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

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 on 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.

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

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.

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.

“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 said she’s been frustrated watching members of the community break the rules.

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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