A lot of people think it is too difficult to have a legal wedding in Bali and so just have a religious blessing or a renewal of vows ceremony, but it is possible to be married legally in Bali.

All couples who marry in Indonesia must declare a religion. Atheism and Agnosticism are not recognised and the Civil Registry office can record marriages of couples of Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian-Catholic and Christian-Protestant faiths. Marriage partners must have the same religion, otherwise one partner must make a written declaration of a change of religion.

A Christian, Buddhist or Hindu wedding is usually performed in a church or temple ceremony first. After the religious ceremony, every non-Islamic marriage must be recorded with the Civil Registry. Without the registration of the Civil Registry these marriages are not legal. Recording by Civil Registry officials can be performed directly at the religious ceremony for an additional fee.

Couples will also need to provide to the Civil Registry a "Notice of Intention to Marry" and also a "Letter of No Impediment" which is obtained from the consular representatives. To obtain these documents there are different requirements for each nationality and personal situation (divorced, widowed, etc) of the couple.

Two witnesses over the age of 18 are required. They cannot be family members of the bride and groom and they must show the originals and present photocopies of their passports. Civil Registry employees can also act as witnesses. Marriage certificates are issued immediately and a sworn translation of the certificate should be obtained for use in the couples home country.

The legal requirements and the process can be daunting to a foreigner trying to manage their wedding from a distance and therefore it is recommended that the couple find a competent wedding planner or consultant who will take care of all the paperwork for them. The wedding planner can also help with all aspects of the wedding arrangements making it easy and stress free to have a romantic wedding in Bali.

Colin Hall
Bali, May 2006