How to plan a Bali elopement – The ultimate guide with tips, venues and location ideas
A tropical island that epitomizes the look and feel of a paradise. Bali is surrounded by turquoise warm waters of the Indian Ocean and the circumferenced by pristine white sandy beaches (you will definitely fall in love with the beach scene in Bali). However, head inland and your eyes will always be awe of the beauty of the lush landscape with its rainforest canopy complemented by the rising peaks, a unique culture heavily influenced by Buddhism and an inviting people with an unmistakable warmth that has made Bali so famous.
In the past decade, the island has gained international fame and has become a favorite destination for many backpackers, holidaymakers, adventure enthusiasts, and surfing connoisseurs. But even before its rise to fame, the island has gained international claim among explorers who sought the road less traveled. And today, Bali is one of the best destinations for couples seeking to elope in a tropical island paradise with an enduring history, unique culture, and a landscape scenery befitting a blockbuster movie.
Herein is a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know with regards to Bali elopement. As the only guide you will need for eloping in Bali, we cover every aspect of intricate details. Let’s dive in.
First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:
1) What is an elopement?
Elopement has had a different meaning in the past. For instance, eloping was frequently used in the past to mean running away and getting married in secret. However, in colloquial terms, it means marriage ceremony that takes place in an intimate setting. It represents a marriage ceremony that is pure in purpose and lean in the number of guests. Unlike the bloated ceremonies that involve hundreds of guests, countless venues, and a savings-draining budget, an elopement involves the couple with a small number of their closest family and friends – usually up to 20 guests.
For a modern twist to the concept of elopement, you can opt for an adventure elopement. This is a contemporary take to what elopement should be. It involves a couple with their small number of guests heading to an exotic location where the elopement is staged. Whether it is at the beach, atop the mountain, or next to a waterfall, adventure elopement breaks the monotony of tying the knot in traditional venues.
In the case of Bali, couples have plenty of choices when it comes to choosing a spot to stage their ceremony. From beaches, tropical forests, waterfalls, next to rice fields, to the backyard of a 500-year-old temple, their a unique spot for everyone to enjoy.
2) How to Get Legally Married in Bali
Getting married in Bali is strictly a religious endeavor. As such, couples from the U.S. need to be from one of the officially recognized religions (i.e., Buddhist, Christian Catholic, Christian Protestant, Hindu or Islam). To get legally married in Bali, couples need both a civil ceremony and religious ceremony, unless you are undertaking a Muslim wedding. Additionally, couples need to attain and present the following documents during the application process:
- Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (which show you are both single and eligible to get married),
- Copies of a valid passport for the groom and bride,
- Copies of birth certificates for the groom and bride,
- Copies of a valid passport for two witnesses, copy of Divorce Paper, if applicable,
- Copies of a death certificate of the former spouse if applicable,
- 8 recent photographs of the couple together, and
- A filled out Legal Wedding Form.
Do note that for a catholic wedding, the ceremony has to be held in a catholic church.
In case you find the process of getting married legally in Bali to be too extensive for the available time, you can make your elopement in Bali a symbolic and official wedding in your home country. You will have fulfilled your dream to elope in Bali without having to go through the hassles of getting married officially.
3) Why you should consider a Bali elopement
Bali is a true tropical island. The annual temperature averages about 31 degrees Celsius. You are guaranteed of experiencing warm sunny days no matter when you visit the island. This means your Bali elopement will be a stunning and memorable occasion for you and guests (if you have any).
Unlike the other Indonesian islands, Bali is predominantly a Hindu island. The culture of the over 4 million inhabitants, their unique architecture, and the cuisines have borrowed heavily from the Hindu religion. Unique to the island, however, is the people practice of blending their past with the modern present. There are plenty of rustic guesthouses that you will be forgiven to think they are a century-old temple. Get inside, however, and you have access to all the modern amenities that you will get in a typical guesthouse.
A favorite spot for adventure seekers, Bali is blessed with spectacular scenery and, arguably, unmatched tropical beauty. The large untouched tropical forests give you a peek inside what an enchanted tropical paradise looks like. The numerous mount peaks tower the island, providing contrast to the relatively flat beaches.
Speaking of beaches, Bali has stretches of untouched beaches that are not picturesque but also the perfect spot to enjoy some water sports. Bali has gained renown among global suffers for having some of the best surfing spots in this part of the world. However, if you are in a chilling mood during your elopement adventure, the always sunny beaches are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the company of your better half.
4) The Best Places For A Bali Elopement
The Beaches Of Bali
Like a tropical island, Bali has some of the beaches you will ever visit. Many of the beaches rival what the Caribbean islands have to offer. From world-famous Seminyak Beach, White Sand Beach, Uluwatu Jimbaran Beach, Nusa Dua Beach, Sanur BeachBukit Peninsula Beach to the more secluded and private beaches such as Mushroom Bay, you have plenty of beaches to explore. Crucially, with numerous beaches on offer, you will not have a hard time finding an elopement spot if you are interested in a waterfront elopement.
While being the capital city of Bali and gateway to the island, the city has grown to blend age-old traditions with modern marvels. Never neglecting its past and traditions, Denpasar has is dotted with spectacular historical museums and temples. Additionally, the city still has natural beauty. For instance, the 1,375 hectares mangrove forest right by the sea gives you plenty of natural spots to stage your elopement.
If tropical flora and fauna are your main interest, Ubud is the perfect destination. The cool highlands are covered with lush vegetation, making the valley a scenic landscape with unlike anywhere else in Bali, and I dare say, anywhere in the world. The town is covered in natural beauty while local wildlife and exotic birds dot the sky.
The center for traditional dance and craft, Ubud gives you the perfect opportunity to learn about the Balinese and the island. There is plenty to experience and a lot to enjoy. However, for your elopement, Ubud gives you the perfect opportunity to elope in nature.
The Little Grotto And Green Cliffs Of Undisan Bangli
Trekking and hiking to this location will be an adventure in itself. Along the way, you pass spectacular rice paddles, ravines, forests, and stunning waterfalls. Reaching there, however, is the ultimate treat. The sight of the moss-covered cliff walls as they converge to form the Little Grotto is a natural wonder like no other.
While absolutely picturesque, the secluded spot impresses more with its privacy and peace. If you have some time after the ceremony and you are feeling adventurous, you can take a dive and swim into the cave. One thing for sure, though, you will never get stunning photos of the ceremony.
Bhuana Sari Waterfall
In a tropical island paradise, you would think that all waterfalls are popular tourist spots. However, Bhuana Sari Waterfall, this is not entirely true. The waterfall is one of the best-preserved waterfalls on the island. It remains largely untouched, exhibiting its beauty just as nature intended it to. Just two and a half hours away from Denspar and a 20-minutes trek, you will be rewarded with a picturesque site like you have never seen before. Encased in a canopy of the rainforest, it is a good spot for an adventure elopement. Later on, you can take time to explore the other waterfall, namely Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall.
A cultural icon amongst professional photographers, Tanah Lot has gain international claim owing to its stunning beauty and dramatic scenes. Set right by the sea and sculptured by the splashing waves, with the Tanah Temple right in the background, the spot encapsulates life in Bali – beautiful landscape, the enduring love for the ocean, and great history and tradition. Arguably, the Tanah Lot is one of the most important locations in the whole of Bali.
Fancy eloping with the best view of the island in the backdrop? Just head to Kintamani, a highland village renowned for its panoramic views of the island. Crucially, you get an unimpeded view of Mount Batur, the active volcano a magnificent caldera lake. The picture-perfect green forest that lines the hillside with the cloud formation right beneath you or in your eyesight, Kintamani should be in your shortlist, should you decide to elope in Bali.
If both of you love the marine ecosystem, you should shortlist the Nusa Lembongan as a potential spot for eloping. While it is famous among snorkelers for its crystal clear water that make snorkeling a pleasure, the same crystal clear water will give you elopement photos with a stunning background.
And if you have the time to explore what Nusa Lembongan has to offer. You can explore the coral gardens filled with flora and fauna. You could also decide to snorkel and explore Manta Point, Crystal Bay, and Toya Pakeh.
Hidden Canyon Beji Guwang
Located near Sukawati, the secret canyon is incredible and awe-inspiring. The entire canyon has been sculptured by water for millenniums to millions of art pieces. Every section of the canyon is resembles something familiar, yet so indistinguishable. Look hard enough, you will see a crying skull. Look long enough, you will see the face of a cat. It’s a mesmerizing place to visit and an even more unique place to stage your elopement. You could even exchange your vows right in the middle of River Oos, with your feet in the milky blue water. Do not leave this spot behind in your shortlist of elopement spots as it might end up being the perfect place for you two gentle souls.
5) The best time for a Bali elopement
In a nutshell, any time of the year. It will depend on what your ideal elopement scene looks like. In terms of ideal whether Bali has conducive weather all year round. The tropical monsoon climate that characterizes the climate on the island means you get sunny days all year round. Moreover, the seasonal changes in weather only take place in the form of a wet and dry season.
During the wet summer season, which runs from November to April, the weather is characterized by plenty of rain and high humidity. During the dry fall season that runs from May to October, the weather is a tad drier with less humidity in the air. For a more comfortable experience, visit the island during the drier months.
You should also consider the peak and off-peak seasons. The peak tourist season in Bali spans from July until late August or early September. During peak months, the island is busier and everything is more expensive.
The peak season coincides with the dry season of the year and many school holidays around the world. Off-peak season, on the other hand, spans from October to March, when it is less most of the attractions are less crowded and prices are much lower.
6) What is the cost of an elopement in Bali?
Travel to and from Bali: $1700
5 nights in a high-end accomodation // $2 500
Elopement photographer // $12 000
Private chef or full board // $1 000
Florist // $500
Rentals // $500
Wedding dress and accessories // $4 000
Suit and accessories // $1 000
Total for a high-end elopement in Bali: $23 200
Travel to and from Bali: $1700
5 nights in an airbnb // $700
Elopement photographer // $8 000
Food // $250
Elopement permit (if necessary) // $500
Florist // $200
Wedding dress and accessories // $2 500
Suit and accessories // $500
Total for a budget elopement in Bali: $14 350
7) What To Wear For a Bali Elopement
As you can appreciate, Bali is a hot, and depending on when you visit the country, humid country. The traditional tax and tie (bow tie) for the groom and the princess dress will not work in this environment. This is especially true when you opt for an elopement involving a hike to a scenic but remote spot.
The best choice is to choose a free-flowing lightweight dress that is flowering and bright to celebrate the occasion.
The shoes you wear will be influenced by the envelopment spot you choose. For a beach spot, a pair of sandals will suffice. However, if you are hiking up a trail to reach the mountain top or a remote spot in the jungle (such as waterfall), hiking shoes are mandatory.
Men, as well, should throw away their preconceived ideas of wedding attire. Lightweight clothing is king in Bali, even when you are tying the knot to your better half. In fact, a pair of shorts combined with a lightweight and bright shirt is the perfect combination.
Traditional Balinese wedding attire borrows heavily from Indian fashion. As such, with traditional attires, you get colorful yet comfortable clothing that you will stand out whilst wearing.
8) The Complete Eloping In Bali Checklist
Think about where you’d like to go
Bali is, in many regards, the tropical paradise we’ve always read in storybooks. A land of diverse geographical features bound together with inviting weather and lush vegetation. Whether you want to elope at the cool slopes of the mountains or you want to exchange your vows at the shores of a tropical beach engulfed in a cool breeze, the world is your oyster. Dream big but dream fast. Your ideal scenery to host your ceremony will determine where to start searching for locations and, crucially, a venue to start narrowing down.
Pick a date
Bali has been a hidden gem for many years. However, owing to the exposure this tropical paradise has accrued on social media in the past few years, the island is receiving an increasing number of tourists every year. To things into perspective, in 2019, Bali received about 6.3 million direct foreign tourists.
As you can appreciate, the crowds can get overwhelming quite easily. With this in mind, pick a date outside of the peak tourist season for an intimate wedding with the huge and suffocating crowds of tourists. Moreover, while it is counter-tradition give weekdays a try. Officiants will be more flexible and you will have access to a range of venues choose from.
Find more informations about travel visas and wedding documentation
To make your dream Bali elopement work, you should prioritize making travel arrangements. Gather up all the information you need to make informed plans with regards to matters of visa. If you have any information gaps, contact the Indonesian embassy and make inquiries. Alternatively, use an experienced travel agent adept in handling visa application to Bali.
All things considered, traveling getting a visa to Bali is not a world of pain. You can make the application without the help of an agency.
Book your accomodation
After taking care of your visa arrangements, the date and the area you want to elope, the next issues to take care of is your accommodation. Booming your accommodation well in advance will ensure you get the best deal possible while also accessing a wide range of accommodation. Leaving accommodation bookings at the last moment will make it difficult to find suitable accommodation. And if you do, you might end up paying a premium for the accommodation.
There are plenty of available options on platforms such as AirBnB, Booking.com, and HomeAway.
Book your photographer
If a picture is worth a thousand words, you want a full photo gallery of your elopement to tell your story. To this end, find and hire the very best photographer to capture every moment of your loved-up moments. Of importance is to choose a photographer who jells well with you as a couple and one who can bring the style of photography you want to light.
Additionally, ensure the photographer is not only knowledgeable in photographing in the always sunny Bali but also experienced in all matters of photography and editing. After all, this is your once in a lifetime opportunity to capture your wedding photos. Finally, ensure you book the photographer early. For the best experience and the best deals, book your photographer 6-12 months ahead. As soon as you have a place and date, contact the photographers.
Find a place to exchange your vows
For such a special day, the spot where you say your vows must befit the occasion. Your accommodation might offer a picturesque spot to say your vows such as garden, beach, or you might be in a position to hike to a serene spot in the jungle. On the other hand, you might not have a clue as to where to stage your ceremony.
This is where your photographer can come in handy. Ask for his or her advice. Ensure the spot you settle for meets your needs with regard to the number of people who will grace your ceremony and accessibility. Once you have narrowed down the spot, plan accordingly.
Book your other vendors
Typically, for any elopement, you need an officiant, clothes designer, and wedding rings. Furthermore, depending on how intricate your elopement ceremony will be, you will need a florist, private chef, florist, and much more for your ceremony. Nonetheless, you need to plan for all these suppliers and vendors whilst making plans.
Plan your travel
There is so much adventure to be had whilst in Bali. It only makes sense to take advantage of your Bali elopement to explore the width and breadth of one of the most adventurous destinations in the world. From enjoying the awe-inspiring site of flapping butterflies at the Butterfly Park to enjoy stunning views of the rising sun at the Mount Batur, you will not run short of exciting things to do.
Live your dream elopement
It’s the big day, enjoy it fully!
9) Galleries of elopements
- Marine & Etienne – An overnight post-wedding session near Lyon
- Kristina & Tyler – A chateau Challain elopement followed by a 10-days honeymoon in France and Italy
- Imogen & Paul – An overnight mountain elopement near Switzerland
- Elodie & Dean – A post-wedding session in Scotland
- Laura & Ben – A forest elopement in the Highlands
- Misha & Chris – A 5-days elopement in the Japanese forests
Make your elopement in Bali that much more exciting and memorable; make your elopement a true one-in-a-lifetime adventure you will have fond memories in the future.
How to plan your peaceful elopement in Bali with me
Schedule a non-sales call
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Book your date
We find the perfect date together and you’re officially booked!
I’ll plan your dream elopement
From itinerary planning to vendor suggestions all the way to helping you with permits, I plan everything.
Live your adventure
You live a peaceful, meaningful wedding day on an itinerary that’s custom created just for you.
Relive this day forever
I deliver your pictures and your choice of album from my collection, to remember this adventure, and share it for years to come.
Let’s plan your peaceful elopement
Where you can be you. Feel. Breathe in each other’s love.
Experience a place close to your hearts, or a bucket list dream.
Need more inspiration for your elopement?
Check out this brand new article about the best places to elope IN THE WORLD