May 18, 2021  •  8min read

What is a Balinese Wedding? How to Get Married in a Balinese Themed Wedding

Balinese theme wedding explain

Weddings are a big event for everyone’s life, and it’s no different for the Balinese. A Balinese wedding requires a lot of unique processes and steps. It starts off with the meeting of the girl’s parents to get engaged to the process of the wedding reception.

In western culture, a wedding consists of you and your partner to say “I do” in a church. In a Balinese wedding, the preparation that leads to the wedding day involves their family and the people from their hometown society. A wedding is not only about the bride and groom, but the whole family.

Here are the four things you should know about a Balinese wedding.

The Balinese Bride & Groom

Being in love with your partner is only a start to the long road of the wedding process in Balinese culture. There is a lot to consider when getting married to the Balinese. There is a saying in Balinese that says, “You are not only marrying the bride, but also her family as well.” This means that once you married your partner, you also hold the responsibility to take care of their family. This is why in Bali houses, married couples still live together with their parents and grandparents as a family is that important to them.

Like Western culture, the wife inherits the husband’s name. Also, the caste term in Balinese culture is also followed by the wife. If the husband has a higher or lower caste than the wife, then the wife’s caste will be upgraded or downgraded accordingly. It is normal for the higher caste Balinese to look for a soulmate with the same caste level to maintain their caste in the new generations.

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The Processions

The first step of a wedding is to meet the partner’s parents. Then, the families from both sides will meet and get to know each other and prepare to make the arrangements for the wedding plan. When both families have agreed, then the bigger families will meet. This step is similar to an engagement, without the need for an engagement ring.

Choosing the right day does not mean that it must be chosen on a weekend or a date where it is likely not to rain, but they have to go to a person from the highest caste known as Brahmana who knows Balinese astronomy. Once a date is confirmed, then the pre-wedding ceremony soon takes place.

The Wedding Costumes

The Balinese bride and groom wear colorful wedding costumes that represent deep philosophy, unlike western weddings where the bride wears a dress and a suit for the groom. There are many kinds of wedding costumes for the Balinese chosen according to the caste of the family.

Balinese wedding costumes are usually made of Songket with golden layers with bright colored materials such as red, blue, yellow, and orange, representing happiness for a new life. Songket is a luxurious material that indicates how wealthy a family is or how high their caste level is. Besides the dress, the groom wears a special headband tied to the head while the bride wears a large crown with gold-colored decorations.

The Wedding Reception

The reception is the last step of a Balinese wedding, which is the long ceremonial process’s peak. The wedding receptions usually occur in the groom’s hometown, where its entrance is traditionally decorated with palm leaves. The venue is generally in the front of the yard. The balcony is set up with a tent and lines of chairs and carpet for the guests.

Balinese don’t use any wedding organizer to organize the wedding ceremonies and reception, but they get help from the people from the “banjar.” The food is served in buffet style as it may be more practical since there is no table for the guests. The plates are called “inka,” which are made of rattan with rice paper.

Thinking of Getting Married in a Traditional Balinese Wedding Style?

Fortunately, it is possible to have Balinese Blessing for both Commitment and Legal Weddings for a Balinese themed wedding. The Balinese Blessing ceremony is a spiritual Ceremony that is part of the traditional Bali custom consisting of the purification of the body and soul and brings good spirits. These blessing ceremonies involve traditional Balinese offerings, which symbolizes philosophy. A Hindu Priest called “Pemangku” will lead the ceremony.

Note that the Hindus only follow the Balinese Hindu ceremony. Suppose you are a non-Hindu who wishes to have Full Legal Wedding with the full Balinese Hindu ceremony. In that case, you will need to make a statement that you intend to hold a ceremony with the Hindu religion without another party’s need.

After making this statement, you will have two Balinese ceremonies and one Civil Ceremony on your wedding day. The first Balinese ceremony is called Sudhiwani, which is a short ceremony similar to a Baptism within the Christian faith. Next comes the Wedding Ceremony, followed by the Civil Office to legalize the wedding and sign the legal certificates. The ceremony will be held in the Balinese language, but your wedding planner will assist you and give you direct translations of the ceremony. In total, the ceremony will take around one hour.

On the other hand, a Commitment Ceremony with Balinese Blessing is only a symbolic ceremony. So, you won’t need to make any statement and have the Sudhiwani Ceremony. a Hindu Priest or Pemangku will still lead the ceremony. He will give you the Blessing and your vows for each other during the ceremony. You can dress up in the Balinese wedding costume and bring the Balinese dances and traditional music to get the feel of a real Balinese wedding.

However, since Balinese weddings are usually held in the family temple, you can hold the ceremony in a private villa, resort or hotel.

You can contact Balinese wedding organizers and ask if they offer Traditional Balinese wedding packages for foreigners. You’ll need to prepare some documents for the requirement of the ceremonies.

Happy Bali wedding!

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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