Then it hit me – did I completely forget that I have Indonesian roots and that I spent a huge part of my childhood living in Asia? Indonesia in particular. Why not get married in Bali? After all, Bali is THE ultimate dream wedding island in the world.’
Private venue in the middle of the ‘sawahs’
‘Choosing a wedding venue was easy! We had already stayed at a lovely, small-scale property in Ubud during one of our vacations. With villas dotted around beautiful gardens and dreamy infinity pools, we loved waking up between the surroundings of lush, green rice fields and panoramic views. We decided that this piece of paradise would totally be the perfect location to celebrate our special day. Having our closest friends and family stay with us to enjoy an intimate wedding ceremony in the tropics, would mean the world to us.’
‘We didn’t hire a wedding planner, because I figured that communicating our wishes through visuals, moodboards, and clear spreadsheets would be the most efficient way. We designed a website for friends and family a year in advance so that they could read up on our 4-day wedding celebrations and start the exciting countdown together.
Meanwhile, I stayed in close touch with the property manager, and with my Balinese maid of honor. She would chase our local contacts if things got lost in translation. We made sure to fly in a week before the wedding to fine tune everything: meet the camera crew, do a wedding make-up trial and pre-taste the wedding menu. When all was set and done we had our welcome party for our guests, followed by our bachelor parties’.
‘We wanted to stay as close to the authentic Balinese natural vibe as possible and chose elements and colors that harmoniously merged with the backdrop. From real palm leaves and coconuts, to local flowers, pineapple vases, and handwoven hand fans.
We deliberately did not use any plastic props’.
‘Friends reminded the perfectionist in me that the Indonesian culture is known for being ‘pelan-pelan’ and that I should be prepared for things to turn out differently than expected.
Deep down I knew that if there’s one place in the world that I trust to get things done with an incredible eye for detail, creativity and sense of mindfulness: it’s definitely Bali.
On the day of the wedding, everything looked exactly as we imagined it to be and more. The property manager must have put every staff member on duty for our wedding, because every guest had their own waiter who was beautifully dressed in a festive sarong. They felt more like friendly, warm-hearted relatives who surrounded the wedding party in perfect harmony’.
‘Our local wedding celebrant canceled the night before the wedding, so I ended up writing the entire speech. We kept our head cool and knew everything would be alright. We found a new celebrant the morning of the wedding and he did an amazing job!
There was a delay in hair and makeup which resulted in me being late. Luckily my fiancé didn’t think I was a runaway bride! My dress had a million buttons, and it took two bridesmaids, my mom and the make-up artist to button up my dress.
We were just in time for the golden hour and skipped the heat wave during the ceremony. The light of the sunset couldn’t have been more romantic and our wedding turned into a once in a lifetime fairytale’.
Advice for future brides planning their Bali wedding
‘Check out your venue beforehand so that it’s not a surprise. Turn your wishes into visuals, from color theme to fine details. If you don’t have a wedding planner, make sure to have regular Skype calls with a local contact to verify your wishes. Keep in mind that there’s a huge cultural difference when communicating with the locals. Be patient, gentle and don’t always take their word for it when they say they understand: show, tell and repeat.
Most importantly: don’t forget to invite your guests ahead of time and create a website with a clear wedding itinerary, dress code, travel, accommodation and destination information’.
Excited to plan your dream wedding in Bali?
For tips, local insights and theme creation you can reach out to Kelly on Instagram: @kelligraphy
Photography by Wahyu Gianutama