Bali is a dream destination for so many reasons, and getting married in Bali is one of them.
There are so many options, from a beach wedding next to crystal seas and seemingly endless white sands, to being in the hills surrounded by tropical jungle, your wedding will be the stuff of dreams.
In this article I’ll go through what you need to think about and prepare for your perfect day.
Thoughts before getting started
First of all I should note that the rules and regulations here in Indonesia can be subject to change, and for that reason this article, while correct at the time of writing (August 2020) should be regarded as a guide. If you’re committed to holding your wedding here (and why wouldn’t you want to?) then I recommend getting in touch with a wedding planning company here nearer the time.
Getting married here does require some legal preparation, and needs to be done in accordance worth the rules and regulations here in Indonesia. These requirements and the paperwork needed can vary slightly depending on your nationality and if your county has a consulate or other legal representation in Bali / Indonesia.
Who can get married?
Pretty much anyone, as long as they meet the criteria.
One big exception is same-sex marriage, something currently not permitted under Indonesian law.
In terms of where you hold your ceremonies things are pretty flexible, with ceremonies allowed to be conducted at a home, a villa, a hotel, a restaurant, a beach or a purpose built wedding venue.
The one exception is Balinese temples.
Wedding ceremonies and ceremony timing
There will be two components to your wedding, a religious ceremony and a legal ceremony.
These both need to be done on the same day, and at the same location.
There are a few rules that you need to be aware of in regards to religion.
Indonesia is a very religious place, and as such takes religion very seriously.
Firstly, both people have to declare that they are of the same religion. The important thing here to note is the fact it is a declaration, you have to say you are the same religion. It is of course entirely your choice if you declare one thing but in fact have leanings towards another.
Indonesia has a list of officially recognized religions.
I’m not religious though….
So the question is, can I get legally married without a religious ceremony?
And the answer to that is an emphatic no. A religious ceremony is absolutely required as a part of an official, legal wedding ceremony.
If you are not religious, but still want to make a commitment to your partner, and do this in Bali, there are other options other than a legal wedding. See below…
Muslim weddings in Bali.
Probably the easiest to arrange as there is no requirement for any civil ceremony, the religious ceremony covers the entire process.
You don’t have to be married in a mosque, although if you wish to then of course this is an option.
You will need a document to prove you are a Muslim, so if you are not you can’t simply declare that you are.
The ceremony will be held by a member of the office of religious affairs (Kantor Ursan Agama)
Catholic weddings in Bali
Being catholic does bring up the issue of venue.
If you are of the Catholic faith then it is required that you are married in a Catholic church.
The choices of churches that officiate for foreign weddings is limited.
Another thing to note is that in terms of cost a Catholic wedding in Bali is expensive.
It should also be mentioned that the paperwork involved is somewhat challenging due to the amount of bureaucratic red tape.
Most international couples get married under the Protestant faith.
More venue choices are available, and the paperwork is less bureaucratic.
There are still a couple of bits of paperwork that are needed.
1. Notice of intention to marry
2. Certificate of non-impediment
The ‘notice of intention to marry’ is pretty straight forward and can be done at the civil registry office of the regency where staying.
You will need to submit the following documentation
- Passport for foreign citizens (valid for a minimum 6 months from the date of entry into Indonesia)
- Birth certificates (if you wish to submit a copy that’s fine, but it must be legalized by a solicitor or by your countries embassy in Indonesia)
- If previously married you will need to supply either a certified divorce decree (absolute) or death certificates
- Four 4×6 cm photos, both partners side by side, bride on right-hand side (with no bare shoulders showing). These can be easily done in Bali.
- Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage issued by your Consular Representative for Bali or Indonesia. This is a must – all foreigners who are planning to get legally married in Bali are required to present this.
The following is also required.
- Visa – a VOA (or visa on arrival) is fine. It is possible to pay round USD 30 on arrival for a visitor visa that allows stay here for 30 days + a 30 day extension (so 60 days in total). This extension needs to be done at an immigration office in Bali before the first 30 days expires.
- Legalized written statements confirming the status of each individual (single / widow / widower / divorcee etc.).
- Letter from the couple’s church. Only necessary if the couple are both Christians and members of a church and wish to be married in a church in Indonesia. If you plan to get married in a hotel, villa, chapel, beach, etc… this is not necessary.
The ‘certificate of non-impediment’ is usually obtained from your consulate or embassy in Indonesia.
To find if you country has a consulate in Bali you can have a look at the official Bali tourism page here… https://www.balitourismboard.org/consulates_in_bali.html
If your county has no consular representation in Bali then you may need to obtain this from your embassy in Jakarta, which is around 1000 km from Bali.
Depending on your country the paperwork may be possible without an embassy visit. A quick call to your embassy or a chat with your wedding planner will make this clear.
Please note, the above requirement are for getting legally married in Bali.
It is possible to have a wedding ceremony without getting legally married, and here’s how…
Wedding ceremonies that are non-legally binding
It is possible to have a symbolic ceremony in Bali. You won’t be legally married, but you can still use this as an opportunity to have that special day.
A lot of couples take this route, and do the legal paperwork back home.
This can work out considerably cheaper, there’s no paperwork involved and there’s no need to declare your religion
These sorts of ceremonies are usually conducted by a celebrant who may or may not be a priest.
It is of course possible to theme your ceremony however you like.
So, for example if you want a Christian feeling ceremony, or something that is very Balinese in tone and feel, or however you want to theme your day, this is entirely possible to arrange.
If you have taken on the services of a wedding planner, they will be able to help you out with this.
Summary – Getting married in Bali
I hope you’ve found this article interesting and useful, feel free to leave a comment below if you have anything you’d like to add or have any questions.
I mentioned the idea of engaging a wedding planner here in Bali, and if you do decide to get some help with your planning, and support with all the arrangeent for your wedding, then I highly reccomend Shanice at Luxe Bali weddings. Very professional and a great service.
Perhaps you’ll fall in love with the island as well and decide you’d like more time here?
If you do get in touch and we’ll help you with any questions you may have about locating in Bali, and will be able to help with your accommodation needs and any other qutions you may have about locating on the island of the Gods.