Marriage & Ceremony options in Bali
Congratulations on your choice to get married in Bali –The Island of the Gods! There were certainly many different factors that went into your choice to have your wedding here. But one of the most important choices you must make NOW is how to legalize your marriage, and what kind of ceremony best fits you as a couple.
There is a lot of information and mis-information out there about legal marriages in Bali. Let’s start with the “main” misconception: that a Bali marriage is not “legal” or needs to be “registered” in another country. This is simply not true. A marriage performed in Bali legally, following the rules of your country’s consulate/ embassy, is considered your “legal” marriage. There is no need to get married again in your home country, because you are already married. In fact, when you work with us, the Indonesian authorities provide you with English-translated marriage documents. These should serve all the purposes any marriage license would in your own country. (For residents of Malaysia and Singapore, please contact us or your embassy in Jakarta – the rules differ for you).
The main “complication” in getting married in Bali (or Indonesia) is that your wedding must take place within the traditions one of the five religions “recognized” in Indonesia: Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, or Protestant. You and your spouse must claim to be of the same religion, and the religious rites for marriage in your religion must be performed by an Indonesian religious figure. Also, your marriage must be witnessed by an Indonesian government official. The wedding “script” has little room for choice or for your own personal touches. (For more information, please contact us or your country’s Indonesian consulate/ embassy).
Alternatively, couples can choose to have a “commitment ceremony” with a local or Western celebrant. This is a ceremony that resembles a “legal” wedding in your own country, and can contain any readings and other special touches you and your fiancée find meaningful; it can be religious or not. It “looks” and “feels” like a “real” wedding, and in fact, your guests won’t know unless you tell them that it’s not “the real thing.”
Some main reasons for choosing to do the legals in Bali is to get everything done at once; to have “one” wedding anniversary; and to not feel like couples are “misleading” their guests about their destination wedding. As long as your country has a consulate or embassy in Bali, this is a fairly straightforward process that can be completed within a few business days of your wedding.
Couples who choose to do the legal marriage in one or both of the spouses’ home countries tend to not want to focus on the legals while they’re putting together a celebration in Bali. They want to have an English-speaking celebrant who can tailor their ceremony to their needs and wants. Or they simply want their marriage certificate and documents to be from their home country.
Whatever your choice, My Bali Celebrant can help you plan the ceremony of your dreams. Most of the legal weddings we do are carried out with the help of the Protestant church, the religious entity that is most flexible. We can add a “Western” celebrant to a legal Protestant wedding with little trouble. Then the Western celebrant works with the Protestant minister to customize the wedding as much as possible (within the required religious parameters). The Western celebrant and Protestant minister take turns performing different parts of the ceremony. We also have on staff a Western Protestant minister, Pak Stephen, who can perform legal weddings. See "Meet our Team" for bios, photos, and videos of our celebrants.
If you choose to go with a “celebration of marriage,” we have Western and local celebrants to choose from, depending upon your budget and wants.
Either way, My Bali Celebrant has you covered.
For more information, including paperwork details for legal weddings, pricing, dates we are available, or to book a date, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you, and planning the wedding ceremony of your dreams!