To be totally honest, a Bali wedding won’t be as easy as you hoped and unfortunately it isn’t as cheap as it once was. I’ll explain why later.
However, keep reading, we have some ideas for you to make it all come together as you have dreamt. I always tell people that the prices may not be as cheap as they once were, but your money does go further here.
We are constantly being inundated with queries about how to plan a simple Bali beach wedding. This will also take a fair bit of organisation and will incur costs. Brides and grooms to be don’t realise this and anything they choose WILL cost money.
Things to consider first:
Can everybody travel?
Make sure the people you want coming are able to travel: Overly pregnant women ( later than 26 weeks struggle to get travel insurance) and the elderly will have issues getting on planes. Tash from Plan A Events and Costumes has experienced a couple make some preliminary inquiries as their dream wedding would be in Bali and we went through all the options and confirmation. The Bride then got back to Tash the next day completely brokenhearted because her father was older, and said he straight up did not want to (or feel able to) fly anywhere for her wedding. Of course it was a priority for her to have him there, so she had to cancel and have in in Australia. So while its ultimately up to the bride and groom where they want to wed, if there are certain people they cannot marry without, its wise to check they can actually fly on the dates they want, or at all!
Is a chapel important?
There are a growing number of chapels available for couples to get married in. However they only fit a certain amount of people, and for larger weddings, people are often standing in the back, all the way to outside the chapel. It does come at an extra cost as well and eats up time. Unless the couple is particularly religious, having the ceremony done in the villa instead of a chapel will save money from 1. Rental of the chapel and 2. Transport of guests to and from the chapel.
Legalising the wedding
Just because you get married in Bali, doesn’t mean it’s recognised in your home country. Getting legally married in Bali is definitely possible, but will take about a day to go to get it registered with the consulate and will cost extra as well. It is advisable to speak to your chosen celebrant and compare the cost difference between a legal wedding in Bali and getting your marriage certified in your home country and then just doing the ceremony here. Many couples opt for that.
This is probably where most people get frustrated. They see a location they love, but don’t realise that there will be hidden costs. For example. Most villas that hold weddings require a minimum night stay. On top of that you need to pay a bond to hold your event, plus another payment (usually equivalent to a nights stay) and this is known as the event fee or the payment to have an event there in the first place. There is also the Banjar fee (for the local village) which ranges depending on location. Most places also require music to finish by midnight (some even by 10pm!).
Perhaps consider these recommendations of villas that offer a reasonable price in relation to the number of people they sleep.
Lagen Cliff Villa, Uluwatu – 5 bdrm
Villa Bulan, Seminyak – 7 bdrm
Villa Rumi, Seminyak – choice of 2, 3 or 4 bdrm
…or choose all for your guests to stay there too making it 9 bdrms but all separated…
Villa Asante, Canggu – 4 bedroom
Food & Beverages
This is an area that has a huge gradient between cheap and expensive. Like anything, you get what you pay for. Indonesian food by Indonesian caterers tend to be cheaper, and western food or canapés start getting pricey.
Price is especially variable where drinks are concerned. Sometimes people comment that the drinks we do can be quite expensive and I always have to explain that now, to get ‘real’ alcohol, you will have to spend it. And when it comes to your health and a good time, its worth spending the extra cash. (And by expensive, we mean western prices).
This can get pricey, especially if you are using imported flowers. Keep it simple and only use local flowers. The florist usually also has access to his own chairs and lanterns, so you can do that all at once with him and get a discount usually rather than go to 3 separate vendors and pay full price for each thing.
OK, here is a guide to give you a basic idea.
Budget wedding (no venue) AUD $700 (inclusive of experienced Wedding planner)
- Celebrant performing a ceremonial union on the beach
- Bouquet for the bride, buttonhole for the groom
- Driver to pick you up from your villa and drop you off at your dinner/final location
- Reservation organised for your dinner
- Pictures taken by witness
Budget wedding (not including cost of wedding planner as this will vary depending on the number of guests and also not including venue):
20 people: AUD $7,000-$9,000
50 people: AUD $10,000-$12,000
- Food and drinks
- Audio & lighting
- Florist, chairs and lanterns
Main difference between starting prices is dependent on the alcohol package they choose and the flower package they choose (seriously, flowers can get so pricy!). These prices are not including the venue which would obviously depend on which one you choose and how many nights you stay. People can refer to the ones above if they want to work out a total.
- Local is always cheaper. The minute you start going for western vendors (florists, caterers etc) it’s going to be more expensive. It’s up to you to decide what you want to spend the bulk of your money on.
- Risk the rain and come in the low season. You’ll be saving immensely on the nightly rate for your venue.
- Get your guests to bring a bottle of champagne or wine each. Cheaper than here and then you only have to pay corkage fee with the caterers instead of super expensive sparkling.
- Decide what your maximum budget is. Remember that a big portion of that will go to the venue, a big portion to f&b and the last big portion to the florist. The rest is usually quite easy to find affordable options.
- Wedding favours don’t have to be elaborate. Make it something light that people can travel back home with and that doesn’t cost you a fortune. Those silver boxes ( pressed tin) you find everywhere in Bali are really affordable and you can just leave a thank you note in them and people will be happy enough with that as a keepsake and can use it to put their jewellery or fill up with wax at home to make their own candle. Speaking of candles, you can get nice ones at affordable prices at ACE hardware. By going to big chain stores here in Bali you can often find cheaper goods then going to shops who ‘specialise’ in wedding things as they hike up the price.
- Don’t use a chapel. Have the ceremony at your chosen location.
- Chooses Indonesian caterers and Indonesian food.
- Go with a recommendation for make up artists, from someone who has had them before. Make up trials cost money so if you know the look you want, and you trust the person who has recommended the artist, just stick with it and get the first and final makeup done on the day.
- The more elaborate and the more layers your cake has, the more expensive it will be. Cut the cost and have a very simple small cake to cut, and have the rest as simple cupcakes that people can come grab if and when they want. In addition, not everyone likes cake, so get about 1/3 less than the number of guests coming, or do you really need a cake?
- Easiest type of food is finger food for the whole night then setting up a noodle or fried rice station at around 10pm. Sit down dinner requires more tables, chairs, linen etc. Stick with simple. Everyone will still get fed.
- For things like photography, makeup, and hair always check if there is someone on the guest list that could donate this as a gift rather than hire one in Bali.
- Keep costs at a minimum with music by making a playlist to play from the moment the ceremony is over and throughout dinner. Keep the dj for just the last couple of hours for the dancing/party after.
- If you don’t even want to hire photographers, create a unique hash tag for your wedding day i.e. #mikeandlisasbaliwedding2014. When people take pics and upload them (which they will) make it a condition to always use this hash tag. It might be long, but they’re doing the work so after the wedding, all you need to do is type this into Instagram and Facebook, and every photo taken at your wedding by every single one of your guests will come up. Cheap way to get every angle possible at all times of the party!
- Entertainment options for your guests vary from Balinese dancers to fire dancers to acoustic singers…the list goes on. If you are planning to be there for the entertainment and want to cut the price, make the speeches at this time instead. It’s just as entertaining, free, and best when there’s not too much alcohol involved so you can actually remember them. If you are planning to have the entertainment for your guests when you are your partner are off getting photos after the ceremony, cut costs by having the the MC (nominate one just as you would bridesmaids and groomsmen) play a slideshow of the two of you. Something that you create so you know what’s on it already and aren’t missing out.
- At the end of the day, the biggest tip I can give is HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER! It might sound cheaper to do it all on your own, but by paying just a little more, you will benefit big time:
- Don’t have to deal with language barriers,
- Don’t have to constantly deal with 100 different emails, names and quotes to remember. Especially when you get to Bali and are meant to be relaxing!
- With a planner you would only need to make one deposit and one final payment minimising the number of times you get charged an international transfer fee. Doing it a million times for all the different vendors, the fee that’ll incur will end up being the same as what a planner would have charged, minus the hassle
- Planners have reputable vendors. Going through them ensures you wont be ripped off or receive substandard products.
- You get to RELAX! At the end of the day, this is your special day so leave the nitty-grittys to someone else!
A huge thanks to Tash at Plan A – Events and Costumes for all of her amazing ideas and suggestions. Tash has over 6 years industry experience and 10 years working in Indonesia and knows how to make magic happen.
Contact Tash about your wedding or event ideas