Hip, Hitched, Hooray

Hip, Hitched, Hooray

Aussie brides choose Bali to wed over any other destination. Ian Lloyd Neubauer reveals the island’s most popular venues to say I do.

Hip, Hitched, Hooray

Ian Lloyd Neubauer
The Sydney Morning Herald
10 March 2013

Set in a velvet-green valley in south-central Bali, Ubud is the spiritual capital of the island. Like something out of a Rudyard Kipling novel, the town is overflowing with Hindu temples – thousands in fact.

Don’t miss the lotus pond-ensconced Pura Saraswati temple, which is next door to a Starbucks, or the Gunung Kawi archaeological park half an hour out of town. And while it’s a no-brainer destination for Hindu weddings, this moss-covered fairytale of a place is also a popular destination for Christian weddings.

The best place to have a meal is Murni’s Warung. A four-story open-air eatery and bar overlooking a jungle-clad bend of the Campuan River, it was the first restaurant to open in Ubud, way back in 1974.

A few blocks away is Murni’s Houses, a traditional Balinese compound with four temple-like houses and an award-winning day spa set in a pixie’s garden.

“Why get married in Ubud? For starters it’s more traditional and authentically Balinese,” says owner Murni who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name only.

“And it’s cooler than the coast, which can be very hot. But the main difference is the scenery – many people like the backdrop of rice terraces for the ceremony.

“I’ve lost count of how many weddings we’ve done over the years,” Murni says. “I enjoyed them all, but the most memorable was the first, as I wasn’t sure we could do it. I was more nervous than the bride.

“We set the place up beautifully for the wedding by the pool: lots of tropical flower arrangements, tall Balinese umbrellas, ritual offerings and an antique table for the wedding book. Then it poured down. We quickly had to change everything, and then have the ceremony in my living room.

“But it all went well. And it gave us the confidence we could do weddings well, because we could deal with the unexpected.”