BALI: You’ve just got engaged and you’re gearing up for the next milestone in your life. Now, all that’s left to do is pick a venue. There are plenty of options to choose from in Asia, but why is Bali such a dream wedding destination for many couples?
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
With its beautiful beaches, and cliff tops with breathtaking views, Bali is never short of stunning backdrops to stage pre-wedding photo shoots, events and wedding festivities. The locals are mainly Hindu so the island is home to hundreds of ornate stone temples and deity structures, which make for gorgeous photo opportunities.
Jonathan Goh, founder of Singapore-based wedding planning firm Wedding Acts, has organised more than 100 weddings in Bali. He said that most couples who got married in Bali had visited the island at least once.
“The main thing is because they had been to Bali, they see how beautiful the place is,” he said. “Bali still stands out compared to say Phuket or Koh Samui. No other place has a cliff top view, or if they do, it’s not been discovered yet.”
DOLLARS AND SENSE
Cost is an important factor when planning for a wedding. Event companies are scattered throughout the island, and a number of them offer sunset wedding packages for two people on the beach for as little as US$1,000.
“It’s cheaper than doing a wedding in someone’s hometown, definitely more value for money,” said Vishal Lakhiani, founder of Bali-based wedding specialist Eventures. “For those wanting to spend more lavishly on their celebrations, expenses can go up to millions of US dollars,” he added.
Goh agreed: “What a couple might spend on a banquet dinner for one night would likely be a three-day, two-night wedding experience in Bali.”
Villas, hotels, resorts and beachside cottages – all types of accommodation are available throughout the island and they can provide almost everything to meet the needs of guests.
Newly weds and their guests also have the option of extending their stay on the island, before the festivities begin or after they conclude. And this is exactly what newlywed Angie Rozario had in mind when she and her husband, Aaron Rozario, planned their nuptials.
“Because it had been a great holiday destination for us, and a lot of our family were coming from different parts of the world, we wanted to make it a vacation for them as well,” she said.
Accommodation isn’t the only thing with variety. Whether it’s transport, the type of religious marriage ceremony required, or even food – catering to vegetarians, those with special dietary requirements, and those wanting to try Bali’s most widely known dish Babi Guling or suckling pig – there are options for everyone.
No island experience is complete without water sports, and Bali has it all, from surfing to paddle boarding to kayaking and even banana boat ride. Visitors are spoilt for choice.
Besides pristine beaches, the island has plenty of paddy fields that stretch on for miles, impressive mountains and hiking trails. What many people don’t know is that the island is also a cultural heartland.
Art markets can be found at the end of nearly every street, and the town of Ubud is home to many art galleries. Animal lovers can take a walk through the monkey forest, or spot dolphins in Lovina, north of the island.
There are plenty of cultural dances to witness, hip bars, hipster cafes, and affordable and acclaimed restaurants to visit, and of course, dozens of spas to get a massage from – the list of things to do is endless.
The Balinese pride themselves on maintaining a certain standard when it comes to hospitality. While Thailand and Vietnam are other top destinations for weddings in Southeast Asia, Bali has a slight edge over its neighbours.
“Most locals here can understand and speak English, which isn’t the case for Phuket, for example, or Danang,” said Goh. This makes it easier for visitors to communicate with staff and travel around the island.
“Hospitality is just impeccable, and everything is available here. Bali is a wedding hub,” Vishal added.