Balinese culture, a vibrant blend of Hindu, Buddhist, and indigenous influences, is known for its deep spirituality, artistic expression, and strong community ties. This cultural richness is reflected in traditional Balinese weddings, with elaborate ceremonies embodying the island’s values and customs passed down through generations. Marriage in Bali is more than a union of two people; it also integrates them into the extended family and community known as banjar.

Traditional Balinese weddings are commonly divided into two main processions: memadik, the proposal at the bride’s house, and merangkat, the procession at the groom’s house. The couple participates in several ceremonies leading up to their marriage, each with deep cultural significance, honoring deities, ancestors, the couple’s families, and the community.

Related article: Explore and Experience Balinese Culture The Authentic Way

How are the proposals handled?

Photo: Bridestory

In Balinese culture, the proposal, known as memadik, is not just a simple exchange of rings but a respectful and culturally significant event wherein the groom’s family visits the bride’s home to propose marriage formally in a ritual called mesedek. The family brings gifts as tokens of respect and to seek the approval of the bride’s family. The bride’s family, in turn, consults among themselves and their community to consider the proposal. If the proposal is accepted, a series of negotiations takes place, during which the terms of the marriage, such as the dowry and the wedding date, are discussed and agreed upon.

When do the bride and groom decide to get married?

Photo: Balipedia
Photo: Balipedia

The timing of the wedding is crucial and is often determined by consulting a Sulinggih or spiritual leader to find a Medewasa Ayu (the right day). An auspicious date is usually selected based on the Balinese Hindu calendar to ensure the marriage is aligned with spiritual and cultural beliefs.

How does the bride prepare for her groom?


In preparation for the wedding, the bride undergoes a meaningful process that blends spiritual purification, cultural traditions, and transition. During the ngekeb ceremony, the bride is bathed with peacock leaves, flowers, turmeric, and rice. She will then enter a period of seclusion in her family home to prepare spiritually and emotionally for marriage, reflecting on her forthcoming role as a wife. This process prepares her outwardly and inwardly, ensuring she enters marriage with purity of heart and a deep respect for her cultural heritage.

What ceremonies and rituals are done to bless the marriage in Bali?

Photo: Le Mariage Indonesia

In a traditional Balinese wedding, several rituals bless the marriage with deep cultural and spiritual significance. The groom initiates Ngungkab Lawang by collecting the bride from her home. The couple then recites Vedic verses while throwing betel leaves to ward off evil. During Medagang-dagangan, the couple exchange symbolic gifts. The bride sits on coconut fiber and offers wares while the groom tears a bamboo mat or tikeh dadakan symbolizing the bride’s purity. The bride will then plant taro and turmeric to worship ancestral spirits. The couple will then cut a thread on a dapdap tree and bathe.

The next part of the ceremony involves Makala-kala, or the burning of tetimpug bamboo for protection against buthakala,a being that is said to cause marital disruptions. Metegen-tegenan and Suun-suuman see them circling a sacred fire seven times while praying in Sanskrit and being tied with a belt, symbolizing their union. Majauman marks the bride bidding farewell to her family and ancestors, followed by Natab Pawetonan, where the groom gifts jewelry to the bride’s mother. Tadtadan comes next, where the mother gives clothing and jewelry to the bride as a symbol of hope that she will never forget the role of a mother. Finally, the couple is legally bound through Mejaya-jaya, followed by three days of staying at home to signify intimacy and respect for the bride’s family.

How long does a Balinese wedding take?


A Balinese wedding typically lasts up to three full days to accommodate the numerous ceremonies, processions, rituals, and gatherings with servings of delicious Balinese food. Symbolically emphasized during the entire ceremony is the bride’s transition into her husband’s family, reflecting the Balinese belief that marriage extends beyond the union of two individuals to encompass familial and community bonds.

How are visitors supposed to dress?

Photo: Academy Capture the Atlas

When attending a Balinese wedding, visitors should be mindful about participating respectfully in this culturally rich celebration. A kebaya is highly appropriate for female guests, particularly if traditional attire is requested. Male guests are expected to dress smartly, typically in Batik shirts and formal trousers.

What are visitors allowed to do during the ceremonies?

Photo: Bali Tour

Visitors should respect the deeply rooted Hindu customs by familiarizing themselves with basic etiquettes, such as reverence for sacred objects and following the guidance of hosts or elders. During ceremonies, guests should maintain a solemn demeanor, refrain from taking photos without permission, and avoid distracting movements. Participation in ceremonies, such as placing canang sari offerings, should also be done respectfully and following local customs.


The traditional wedding showcases Bali’s vibrant culture with rituals that hold deep spiritual and social significance. The rites performed during the occasion symbolize the bride and groom’s union and their integration into extended family and community networks. As such, visitors must approach these rituals with respect, honor Hindu traditions, and observe proper etiquette.

Planning to host or attend a Balinese wedding while staying in a luxurious Balinese villa rental? Our concierge services can provide invaluable expertise in navigating cultural traditions, organizing ceremonies, and ensuring a memorable and respectful celebration of Balinese traditions.

Related articles: Types of Luxury Villas You Will Find in Bali, 10 of Our Most Beloved Villas and What Guests Have to Say About Them

Featured Image: Bali For Two Wedding Planner