The legendary romance of Bali has long seduced celebrities when it comes to staging Gatsby-like nuptials. Thus, the ‘Island of the Gods’ is now a celebrated wedding destination. Perhaps you have already received your invitation? But what to wear to a wedding in Bali as a guest?

Bali simmers with wedding fever all year round and being invited to such a joyous celebration is not only an honour and an opportunity for a superb vacation – it’s also the ultimate justification to slip into something sensational.

Bali Wedding guests at Pandawa Cliff Estate

Bali Wedding guests at Pandawa Cliff Estate

What to Wear to a Destination Wedding in Bali

International weddings, Bali style, are often set on luscious green lawns flanked by tropical gardens or jungle – a horror for high heels; or on soft white sand – shocking for stilettos. Selecting the right footwear can be a challenge for Bali wedding guests. While barefoot beach brides are bound to raise a smile, guests are expected to be suitably shod.

Choose wedding outfits made of light and breathable fabrics like linen, silk, or mesh so you can comfortably be in the moment with family and friends. The wedding guest look is free flowing, not tight, with cool, light, or neutral colours and floral designs. Be sure that it works with wedges, flats, or low-slung sandals and loafers for men. Super-light silk resort-style dresses are the perfect partners for sexy sandals in the sultry tropics.

Whatever the wedding dress code, frocking up for a memorable event in Bali should be fun. We have a couple of ideas on what to wear to a Bali wedding as a guest. For her, think shoestring straps and flowing maxi and chiffon dresses; classic cotton sundresses and open-back halter necks. Floaty dresses in feather-light silk do well with a stretch cotton underdress to guard against humidity. For him, it’s seersucker suits of light, pastel, or navy shades; patterned or plain button-down shirts with linen pants, chinos, or smart trousers.

Elegant outdoor wedding, bride and groom walking down the aisle

Traditional Balinese Wedding Attire

Wondering what to wear to a traditional Balinese wedding as a guest? Be prepared for some striking surprises and be ready to push out your fashion boundaries. Selamat menempuh hidup baru – is the polite way to say congrats.

Indonesians adore dressing up so choose something spectacular, may it be traditional or formal attire. Given the extraordinary outfit the bride will be wearing – complete with a massive golden crown – it will be impossible to outshine her. And expect to see the groom bedecked in an equally magnificent costume; draped with jewellery; face made up to perfection.

The Kebaya

Female guests at traditional Balinese weddings usually wear a lace kebaya on top, which covers their shoulders and upper arms. They pair it with a colourful and coordinated sarong and sealed with a stunning golden brooch on a waist sash. This combination holds significant religious meaning; so, if you’re going traditional, don’t mess with the ensemble.

Beautiful bride Ayun wearing a pink kebaya at her pre-wedding event at Villa Bayu Gita

Beautiful bride Ayun wearing a pink kebaya at her pre-wedding event at Villa Bayu Gita

The kebaya is both modern and traditional. It’s inspired by current trends with fabrics, colour combinations and cuts that are constantly changing. It’s usually made of lace brocade following a floral pattern. However, styles and designs of kebaya have changed over time also because of the influence of other cultures. This iconic clothing can have plain or unique designs in colourful shades that match the embroidery pattern. They can also be intricately detailed and beaded by hand, especially in a traditional Bali wedding dress.

While we’re on the subject, the Balinese kebaya code decrees ‘the tighter the better’! Women wear a corset undergarment underneath the sheer lace. Sarongs of all styles can be found in Seminyak on Jalan Double Six (which is also known as Jalan Arjuna) or Jalan Sulewesi, the famous street for fabrics in Denpasar.

Ayun and Martyn's family pairing white tops with traditional sarongs

Ayun and Martyn’s family pairing white tops with traditional sarongs

Indonesian Batik and Sarong

Male guests at a Balinese wedding will be presentable in a collared shirt – Indonesian batik is best – paired with trousers or a muted sarong. The lighter the fabric, the better.

To beat the heat, wedding guests should wear long hair pinned up; note that some salons and barbers are happy to send hair and makeup artists to your Bali wedding villa, this can easily be arranged by the Elite Concierge. Lastly, be sure to leave make-up until the last minute – certainly best after you are dressed.

Stylish and comfortably clad, you’re ready to celebrate the Big Day, Bali-style. Enjoy the wedding!

Cherish every beautiful moment at a destination wedding in Bali. Find the perfect haven for your special day from our wide selection of wedding villas and get ready to create memories that would last a lifetime.