Legalising Your Bali Wedding

Bali is the world’s hottest wedding destination, with tens of thousands of couples flocking to the island each year to tie the knot and renew their vows. Here we have outlined the two main ways in which Bali wedding ceremonies go down. We highly recommend couples read this before deciding on which ceremony type is best for them (and their budget).

It’s simple, non-legal or legal. Let us break it down for you.

Non-legal ceremony AKA a commitment ceremony

You will need to hire a celebrant to work with you to prepare a personalised script for your Bali ceremony and vows. They will generally arrive at the wedding 30 minutes prior to the ceremony, meet you on the aisle, say the magic words and pose for photos with the couple after ‘the kiss’. The celebrant will provide a certificate of marriage for the couple and their witnesses to sign in front of their admiring crowd of wedding guests. But... this document is not legally binding, it is purely provided to sign as a pleasantry of tradition following the ceremony.

The couple will need to enlist the services of a legal officiant in their own country. A legal officiant will usually meet the couple and their witnesses at a cafe or their home to sign the legal paperwork and will file the documents with the required government office on behalf of the couple. Once this paperwork is lodged, your marriage is finalised and you may officially change your Facebook status :) Alternatively, the couple may attend their closest registry office before or after the wedding, the costs associated with this are generally higher than hiring a legal officiant as you will need to pay for the venue hire. 

Many couples choose to have a non-legal ceremony in Bali as it is a much cheaper and easier option. Commitment ceremonies usually cost between $300-$500 Australian Dollars

Legal ceremony AKA sealing the deal on the day

Prior to the event

To ensure a legal wedding runs smoothly we highly recommend adopting the help of a wedding planner or celebrant service. They will help you prepare and distribute the required documents/ paperwork correctly and accompany you in visiting the consulate in Bali. Couples legally marrying in Bali will need to attend the consulate a few days prior to the wedding to make an application for a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage. In most cases, the certificate can be produced on the same day and the couple will need to sign a declaration in front of a Consular Official. Producing their original passports as proof of identity along with original proof of dissolution of marriage (if you have been married before or a death certificate of your previous spouse if you are widowed). A fee is payable on the day for this paperwork to be lodged with the consulate. Not all countries have a consulate in Bali so do keep this in mind before deciding on a legal ceremony in Bali. 

On the day

The couple will need to declare that they are of the same religion, one that is recognised in Indonesia -Catholic, Christian/Protestant, Balinese Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim. If the couple declares that they are Catholic, they will need to attend counselling with a priest prior to the wedding and have the marriage ceremony in a church. Legal weddings require the ceremony script to be prepared and read out on the day by an official Indonesian holy man of the couples chosen religion and witnessed by a government official, who will be in attendance on the day. The couple may wish to include a non-religious or western celebrant to finish off the ceremony if they are not heavily religious. The celebrant will also provide additional support with the process and paperwork.

The process of Legally binding your marriage in Bali will usually cost between $800- $2,000 Australian dollars.

Whether you choose to have a legal wedding or non-legal wedding in Bali, we recommend couples make an informed decision before choosing their ceremony style. Many countries have different regulations and laws governing the right to marriage such as the right to multiple spouses, same-sex marriage or marriage following divorce, etc. By enlisting the services of a celebrant or celebrant service residing in Bali, you will have access to their knowledge of local and international law to help guide you through the process.

Feel free to contact our friendly team for assistance in selecting a wedding celebrant in Bali.

Image credits: Evermotion Photography