The hunt for the perfect wedding dress is of course a major part of the planning process—but before you find the perfect dress, you need to find the right wedding location. And when it comes to idyllic, and unique, settings for your big day, there’s almost nowhere as dreamy as Bali. The so-called Island of Gods in Indonesia is overwhelmingly beautiful and contributes a certain magic to things—especially with colorful offerings and adorned temples everywhere. OK, we know it's on the other side of the world, but believe it or not, Bali is actually super affordable, which means you—and your guests—get a great bang for your buck. Here, nine reasons to consider jetting to Southeast Asia to make the ultimate commitment in front of those you love most.
It’s the definition of paradise
Bali is truly the complete package: gorgeous hotels and resorts, nearly deserted beaches (if you know where to go), lively restaurants, distinct culture, great shopping, and mountains, rice paddies, and jungles. Just keep in mind the rainy season, which begins in November and ends around March, is not suitable for a wedding. The rest of the year, however, is fair game.
You can choose your own adventure
Have you always dreamed of saying “I do” on a sandy beach? In a lush jungle? On a dramatic cliffside overlooking crashing waves? Or even in an emerald green rice paddy? All of those are possible. For an insanely scenic ceremony within feet of the surf, try the epically perfect Amankila or Semara Beach House Canggu, which is on a part of the island that’s hip and full of photogenic eateries and shops. Nearby, Pure Villa Canggu puts you in the middle of bucolic rice paddies, or you can seek out the iconic terraces around Ubud or in eastern Bali. The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay allows you to wed poolside, overlooking a calm turquoise bay. Alila Villas Uluwatu and Ayana have cliffside options that will make your jaw drop.
Your guests can splurge or save on accommodations
Bali has a stunning array of incredible resorts, and it's also full of smaller, more casual accommodations, so a trip can be super fancy, ultra low-key or a fun blend of high-low. It’s very possible to spend $75 a night for a room—properties almost always have pools and generally include breakfast—and have an incredible time. Additionally, if you venture outside the resorts, say, on a rented motorbike, you can find fantastic food that’s wonderfully affordable, and life-changing massages will cost you just $15/hour.
There are some seriously stunning chapels
The Bulgari Resort Bali is one of the most sought-after wedding sites on the island, thanks to the photogenic qualities of its venues, which include a reflecting pool that allows the bride to appear to walk on water toward the cliff’s edge, and the world’s first Bulgari wedding chapel, featuring local stone and handcrafted floor-to-ceiling glass panels. Ayana, the largest resort in Bali, has literally dozens of venues, including Sky, which juts out some 115 feet over the sea, and the dramatically shaped all-glass Tresna Chapel, which has a see-through aisle over a flowing river and can seat 80 guests in its air-conditioned confines. At the Conrad Nusa Dua, the Infinity Chapel is the place to book. Its asymmetrical, ultramodern architecture features marble walkways, steel-framed glass, and reflection pools, and it floats more than 6 feet above sea level, enveloping guests in blue all around.
Bali also has epic sunset settings
Jimbaran Bay is where travelers flock to eat fresh seafood and watch the sun set, and the Four Seasons there is about to debut its latest venue: the palatial two-level Imperial Villa, which can hold up to 100 people for a wedding overlooking the sea, and where the bride and groom (or one side of the family) could sleep afterward. The resort also has beach and garden venues and an on-staff Balinese priest, who is also a traditional healer for chakra rebalancing and energy clearing, and a certified meditation teacher. At Alila Villas Uluwatu, weddings take place seemingly perched over the cliff and depending on the time of year you may bask in the afterglow. Uluwatu Surf Villas has perhaps the most jaw-dropping sunset setting at the top of a sloping cliff (surfers will likely be riding the swell way below)—their weddings top out at 100 people for a seated dinner, and they require a three-night buyout (the property sleeps 48) which includes an in-house planner to see after details. A recovery BBQ is offered for the day after, and the in-house caterer can do everything from sit-down dinners in an array of cuisines to a Pasar Malam, which is the local version of a night market, with stations of Indonesian dishes.
Endless opportunities for fun with friends and family
Surfing is the adrenaline-fueled draw for many who visit Bali, and it’s a sought-after place to catch waves. In addition to pro-level sites, there are places where beginners can take lessons in the warm water. Bonus: no wetsuit needed! Kayaking, river rafting, hiking volcanos, and trekking to waterfalls are additional outdoorsy activities available in various spots. Yoga is another major reason people come, and similarly there are classes suitable for all levels and interests. If relaxing spa days are more your friends’ speed, there’s no better place on earth.
It doubles as a honeymoon destination
All you need to do to get into honeymoon mode is say goodbye to your friends and family. You could change resorts or locations, since the island has handfuls of worthy villages, beaches, and hotels to check out. Or maybe hop on a boat to the nearby islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida (both are technically part of Bali, are Hindu, and are known for their world-class diving and snorkeling), or one of the Gilis, which many say have the most incredible beaches and water in the area, not to mention prime diving, too.