GETTING MARRIED ON A BEACH IS NOT A CLICHÉ. Sorry, I just needed to say that. Because, when it’s done right, a wedding on a beach is far from a Hello! 10-page yawn-fest and more like a Mario Testino beauty shoot.
Weddings and beaches are pretty synonymous with extra mature cheese and Prozac-induced smiles, but certain tropical islands are treasure troves of potential goodness waiting to be opened.
I went to a wedding in Bali a few years ago (two in fact) and it was as traditional and diverse as the range of ethnic groups in Indonesia. I was given a batik style dress to wear, a sort of crochet-looking number, and I’m pretty sure I was the only Western girl there. Let alone the only Western girl that was also wearing very traditional clothing that every single Balinese woman was also wearing. As much as I stuck out (and believe me, I got some lingering stares of curiosity) I couldn’t have been more welcomed. Everyone greeted me with open arms and kindness as we watched the bride and groom move through the ceremony. It was a real honour to be invited to such a special day, and it was unlike any wedding I’d been to before. The bride looked stunning and was adorned with all manner of jewels and make up and perfumes, and the reception was essentially an enormous feast in which we sat and stuffed our faces. The music, incense and happy noises were like a big comforting reminder that families and communities are important and, well, love brings people together.
And it was Bali itself of course that leant its spiritual nature to the occasion. The other wedding I went to was for an English couple, but they managed to extract the best qualities of a Balinese wedding and incorporated it into their own happy day. They exchanged non-cheesy vows on Jimbaran Beach in the south of Bali and had the reception at the Four Seasons hotel where they were staying. To say it was a bigger soiree than the Balinese wedding I went to is an understatement, but nonetheless it was just as charming and special. They decorated the whole front of the hotel in flowers, there was incense wafting around and the sound of waves were a calming influence on an otherwise neurotic mother in law. A traditional whole suckling pig was the ultimate centrepiece for a foody like myself and the lychee martini cocktails weren’t too shabby either.
THAT’S how you do a beach-side wedding folks.