(27/07/2016 - Updated 25/09/2019 to
reflect projected changes in Indonesian law) Categories:
| Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
OK, 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.
- It is going to cost you a
lot more than using a local in-country based
you are going to have to pick up the cost of both
flights and accommodation.
- 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.
- Your celebrant will
almost invariably be working as an illegal
foreigner on a tourist visa.
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, which involves both a civil registrar
and a local religious clergy person.
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
How to get legally married in
It is possible to marry legally in Bali, but only if
- you are a heterosexual couple, and
- you are both members of one of the five religions
recognised by Indonesia (Buddhism, Catholicism,
Hinduism, Islam, and Protestantism). Mixed marriages
(religion-wise) or marriages of persons who do not
belong to one of those religions are not legal.
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
What this means is that, in order to be legally married
- you must declare your religion to the Civil
- you must have two ceremonies on the same day
and at the same place - a religious ceremony and a
- if you are Catholics those ceremonies must take
place in a Catholic Church. If you are Buddhist,
Hindu, or Protestant Christians, you can hold the
ceremonies at a venue of your choice.
- if you are not a Muslim couple, you need to submit
an Intention to Marry document together with other
documentation (see below)
The paperwork required includes
- A Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage. You
will have to apply for this at ;the Australian
Consulate in Denpasar, but may be required to go to
Jakarta to do this. It has to be done during public
office hours, and willinvole you signing a
declaration, producing your passports (plus
divorce/death certificate if you've been previously
married, documentary evidence of any name changes,
plus your birth certificates), and photographs of
you with the groom on the left-hand-side. Your
shoulders must be covered in these photos. You need
to allow time for this as the application may not be
processed on the same day.
- Pay a fee - which must be paid in Rupiah. Make
sure you have cash.
- Make arrangements with the religious minister and
the civil registrar (not necessarily easy if you
don't speak the language).
- Possibly arrange for a translator.
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.**
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.
With the projected
implementation of an Adultery Law, making sex between
unmarried persons punishable by flogging and prison
terms, you'd be wise to legally marry before you head
off to Bali for a symbolic ceremony/wedding celebration,
and to make sure you pack your Marriage Certificate.