My wife and I got married in Bali in October 2018. It was a fairly cosy wedding with 33 guests (mostly from her side), but that was already plenty enough for us.
Some years ago (before we had even met), I would have told you that having a wedding in a tropical holiday destination is something I was definitely not interested in. However, life has a way of surprising us all, and it would turn out that such a location would be perfect in more ways than one.
Our respective families came from two different parts of the world (UK & Malaysia), and we ourselves were living in yet another (Australia), so wouldn’t choosing a fourth location make things even more complicated?
Well, no, and there are all the reasons why it was the perfect choice for us:
Bali was where we had our first holiday together (as a couple) so there was emotional value. Geographically speaking, it is more or less halfway between Malaysia and Australia, and thus easier for her guests to attend. My guests were more able to travel that much farther and keen to make a holiday out of it. It is also far less expensive of a destination, travel-wise and for holding a wedding, than both UK and Australia.
It wasn’t an easy decision in fact, and we deliberated between Bali and Malaysia for a while, but it ended up being the best choice for us. That being decided, we set about the planning…
The Wedding Planning
Let me be clear from the start, planning was a long, complicated, and at times frustrating experience. It consumed all of our free time for a long time- which was one year more or less from when we set our decision on Bali.
We decided to use a Wedding Planner, as doing things from overseas when we were both working and had no contacts there would have made it ten times harder. We looked at many reviews and costs for different providers and in the end settled on Bali Happy Events.
Once we decide on the date and venue- which was Padma Legion- Bali Happy Events supplied with set options to choose from for many of the big items, including food, photography, cake supplier, flowers, decorations, furniture, arbour, celebrant, music and the hotel catering and all the other aspects I may have forgotten. In every category there were plenty of options to choose from and we never felt it was missing anything.
For photography, we went with Maxtu Photography. We were keen to get good images, and my wife had always been keen to have videography as well (something I was very apprehensive about to say the least), and after reviewing websites and samples, we were confident this was the team for us, albeit the most expensive option.
We also took some dance lessons some months before which also paid off. I’m a particularly uncoordinated person and if we hadn’t of done this, I would have stumbled more than I should have and probably more out of being nervous than anything.
For music we prepared our own playlist which was controlled via premium Spotify on the night through one of the team at Bali Happy Events.
We made a brief trip to Bali a good eight months in advance to visit the venue, meet the wedding planners, ask questions and to taste the food, and we’re glad we did! The location was great, the food delicious and the staff wonderful, which all helped with our confidence in the decisions we had made.
We also wanted to check out some nearby accommodation options for our guests, so we stayed in three different nearby hotels for each night we were there.
Arrival and final preparations
Whereas some of my own guests from the UK arrived a week or two in advance, we only arrived three days before the big day. We spent time time with friends and family, and finished off some of the decorations and wedding favours. Being more traditional, we also wrote out our speeches with pen & paper and practised them out loud.
For our wedding favours we had gone to some length to provide something a bit more useful than just chocolates or sweets (which we did as well anyway). Back in Australia at the time, after the phasing out of plastic shopping bags, reusable fabric ones were becoming more common, so we made our own design to go on a bag and had these sent to us in advance. For each guest there was also a small paper pyramid containing a small selection of typical Malaysian sweets.
It was certainly a long and emotional day, as expected.
Guests arrived, sitting facing the tropical Balinese sun, followed by the groomsmen and myself, then bridesmaids and finally the beautiful bride herself. We had each prepared our own vows, which took longer to get through than I anticipated (emotions…), but am pleased we did, as they were meaningful and deliberate additions to the ceremony.
There was the small traditional tea ceremony, where we each give tea to the others’ parents, followed by photography down on the beach (via the swimming pool area with other hotel guests congratulating us). The photography team used a drone too which helped capture some scenes for the video. We were quite lucky with the sun, as there was just a peek of it coming through some nice clouds when we were there.
The food was great, except, we didn’t get to eat much at the end of it all. We missed the after ceremony canapés as we were busy shooting, then had to go back for my wife to change her dress.
The time during the main course I spent briefly talking to each guest in turn, as my now wife had done during the starter course. And we barely touched the wedding cake, also disappointing as the one taste we did have was so delicious (cake from Creme de la Creme). In this regard the hotel was really good with us as they were happy to store the cake in their fridge and we were able to get our guests some more the following day.
The whole day went virtually perfect. The only issue was the first dance music starting before we were ready but we soon fixed that, and fortunately the dance lessons and practise also paid off 🙂
In fact, the day of our wedding was the longest day I believe I’ve ever had. Far from going to bed soon after we left the party as I expected, we were still up and busy until 4:00am.
Last Breakfast and mini-honeymoon
We invited all of our guests to breakfast the following morning at the hotel, and said farewell to many of them who were leaving that day.
We also arranged a small trip for ourselves and some of our guests. They would join us for the day only on a trip to Lembongan Island for a lunch and drink before the two of use went on to our hotel further along the coast.
Our little stay here was very pleasant indeed- we relaxed, went snorkeling and had a massage. Most of all, we caught up on a lot of sleep which we had sorely been lacking over the previous few days.
After that it was back to the mainland to say a final goodbye to a last few guests (still enjoying their holiday!), and off to the airport, and back to life and work in Australia.
Final thoughts and Costs
All the planning and effort were worth it. We put a great deal of time and effort into our wedding, and the outcome reflected that. It was an amazing day (and overall experience) which we will remember forever.
We were very pleased with Bali Happy Events as planners, Maxtu Photography, Padma Legian, Creme de la Creme, and all the other parties involved.
Some of you may be wondering how much it all cost, so without further ado, here is the breakdown of the costs.
|Item||$ AUD (approximate)||Notes|
|Wedding Planner||9,843||Bali Happy Events fee, including all fees, legal costs, decoration, food and cake from Creme de la Creme.|
|Photography & Videography||2,047||Team of six for approx 7 hours, plus photo & video editing.|
|Flights||867||MEL > KL return Malaysia Airlines|
KL > DPS return Air Asia
|Accommodation||815||2 night Padma Legian|
2 night Other hotel
3 night Lembongan Island
|Invitations, gifts & favours||551||Invitations, stamps, reusable bag, paper pyramids & sweets .|
|Dance lessons||400||Wedding Couple Introductory Programme from Rio Dance Studio- Balwyn.|
We have not included every little detail like meals and extra activities that we would have done, as these were independent of having a wedding.
Thanks for reading and we hope you have found this interesting and even helpful if you are considering a wedding in Bali. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to reach out using the form on the Contact page.