AYANA Zeitgeist

Translated from German, Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the moment", and is the key principle underpinning AYANA's service philosophy. Here, we share our inside tips and favorite haunts to help you experience the AYANA Zeitgeist.

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Edward and Rachel Scheibler were the first couple to ever marry at this resort back in 1996 (when it was The Ritz-Carlton Bali, Resort & Spa). They recently returned with their two sons to show them the place where their lifelong commitment was made. In this blog post, they share some of their memories and wedding photos from both the original ceremony and their latest visit with us – a beautiful reminder of the legacy of Bali’s eternally romantic spirit!

I guess our wedding made history. We were the first ever couple to get married at AYANA when we eloped in December 1996, soon after the hotel opened. It’s been almost 15 years and we’re still going strong! This is our first trip back to Bali since. We now have two children: William, 11, and George, 9. We have told the kids so many times how special Bali is to us and how special the hotel is, and how much we’ve anticipated coming back here. We really wanted to show them the place where we got married, and we ended up having an informal ceremony to relive the moment, this time with our children in attendance. The pier was decorated in similar style to our original ceremony, with white flowers, a Balinese ringgit musician, Balinese traditional decorations, and glasses of champagne for our toast. It was magical!

Our original Balinese wedding wasn’t really planned; we were supposed to get married in New York with all of our family and friends but it was turning into a circus! We were travelling around Tokyo, Koh Samui and Bangkok, and when we came to Bali, the resort was so beautiful and relaxed, we just said, ‘This is the perfect place, let’s get married here’. We chose to get married on the jetty, surrounded by the ocean and dramatic cliff scenery.

We were meant to check out on Christmas Eve, but extended another three days. The resort handled all of the wedding arrangements at very short notice. Rachel is Catholic and I am Prodestant, but we had an Episcopalian minister and a Balinese civil servant who administered the civil ceremony. The staff from the hotel were our substitute family, so coming back here this time, we really feel like we came home to family. We have met staff who were here at that time and are still working for the hotel.

We were staying in a normal room but the hotel upgraded us to a villa for the wedding night. After the ceremony on the jetty, we had a traditional Balinese wedding dinner on our bale beside the villa pool, under the stars. We still remember that meal so fondly, the food was delicious and it was a very memorable experience. Back in New York, our families were very happy for us and we had a big party.

We have had a fantastic time coming back and the boys have both said they want to get married here when their time comes. They are thinking maybe on the waterslides. Who knows, stranger things could happen!

D’Agisna Ramdhani (known as Dadan) has traveled the world working for cruise liners and resorts from Africa to Australia, the Middle East, Philippines and his native Indonesia. Some of his most memorable experiences include building an underwater wedding chapel in Vanuatu. As AYANA’s new Beverage Manager, Dadan is responsible for all beverage operations including at the iconic Rock Bar where he has introduced new signature cocktails, and the Martini Bar adjacent to Dava which has launched a new 101 Martinis menu. No scuba weddings but still a close connection to the ocean!

AYANA: How long have you been at AYANA?

DADAN: Just three months now.

A: Where are you from?

D: Bandung, West Java, about two hours from Jakarta if you drive fast.

A: We heard you built an underwater wedding chapel, can you tell us about that?

D: I worked for a resort in Vanuatu where I built an underwater wedding chapel so couples could get married 15 feet (5 meters) beneath the ocean’s surface in a heart-shaped coral garden, complete with a tropical coral archway.

A: What gave you the idea for this?

D: I love the ocean, I am a certified National Geographic Diver which means we are more concerned with underwater conservation, education to local communities, respect for the sea and marine life, and not exploiting the animals that live in the sea. I thought a natural chapel made from coral would be a unique experience for guests.

A: How do they say ‘I do’?

D: The priest conducts the ceremony using scuba sign language. The wedding rings are kept inside an oyster shell and the couple shares one scuba tank with two regulators, to signify their new life together.? The couple say ‘I do’ by doing the scuba sign for ‘OK’. To announce they are husband and wife, the priest points to each of them, draws a love heart in the air with his finger and then puts his hands back together, before tracing a line across his throat to indicate ‘until death do you part’.? Then the couple takes out their regulators to kiss each other.

A: Did anyone ever do the scuba sign for an emergency exit?

D: Luckily, no (laughing).

A: What’s the biggest wedding you had there?

D: A German couple who had 15 guests and did everything underwater including signing the marriage certificate on waterproof paper. Their guests were snorkeling on the surface.

A: What brought you to AYANA?

D: It’s nice to be back home to share my training and experience with other Indonesians, and I had heard about the Rock Bar and wanted to work here. I also like to explore the dive sites around Bali.

A: Have you had a chance to do any diving since starting at AYANA?

D: Yes, at the USS Liberty ship wreck in Tulamben and a Japanese wreck in Amed on the East Coast.? But my favorite dive was a secret spot near Tulamben, where I went on my own and saw a school of 38 bumphead parrot fish as big as 20kgs, as well as the hippocampus pigmy ? a small seahorse the size of a sewing needle, and a black-tipped shark about 2.5 meters long.

A: You have introduced new cocktails at Rock Bar ? what is the concept behind them?

D: Our concept was to create refreshing drinks with local fruits, herbs and spices to add a more Balinese touch to the experience. For example the AYANA Passion features papaya (pawpaw), markissa (local passionfruit), strawberries and red pepper syrup with vodka. We are also mixing drinks the authentic way; for example our caipirinha is made with the original liquor cachaca, a Brazilian sugarcane brandy, while most places in Bali make it with rum, which is actually meant to be used for a caipirisimma.

A: Which is your favorite Rock Bar cocktail?

D: The Jimbaran Express, which has a tropical flavor with rum, chili, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir leaves and coconut. It is also available at Kisik restaurant, because it suits the seafood menu there.

A: Finally, we can’t help but ask, would you ever get married underwater and is it considered a legal wedding?

D: I would love to get married underwater but there is no underwater wedding chapel in Bali. And yes in Vanuatu it’s a civil ceremony legalized by the government, so it’s a serious commitment!