As one of the only celebrants in Australia regularly conducting ceremonies for couples overseas, I was recently asked to write an article on this subject for one of the bridal magazines. I've reprinted the bulk of this article below, in order to help couples planning a destination wedding.
- Exclusive Brides Magazine: In this issue we’re looking at the rise in popularity of destination weddings. With thousands of Australian couples flying to Bali for their nuptials, it seems the trend is more popular than ever, so we spoke to resident celebrant Dru Soltys about just what’s involved in a planning a Destination Wedding… Dru conducts ceremonies in Bali every month and has also been asked to conduct his unique, personal style of ceremonies in Thailand, France and Canada, as well as all around Australia -
"...Over the past few years I’ve seen an incredible rise in enquires from couples looking to hold a ceremony in Bali or Thailand. For many couples, the idea of a more intimate, personal wedding with close family and friends is more appealing than inviting everyone mum has ever met to a large, formal reception.
With so many couples now paying for their own wedding and therefore having so much more of a say in what they really want, rather than a wedding directed in-part by parents, the choice to start their married life overseas with forty or so of their closest friends is an easy one and allows couples to celebrate their marriage over a relaxing weekend with those they really care about.
I generally find that the main reason couples choose an Australian celebrant in Bali is two fold... Firstly, by completing all of the legal marriage requirements in Australia before they go, couples don't have to worry about going through the process of having their ceremony retrospectively recognised in Australia when they return.
Also, using a local Indonesian priest or celebrant can often be a challenging and very costly process and involves certain procedures and payments to local officials (in some cases up to $1,100) which still do not always guarantee that your wedding will be recognised by Australian authorities. Using the Indonesian priest also requires also couples to declare a recognized Indonesian religion and both partners must also be of the same faith. For example; Hindu, Buddhist or Islam are acceptable, however Atheism or Agnostic are not recognised by Indonesian marriage law.
Couples of Non-Islamic faith are then required to file a Notice of Intention to Marry and a Letter of No Impediment in the district they are staying and their ceremony must then be recorded by the Civil Registry (who you can request to do so at the ceremony, for an additional fee). The Notice and Letter must be obtained from the Consular Representative of Australia however there is a 10 day waiting period from the date of filing, however this can be waived (in some cases) by lodging the Form A: Guest Registration Form.
All of this aside though, I find the most common reason couples choose an Australian celebrant is that, with so many guests having flown some distance for the big day, couples generally have a strong preference for their guests to be able to understand and relate to the ceremony. Most couples prefer to have their ceremony presented in English and many choose to be involved in writing a personal ceremony, which is meaningful and engaging for their guests. A local priest may not always reflect the couple’s beliefs or be able to present a ceremony which guests can relate to.
In my experience, the winter months are definitely the busiest time for couples heading to Bali. Obviously, many couples want to escape the cold and celebrate their marriage in a tropical destination; and most of my bookings are over the months of June to August. In fact, this winter I’ll be home for less time than I’ll be overseas… By far, one of the most exciting aspects for me though, is that I’m usually still working with many of the fantastic wedding supplies I’m used to here in WA. Because of the winter specials, cheap flights and inexpensive accommodation make it so easy to get your favourite photographer or stylist across for the weekend. So it’s really a win-win!"
Copyright - Dru Soltys - All rights reserved 2013