Hidden costs: All the things you didn’t know you had to pay for at your Bali wedding.
Updated: Mar 19
Eeek. I know. The title of this blog post gave you anxiety for a second. Maybe even a full twenty seconds – depending how fast it took you to open this up.
I’m not talking the cost of makeup trials or food tastings, but extra costs on the day of your wedding.
But it’s better to be aware of these costs now, so that you can account for them, rather than thinking you have your budget all worked out, only to realize you need to spend a quarter of it on things you don’t even see at your wedding.
Unfortunately, it’s often those unseen things that allow weddings to happen in the first place.
And don’t get me wrong, these aren’t hidden from you – they’re in all the terms and conditions you’ll ever read about your respective suppliers, but you often won’t notice them until the vendor or venue it applies to sends you their invoice.
Whether you choose to marry in a villa or a resort, you’ll often find you’re required to pay an event fee.
With villas this usually costs the equivalent of one night’s stay or there abouts.
With resorts, it depends on number of guests, and whether or not they require you to purchase a wedding package through them (in which case the event fee is sometimes waived) or you’re able to use the space without a wedding package in which case you will definitely need to pay an event fee.
These event fees are payments to the venue. What you’re essentially paying for is the use of a space typically only used for one 10th of the number of people your inviting, so you’re essentially putting 10 x the amount of wear and tear on a venue in a single night. Not to mention the vendors coming in and out, installations and furniture being moved around, it’s a lot.
These are the fees you pay directly to the Banjar and vary in cost depending on the area you get married in. The Banjar is like the local council of each suburb.
They look after the neighborhood, help with garbage collection, noise pollution, disputes between neighbors and local governance.
Due to most venues being in residential areas, the Banjar of that area has a responsibility to the neighborhood to maintain order with or without a major event happening nearby. By paying the Banjar fee, what you’re essentially doing is getting permission from the council to have an event that will have considerable noise pollution and cause road traffic, so that should there be any complaints from neighbors, you’ll be safe knowing you’ve been approved to have your event and won’t get shut down.
The banjar also helps you and all associated parties for your event enjoy a smooth set up by keeping the road to your event relatively traffic free and ensuring that at the end, your guests and vendors have a safe departure.
Ya, weird one right? A generator is probably the last thing you associate with a wedding. But it’s the power source for the caterers, lighting, band, basically anything that requires even the tiniest bit of electricity. This is because in Bali, venues don’t allow you to use their electricity for the night of your event. You’re required to supply your own electricity for your event, so its best you get enough power to supply the whole night.
To be honest though, having a generator for your wedding is the smart way to go. Electricity in Bali is unstable at best, often cutting out with no telling when it’ll restart. Bali has no electric power plant, everything is powered from Java through underwater cables, so by supplying your own power, you’re actually ensuring a smooth evening.
In fact, any proper business and even residents here will have a back-up generator on site or at home, due to the unpredictability of Bali’s electricity so, in my opinion, the generator is a smart and needed expense, even if your venue were to allow use of the main power source.
So you’ve locked in your band, singer, Dj, musician – whatever. You probably just assume they come with everything they’ll need to perform for you.
While some do, most don’t.
So you’ll need to organize things like speakers, mixers, monitors, sub woofers, extra lighting and anything else your particular entertainment choices require. These can add up so when choosing entertainment, keep in mind what they’ll need in order to operate. Ask for their tech rider which will give you a list of their requirements and that way you can budget exactly.
I’m pretty sure I’ve covered this in an Instagram post on my personal work page @tashheyder as well as a previous blog post, but it’s a common oversight so it’s worth mentioning again.
Not all catering companies include tables and chairs. Many of them outsource these items, so if you’ve picked a caterer that doesn’t include tables and chairs, ask them what they plan to outsource because if you’re going to have to pay extra for it, they may as well be furniture you like and you can hire them instead through your planner.
The caterers that do supply tables and chairs are definitely more convenient in many ways, it’s one less thing to think about. However similarly to above, they may not be the style you want. Only difference from the ones that don't include them at all is that if they’re not the style you want, at least you have an option to hire or not. With catering companies that don’t provide these, you’ll have to pay extra no matter which way you look at it.
I personally think this is an annoying cost so definitely ask your caterer about this.
Having caterers at your event means they need to set up a mobile kitchen to provide for you and your guests. This space is tucked away out of sight (don’t worry!) but venues require them to have a tent cover.
Most good caterers have their own tents that they put up, but some don’t, and expect you as the client to provide and pay for their tent. Ask about this at your tasting. It may not be a lot but as I often say, it’s the little costs collectively that add up.
Transport and Delivery fees
Nearly all vendors charge a delivery or transport fee. Hair and makeup, furniture, flatware…all of it. This covers their petrol to get to your venue as venues can be scattered and far flung which, along with traffic, can cost a bit. It also covers the man power needed to dismantle and repack items in their cars and trucks, especially the larger items such as furniture. These costs will always be on your invoice, but you won’t know the total until you get the invoice as it’ll often depend on the distance they need to travel, the load they're carrying and number of people and vehicles required to assist with this.
This for sure isn’t a hidden cost, but for many who are already legally married and having their wedding in Bali, they’ll still need a celebrant if they’re going to be including the ceremony portion of the wedding on their big day.
Many want a friend or family member to conduct this part because as I said, the legal part is done, so why the need for another celebrant for what is essentially more of a symbolic ceremony? It's not their job and they're not getting paid for it.
Unfortunately, here in Indonesia, the “job” of being a celebrant is a legal and recognized profession, and therefore, any foreigner wanting to do this will need the correct work permits.
Even if that person is doing it for free or as a gift and you personally don’t deem it as “work” per se, the Indonesian government do. They’ll see any labor exchanged for a gain (doesn’t have to be monetary, it can be food or drinks at your wedding) as work.
So its best to cover your ground and get a local celebrant or a foreign celebrant with the correct work permits to facilitate this part for you. Your friend or family member can still come up and say their piece, but do ensure it’s conducted around the lawful allowances here. The penalties for not doing so are just too severe to be worth the risk.
If you want to read more about this one, I go into more detail on my other blog post regarding legal and non-legal weddings.
So I hope your anxiety has eased haha! I’m not writing these things to scare you, more so that you can be as informed as possible when making decisions for your big day.
Wedding costs can easily creep up, so knowing the full picture before adding an extra food cart in or adding 10 more people to you guest list can be highly beneficial.
Staying well informed means you have more control over what you are spending, and can see more clearly what you can afford to add in, and what you may want to get rid of.
I’m a massive fan of the wedding industry here in Bali, and I want all couples, whether or not they’re my clients, to know everything they can possibly know so that they feel comfortable and excited about their special day!