Ask an expert: Everything you need to know about planning a Bali wedding

Dreaming of a Bali wedding? You’re not alone. Bali is a magical place to say your vows, and an even better place to celebrate them with all your friends and family. The island’s wedding industry is a booming one, which is great for couples – but also very daunting if you don’t know where to start looking. We spoke to Jessica Szalc, director of the very comprehensive Bali wedding directory Build My Wedding Bali to find out what exactly couples should look for on the island, what’s worth spending their savings on, and what’s definitely not.

What makes a wedding in Bali so special?

Before the tourism boom in the late 1970’s, each region in Bali mastered an art form, passing down a creative gene and artistic knowledge from generation to generation. This element of the past has inspired a new breed of world-class wedding suppliers, whose innovative talents are influencing wedding trends all over the world.

Bali is also known as the ‘Island Of The Gods’, not only for its diverse scenic beauty but for its rich culture and spiritual nature. I believe people plan destination weddings in Bali to take the time to really enjoy and process this big life moment. Wedding days come and go so fast, then everyone is back to work on Monday and the memories of this day are limited to a few short hours. Having a Bali wedding is not just about the event. Imagine staying on a tropical island with your friends and family, who are relaxed and in holiday/party mode, celebrating your love and commitment. This is what makes a Bali wedding so special to me. 

Image: Axioo Bali

What are the best times of the year to plan an outdoor wedding in Bali?

Between the months of June to September. Although this is also considered the high season in terms of tourism and travel to the island, the days and nights are mostly dry. If you are planning an outdoor Bali wedding on a budget or want to ensure your guests are going to have access to air travel and accommodation deals, I recommend setting the date towards the end of May. This slice of the year generally attracts fewer tourists and the days consist of little rainfall. Because the climate is tropical, we advise couples choose a venue with a backup covered area to host the event or have a standby marquee available during wetter months of the year. 

Read also: How to have a stress-free wedding in paradise

What are some of the most important things people should keep in mind?

I recommend couples book their preferred wedding venue and suppliers as soon as they set a date. Many villas and suppliers will have limited availability during the wedding season in the dryer months, so getting in early is key to avoid missing out. In order to secure bookings, couples will generally need to pay a 20-50% deposit, so I recommend they have funds available to lock in their preferred venue suppliers. 

Image: Axioo Bali

What’s something a lot of couples forget to take into consideration?

All the extras. There are essential elements of a wedding and non-essential. Essential elements include things like the venue, power, a celebrant and catering. All of the extras are add-ons and these can blow the budget depending on your taste and needs. It’s important to research how much the essential elements are going to cost before creating a realistic budget for the event.

Read also: How to throw the ultimate week-long wedding in Bali

Are there any common misconceptions about Bali weddings?

That it’s going to cost them less than a plane ticket over there. We recommend couples set a realistic budget for their Bali wedding based on researching the market and the cost of the event elements they wish to include. There are many amateur suppliers offering heavily discounted services and products but the quality may be below industry standards or the couple’s expectations. If you are planning a destination wedding on a budget then you may want to consider what elements of the event are most important to you as a couple. Allocating the majority of funds towards these elements and sacrificing a few of the add-on extras will save you from spreading the budget and quality thin. 

Image: Axioo Bali

What should couples avoid?

Using social media to book a wedding planner or suppliers without viewing real examples of their recent work. There are many websites and social media pages, some with large followings, being managed by fake or start-up business using images of other companies’ work. Unfortunately, this is a growing problem in the industry and little can be done to police it.

To avoid disappointment on their wedding day, I recommend couples use a non-marketplace wedding directory like Build My Wedding Bali to source a wedding planner, venue and suppliers. We have a personal relationship with all of our approved suppliers and strict procedures in place to authenticate the quality of all businesses listed in the directory.

If you could only give one piece of advice to a couple planning a Bali wedding, what would it be?

Hire a wedding planner and source your suppliers through reputable websites and directories. Wedding planning fees vary in price but I believe this cost is worth every dollar when planning a destination wedding. Planners are on the ground working for you and can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. If couples can’t afford the services of a wedding planner then I recommend they select a venue with in-house coordinators or trained staff members to assist in managing guests and suppliers on the day. Be patient when dealing with suppliers during the wedding planning process as many have hundreds of enquiries to respond to every day. Don’t be scared to follow them up or give them a call to chat. 

If you need assistance in selecting a Bali wedding venue or suppliers within their budget, take advantage of Build My Wedding Bali’s free wedding advice service.

Main image credit: Beck Rocchi

Emma Chong Johnston

Emma is a new mum, compulsive shopper and cityslicker through and through. Perfect holiday: shops, sunshine and gelato (and maybe a babysitter).

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