More marrying in island paradise.

Bali is more popular than ever with West Australian travellers and many are choosing to spend key moments of their lives on the Island of Gods. Gone are the days when inviting 20 friends up to Seminyak to celebrate a birthday was seen as extravagant.
And a glut of cheap flights has seen the number of West Australians getting married on the Indonesian island rise dramtically, according to Michael Burchett, director of the Bali Hotels Association (BHA) and general manager of the Conrad Bali.

“Access to Bali is so easy from Perth, ” Mr Burchett says. “People see it as a central location, particularly if they have family in other parts of Asia or in Europe, and they can combine the wedding with a holiday.

“It’s a special place with a positive energy and warm, friendly people. Australians love this and not only are we seeing people marry in Bali but also more couples choosing to go to Bali to renew their vows.”

With a strong Australian dollar, Mr Burchett believes getting married in Bali is good value with the cost of flights, chapel hire, flowers and dinner similar to, or cheaper than, arranging a wedding in Perth.

The Conrad Bali, a luxury hotel at Tanjung Benoa, hosted about 458 ceremonies last year of which more than 20 involved Perth couples. Mr Burchett says these rising figures are consistent across all 110 BHA member hotels.

A seven-strong wedding planning team organises ceremonies for up to 400 guests in the Conrad’s floating gardens, at a traditional beach-side bale or in Infinity, a striking 12m-high marble and glass triangular building. The elegant 60-seat chapel is surrounded by pools and marble walkways.

“There are a lot more opportunities in Bali to create a wedding with a real ‘wow’ factor, ” Mr Burchett says. “If you want a beautiful wedding with 60 or 100 in a beach setting, there are many more venues than in Perth.”

It was this wow factor that 27-year-old Rachel wanted for her wedding to Brett and the pair set off on a scouting mission to Bali late last year. The couple wanted their day to be a memorable one but Rachel feared organising it overseas would be too complex.

“It seemed daunting, too hard, and I couldn’t decide on a place for the wedding, ” Rachel says. “But Brett was very enthusiastic and I thought it would be nice to have a holiday while we’re there.”

The idea developed further after she’d chosen a wedding planner, an Australian woman living in Bali.

“You really need a planner because of things like the language barrier, ” she says. “Once I’d done that, everything fell into place.”

Rachel and her co-ordinator liaised by email, deciding the date of the wedding, how many people would attend and what sort of food would be served at the reception.

“I found I’ve had to be quite relaxed and compromise a bit and you have a huge amount of trust, ” she says. “But I was able to meet the planner and also look at the venue which, initially, we’d picked on recommendations and it was exactly what we thought it would be.”

But they have found their June wedding, to be held at an Uluwatu residence with about 60 guests, has cost as much to organise in Bali as it would have done in Perth.

“If you want to cater just for immediate family then, of course, it’s cheap. For us it hasn’t turned out that way, ” Rachel says.

“But there is the novelty factor of being in Bali. The one thing I’m worried about is rain but there’s not a lot I can do about that.”

Bali is also providing an antidote for honeymooners who arrive to cool off after the stresses of their wedding day — couples such as colleague Amanda Keenan and her husband-to-be, Steve Demiris, who plan to soak up the luxurious surroundings during a five-night stay at Ayana Resort and Spa in Jimbaran Bay.

“I just wanted somewhere I could relax on a day bed, ” Amanda says.

“I’m sure some people would like a big ‘Amazing Race’ style journey for their honeymoon but I just want to stay in one place without having to change hotel every couple of days.”

After researching Vietnam, Thailand, the Maldives and Malaysia and rejecting Steve’s suggestion of Sulawesi, Amanda pushed for Bali.

“It was a no-brainer for a quick, affordable and reasonably luxurious holiday, ” she says.

“You can get a flight in the morning and be there at lunchtime so travelling doesn’t take a big chunk out of your time.”

And the prospect of luxurious accommodation, romantic dinners and a spectacular cliff-top setting saw Ayana Resort and Spa win out as the venue for Amanda and Steve’s hard-earned honeymoon.

“The hotel looks incredible. It’s about half the price of comparable places in Vietnam and Koh Samui, and offers romantic dinners on the end of a pier and Balinese cooking classes, ” says Amanda who hopes to put the facilities to full use.

“There are six restaurants and in between stints in the pool and on the day bed, I can’t wait to eat my way through them all.

“Plus there’s the Rock Bar, where I plan on becoming a special week-long installation.”


© The West Australian

More wedding inspiration at The West Australian Wedding Guide.