Under the stars, an intimate and secret Balinese destination wedding

Do you think it’s okay to run away to Bali with thirteen of your closest friends and family to exchange vows in an idyllic field with your loved one & watch fire dancing under the stars? The actual couple of today’s episode left their destination wedding with much chance, which was an incredible result.

Jess and Steve are both travel enthusiasts. They knew that they wanted to have a destination wedding. (Find gifts here for couples who love to explore!) After searching for hours (I know that feeling) and with the entire world at their fingertips, they found Villa Mandalay in Bali, Indonesia. They knew they had found the perfect place. A luxury spot next to the rice field, a volcano beach, waving Palm trees, and a stunning Bamboo structure for their wedding ceremony.

Even with a small group, running away and getting married is not always easy. They trusted a planner to take care of the details and knew they had to go with the flow. (Like when smoke covered the rice fields nearby the morning before!) The wedding captured by OneThreeOneFour photography was a dream for the party and us at home.

Our Love Story

We are not a romantic couple. When I first met Steve, I felt instantly like I could be me. We don’t expect anything from each other. We support each other in everything. We know how to laugh together or with each other. We talk about everything, and we always apologize if we get angry. We knew we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives, even though we didn’t know it. That was the most romantic love story.

The Dress & Flowers

The idea of combining vintage and fresh flowers was a great one. We knew we wanted a lace overlay on the dress, and when we saw vintage lace draped across the arch of the woodland with garden flowers, delicate leaves, and fresh flowers, we were sold. We chose blue as the primary color, but we also added pastel flowers and a red velvet buttercream cake with fresh flowers.

The Destination

We are avid travelers, so we chose to have a small secret destination wedding. We had 13 close friends and family members join us in Bali for a week. We bounced from country to country before settling in Bali. After searching for hours to find the perfect Villa, we found Villa Mandalay. We were attracted by its infinity pool, Balinese Hut, and panoramic views of the rice paddies stretching down to the Indian Ocean.

Favorite moments

There were so many highlights of our special day. The rice paddy fields were burned a few hours before the ceremony, so the Villa became engulfed in smoke. The smoke cleared, and the sun shone beautifully as we exchanged personal vows. We felt like the only two people at that moment.

Steve’s dad asked to walk me down the aisle, as I didn’t have a mother and I had lost my father when I was young. It was a very sentimental moment, both for myself and me.

This moment will remain in my mind forever.

The Photographer

We wanted to find a photographer to tell the story of our wedding so we could relive the memories. Jess’s grandmother, who could not attend our wedding, also wanted to participate in our special day. When we returned home and shared the photos with our friends, some were shocked by how well our love was captured.

The Reception

We wanted the reception on the lawn, with hanging lights to illuminate the table settings. A full-length table runner was used with fresh flowers, wooden namepieces, and a full-length table runner. We had fire dancers between meals, a remarkable memory of our wedding.

Advice to other couples

Expect things to go wrong, and accept that nothing will be perfect.

The best decision we made for our destination wedding was to hire a wedding planner. The wedding planners handled all the vendor correspondence, scheduling, and other details, which relieved us of stress in the lead-up to our big day. Our wedding butler saved the day at our wedding. She was always there to help, whether with a glass or a tissue. The beautiful employees at the Agency made our dream come true.


We spent a few days relaxing in the Villa after the wedding before we returned home. We decided to go on a honeymoon later this year. We set out on a Middle-Earth road trip to New Zealand in October.

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