Bali is so unique in that wherever you go on the island, you’re almost guaranteed to have a totally different experience in terms of climate, things to do, crowdedness, demographics and looks of the place.
Here are (in my opinion) the most popular places in Bali to get married and why. And yes, I know many of you are very familiar with these areas due to holidaying there, but now it's time to consider these same areas as a wedding space, and whether or not it’s still as appealing (or unappealing) when put to a different purpose. You may surprise yourself!
Probably the OG of a Bali holiday area, as it was built up specifically to cater to tourists. So many resorts, villas, restaurants, cafes and bars are here. You’re close to the beach and can pretty much walk to most places.
For old timers, it’ll feel like home and considering nothing much changes here, you’ll find all your favourite places waiting for you on your return.
For newbies, it’s the perfect introduction to Bali on a holiday due to the proximity to all the basics and the fact you don’t really need to leave the area if you’re wanting to relax but still have access to everything.
Great for: Those of you who want something familiar, have guests who are coming to Bali for the first time, or planning your wedding at a resort, as there are so many to choose from. Everything here is close by to each other and the area has tried to cater to all needs so if you like your guests to explore on their own pre and post wedding, it’s perfect for that. It also offers a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets.
Not ideal if: You’re wanting sweeping landscapes, cliff top views or greenery. It’s a very built up area with traffic, so you won’t get much in the ways of offsite photography. Most of your photos will need to be done in the venue you’ve chosen. Also, due to being so populated, if you’re wanting a beach ceremony or photos, be prepared for randoms in the background and strangers watching on around you. While they won’t be in your photos (hopefully!) it’ll be hard to avoid their presence in real time.
This is like the gated community of Bali where you will find all the top resorts of the island.
These resorts are the crème de la crème with most of them baring 5 stars and offering everything you can imagine. They usually come with kids clubs which is great for those travelling with little ones, and while there’s not much in way of shopping, dining or night life in Nusa Dua, being at these resorts cancels the need for that due to them being fully equipped so that guests don’t really feel the need to venture out.
Great for: These are the ideal choices for those of you who want a fuss free wedding. These venues come with wedding packages that have most inclusions, and the option to jazz it up with some extra décor to go with your theme. It also provides one easy location for everyone to stay, enhancing the destination wedding vibes by having everyone there ready to join any event you have planned for the day before or after. It gives flexibility for your guests to retire to their rooms earlier if they want to, freshen up, or to check up on their kids if they have any, where they can stay in the rooms with a nanny or at the kids club if the parents want some adult time.
Not ideal if: You want a totally customized wedding. Resorts make it mandatory to use their in-house food and beverage, and many packages will include generic décor that may not suit your vision. Removing items from the packages will not decrease the price, but you will have to add costs on to personalize it.
If you don’t do an entire resort buy out, then you also have the reality of other guests around your day. And while they won’t be in your areas of course, you’ll still have onlookers.
Canggu has grown and expanded more than any other suburb in Bali over recent years and offers everything you can imagine from day spas to beach clubs, bars and restaurants to gyms and shopping. It’s become the tourist hub of Bali now and people flock there purely because of the plethora of things they can do and enjoy there.
There are soooo many Airbnb options if your guests want to choose a more personalized style of accommodation during your wedding
Great for: Active couples and guests who like to get out and about. If you’re planning on having welcome drinks and recoveries at different locations, Canggu will definitely give you the most options. There are always events going on too, so on days you don’t have anything planned for your guests, they’ll be able to entertain themselves.
Not ideal if: You hate traffic. Do not choose Canggu if you hate sitting around waiting in traffic. The downside of the rapid expansion means it takes ages to get anywhere. Bikes and cars galore, it’s become one of the most frustrating areas to drive through. The “shortcut” is only one way and is always packed. It goes from Canggu to Seminyak area only, not the other way around, meaning to get to Canggu cars have to use the Canggu highway which can be maddening at peak hours. This is particularly frustrating if you have guests staying in other parts of Bali as it could make them late on the way to your big day holding up the ceremony.
Ubud has always held a special place in many people’s hearts. It’s the cultural center of Bali, lined with ancient temples, mystic jungles and local artisans smattererd all over the place creating and selling their art.
In recent years it has also become home to some really amazing restaurants, bars and world class resorts. It’s away from the main tourist drag yet still manages to attract a decent number of travellers and expats alike who find comfort in the cooler air and fresh green surroundings.
Great for: Weddings and events that seek to utelise the most that they can from the surroundings they’re in. Think enchanting "secret garden" style photography, venues with nooks and crannies that can be dressed up to add extra charm to your special day, and stunning vistas showcasing a different side of Bali to what your guests might expect.
As mentioned it’s a lot cooler in Ubud so its perfect if you or your guests are sensitive to heat but still want the tropical vibes.
Ubud is also a wellness hub so it’s great for pre and post wedding activities centered on wedding prep and the post wedding detox.
Not ideal if: You have guests staying all over Bali as it’ll take a while to get here. It's not that traffic is bad, but it’s unpredictable and can take anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on where you leave from.
It's miles away from any beach front so you can forget about sandy toes or sunsets, and being in the jungle, pending season, you may have more mosquitos than other parts of Bali so be sure to pack repellent.
Those jaw dropping images of sweeping coastlines from cliff tops and sunsets overlooking the horizon? Yeah that’s in the Bukit area.
Fast becoming the most popular place to get married, Uluwatu has developed a lot, much like Canggu but it's not as crowded or intense - yet. It’s the surfer's paradise with many coming just to stay in this area to drink coconuts on the beach and surf. Quality dining and shopping have popped up in the area making it appealing to a wider demographic and it offers a great selection of both villas and resorts for your wedding day.
Great for: Those of you who want those iconic clifftop wedding pics. This is it. The Mecca of Bali wedding photo ops. Some couples will travel for ages just to get the shot.
With both villas and resorts available, all of high quality and boasting spacious grounds, it’s not hard to see why this is such a popular option. Some venues are large enough that all your guests can stay in the one space, while others give the option to stay close-by. Unlike other areas of Bali, many of the venues here haven’t been subdivided into smaller plots to sell off, so you can really maximize your guest list.
Not ideal if: You have young children, have mobility disabilities or are on tight budget. With the high clifftops come the high prices. These are some of the more expensive venues to get married at and while it’s definitely possible to find some more affordable venues, the popular ones will easily take up half your wedding budget. Much of Uluwatu is hilly, meaning to access the beach you need to go down about 300 steps to reach it…if you were hoping for a cliff top wedding with on-the-beach photos, you probably won’t be able to do it, not in time to get back for dinner anyway. A lot of the ways to get to the beach is foot traffic only so this is why it can be problematic and time consuming to head down for photos.
Uluwatu also has super strict rules about ride share apps meaning you’ll need a driver to get around which brings me to my point about kids. Don’t get me wrong, kids love Uluwatu, but if you’re wanting to just stroll around with your baby in the pram, it might be hard because despite having so much more to do there now, unlike other areas, its not all built up in one spot, so things are spread apart and you generally need a motor vehicle to get around.
When traffic is bad, it can take literally hours to get there, so make sure all your guests are also staying in Uluwatu if you don’t want your ceremony to start 3 hours late.
This is the original hub where expats first settled down when Bali became attractive to live in 70s. Largely residential, there’s basically one main road that has all the shops and restaurants making it super easy to get around.
The beach at Sanur is calm and child friendly which is why Sanur is so popular amongst families. The resorts all have kids clubs, and there are still enough bars and restaurants where the adults can go out and enjoy themselves.
Great for: Those who want a kid friendly wedding, the old charm of Bali or easy access to and from the airport. There’s a toll road that leads straight into Sanur which makes it fast and fuss free to settle in. It’s a super safe neighborhood and you’ll find many people riding bicycles along the footpaths and roads. Most of the hotels and villas have been around for decades and it really adds a wonderful element to events held here. If the point of having a destination wedding in Bali is to show that you got married in Bali, then Sanur is your spot.
Three of the major hospitals can also be found here which can be soothing to know if you have guests or loved ones who may need urgent medical attention.
Not ideal if: You’re wanting sleek and modern. This is not the area where you’ll find minimalist architecture or monochromatic interiors.
Everything is very locally driven and it doesn’t appeal to everyone. Traditional rooftops and ornate statues fill Sanur and Ketwel's venues.
It’s also not much of a night spot so you may find some guests who want to go out to party end up bored. With limited places to choose from, you may need to organize shuttles to go elsewhere in Bali for your pre and post events which can be a nuisance for some.
Many love coming to Nusa Lembonan purely because “it’s how Bali used to be”…but even Nusa Lembongan has changed a lot.
Taking 30 minutes to reach from Sanur harbor, it’s a gorgeous island where you’ll need to rent a bike or buggy to get around. Some venues have mini trucks you can jump into but for the most part you get around on your own.
It’s appealing because it offers many beautiful locations for sandy-toed nuptials and seafood bbq dinners by the sea. Crystal blue waters perfect for swimming or surfing, and the food and beverage game has also lifted over the years. Those that don’t marry on Nusa Lembongan often go there as their minimoon after their Bali wedding.
Great for: Those who want to add a sense of adventure to their special day. It’s that extra removal from the hum drum of the norm where your guests need to come by plane, boat then bike/truck to your wedding venue. There are some seriously stunning venues to choose from so it’s not like by being remote will decrease your overall quality.
There are plenty of beach clubs to enjoy before and after the wedding and so many activities for both adults as well as kids to take part in.
We love Lembongan weddings and have fast become the go-to planners for weddings on the island due to the number of times we’ve done it.
Not ideal if: You need wheelchair access or get sea sick. The whole getting on a boat can be a bit much for some because despite the new harbor allowing for an easier departure, when you get to Lembongan side you still need to jump off the boat on the shores of the beach which at high tide can reach up to your thighs.
It takes a lot of man power to get a wedding done properly in Lembongan and due to the fast boat schedules (the last ones returning to Bali around the time your wedding starts) you’ll need to pay for most of your vendors to stay the night, so that includes accommodation, meals, and return boat tickets. Because it’s not on the mainland, everything has to come over by boat, this includes food and beverages so you may find that prices are slightly higher on the island and corkage is definitely higher than in Bali.
Speaking of food and beverage, while there are lots of yummy options, if you're a foodie, there's not much in the way of fine dining being able to be catered to you on your big day.
All in all, every area of Bali is going to have its pros and cons…you just need to figure out which cons affect you the least.
We’ve successfully executed fabulous events and weddings in all of these areas and they all have their own magic that filters through to your special day.
I personally don’t have a favourite area. What will really make an area shine for a couple is when it truly reflects who they are as people and how they wish to utelise the space to convey why they chose the Island of the Gods to tie the knot.