It’s official; Destination Weddings are on the rise, with one in three brides opting to have their wedding outside of their hometown. A popular choice for Australian couples is the Island of Bali and there are many reasons why. But if you’re thinking of planning to get married on this gorgeous little island make sure you get the inside scoop first! Bali is an excellent destination wedding spot. With so many activities to keep family busy, stunning landscapes and beaches, it’s a fantastic place to say ‘I do’. But it’s important to remember that Bali moves to the beat of its own drum, and according to its own customs and laws, many of which might be quite different to what you’re used to back home.
After nearly a decade running weddings in Bali, we have come to understand the unique beat of this slice of paradise intimately. So we’ve compiled a shortlist of hard and fast tips to give you an idea on how to run your wedding smoothly. If you’d like more information about our Bali wedding planning services, please click here. We’d be happy to help.
1. Get a wedding planner
Planning a wedding in Bali alone is no easy feat. Unless you have a car and can speak Indonesian (or you have a translator), you might find it really difficult to navigate the island and get everything done. Many wedding planners liken organising weddings to the task of herding cats, and we think this is most true for Bali.
This is because many companies in Bali don’t adhere to the same time constraints and deadlines that we do back home. Though they are almost always well-intended, family obligations and ceremonies often take precedent over any promises made for orders. A good Bali wedding planner will have experience with this and will leave enough time to make room for last-minute oversights, late items and cancellations.
You might think that you’re saving money by doing it yourself, but DIY means that your own wedding could end up being the “test dummy” – that is, the one where you discover all the things you’d caution other couples about. The problem is you don’t have a “second chance” for this day so take our advice as sage planners and delegate the responsibility over to someone very experienced, trustworthy and reliable.
2. Don't send out your invites before you book your venue
The venue is one of the most central aspects of the wedding. It will determine everything from the tone, type of wedding and the wedding experience for you and your guests. You know you’ve chosen a good venue if they only allow one wedding a day and are booked for months in advance. You absolutely must check the availability of your venue and BOOK it before you hand out any invites. Don’t risk it and be disappointed when you have to compromise with a place that you don’t really like. Concentrate on selecting the best venue you can find, even if this means compromising a little on the date. The venue is far more important than the date, and it’s what you and everyone else will remember!
3. It's best to use one company to organise everything - trust them!
Dealing with multiple suppliers in Bali can be quite the headache. So please ensure that you choose only one trustworthy company to work with. The absolute last thing you need on the big day is a vendor who has failed to communicate adequately to their staff. It’s not going to be a relaxing wedding day if you’re frantically chasing after florists and caterers. Choosing one company to deal with everything will minimise the chance of communication breakdowns and take a great deal of stress off of your shoulders.
4. Don't underestimate your budget - Bali still costs money
While we are all suckers for a good deal, weddings cost money – even in Bali. Yes the prices are significantly lower here than back home, but you usually pay for what you get. A good, well-priced wedding in Bali will probably cost around two thirds one in Australia. But beware of any company that quotes you a price considerably lower than that.
Also, ensure that the price you are quoted includes the “oversights and extras” These can end up making a HUGE difference to your total cost. Taxes and fees make up the bulk over the oversight, and they can pump your cost up by around one fifth. You’re probably accustomed to GST or VAT being included in the prices back home, but in Bali there are add-ons that are rarely mentioned or included in the initial price quote.
Once the 20% is added, you might be paying up to $3000 on top of the “all inclusive, budget quote” you received. Once you add this to other extras you never thought to include, such as local Banjar fees, international bank transfer fees and other little add-ons, you will come to realise that the price you were quoted at the beginning was a carrot on a string.
5. Remember the traffic and plan itineraries wisely
The last thing you want is for the bride to be more than fashionably late! And anybody who has been to Bali knows what the traffic is like. In a car you could find yourself sitting in one to two hours of traffic both ways, so keep this in mind when planning not just the day itself but the build up to the wedding when you’re driving around meeting vendors or going to spas. A good guide is to give yourself at least double the time you think it will take to get somewhere.
6. Don't spend every moment with your family and friends
Having your wedding in Bali means you’ll have loads of time to bond with the people you love and create lasting memories. That being said, your wedding buildup will likely be an emotionally intense and sometimes draining time as it is, so remember you don’t have to spend every waking hour with your invited friends and family. Take the time to plan some trips for you and your partner alone. This is quite a special time for you both and you should enjoy taking advantage of what Bali has to offer while you’re here.
After the wedding, don’t feel guilty about planning a few days at the end of the trip as a honeymoon. Your friends and family are perfectly capable of heading home early or arranging their own activities and there are SO many things to do in Bali. You and your spouse will want to spend as much time together, reflecting on your incredible union so treat yourselves! Bali has so much to offer and so many beautiful hotels and villas that are perfect for honeymooners. If you got married in Ubud, try spending some time in a beach resort down South. Alternatively, if you got married on the beach you might want to have a cozy little jungle escape in Ubud.
7. Recommend accommodation to your guests - close by but not too expensive
You’ll probably have scoped Bali out a few times before deciding to have your wedding there. If so, you may have more experience than your guests with where to stay. Help them find a suitable place in terms of budget and location so they can be close to the ceremony but also not too far from some of the buzz. If they’re not familiar with Bali, they’ll definitely appreciate the suggestion.
8. Make it a wedding week - with several events for your guests
Think fine dining, beach clubs, cocktails and spa treatments. Since you’re here - take advantage of it! Bali offers tons of pampering treatments and dining experiences for a fraction of the price back home. Pamper yourself all week with spa visits, lunches and even a little in-villa meal. It’s really easy to organise for a personal chef to come to the villa, and you can make the event extra special for your guests with a bartender and butler.
Have Your Wedding The Way YOU Want It Without The Huge Cost
If you’re thinking about having a destination wedding in Bali, don’t hesitate to contact Botanica Weddings. We’re veterans in the business and will be happy to provide you with our expertise. We’ve got relationships with tons of tried and tested suppliers in Bali, so you’ll never be left in the lurch. Wedding planning should be enjoyable, and we guarantee we will take the stress out of it.