The wedding of Alex and Shannon

A celebration of love on the beach at sunset

Batucada team photo at Alex and Shannon's wedding, summer 2023. Photo by Sunita Singh Boparoy.

When bride-to-be Shannon arranged to have Wellington Batucada show up at Worser Bay Surf Life Saving Club to surprise her guests – and her new husband Alex – at their wedding reception, I wonder if she pictured just how magical it would be.

It was the perfect time of day – just as the sun is setting, when the light changes to seriously glowingly intense in that way it does on a summer’s evening in Aotearoa. Alex and Shannon’s friends and family were having a most excellent time at their wedding reception – and we were quietly gathering just round the corner by the yacht club.

Director Sunita decided that just three of us – Gordo on surdo, Joe on caixa and me on chocalho – would start the whole thing off by parading-while-playing towards the surf club – hopefully catching the guests’ attention and bringing them out onto the deck to see what the noise was. It worked.

Wellington Batucada at Alex and Shannon's wedding, summer 2023. Photo by Josiah Nevell.

After our little intro, the rest of the band joined in, and we played a shortened version of our summer repertoire for the assembled guests. The band was arranged on a grassy slope facing the beach and the surf club, with the dancers doing their thing on the (really quite steep) boat ramp right next to the club building. They will tell you it’s quite a challenge doing choreographed dance moves on a sloping surface – it’s quite a strain on the old leg muscles!

They did an awesome job – and were very soon joined by members of our audience, who got right into the dance moves with great enthusiasm. As we played our set, more and more guests joined in, until there were more dancing than watching. It was such a lovely atmosphere.

For our encore we moved down onto the beach itself, with drummers and dancers gathering around the bride and groom in a multi-layered moving circle on the sand. Alex and Shannon danced together in the middle while we played samba for them, and their guests watched – and then joined us, also dancing on the beach, some paddling in the waves, others watching from the surf club deck, illuminated with fairy lights.

Wellington Batucada at Alex and Shannon's wedding, summer 2023. Photo by Josiah Nevell.

Dog walkers and people out for a summer’s evening stroll stopped to watch, and we could see people peeking out their windows from homes nearby. It felt like the whole local community was joining in with this celebration of love and commitment.

It was such a magical evening – one of those moments where everything just comes together and clicks perfectly. Batucada drummer and Committee member Rebecca Routhan summed it up perfectly when she wrote:

I think this was my favourite gig ever. Just awesome. Beautiful weather, beautiful beach, beautiful wedding, beautiful people, beautiful Batucada rhythms… what more could ya want?

Photo gallery

Photos by wedding photographer Josiah Nevell, and Batucada members Kara Nation, Kelly Etuata, Rebecca Routhan and Sunita Singh Boparoy. Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version:

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