Connect with us


South Asian Wedding Planning Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic



South Asian weddings are getting bigger, louder, and more exuberant. What was once a weekend affair, has grown into nearly a weeklong series of events. According to a survey done by in 2019, the average Indo-Canadian wedding costs approximately $85,000 CAD for a 250-person wedding. A long guestlist, bright colors, and dancing, are all par for the course. However, the arrival of the coronavirus has proven to be a big disruptor for the South Asian wedding market (and the wedding market at large). As a result, countless brides and grooms have been left with the predicament of having to figure out how to plan their Sangeets, Jagos, Religious Ceremonies, Receptions, Mehndis, and more, around the pandemic.

With government mandates to close non-essential businesses, and restrictions on large gatherings and/or events, wedding events have not been spared. Vendors and couples have been left in an awkward position, making it difficult to forge a path forward. The purpose of this article is to share some options that vendors and couples in the South Asian community can use to adapt their wedding plans in an environment filled with uncertainty.

Before we jump into options, let’s first understand the problems that are being presented to wives and husbands-to-be. In dissecting the main challenges around wedding planning during the era of COVID19, there are two main variables at play. The first is, the uncertainty. As of the writing of this article, there are no known vaccines or anti-viral medicine available to the public. Therefore, knowing when society will be able to transition back to normalcy, is largely uncertain. The second element at play is the fluidity of government mandates. For example, one week there may be a restriction on gatherings of more than 50 people, and the following week the restriction may be reduced to 10 people. While such restrictions are done with good reason, the fluidity of restrictions pose a challenge for any wedding planning process.

Now let’s dig into some possible options for getting married amidst a pandemic. Given the problem areas that were mentioned earlier, there are really two levers that can be pulled for wedding planning. The first is, couples can keep their weddings, and reduce their guest lists down to a number that is within legal limits. For example, if you have a wedding guest list of 250 people, it may be necessary to scale back to a number that is lower than government restrictions.

If reducing the guest list is not something couples want to consider, the second option is to postpone to a later date. The biggest advantage with choosing to postpone is that couples can wait to see how COVID19 plays out, before committing to a new date. Not to mention, many South Asian wedding vendors in Surrey, B.C., have collectively rolled out flexible postponement plans. Examples of these vendors include and are not limited to Bancy Farms & Vancouver Event Rentals, as well as Decibel Entertainment. Therefore, there is an opportunity to work with vendors to coordinate events for a later date.

Finally, we have option 3. In observing South Asian couples in lower mainland area, it seems like most people are either about to postpone their wedding dates, or they have already postponed them. However, there is still a sizable population of couples who do not want to postpone their wedding, nor do they want to shrink their guestlist. This is where things can get creative, if there is flexibility around event expectations. For example, if a couple really wants to get married on their original date, they can still do that. Perhaps they can choose to have their religious ceremony (e.g. Anand Karaj, Nikah, etc.) with only 10 people physically present, and then everyone else can watch via a livestream. Then they can choose to have their other events, such as the reception, whenever it is safe to do so. Imagine having an intimate wedding ceremony, and instead of a wedding reception, having a reception on a 1-year marriage anniversary…it is an option.

Overall, couples planning their South Asian weddings do have options. While the options may not be ideal, they may be the most realistic. Ultimately, alternatives seem to come down to trimming down the guest list or postponing events, or a combination of the two. If you’ve figured out an option that wasn’t mentioned here, please let us know by commenting on this article!

Kamran is a Pacific Northwest Native and a technologist. Outside of his time being a contributor to Surrey 604, Kamran is also a team-member of, a platform for South Asian wedding planning in Canada. He spends much of his time researching and learning about ongoing trends in the South Asian wedding market, so much of his writing on Surrey604 revolves around the topic.


Think Global, Act Local



How small actions and ‘conscious-consumerism’ can make a huge
difference in our local communities in the covid-19 era

Social-distancing, self-isolating, “wash your hands”, zooming, lockdown, quarantining, the ‘rona’… just some of the latest catch phrases and new verbiage of 2020. It’s true, the new decade didn’t get off to the ‘fresh start’ we were all expecting or hoping for, but it’s been a big bang nonetheless.

We by no means can see the finish line or the light at the end of the tunnel any time soon in this constant state of unknowns, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start reflecting now on what our lives post covid-19 era look like. In fact, we can start reflecting on how this life-changing experience can impact our day-to-day decisions at this very moment.

In self-isolating solo for nearly 3 months, I have taken the chance to heavily reflect on the consumer decisions I make in my daily life, and how such decisions impact the local economy, environment, and my overall well-being too.

When you are ‘stuck’ at home, you have a lot of time to reflect and think about your surroundings – and for me, that directly translated to my buying habits, and also the concept of “consumption” as a whole. Marie Kondo suggests only keeping things that ‘spark joy,’ whereas other renowned minimalists such as Joshua Becker suggest only keeping what is essential.

Now psychologically, the jump from hoarder status to professional minimalist is not for the faint of heart, so while you are mentally preparing for such ‘all or nothing’ commitment, I suggest you look at the root of the issue – consumption. We all consume – food, clothes, etc. this is true – but how we consume is something completely within our hands, and can assist us in minimizing and maintaining a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle overall.

Conscious consumption should be the number one catch phrase resulting from this seismic shift in the world, no doubt.

The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this past April highlighted the theme of “Climate Action,” and it truly couldn’t have come at a better time – when the world literally stopped still. With this in mind, I chose to make some commitments for the year ahead.

These included: supporting local, small businesses to decrease emissions from international transport of products; choosing and consuming national food products whenever possible – preferably from local, organic producers; and finally, buying less clothing and being a conscious consumer with supporting local brands with sustainable fabrics and manufacturing techniques.

When you make a purchase, can you answer the following questions?

  • Where is this product coming from? And how far does it require to travel to get to you?
  • Where is it produced? By whom was it produced?
  • Can I buy the equivalent from a local small business or brand?

Even with the increase of delivery services or online purchases in the current reality we are living in (avoiding unnecessary face-to-face contact in taking precautions or ‘doing the right thing’) , there are ways for us to ensure that we are looking to support small businesses first and foremost. Take the time to research, make the effort to spread the word, and your communities and those around you reap the rewards!

Considering all of the aforementioned, this upcoming Sunday (and every Sunday following that), I challenge you to take to your social media accounts and participate in a new initiative which highlights your favourite local “small” businesses, and encourages those in your network to do the same.

On “Support Small Business Sundays” I highlight one local business that I am passionate about (and want to promote) while sharing their story, contact info, etc. and bringing light to those who are making a difference in my community.

Just don’t forget to use the hashtags #SSBS and #supportlocal so that we can build off of each other’s enthusiasm! You can even extend a challenge by tagging three of your friends/family in your post to encourage them to do the same and carry on the momentum!

Keep in mind that a little bit of reflection and research can go a long way for supporting local and being mindful of the environmental impacts of our buying habits as well. Let’s do our part in helping others in our communities and national economies during these challenging times, and we will leave the ‘rona’ season behind as stronger, more united, and aligned communities.

Continue Reading


2021: Wedding Planning After COVID-19



indian wedding celebration
Priyanca Rao Photography

Back in March 2020, I had published an article about planning a South Asian wedding amidst the COVID19 pandemic. In the article, 3 recommendations were given for planning around COVID19. Those recommendations revolved around reduce guest list size and getting creative with postponing or cancelling dates.

Since that time, many couples have been exploring the second and third recommendations, which relate to postponing and/or canceling dates. Since then, there are two major issues couples have been faced with. These challenges are listed below.

1. Lack of availability in 2021 – Since having a wedding in 2020 has become impractical for many couples, those same couples have had to investigate having their wedding in a later year. Currently, the most common year to postpone to is 2021.

For context, the week of 4/19/2020, I posted a poll on Reddit, in the r/DesiWeddings sub-reddit. The poll question was “Did you reschedule your wedding because of COVID19?” There were 251 respondents, of which 62.5% of them had expressed that they had already rescheduled their wedding dates due to COVID19.

The problem that couples seem to be running into, relates to getting all of their vendors available on the same date. For example, a couple may have all vendors except for 1, available for a future date. As a result, couples are faced with either having to find another vendor who is available and/or forfeiting the deposit related to the non-available vendor.

2. Losing wedding vendor deposits – Losing wedding vendor deposits has proven to be a challenge for some couples. What clients are finding is that since each vendor has their own deposit policies, some vendors may be less flexible than others. For instance, some vendors may honor a couple’s deposit, if they use the vendor’s service on a future date.

On the flipside, there have been reports of couples who are not able to get their deposits back. explored this trend by polling 25 couples who have been unable to recover some of their deposits, in the face of COVID19. Below are some statistics that were produced by the poll:

  • Across the 25 couples, the total amount of deposit money at risk of being lost was $304,100 CAD.
  • The average total amount of deposit money at risk of being lost, was $12,164 CAD per couple.
  • The largest total amount of deposit money at risk of being lost, was $50,000 CAD for one couple.

Assuming the statistics above are representative for other local couples in similar situations, the potential for deposit loss seems significant.

1. Reach out to your vendor(s) – While we do not have statistics on the number of couples who have expressed concern with losing their deposits without having reached out to their vendors first…they exist. In many scenarios, coordinating new dates for your wedding may be a matter of having an honest conversation with your vendors.

2. Rescheduling the most important vendors first – When it comes to re-scheduling all your vendors for a different date, finding a date where they are all available can be challenging. In chatting with brides who have already solved for this, the common recommendation seems to be to get your most important vendors re-scheduled first. For example, if your makeup artist is the most important vendor to you, then it may make sense to re-schedule them first. Then you can revolve rescheduling all your other vendors around the new date you set with your makeup artist. Keep in mind that “important” can mean different things to different people, so prioritize your vendors according to what is important to you.

3. Recovering a lost deposit – In some scenarios, you may find yourself unable to get a vendor(s) to accept a new date, which may result in you losing your deposit. We have seen couples approach this several ways, as shown below.

  1. Try to sell the lost deposit to another couple – One option is to try and sell your deposit. There are a variety of platforms to do this, from Facebook groups and marketplaces, to using tools like the wedding deposit marketplace. The caveat here is, this may only work for scenarios where your vendor is willing to work with both the buyer and seller of the deposit.
  2. Explore legal options – I won’t go into too much detail here because I don’t want to speak out of turn. I did have a chance to interview a lawyer on this topic on the Desi Wedding Podcast, so feel free to check out that episode.
  3. Accept the loss – In the worst-case scenario, it is an option to accept the loss(es). While it isn’t ideal, it does seem like an option.

Well, that is it. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment in the comments section.

Continue Reading


Burb Awarded Two British Columbia Cannabis Retail Licenses



Vancouver-based lifestyle brand adds cannabis products to brick-and-mortar stores

Burb, a cannabis lifestyle brand based in Vancouver, Canada, has been awarded two cannabis retail store licenses by British Columbia’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. The licenses allow Burb to add recreational cannabis products to the shelves of both its retail stores in Port Coquitlam.

Earning steady acclaim as a coveted retailer of Canadian crafted apparel and cannabis accessories, Burb opened the doors to its 3,700-square-foot flagship store in April. The holistic emporium houses a showroom displaying Burb’s streetwear collection, and sells branded accessories like grinders, papers, stash jars, lighters and waist bags. Thanks to Burb’s new retail licenses, starting Wednesday, September 25th, the flagship along with a second express-concept store, located on the other side of town, will carry a curated selection of high-quality cannabis products in flower, pre-roll, oil and gel capsule formats. The inventory will expand as new product categories, such as concentrates, beverages, edibles and topicals, become available in late 2019.

Consumers worldwide (outside of B.C.) can shop the brand’s apparel and cannabis accessories on, Burb’s newly introduced e-commerce platform. The website also houses episodes of Light Culture, Burb’s editorially driven podcast hosted by David Hershkovits, Co-Founder and Publisher of PAPER Magazine. The show explores the budding cannabis industry through provocative conversations with some of the world’s most highly followed voices, including Fab 5 Freddy, Abdullah Saeed and Steve DeAngelo.

Burb’s dynamic multi-platform concept forges a unique narrative marrying e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail with streetwear, media and cannabis products, all supporting the growth and expansion of B.C. Bud culture. Throughout the next year, Burb will activate events in Vancouver that bridge communities across country lines while further elevating the B.C. Bud brand. By 2021, the company’s goal is to open eight retail stores within the B.C. market.

“Our licensing approval allows us to connect with people on multiple levels and establish Burb and B.C. Bud as trailblazers of cannabis culture and awareness on a global stage,” says John Kayne, Co-Founder and CEO of Burb. “Rather than pursuing a quantity-driven, store front accumulation strategy, we are hyper-focused on delivering an authentic, curated and unmatched level of customer experience both in-store and at”

Burb will celebrate its new cannabis retail licenses with a grand opening event on Saturday, September 28th from 11am to 11pm hosted at the company’s Port Coquitlam flagship store at 1502 Broadway Street. Get a sneak peak of the store here. For more information about Burb, or to shop the brand’s collection of apparel and cannabis accessories, visit

Burb locations:

Burb, Port Coquitlam: 1502 Broadway Street, Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 2M8
Burb Express, Port Coquitlam: Unit #24 – 2755 Lougheed Hwy, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 5Y9

About Burb:

As an emerging voice in the industry, Burb’s brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce platform capture the current state of cannabis culture, resonating with educated professionals, artists, technologists, parents and everyone in-between who has experienced the benefits of the plant.

About LightCulture:

Celebrating the power of light: whether it’s lighting up a joint, lighting up a room or lighting up your life, Burb embraces #LightCulture and encourages the wide-ranging community of cannabis enthusiasts to shine a light on the amazing benefits derived from this plant.

About B.C. Bud:

This phrase pays homage to the world-renowned history of cannabis in British Columbia, where 40 percent of all Canadian cannabis is produced. B.C. Bud is widely regarded as the “best weed on Earth”.

Continue Reading

Latest Events


25sep9:00 am25oct8:00 pmBC Culture Days: September 25-October 25, 20209:00 am - (october 25) 8:00 pm Location: Various locations and online Cost: Free

26sep6:00 pm9:00 pmIntro to Bartending Class6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Location: Fine Art Bartending School Cost: $99 per couple


Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Designed by Binary Souls.