As backyard weddings linked to COVID-19 surge, some B.C. brides choose restraint

Click to play video: 'B.C.’s South Asian community split on large weddings during COVID-19 pandemic'
B.C.’s South Asian community split on large weddings during COVID-19 pandemic
Editor's note: Video footage from all weddings was filmed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original story did not make this clear and has been updated with identifying banners to reflect this. For more of Global BC's coverage on how the pandemic has affected the Fraser Health region, go to The increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in the Fraser Health region are causing painful divisions within the South Asian community. Those who refuse to limit numbers of guests for weddings and claim it is part of their culture are at odds with others who say it's time to fall in line with B.C. health officials orders. And that has some brides caught in the middle. Srushti Gangdev reports – Nov 5, 2020

With weddings increasingly named as a key source of COVID-19 transmission, especially in B.C.’s Fraser Health region, engaged couples are facing new challenges in planning their special day.

Gunjan Vaswani’s fiance made a surprise proposal last month, a silver lining to a difficult 2020.

“It’s been wonderful in a year that’s been a little disappointing. It definitely was a turnaround,” Vaswani told Global News, Thursday.

But with COVID-19 safety as the the biggest priority in planning her wedding, it means she’ll have to turn away from some time-honoured traditions and religious ceremonies.

“I will keep everybody’s safety in mind and I personally will let go of those traditions,” she said.

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“I will have to get married, there’s no question with that.”

Click to play video: 'B.C.’s top doctor explains how quickly the coronavirus moves through gatherings like weddings'
B.C.’s top doctor explains how quickly the coronavirus moves through gatherings like weddings

Health officials have repeatedly singled out large social events such as weddings and funerals as COVID-19 case numbers have surged to new record highs in recent weeks.

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The Fraser Valley has emerged as the epicentre of community spread in the province.

Sukh Mann, president of the BC Banquet Hall Association, told Global News he saw the problem coming over the summer, when the province imposed restrictions on banquet halls.

People moved their celebrations into homes and backyards instead, he said.

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Click to play video: 'Coronavirus cases climb after 2-day wedding in Vaughan'
Coronavirus cases climb after 2-day wedding in Vaughan

“Soon as they (said), okay there’s no dancing allowed, right from that moment I had five events booked in one week and all five events got cancelled.”

Mann says people were much happier to crowd 50 people into their backyards if it meant there was no one checking up on whether they were following the rules.

“At home, people are allowed to act and do what they wanted to do without any control,” he said.

That won’t be the case at Vaswani’s wedding.

The bride-to-be told Global News she’s been frustrated watching members of the community break the rules.

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Vaswani said she’s even considering a small civil ceremony with just her parents and her fiance’s, and leaving the partying for some point in the future.

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