Bali Weddings

by Jennifer Cram (27/07/2016)  | Categories: | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
Bali signOK, before we get too excited, let's cut to the chase. I don't do weddings in Bali. Before you click that back button, or head to Google to find a celebrant who will travel to Bali, let me tell you not only why I don't do that, but why it is a very bad idea for an Australian couple to hire an Australian celebrant for a wedding (legal or non-legal) in Bali, or for that matter, pretty well anywhere else.
  1. It is going to cost you a lot more than using a local in-country based celebrant because you are going to have to pick up the cost of both flights and accommodation.
  2. You'll be using a celebrant who is highly unlikely to have a solid network of local contacts, so you won't be able to rely on them or their network if one of your other vendors lets you down.
  3. Your celebrant will almost invariably be working as an illegal foreigner on a tourist visa.
  4. Your celebrant is authorised to officiate a legal marriage only in Australia, so once you get 12 km offshore from the Australia coastline, an Australian celebrant can only perform a commitment or non-legal ceremony and if you want to be legally married you'll need to make local arrangements for that.

Number 3 is the biggie. The last thing you want is for your celebrant to be either denied entry into the country, or frogmarched out of it before your ceremony takes place. And of course, Number 4 means that you either have to get other officials involved, which can be expensive, time-consuming, or have very restrictive conditions.

How to get legally married in Bali

It is possible to marry legally in Bali providing that Review of Jennifer Cram, Brisbane Marriage
  • you are a heterosexual couple, and
  • both of you are members of one of the five religions recognised by Indonesia (Buddhism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, and Protestantism).
Marriages under Indonesian law are performed by religious ministers and the Catatan Sipil (civil registrar); or by the Kantor Urusan Agama (Directorate of Islamic Religion Affairs) in the case of Islamic marriages.

You must:

  • Apply at the Australian Consulate in Denpasar for a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage during public office hours, sign a declaration and produce your passports (plus divorce/death certificate if you've been previously married). The application may not be processed on the same day.
  • Pay a fee
  • Make arrangements with the religious minister and the civil registrar (not necessarily easy if you don't speak the language).

And you really should have a good long discussion with your lawyers here in Australia about what steps you need to take to ensure you are not married in community of property! NB the legal conditions under which you marry differ quite markedly from Australia in a number of countries. Community of property is quite common. This basically means all property acquired during the marriage becomes joint property of a married couple. This is not the case when you marry under Australian law!

But there are also other legal implications of marrying in Indonesia. In Indonesia, the husband is considered to be the head of a family, while the wife is the housewife. As the head of the family, a husband is "required to protect his wife and provide the household necessities, according to his capacity. A wife is required to manage the household affairs the best she can". 

A much simpler solution is to have your lovely non-legal "wedding" and celebration of your love and commitment to one another, but marry legally in Australia either before or after your weddingmoon. An added benefit of doing that is that you will not need to present any documentation to keep using the name you used before marriage, and your marriage certificate will be all you need if you wish to change your name.