How to plan a Bali Elopement with your family

There’s a common misconception that a destination wedding must cost an arm and a leg. The air tickets, the accommodation, renting of a gown over a longer period of time, flying over the make-up artist and photographer etc.


I like to share with you that this may be true, but not necessarily if you plan ahead and cut down on a few expensive items.

Disclaimer: The pictures in this post are raw and unedited.

1. The outfit

Couples usually spend around S$3,000 upwards for rental of wedding dress and suit/tuxedo. As this is a destination wedding, the feel you should be going after should not be ballroom glam. Eliminate the expensive dress rental package in Singapore and buy your own dress or rent a chichi dress from Rent A Dress , Style Lease or Love Potion. I didn’t take the risk, but I know there are hits and misses when buying your own dress online. Fortunately, C proposed when we were in US and we popped by David’s Bridal while we were in NYC to get my dress. Do note that getting a wedding dress altered in Singapore is going to cost you between S$600 to S$1,200, so get one that fits. As for the groom, head over to Bangkok or Kings Tailor Bali to customise a tuxedo for S$400. DAMAGE – S$600 to S$2,000 depending on your personal preferences.

2. The photographer & make-up artist

If you intend to fly your favourite local photographer or make-up artist over, expect to spend minimally between S$3,000 to S$4,000. Instead, I recommend you turn to instagram to check out local talents at your destination wedding. Don’t bother googling for “Bali Wedding Photographer” like I did initially. By searching for pictures on Instagram, you get to see a larger variety of photos when you hashtag #locationxphotographer. This allows you to see all the different pictures taken by a large number of photographer and then to narrow your choices from there.  I did think my hair was overdone but to be fair, I wasn’t specific about how natural I wanted my hair to look, so I guess I should take the blame. DAMAGE – Possibly below S$2,000 like ours.

Look how my photographer transformed the Mont Blanc cuff links I bought for C!alx_7802

Also found my make-up artist from instagram 🙂

3. Air ticket & accommodation

If you are comfortable to just having your immediate family witness your vows, do what I did. Fly them over and cover their cost. I don’t suggest you extend this privilege beyond your immediate family unless you are feeling very generous. Generally, the consensus is that relatives and friends will not expect you to pay for the air ticket and accommodation, so don’t feel obliged to do so. However, if you choose to have relatives and friends, do extend them the courtesy of finding the cheapest tickets and an accommodation that won’t break the bank near your wedding venue. DAMAGE – S$180 per pax with budget airlines promo or S$278 per pax with SQ promo tickets to Bali + S$200 for a decent room for 2 pax

4. Venue

This really depends on what style you are going for. If you wish to keep the cost low, the beach wedding is the most cost efficient option. Most hotels in Bali can host a beach wedding at below US$2,000. For the more nature-loving couple, you can choose to take your vows in midst of the plantations of Seminyak or Ubud. If you are looking to say your vows in style, and with good reason because the photos will come out amazing and this IS a once-in-a-lifetime event, get a cliffside wedding along Nusa Dua or Uluwatu. DAMAGE – Price range is US$1,500 (beach wedding) to US$4,900 (cliffside) upwards.


5. Dinner

Opt for simple local dishes at your venue – they cost nothing like a Chinese or fine-dining dinner in Singapore. DAMAGE – S$1,500 for 12 pax alx_8687alx_8712

6. Others — Skip the fireworks, letting go the doves and get cheaper alternative like balloons and sparkers instead. The fireworks will pale in comparison to what you see in Singapore and personally, I don’t see a point in letting go doves. Balloons and sparkers, on the other hand, are fun elements you can add to your wedding. Balloons, for example, can be customised according to your theme. Splurge in flowers if you are a fan.

Things to note:

  1. Choose a venue that includes the banjar fee. Think of banjar fee as a tax imposed by the village that your wedding venue is located in. From my conversations with the venues, they are more willing to waive the banja fee if you keep your party small and make it less of an “event”. This means no big object set-up, no loud noise and less than 15pax.
  2. Your Marriage Certificate is not legally recognised in Singapore unless you opt for the legal marriage option, which I do not encourage. To begin with, it cost US$900 upwards to get a legal marriage carried out in Bali. This constitutes getting a certificate in Jakarta (which means you have to fly down to Jakarta). If you are lucky, you find a wedding planner who can assist you on the certificate but that’s like 1 in 10 wedding planner, and frankly, I don’t know what do they do to get pass this step. Lastly, your marriage will be governed by Indonesian laws. This means if Indonesia change their laws in favour of the husband and you are the wife, good luck to you! Singapore marriage are only recognised if the solemnisation takes place in Singapore land, so get yours done locally. That’s S$26 to get registered with ROM and how much you wish to give the JP is really your choice. Still a lot lesser than US$900.
If you are really planning to go ahead with this, congratulations!
Do remember that this day is meant to be the happiest day of you life, and as much as you wish for everything to fall right into place, there bound to be hiccups here and there. Try to buffer more time for everything and just take things as they come. I say this because the culture in Bali is generally laid back, which means having flower delivered at 2pm can be delayed to 3pm. I was told that the priest needed to leave by 4pm and tried to rush my make-up artist to finish her job, but when she was done at 3:30pm, our ceremony didn’t start until 3:50pm. That’s really how things work in Bali and though it’s hard to accustom to it, my best advice to you is to take things as they come and be flexible! If you have any other question, please feel free to ask! I am happy to share what I know with you.

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