Plan a Balinese Wedding: Colour, Life and Ritual

Weddings are of course a huge part of anybody´s life. A wedding ceremony is, in some form or another, present in almost every culture in the world.  And every single one is special and queue in its own right. Perhaps the entire process is different. Perhaps the ceremony has a special ritual to it. Sometimes the wedding dresses and “suits” are elaborate and wild, full of colour, imagination, feathers, accents, and accessories. Both men and women walk down their equivalent wedding aisles like gorgeous birds of paradise. In some other cultures, the couple might be dressed in simple clothing, all black, or all white, letting their enamoured faces get all the attention. And today, we will be dealing with Balinese weddings.

Balinese weddings are elaborate processions, short festivals that involve not only the family, but their neighbours, the people from their community. They are special during which the people eat, relax, have fun, and make merry. And if you want to learn more about these wedding, then just continue to the article below.

Marrying your spouse, and the family

Now, staying calm during the morning of your wedding is not an easy thing. But, with Balinese weddings, the pressure is lower (or perhaps higher) because of all the support you get from friends and family. Namely, it is said that in Balinese culture, you are not just marrying the bride, but you are marrying the family as well.  So, once you married your spouse, you are also responsible for his or her family. Unlike the western world, in Bali, husband and wife still live with their parents, taking care of them. 

Furthermore, in Balinese culture, the wife takes the husbands surname, but she also takes on his caste. So, without going into too much detail on the caste system, think of it as a woman becoming a member of either the lower or the higher class, depending on her choice of spouse.

Ancient ceremonies

Before the actual ceremony starts, both sides of the family meet each other and talk about the future. They make arrangements for the wedding, and choose the day for the wedding. Now, there are no engagement rings here, and the dates are chosen by the Brahman. These are priests, members of the highest caste, who choose a suitable day based on astronomy. Then, once the day has been chosen, the pre-wedding activities being.

Now, usually the parents organize the wedding, but in more modern times its fine if you hire a specialist. Namely, contacting a good company like Northern Beaches Weddings & Events can relieve some of the stress in setting things up. However, in traditional Balinese custom, the parents of the spouses plan things together.

Then, the Ngidih ceremony begins. Translated as “ask”, the family members of the groom come to the house of the bride, and ask for permissions to “take” her to the groom. Through this ceremony, the bride leaves her family temple, and moves on to her new life. 

Finally, the actual wedding ceremony is held within the house of the groom, rarely in any temple or special room. The clothing they wear is far from the white and black worn by westerners. Instead, the pair wears a colourful, flashing thing, with a lot of gold, red, yellow, and orange. The actual decorations on the costumes are chosen by the family, based on their caste.

Finally, the reception

After all the long processions have passed, you finally reach the Balinese wedding reception. Now, the reception takes places at the house of one pair of parents. Most often, it’s set up in the front yard of the house. You have tents lined with chairs and carpets, and food set up in a buffet style. Food is served not in plates, but special dishes made out of woven rattan, combined with rice paper. The entire event can last for an entire day, where guests can come and go as they please. Gifts are always things that you will need for the house, like bed sheets, kitchenware… Nowadays, however, money is much more common.


And there you have it folks, a short description of a beautiful culture, and of a beautiful ceremony. It’s all about colour, fun, and the community. Everybody is taking part in this joyous communion, everybody is making the most out of this beautiful festival celebrating the joining of two people. So, if you want to plan a Balinese wedding, you are pretty much set. 

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