July 19, 2021  •  5min read

Everything You Need to Know About a Balinese Traditional Wedding Dress

About traditional balinese dress

For brides and grooms worldwide, picking the right wedding dress and suits in a lifetime event. Your wedding costume sets the tone of your wedding and reflects your personality as a married couple. However, things are more complicated for the Balinese people than picking a wedding dress they like to wear for a wedding. Before we go deeper into a Balinese wedding dress, let us look at the typical traditional Balinese outfit first;

Bali’s traditional outfits come in different kinds depending on gender, as Balinese women and men have entirely different types of fashion. Today, traditional Balinese costumes have followed the modern style as some numerous modifications and creations create a luxurious and fabulous traditional outfit.

Balinese traditional wedding dress for women and men

Traditional Balinese Dress for Women

Women’s fashion in Bali always consists of a traditional ‘kebaya’ cloth. This cloth is not only found in Bali but also on other Indonesian islands. So kebaya can be considered as a national Indonesian female costume. This fabric is a traditional blouse-dress combined with different sheer materials like silk, nylon, polyester, and thin cotton.

The kebaya usually comes with vibrant colors and is decorated with floral patterns or brocades. When praying at a temple, Balinese women typically wear white-colored kebaya, which symbolizes holiness. The kebaya is usually paired up with a sarong, known as ‘Kamen,’ usually decorated with batik patterns with a shawl tied up on their waist as the final touch.

Traditional Balinese Dress for Men

Balinese men wear simple tops called ‘Safari’ or ‘Koko.’ Men nowadays prefer to wear ‘Koko’ as the ‘Safari’ is made up of a much thicker material which may be too hot and uncomfortable on most occasions. However, the Safari has still considered a higher prestige and expresses dignity and is more suitable for more formal events. Same as women, the men wear all-white color when attending a ceremony in a temple.

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The men also wear ‘Kamen’ but in a different technique compared to the women. They also add another layer of cloth called ‘Saput’ to cover their ‘Kamen.’ And of course, they wear the iconic and authentic traditional Balinese headband called ‘Udeng,’ representing the Balinese men. It has a unique design and comes in a variety of colors.

If you want to enter a sacred Balinese temple, you must wear at least a Balinese sarong and shawl. This shows that you respect and show politeness to the local faith. Balinese people look beautiful in traditional outfits. Suppose you happen to be in Bali during the time of Galungan or other sacred dates. In that case, you will see how gorgeous the Balinese people look in their traditional dresses during a Balinese ceremony in a temple and during a wedding. Their unique dresses express their clean souls and minds and incredible culture. If you’re looking to make your Balinese clothes, you can visit any fabric material shop in Denpasar, where locals love to buy and get them tailored into the traditional outfit they desire.

What is A Traditional Balinese Wedding Dress?

You’re probably used to seeing a bride wearing a white gown and a groom with a white suit. In Bali, the bride and groom wear colorful wedding costumes filled with unique attributes engraved with traditional philosophies. The brides and grooms don’t get to choose these costumes by themselves, but these costumes are set according to the family’s caste levels. Songket is a textile from Balinese wedding costumes consisting of golden threads layers that create bright, cheerful colors like yellow, blue, orange, or red and represent happiness and celebration. These Songkets are symbols of luxury and represent how wealthy a family is and usually symbolizes the family’s caste level. Besides the dress, the groom usually wears a kind of head cover while the bride wears a similar headcover with traditional golden crown decorations. The height of the crown also symbolizes the level of a family’s caste.

Gelungan Agung (Balinese Gold Wedding Headdress)

A Balinese wedding headdress, known as the Gelungan Agung, is one of the most authentic items on the island! These golden crowns are beautifully handmade and are worn by the Balinese bride on her wedding day. This crown and head ornaments were only used by Balinese royals in the past and are now adopted as part of the traditional Balinese wedding costume, Payas Agung. 

For the bride, this traditional wedding crown is formed with golden sandat flower arrangements and srinata (the golden-colored symmetrical curve on the forehead). The crown stands over 60 centimeters tall and weighs around 1.3 kilos.

Some Balinese wedding organizers offer packages for a complete wedding in traditional wedding style for foreigners, including the reception to wearing the Balinese traditional wedding dresses. If you’re looking to come to Bali for a traditional wedding, you should also consider taking some memorable photoshoots by wearing these traditional Balinese costumes! Photoshoot sessions in traditional Balinese dress are a favorite activity for both the locals and tourists. The photoshoot doesn’t take place in a photo studio, but usually in conventional venues such as in front of a temple or within the property of Bali’s king descendants to make a more memorable experience and some dramatic photo results.

These photoshoot sessions let you get the chance to wear Balinese dresses in their complete unique form, which symbolizes an essential phase in Balinese life. You can also decide not to wear traditional Balinese wedding costumes during your wedding but still get to wear these magnificent colorful outfits during the photo shoot.

It’s a unique experience, especially for foreigners looking to get the feel of a traditional Bali wedding. Wearing these traditional Balinese costumes also comes with Balinese makeup and an exclusive photoshoot location at your villa and other locations with a Balinese ambiance. Wedding organizers also offer tour packages for anyone looking for a photoshoot experience at many different places.

Packages usually include hair and makeup artists and a professional photographer to ensure you’ll look picture perfect. The dresses they provide are usually the basic ones available in the studio, so we recommend hiring a Balinese wedding costume for the photoshoot. Keep in mind that the preparation for the hair and makeup will take around 2-3 hours. So you’ll experience precisely how Balinese bride and groom prepare for their big day.

If you’re looking for a Bali wedding venue for your wedding or photoshoot, make sure to browse through Bali Wedding Price’s list of the best wedding venues in Bali.

Guntur author at Bali Wedding
Guntur has been writing tips and tricks for weddings in Bali since 2020. He has written everything from preparing a pre-wedding in Bali to the best wedding dress and makeup you should choose for a wedding in paradise.

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