It was an easy decision to elope to Bali, to marry the love of my life on the Island of the Gods. What was not easy was finding the ceremony, location, and experience that our souls craved to be like nothing we had ever experienced before to begin our adventure together forever.
We spent months Googling, reading, and searching the internet for “Bali Weddings”. NOTHING touched us. We kept telling each other… it is ok, the perfect wedding will find us. What is supposed to happen, will happen. As calm and easy going as I would like to think I am – The “bride” in me who had waited for 48 years to find my person – began to stress as the date of our departure approached. Then one day, two weeks before we were leaving for Bali, we stumbled across “Tourguide-Bali.com”. At this point we were not even looking for wedding information, just cool things to do. Andres website was so packed with information it was like finding the holy grail. Sure enough, halfway down the page, we see they have Balinese weddings. Could this be it? We scoured the information available on the website and then in typical “us” fashion we did a deep dive. We found Andres on Facebook, and this was when we knew. Having the opportunity to see him so publicly made us feel like we already knew him, knew that he loved what he did, and that we would be in good hands. It was not going to be “another” wedding for foreigners this was going to be the most authentic experience two foreigners could hope to share in this exotic paradise.
From the moment that we started talking to Andres through WhatsApp we were showered with information. He was so patient, understanding, and informative (which could have been difficult when there is a 13-hour time difference). I do not know if we were his most difficult clients, he has had more than 20 years of experience with tourists. What I know for certain is that we did have unusual requests. Not only did we want to be married in the Balinese tradition BUT we also wanted a Buddhist wedding. John and I want to be married in as many countries, cultures, religions, and traditions as possible for the rest of our lives. Most people probably think that is eccentric - we feel that the most important thing we can do is to celebrate “OUR” love for the rest of our lives. Andres did not take this lightly.
A few days after we arrived in Bali, Patni came to our hotel to introduce herself and provide us with our itinerary. A few days later Patni and Raymond arrived to transport us to our Balinese wedding and delighted us in discussions about Balinese culture and traditions. Little did we suspect that the next 6 hours would be like nothing we could ever have dreamed. From the moment we arrived in the cultural village we were greeted with such an outpouring of happiness and generosity of spirit. Flowers were placed around our necks and beautiful sarong’s around our waists for our cleansing blessing by the river. After we were purified, we met with the village healer for our readings. We listened intently as our village guide translated the healer’s readings and laughed together with relief as we learned that we were a true match for each other (not that we did not know that already but it is always good to know that even the wisdom of the healer and the constellations affirms us). We made offerings at the temple, asking for nothing and being grateful for everything (My “almost” husband’s wisdom). Feeling full in spirit and already beyond all expectation we began the preparation of adorning Balinese wedding attire (which takes excellent skill and patience from several very sweet women).
There are no words worthy of describing the next few hours of ceremony that forever connected John and I with each other and with these beautiful Balinese people that shared their Gods, their traditions, and their harmony to the universe with us. Seemingly all the villagers gathered to stand witness to our commitment and celebrate with incredibly intricate dancing from two beautiful girls that have been practicing this art form their entire lives! Over the next hour, we were guided through Balinese wedding rituals that were filled with meaning (perfectly translated) so that we understood the importance behind every word and movement. By the end, everyone seemed to be involved and came to wish us well on this joyous occasion. Even the Village Grandpa, with a loving hand and wonderful smile, blessed this moment. The local women had made us dinner with so many dishes that we literally did not know what we were eating, only that it was so delicious we ate everything! Thinking about it now, my mouth is watering!
Every detail, every moment, every conversation, and every beautiful Balinese face have been seared into our hearts for eternity. This experience was not just the first of hopefully a thousand weddings for John and I, this experience allowed us to share in what truly makes Bali paradise. We will be forever grateful.
You would think that at this point, Andres could not have out done himself. However, that is exactly what he did. Asking for a Buddhist ceremony at a Buddhist Monastery – was not an easy request to fulfill and required a lot of leg work. However, in Andres’s experienced tour-guide hands (Patni, Raymond, and Andres family also) our second wedding was absolutely incredible! Patni and Raymond picked us up for the long road trip through the mountains to North Bali. We had come to treasure this time in the car with them. We talked about everything under the sun and learned so much more than we ever could without them. We are so grateful.
When we arrived at the Monastery, we changed into our own wedding clothes and had pictures taken on the beautiful grounds. Then went in to begin our service. The wedding was perfection. It was exactly the intimate soulful blessing that we had hoped for. Patni sat beside us and translated for us as the monk blessed us. There were moments that we will never forget, like watching the monk wait with a smile as Patni translated something and then once he knew we understood, he would laugh with such a melody that he lit up the room. We laughed, we cried, and we were filled with joy. What a wonderful blessing. We could honestly not have hoped for more.
Andres, you have made these two moments in our lives unforgettable and even now as I sit here and write this, I am filled again with such strong feelings of peace, happiness, and love. Thank you, your family, and everyone we met along the way. You helped us experience the true meaning of Bali “TRI HITA KARANA” (Person and GOD, Person and Person, and Person with Nature) and for this we are eternally grateful!
MATUR SUKSMA!!! Heather and John